Rolling out the red carpet

Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And SciencesLouis Gossett Jr., in his Oscar-winning role as Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley, USMC, addresses recruit Richard Gere in “An Officer And A Gentleman.”

The Niagara Falls International Film Festival is set to take place Wednesday through Saturday at the Rapids Theatre on Main Street and the Regal Niagara Falls on Niagara Falls Boulevard.

Continuing a tradition that began last year, the festival will open with a red carpet gala on Wednesday at the Rapids,  celebrating the films and career of the legendary Samuel Fuller. The gala celebration and opening night reception will feature the presentation of the NFIFF’s Icon of Industry Award, and a star on the Niagara Falls Walk of Fame to Christa and Samantha Fuller, the filmmaker’s wife and daughter, which will kick off a number of screenings of his classic films throughout the film festival, culminating in a closing night presentation of the WWII classic, "The Big Red One." Fuller’s posthumous honor will also include a donation in his name to the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital.

The evening will also include the presentation of NFIFF’s Legacy Award as well as the presentation of a star on Niagara Falls Walk of Fame to Academy Award winner Louis Gossett Jr., who will be attending NFIFF with his latest film, "The Reason" and a special musical performance by Mikaela Astel, following her Top Ten finish in last season’s “The Voice” competition.

The Niagara Falls International Film Festival will feature a number of celebrity appearances this year including stars from Fuller’s films attending as part of his festival-long salute (Robert Carradine, Perry Lang, Kelly Ward, and Bobby Di Ciccio), Xander Berkeley and the Twilight Saga's Jackson Rathbone ("The Wall of Mexico"), "The Purge's" Max Martini, and Matt Shapira and Brian Thomas Smith ("Big Muddy") all expected to attend NFIFF, appearing with screenings of their films, participating in filmmaker panels, and meeting film fans.

Niagara Falls’ Maxim Cover Girl Janel Tanna will be on hand with two of her most recent films ("Turnover" and "Intervention"), as well as serving as NFIFF’s first Ambassador of Film.

In its second year, NFIFF will nearly triple last year’s feature films total with 27 feature-length films screened, and double the short film lineup with 44 shorts set to screen.

“It’s always thrilling to both grow the film festival with more screenings and more filmmaker appearances for the local film fans to enjoy" said Niagara Falls International Film Festival’s founder and president Bill Cowell. "But combining a salute to one of the greats of cinema like Samuel Fuller including his wife and daughter and some of the wonderful stars he worked with, with the best in independent film is going to add up to an incredible week for the city and the people here that truly love movies.”

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