By Joshua Maloni
"The Morning Sun" will rise once again in Western New York.
On Sunday, Oct. 8, the film shot in the Village of Lewiston - since retitled "After the Sun Fell" - will be presented at the North Park Theatre. The screening is part of the 11th annual Buffalo International Film Festival. It will take place at 1:30 p.m. at 1428 Hertel Ave., Buffalo.
"After the Sun Fell" was filmed inside the Barton Hill home, at Artpark and in Apple Granny Restaurant in October and early November 2015.
In June of this year, star Neal Bledsoe won Best Actor in a Leading Role (Feature Film) at the Soho International Film Festival in New York City. His costar, Joanna Bayless, also received a nomination in the lead actress category.
"The head of the Buffalo festival reached out and said, 'Hey, I remember meeting you guys,' because he had visited set one day, when we were there. And he said, 'I hear you have distribution and you're not doing the festival circuit anymore, but would you be open to doing a screening here?' We said, 'Absolutely. It would be fantastic,' " said Summer Crockett Moore, managing partner at Choice Studios Group and producer of "After the Sun Fell." "We had been considering coming just to do a screening ... just to give the opportunity for people to see it. But being able to come and be part of the festival there was just the perfect match for us."
"After the Sun Fell" is a drama-comedy based on the play "The Morning the Sun Fell Down." It's the story of a wildly dysfunctional family reuniting at their childhood home.
"It's really very funny, and it's a very interesting, kind of a light drama," BIFF Interim Executive Director John J. Fink said. "It's dealing with some heavy issues, but it also has a lot of heart and great performances and a lot of sharp dialogue. It's really an interesting showcase of the region, and that's kind of a part of Western New York that we don't really see that often."
Village of Lewiston Mayor Terry Collesano filmed a scene in "After the Sun Fell." He said he's eagerly anticipating watching the movie for the first time.
"I can't wait; I can't wait!" he said.
"It was a very positive (experience)," Collesano explained. "There were more people coming in - it was funny - 'Oh, you're a movie star. How does it feel to be a movie star?' (Laughs). There was a lot of that going on.
"The enthusiasm of the local people was just overwhelming. For Lewiston to be in a movie, that was really something. Just like the Buffalonians felt about 'The Natural' when they filmed that in Buffalo, how everybody was so excited to see their hometown being filmed."
Though Crockett Moore and her team have worked on a handful of projects since filming in Lewiston - including action/thriller "Block Island" and the upcoming series "Big Dogs" - she said the village still has a fond place in her heart.
Pictures from the filming of "After the Sun Fell"
"It was like coming home, to a place we'd never been before. We had a lot of questions about what it would be like to shoot outside of our comfort zone, and it was an incredible experience to work in Lewiston, and with the Buffalo local crew that we got to work with," Crockett Moore said. "A lot of them we have worked with on jobs again and again since then. They've become part of our film family, as we call them.
"And just having the area - the house we filmed in and the town became such central characters in the story. To see it be received so well by an audience that knows nothing about the area - when we screened it in New York City - it was stunning. Everybody was like, 'We want to go and visit this beautiful place.' Because it is just magical. And the film itself has a little element of magical realism, so it felt like the perfect location. And it turned out to be a place that we are so eager to return to."
Crockett Moore, Bayless and "After the Sun Fell" director Tony Glazer are expected to participate in a Q&A following the Western New York premiere of their film.
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased HERE.
Fink said the nonprofit BIFF will showcase films and diverse storytellers from Oct. 6-9 at the North Park Theatre, Hallwalls, Squeaky Wheel and the Burchfield Penney Art Center.
"We look to bring a mix of films," he said. "We have our own films we discovered through open call, we have films that we've seen at other festivals that we bring into the mix, and we also have films that are locally made that we track and we invite."
He added, "We celebrate cinema in the City of Buffalo, and everyone's invited."
Tim Clark, Rich Wall and the Buffalo Niagara Film Commission initially directed Choice Studios Group to Lewiston, and then worked with the BIFF in presenting the upcoming screening.
"After the Sun Fell" will be available for purchase later this year via distributor Multicom Entertainment Group.
•To read past articles with the "After the Sun Fell" stars, click the links below.