high fallsI used to live in Rochester, New York. It sits nestled on Lake Ontario. In the fall, the foliage is spectacular. In the winter, the town competes with Buffalo for who gets the most snow (the last year we lived there, Rochester won -- if you can call it that -- with 92"). There's a cute little indie theater nestled near downtown Rochester called The Little Theater, where Rochesterians can sample a fine selection of independent film -- maybe not quite as soon as the folks down south in New York City get to see them, but they do get them pretty darn quickly. What they didn't have when I lived in Rochester, though, was a film festival. Now that I live 3,000 or so miles away in Seattle, of course, they have one.

2006 marks the sixth year of the High Falls Film Festival, one of the few fests in the country that focuses on Women in Film. This makes sense, because conservative Rochester has a rich history of feminism under its surface. Susan B. Anthony lived in Rochester (if you're going to be in Rochester for the fest, you can take a tour of her house while you're there), and Rochester is also the home of Eastman Kodak founder George Eastman -- the man whose ideas helped make it possible for us to have movies today. It's a great city to host a regional film festival

This year's fest runs November 8-13, and features a pretty impressive slate. The fest opens with Copying Beethoven, and other films I'd recommend include Ten Canoes ( which got good buzz around Telluride and Toronto), Deliver Us From Evil (I'm curious how that film will play in Rochester, which has so many Catholics that the Friday Night Fish Fry is a local tradition -- mmmm, fried haddock), Little Red Flowers, American Blackout, The Lives of Others, After the Wedding, and 13 (Tzameti), which doesn't have any women in it, but is a good film nonetheless. You can check out the full schedule here.

Regional film festivals are one of the best ways to see the kinds of films that play major fests like Sundance, Cannes and Toronto, without having to travel too far from home. If you're in upstate New York, and you make it to the High Falls Film Festival, pop on back here and let us know how it is. Oh, and stop off at Kelly's Apple Farm and pick me up a Dutch Apple Pie while you're out that way.

[via Movie City News ]