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Perhaps nothing defines our area's love of all things horror better than the Buffalo Screams Horror Film Festival. The five-day event, opening Wednesday through Oct. 21 in the Market Arcade Film and Arts Centre (639 Main St.), will showcase nearly 50 films, welcome internationally known guests and celebrate local filmmakers.

And that's all in keeping with the festival's mission, according to festival chairman Greg Lamberson. "We want to bring the best independent horror films from around the world to Buffalo, and we also want to foster and showcase local talent."

The festival opens at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday with a Q&A led by honorary chairperson Debbie Rochon, the star of more than 200 films. Later that evening, Lockport filmmaker Sam Quagliana will be on hand for the screening of his creature feature "Snow Shark: Ancient Snow Beast."

Other guests include Paige K. Davis from POP Cinema, a leading distributor of genre films, and veteran Rochester filmmaker Chris Seaver, who will receive the festival's Genre Spirit Award. "Chris is a true independent filmmaker," Lamberson says. "He's played by his own rules for two decades, making the films he's wanted to make ... Chris represents the maverick spirit we celebrate with our Genre Spirit Award."

For full programming, visit www.buffaloscreams.com.

Toni Ruberto