My first film at The Rochester High Falls International Film Festival (RHFIFF) was Vito After — the documentary about Vito Friscia and his battle with health issues following being a first-responder at the 9/11 attacks. It was a very nice film about the man and increased awareness of the scope of the problem: both in the cops' unwillingness to answer surveys honestly from their self-sufficient tough-guy personae (Friscia is shown marking "no affect on quality of life" despite a nagging cough), and in the mystified medical professionals who have been unable to decipher solid answers from the deluge of illness and conditions. During the question-and-answer, Friscia was there along with filmmaker Maria Pusateri. She said that the group shown doing the research was running out of money and the federal government was not supplying more — in fact, this was the only mention in the film or the Q-and-A of the government; the movie refreshingly doesn't target blame on any group as it's simply not really knowable who is "to blame".
I headed out to Spot Coffee (200 East Ave.) this morning to catch the Coffee With … event of The Rochester High Falls International Film Festival (RHFIFF). This event is one of the most consistent winners in my book — I enjoy getting to sit down and talk with creative people. It's always semi-controlled chaos as it's never certain who (among the filmmakers) will show up and who (among the festival goers) will show up so it might be just a handful, or it could be hundreds.
This time it was in-between. The meeting area was the upper balcony at Spot and there were about 40 people there total of which there were (I think) about 8 filmmakers. It was crowded and challenging — but so personal. I got to chat with a bunch of people including Donald Pusateri who was having a ball at the festival as the husband of filmmaker Maria Pusateri (whom I also met later) — she made Vito After about her brother-in-law Vito Friscia and his battle with health issues following being a first-responder at the 9/11 attacks. I also got to meet Alex Miltsch, the president of Rochester Park Studios (789 Elmgrove Rd.) — hopefully they'll do well, even if it's a risky venture.