Saratoga County

Film Forum friends enjoy a stylish Oscars

And the winner is . . . the Saratoga Film Forum.

And the winner is . . . the Saratoga Film Forum.

No, it wasn’t the Academy Awards at the Kodak Theater. However, about 120 film aficionados donned stylish suits and dresses to watch Hollywood’s biggest awards night on big-screen televisions at Siro’s.

“It’s a chance to dress up. It’s a chance to mingle and meet with friends,” said Forum Director Derek Leidig.

The organization was hoping to raise about $10,000 to $15,000 from the 15th annual event, which is always a popular attraction, according to board President Michael Englert.

“They enjoy the camaraderie, the sharing of films and finding out who’s going to win the Oscars,” he said.

The gala featured hors d’oeuvres and a light supper buffet. There were also nearly 50 silent auction items including gift certificates to local restaurants, weekend getaway packages, dog gift baskets, yoga classes, ski passes and more.

The event is the principal fund-raiser for the film forum, which also receives funding from the New York State Council on the Arts.

Englert said the forum shows a wide range of films including documentaries, foreign films and art house films.

“The philosophy of the organization is to bring in diverse films and films you’re not likely to see at the commercial theaters,” he said.

The crowd mingled, chatted about films and bid on auction items.

“I love movies. I love Oscar Night. I get to see just how close I am in my predictions,” said Susan Van Raalte of Saratoga Springs.

Van Raalte admitted that she had not seen many of the Oscar-nominated films. She did see “Michael Clayton,” but did not think it rose to the level of a best picture contender.

Others, like Seth Rosner of Saratoga Springs, said they attended for good food, good socializing and to support a worthy cause. Rosner admitted he had not seen a single nominated film this year. He just finished watching “Letters from Iwo Jima,” the Clint Eastwood-directed World War II film. He said he prefers older films to modern ones.

“I stay away because there is simply too much violence, explosions, body parts flying everywhere,” he said.

Even modern cinematography is drastically different, Rosner said. “The cuts are so abrupt, so sharp,” he said.

Jean Stamm of Saratoga Springs hoped that Michael Moore’s health care documentary “Sicko” would win some awards. She attended the gala to support the forum. “It’s so much fun to watch the Oscars with a whole bunch of people you know,” he said.

Leidig said the forum has shown some of the films nominated for awards. Last weekend, they showed the Oscar-nominated film “No Country for Old Men” and “every seat was filled.”

The organization shifted its programming schedule this year from a seasonal slate of movies to one that varies by month, he added.

On Feb. 28, 29 and March 2, it will show “The Orphanage,” a Spanish horror movie with English subtitles; on March 6, 7 and 9, the period crime drama “Atonement”; on March 13, 14 and 16, a loose adaptation of an Upton Sinclair novel “There Will Be Blood;” on March 20, 21 and 23, the family tragicomedy “The Savages;” and on March 27, 28 and 30, “Persepolis,” an animated film adaptation of a graphic novel about growing up in Tehran during the Iran-Iraq War.

Screenings are on Thursday and Friday nights at 8 p.m. and on Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m. at the Dee Sarno Theater in the Saratoga County Arts Council building at 320 Broadway at Spring Street. Admission is $6, or $4 for members. Seating is on a first come, first served basis.

For information, call 584-FILM or visit

Categories: Schenectady County

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