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The Biggest Little Film Festival

Film Columbia brings features and documentaries fresh from the international festival circuit to Chatham—often months before they hit commercial cinemas

by Shawn Stone on October 17, 2012


Born out of the fact that a number of very successful film-biz types have settled in Columbia County, Film Columbia offers intrepid cinephiles a five-day feast of film. And most of it is actual film, because the Crandell Theatre hasn’t converted to digital cinema yet. And it’s all in the small-town atmosphere of Chatham. The festival started yesterday (Oct. 17), but here’s a quick rundown of the films being screened between now and Sunday (Oct. 21).



The Flat

An Israeli filmmaker cleans out his deceased grandmother’s Tel Aviv apartment and makes some peculiar discoveries about her life during World War II Germany. (1 PM, Crandell)

Romeo Eleven

The Internet takes center stage in this romantic drama set in Montreal’s Lebanese community. (3 PM, Crandell)

In Another Country

A comedy with Isabelle Huppert as a mysterious woman in a South Korean resort town. (5 PM, Crandell)

Mea Maxima Culpa: In the House of God

If you thought documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney stirred up controversy with his investigations into Enron, American torturers and the fall of Eliot Spitzer, hang on to your hat—or your rosary. This film is about pedophilia in the Roman Catholic Church. (7:30 PM, Crandell)



Any Day Now

Alan Cumming and Garret Dillahunt (finally getting to play something other than a sheriff’s deputy in a feature) star as a gay couple in the 1970s who try to adopt a disabled boy. Based on a true story. (12:30 PM, Crandell)

My Worst Nightmare

The transcendent Isabelle Huppert (hello again) stars in this French romcom from the director of Coco Before Chanel. (2:30 PM, Crandell)

Shorts Program

Featuring When a Tree . . . , Vivienne Again, Undress Me, Oxone, and Wake Up David. (3 PM, Morris Memorial)

17 Girls

This is a French film (that actually played the GE Theatre at Proctors a few months ago) based on a true-life episode in Gloucester, Mass., in which 17 teenage girls became pregnant at the same time, as part of a pact. Funny that no America filmmaker was interested. (4:30 PM, Crandell)

Shorts Program 2

Featuring Bronze, It Was My City, and As We Pass By. (4:45 PM, Morris Memorial)


For future awards-season buzz, never count out Nazi horror. In Lore, the children of an SS officer flee across a defeated Germany—and make any number of unpleasant discoveries along the way. According to the Hollywood Reporter, “this measured, subtly complex film keeps a respectful distance from well-documented WWII atrocities to allow for an ambiguous reading of evil.” (6:30 PM, Crandell)


Senza Trucco

Documentary set in Italy’s wine country follows a group of women in the vineyard-and-wine business from first growth to harvest to wine cellar. (6:30 PM, Morris Memorial)

Hyde Park on the Hudson

Bill Murray as Franklin Delano Roosevelt? Believe it. The New York Post’s Lou Lumenick wrote from the Toronto Film Festival that “Murray’s performance as the randy disabled president is one of the year’s delights.” Randy? Yes, this is a kind of midsummer night’s presidential sex comedy involving a visit from English royals. Costarring Laura Linney. (8:45 PM, Crandell)

Hyde Park on the Hudson



Children’s International Short Program

Something for the young ones, curated by Patti Greaney of NYC’s Giraldi Media. (10:30 AM, Crandell)

The Central Park Five

This Ken Burns documentary about the five black and Latino kids wrongly convicted in the horrific attack on the “Central Park Jogger” in 1989 is already raising temperatures in the New York City law-enforcement establishment; the City of New York subpoenaed the filmmaker for outtakes and notes they want to use in the various lawsuits still pending against city officials. (noon, Crandell)

Animation for Grownups

Some of the animators will be on hand to chat about their work after the screening of this selection of not-for-kids animation from around the world. (1 PM, Morris Memorial)

Rust & Bone

This French drama from the director of A Prophet has a tearjerker’s premise—a maimed whale rangler played by Marion Cotillard finds love with a violent ex-boxer—and takes a harshly realistic approach. (2:45 PM, Crandell)

AKA Doc Pomus

Documentary bio of the quirky pop genius who wrote “This Magic Moment,” “Viva Las Vegas” and “Save the Last Dance for Me.” (4:15 PM, Morris Memorial)

The Sapphires

This intriguing Australian film dramatizes the true story of a 1960s Aboriginal sisters singing group who entertain American troops in Vietnam. (5:30 PM, Crandell)

The Sapphires

Love Orchard

This drama about the struggles of undocumented workers was made right here in Ghent, with some very fine Hollywood talent, Kristanna Loken and (the eternally awesome) Bruce Dern. (6:30 PM, Morris Memorial)

“Saturday Night Sneak”

What unnamed, top-secret Hollywood movie will be unveiled this year? The Place Beyond the Pines?  Brian De Palma’s new thriller? You buys yer ticket and you takes yer chances. (8 PM, Crandell)




Melissa Leo stars in this Hudson Valley-shot indie drama about the struggles of an alienated ex-inmate. If you go to the website of WAMC’s The Roundtable, they have an interview available with the Oscar-nominated actress. (10 AM, Crandell)

The Sessions

This is the drama formerly known as The Surrogate. John Hawkes stars as a man in an iron lung who wants to lose his virginity. It’s a sensitive drama, not black comedy, and costars Helen Hunt. (11:45 AM, Crandell)

Havana, Havana!

Musical documentary about self-exiled Cuban musicians returning to their homeland. (12:30 PM, Morris Memorial)

Silver Linings Playbook

A big audience-pleaser at Toronto Film Festival; the Film Columbia folks even dare to call it “Oscar bait.” It’s from director David O. Russell (The Fighter, Three Kings) and stars Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro. (1:45 PM, Crandell)


Documentary film in Tompkins County—that’s west of here, in Finger Lakes country—and is about citizens making pioneering use of wind and solar power. (2:30 PM, Morris Memorial)

Not Fade Away

Reactions were mixed to early screenings of David Chase’s period piece about an up-and-coming rock band circa 1964, but most critics at least respected its quirky, indie vibe. (4:30 PM, Crandell)

In Our Nature

Mad Men’s John Slattery stars in this examination of dysfunctional family relations. (4:30 PM, Morris Memorial)

Cloud Atlas

The fun concludes with this collaboration between Tom Tykwer (of Run Lola Run fame) and Andy and Lana Wachowski (making their first film since the unfairly maligned Speed Racer). Based on David Mitchell’s sprawling, literary science fiction epic, Cloud Atlas is loaded with big-name stars and big-budget special effects. (7:30 PM, Crandell)