Film festival set to debut at Madison Theater
Published: Monday, February 22, 2010
Updated: Sunday, June 17, 2012 14:06
It won't have the style and grandeur of Tribeca or Cannes, but longtime friends Joe Bonilla and Joseph Alindato hope that the inaugural Knickerbocker Film Festival will be the first of many in the Pine Hills area of downtown Albany.
Bonilla and Alindato, who are Chief Executive Officer and Chief Media Officer respectively of BAS, a media production company formed in 2006, wanted to highlight what makes the neighborhood notable outside of the litany of college bars and pizza shops.
"Pine Hills has a lot to offer, we have the Madison up here, we have Café Madison down the street, we have Juniors, we have Price Chopper, we have a community here that honestly gets overlooked sometimes," said Bonilla.
With the majority of galleries and quaint shops nestled along Lark Street, Alindato added that he'd love to see a migration of the arts further uptown.
Alindato, a 24-year-old alumnus of Hudson Valley Community College, works at the Madison Theatre as a projectionist and first envisioned the film festival in 2009. Once Bonilla deemed it feasible financially, Alindato used his ties to convince manager Jay Pregent to let them house the event.
Pregent was happy to oblige.
"My boss is a big supporter of independent films, so all I had to do was pitch him the idea of the film festival and he loved the idea," said Alindato.
Almost a year later, they'll be occupying the second largest theater in the Madison Theatre on Madison Avenue and running the short films seven times a day for an entire week.
Bonilla, who is a 23-year-old University at Albany junior, said the year-long process was relatively seamless, but financial support was lacking.
"One of the key things I guess would be, something to look at for next year, trying to get more advertisers on board — it is our first year and of course a lot of people are not so receptive to a first year festival but besides that everything actually ran pretty smooth," Bonilla said.
The two resigned themselves to distribution rather than production after a few failed attempts at producing their own shorts. Alindato, a self-proclaimed movie buff, was impressed with the quality of the submissions that came pouring in the last month.
"I see a lot of potential in these filmmakers. Very happy I get to show it, its something more than making a film – its being able to show it to other people," Alindato said.
After watching 40 submissions that ranged from amateur film makers in high school to baby-boomers from Voorheesville, the top seven were selected.
Bonilla and Alindato looked at previous film festivals like Ed Wood's and felt that they didn't engage the community enough. This resulted in a eclectic film screening committee, comprised of local elected officials like Albany Common Council member Leah Golby and UAlbany student Tammi Landau, who will hand out awards after the final screening.
Now that the final seven short films are ready to be shown, Bonilla and Alindato can only wait for an opening night success, but don't expect any jitters out of the stoic Bonilla or his perfect compliment, the more animated Alindato.
"When I was a kid I went to the Madison even before they had broken it up into the seven different theatres when it was single screen, and I primarily grew up in this neighborhood, played at the playground near Pine Hills elementary," explained Bonilla. "I really did grow up in this area so it is kind of a watershed moment in that aspect to do this and get people involved and see people engaged in this. It's pretty great to see."
Opening night is Feb. 26 at the Madison Theatre and the Film Festival will run until March 4.