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Tell Me Something Good: Blackbird Film Festival

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Movies can change lives.

They’ve certainly changed Sam Avery’s life since he started the Blackbird Film Festival. First at a summer camp, and soon after, on the campus of SUNY Cortland, where he teaches film and where the gathering celebrates ten years this weekend.

People come to see fresh new work by talent from around the world. The weekend includes screenings of more than 100 short films, about five to fifteen minutes long, mostly by filmmakers just getting their start.

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It’s also a chance for movie fans on campus and in the community to celebrate cinema, and peek behind the scenes.

Momentum grew tremendously in the early going, with attendance doubling year after year. Covid brought a plot twist, as Blackbird shifted to a drive-in format at Greek Peak for a year. But Avery hopes things are on the rise again, attendance-wise. Creatively, he thinks they’re already there.

And of course, we’ve seen now over these ten years, that filmmakers who screened with us back in 2016. 2017, have now gone on the win Emmys. We’ve even had filmmakers qualify for the Academy Awards. It’s amazing to see them, you know, a couple years down the line, when they’ve found their footing.

Sam Avery, Blackbird Film Festival Co-ordinator

And the best part is the price… free admission and free popcorn… all weekend in the Brown Auditorium Theatre in Old Main at SUNY Cortland.

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