In addition to all of the wonderful films on this year's festival program, SYRFILMFEST '09 has worked to produce a full slate of special events that will appeal to the widest possible range of film enthusiasts.

The festival kicks off Friday, April 24, with the opening night screening of "Ben Hur" (1925). The classic silent film will be screened with an original jazz score composed by J.C. Sanford and performed by Sanford and professional musicians, along with members of the Central New York Jazz

Orchestra. The event will take place at The Palace Theatre in Eastwood starting at 7 p.m.

The night of Saturday, April 25, features a screening of writer/director Scott Teems' film "That Evening Sun." The film, produced by Syracuse native Larsen Jay, is the story of an aging Tennessee farmer, played by Oscar-nominated actor Hal Holbrook, who is discarded by his son at a

nursing home and hitches a ride back to his country farm to live out his last days in peace. "That Evening Sun" took home the Audience Award and the Special Jury Award at this year's South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas. The screening will begin at 9:15 p.m. at The Palace Theatre and will be followed by a discussion with writer/director Teems and producer Jay.

On Sunday, April 26, beginning at 1 p.m., Le Moyne College will present its second annual Sidebar Screening, a series of films organized around the theme of "Personalizing Political Resistance." This program, which is composed of a mix of foreign and domestic documentaries and fiction films, will explore the human dimensions of various political struggles. The program will take place in Le Moyne's W. Carroll Coyne Center for the Performing Arts.

On Tuesday, April 28, the festival will present a special program free to the public titled "Russian Heroes of Disability." This day- and evening-long program, which begins at 2 p.m., focuses on two Russian films whose heroic main characters become disabled in the war with Afghanistan.

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