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Highlights from the 2011 Lake Placid Film Forum: Whit Stillman and Nancy Savoca

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2011 Lake Placid Film Forum: Video Coverage of this Year’s Special Guests Q&As, Independent Filmmakers Whit Stillman and Nancy Savoca

Nancy Savoca and Whit Stillman at the Lake Placid Film Forum. Photos Dave BowerHosting an eclectic mix of guests, this year’s Lake Placid Film Forum featured appearances by two important figures from the world of independent cinema: Whit Stillman and Nancy Savoca. Both New York based filmmakers were present for screenings of their films (Savoca’s Dogfight and Stillman’s The Last Days of Disco), in addition to participating in Q&A sessions with the audience.

In an era where the lure tends to be the massive summer blockbuster, with explosions galore, it was refreshing to see attention paid to films that are poetic and actually tell stories. In addition, the added element of having the filmmakers present in such an informal setting, gave these films an extra dimension, giving the audience an opportunity to see real films in an environment where they would most likely be ignored.

With a background that involves working with John Sayles and Jonathan Demme, Savoca’s films have received critical acclaim and numerous awards. Savoca’s Dogfight (1991), a highly regarded and bittersweet love story set during the Vietnam War starring River Phoenix and Lili Taylor, was screened at this year’s festival.

In discussing Dogfight, Savoca went into great detail on her directorial style with recollections of working with Taylor and Phoenix. Both Savoca and her husband, Producer Richard Guay, discussed the obstacles they faced in securing music rights for Dogfight’s unique folk music score. In addition, Savoca showed a preview of her upcoming film Union Square and discussed the funding and distribution of independent films.

Watch the video below to see highlights of the discussion from Nancy Savoca and Richard Guay.

Known for his legendary “Yuppie Trilogy,” which includes Metropolitan (1991) and Barcelona (1994) and The Last Days of Disco (1998), prior to the screening of his film, Whit Stillman gave a sneak preview of his upcoming comedy Damsels in Distress. What we can tell you: it looks good. The sneak preview was then followed by a screening of his classic film The Last Days of Disco (1998), a comical observation of young, professional women in the publishing industry who spend their nights at a local disco in search of romance.

During the Q&A, Stillman, known for his philosophical observations of the social scene, comically discussed his experiences during the disco era in the late 70s/early 80s and its influence on the film, as well as the importance of shooting on location (his films are all shot in NYC) and capturing a specific time period. Stillman also took time to discuss his process in working with actors, especially actor Chris Eigemen, who has been featured prominently in all of his preview films.

The video below includes highlights of the discussion with Whit Stillman.

Dave Bower is Co-Publisher of The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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