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Lake Placid Film Festival is going virtual from Sept. 2 to Oct. 21

LAKE PLACID — This year, thanks to the pandemic, the Lake Placid Film Festival is going virtual — something that’s easier to do with movies than it is with, say, food festivals. Turn on your computer, dim the lights and make your own popcorn.

“While we can’t meet in person, we think this is a great opportunity to attract an even wider audience to our top-notch programming,” said Gary Smith, the Lake Placid Film Festival’s chairman, in a statement. “And it’s free — so we hope viewers will set aside some time every week, all fall.”

The Festival will take place over eight weeks, with one short film screening each week from Sept. 2 to Oct. 21, on Wednesdays from 7 to 8 p.m. Each screening will be followed by a live-streamed discussion between the director and a moderator. The films and discussions are free, though pre-registration is required.

The films each run between 6 and 15 minutes; all were showcased at the 2019 Festival. Following the screenings, the filmmakers will be interviewed by film professors, producers, directors and an on-air host of Turner Classic Movies, all of whom have previously presented at the Festival.

Registered viewers will receive a link to watch the films on Vimeo; the live discussions will take place on Zoom. To register, visit www.lakeplacidfilmfestival.org.

“We’re going to have a popcorn type of situation,” said Smith by phone of this year’s festival.

The eight films showcased in this year’s festival, all winners of last year’s contest, include: “Kill,” directed by Quentin Guobadia on Sept. 2; “Master Servant,” directed by Julie Koehnen on Sept. 9; “Drinking for Two,” directed by Nathan Richman on Sept. 16; “The Lost Weekend,” directed by Ryan O’Leary on Sept. 23; “From the Thunder,” directed by Daniel Everitt-Lock on Sept. 30; “Thespian,” directed by David Magini and Joseph Rossi on Oct. 7; “Rockaway Sunset,” (winner of the 2019 Film Festival gold medal) directed by P.J. Landers on Oct. 14; and “On the Ledge,” directed by Marco Baratta on Oct. 21.

Moderating the discussion following the “Master Servant” screening will be New York City filmmaker Mark Burns, whose film “Ice Palace, A Love Letter,” about the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival, was shown at last year’s festival.

“We wanted to reach into the future,” said Smith, “to keep these filmmakers relevant and give these films a second life.”

Started in 2000 as the Lake Placid Film Forum, the Lake Placid Film Festival is presented by the Adirondack Film Society. In addition to the virtual Festival, the Adirondack Film Society is also continuing its Short Film Competition this year, though the films won’t be showcased live this year. Smith said that the Film Society is also working on putting together a forum for local filmmakers, currently called the Adirondack Filmmaker Coalition. “There’s some momentum now,” he said, even in the midst of a pandemic.

Check out the LPFF’s website (www.lakeplacidfilmfestival.org) for more information on the competition, and follow them on Instagram and Facebook at @lakeplacidfilmfestival and Twitter at @LPFILMFESTIVAL.