Niagara County Community College’s 2022 Film & Animation Festival will take place in-person from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at the school’s Sanborn campus, located at 3111 Saunders Settlement Road. The festival, which features a number of fun and informative activities, is open to the public. Admission is free.
The event brings together filmmakers, animators, actors and enthusiasts from across Western New York and beyond. Topping the festival is an international film competition, which presents $200 awards for best film in a variety of categories including: drama, comedy, animation, documentary, music video, horror and experimental. More than $1,600 in prizes are handed out, including three special “716” awards that are presented to the best Western New York high school student film, best college student film, and best overall film selected by attendees at the festival.
The NCCC festival includes continuous screenings of finalists’ films, displays, exhibits and workshops.
This year’s featured keynote speaker is Debbie Rochon, legendary horror movie actor, writer, producer and director, best known for her intense, off-kilter roles in “Tromeo and Juliet,” “Hellblock 13” and “American Nightmare.” Rochon also will offer a free workshop at the festival titled “Horror Acting 101 – Don’t Be Scared!” Rochon had her directorial debut with the horror film “Model Hunger,” which was shot in Buffalo. She also wrote regular columns for the horror fan magazines Fangoria and Asylum and, recently, gave critically acclaimed turns in works inspired by classical writers.
Special guest at this year’s festival is Lynn Lowery, veteran actress, screenwriter and producer, best known for her film roles in George A. Romero's “The Crazies” and David Cronenberg's “Shivers.” Lowery will present screenings of her films, “Ripper Tour,” “Ready for My Close-Up” and “Mindflip – The Sequel.”
Along with Rochon, Lynn will be available for Q&A, pictures and autographs.
The NCCC Film & Animation Festival’s “WNY Filmmaker of the Year” award will be presented this year to director, writer, producer and actor Sam Qualiana of Lockport. He is best known for his films “Snow Shark,” “The Legend of Six Fingers” and “Lake Effect.” Most recently, Qualiana served as the unit production manager for the made-for-TV movie “Romance on Ice,” directed by Fred Olen Ray. Filming for the movie took place in Buffalo and East Aurora.