by Amy Robb, The SUN Reporter
Independent films from all over the world will make their way to the Tonawanda Castle and Riviera Theatre for the annual Buffalo Niagara Film Festival April 13 to 17.
The festival has grown over the years, molded by a love for the arts and excitement surrounding new filmmakers. Western New York has produced some big names, from directors to actors and everywhere in between, including writer, director Tom Fontana and actor William Fichtner.
Every year, BNFF looks to bring a well-rounded list of names, genres and international ideas to the area, making the community better as much as those visiting, in hopes of inspiring creativity across the board.
“The Last Case of August T. Harrison,” written and directed by 24-year-old Ansel Faraj, is one film to look out for, a delightful clash of film noir, horror and science fiction.
The film follows private eye August T. Harrison, a veteran in the field who decides to take on a strange missing persons case along Venice Beach, California.
Harrison’s case gets muddied as he digs deeper, uncovering a dark conspiracy with inexplicable ties to the writings of prolific science fiction and horror writer H.P. Lovecraft.
“It’s definitely noir but with science fiction and horror overtones…[Lovecraft’s] writing style works well within the noir sensibility, [Harrison] has to uncover some dastardly secret, taking the detective and putting him on a mission case, it almost goes hand in hand,” said Faraj.
“Harrison” was filmed December 2014, in the Venice Beach area mostly at night. Being a touristy spot, filming in December at night helped while at the same time adding an eerie atmosphere that only happens when wandering around a normally populated area.
Jerry Lacy stars as August T. Harrison, think 1966 hit “Dark Shadows” and 1972 production “Play it Again Sam,” with supporting cast Maggie Wagner, David Graham, Lisa Blake Richards, Eric Gorlow, Max Landwirth and Nathan Wilson as H.P. Lovecraft himself.
The film won Best Sci-Fi Film and Lacy nabbed Best Actor at the 2015 Depth of Field Int’l Film Festival, and was also screened at a number of other festivals including the 2016 Other Venice Film Festival, 2015 August Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, winning Best Ensemble Cast.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, the young director knew he wanted to make movies at 6 years old.
At 10, Faraj read his first H.P. Lovecraft story, and he was hooked. Faraj loves the author so much, he wrote him in, showing up as the film progresses.
Faraj’s first theatrical release was in 2013 with “Dr. Mabuse,” another detective tale with a smack of science fiction and horror, again starring Lacy.
Check out “The Last Case of August T. Harrison” at noon, Sunday, April 17 on Tonawanda Castle’s screen 3. The film is available to rent on Vimeo in lieu of the screening.
Visit hollinsworthproductions.com to view the trailer or check out more science fiction goodness by Ansel Faraj.