For the past eight years, Buffalo has been home to the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival (BNFF). I've always been intrigued by it, but never actually attended. That all changed this year when the event organizers announced that they would be premiering a documentary entitled "The Natural: The Best There Ever Was".I adore sports movies. All of them. And "The Natural" holds a very special place in my heart, since it was filmed in Buffalo! That's right... Robert Redford, Kim Basinger, Barbara Hershey... all came to Buffalo over thirty years ago to film this gem of a movie. Buffalo was chosen as the location for the film because of our architecture and the fact that we had an actual baseball field for them to use.
The documentary was directed by Bill Cowell, who founded the BNFF. It's a celebration of the filming of the movie. He interviewed a lot of major players from the movie including the actors I mentioned above as well as director Barry Levinson, producer Mark Johnson, and cinematographer Caleb Deschanel. Randy Newman scored the movie and he was interviewed as well. In addition, several of the local Buffalonians who appeared as extras in the movie were interviewed for the documentary.
It was incredible hearing these famous people talking about how wonderful Buffalo was to them and how much they enjoyed their time here. The movie was filmed during a time when chicken wings were not yet popular, and most the actors commented on trying them here for the first time!
In attendance at the premier and also debuting his directorial debut at the festival was Barry Kivel, who played Pat McGee in the movie. He has been in a lot of TV shows including Scrubs, Murphy Brown, and Judging Amy as well as parts in Crocodile Dundee and One Fine Day. Barry was awarded a star on the Buffalo Walk of Fame.
This was an awesome way to spend a Friday evening and I will definitely attend the festival again in the future!