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News from 4th Big Apple Film Festival

Three days after the Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival wraps up on November 11, the Big Apple Film Festival kicks off downtown, leaving plenty of time to change out of Berkinstocks and into those Tory Burches.

Now entering its fourth year, BAFF showcases New York indie cinema in addition to work from elsewhere in the country and world. Some 54 titles—ginned from 600 submissions--will be screened from November 14th to 17th at Tribeca Cinemas.

Opening the four-day bash are two directorial debuts. The bigger fuss is over Suffering Man’s Charity, a black comedy about a "failed composer turned music teacher with a weakness for impoverished young men." Directed by Alan Cumming, it features David Boreanaz in a torture scene that has been rumored to induce fainting. Cumming will be on hand to discuss the film and receive a Golden Apple Award.

Also sharing opening night billing is Stephane Gauger’s Owl and the Sparrow. Winner of this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival Audience Award and Gotham Award Nomination for Breakthrough Director, it tracks an orphan’s bittersweet attempts to improvise family in present-day Saigon.

Showbiz Software will host the post-screening party of Paul Sorvino starrer Greetings From the Shore at the grand opening of its New York store. The deejayed event will announce a new scholarship program at the New York Film Academy as well as a 30-second spot contest.

Beyond narrative features, BAFF will also show shorts, documentaries and student films. An ambitious program of discussions and receptions rounds out the festival, including a roundtable titled Film Distribution in the New Age.

An avowed goal of the festival is to encourage multi-cultural voices in filmmaking, with New Yorkers as its primary focus. BAFF will culminate with a screening of The Last New Yorker, starring Domonic Chianese (The Sopranos) and closing awards ceremony.

By Laura Blum

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