LAKE PLACID, NY — From writer-director Paul Schrader —whose films include “Taxi Driver,” “Affliction,” “American Gigolo,” “Blue Collar,” “Hardcore,” “Raging Bull” and “The Canyons”—comes a gripping thriller about a crisis of faith that is at once personal, political and planetary.

“FIRST REFORMED” opens the 2018-2019 edition of the Adirondack Film Society (AFS) Screening Series at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts (LPCA), Version 5.0, on Friday and Saturday, September 14-15, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance by visiting lakeplacidarts.org or calling the LPCA box office at 518-523-2512; they will also be available at the door. To learn more about the Screening Series or other AFS programs, please contact AFS Operations Manager Fred Balzac at 518-523-3456 or -588-7275 or [email protected].

The film tells the story of Reverend Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke), a solitary, middle-aged parish pastor at a small Dutch Reform church in upstate New York on the cusp of celebrating its 250th anniversary. Once a stop on the Underground Railroad, the church is now a tourist attraction catering to a dwindling congregation, eclipsed by its nearby parent church, Abundant Life, with its state-of-the-art facilities and 5,000-strong flock. When a pregnant parishioner (Amanda Seyfried) asks Reverend Toller to counsel her husband (Philip Ettinger), a radical environmentalist, the clergyman finds himself plunged into his own tormented past and equally despairing future, until he finds redemption in an act of grandiose violence. Rated R (for some disturbing violent images); running time: 1 hr., 53 mins.

“This mesmerizing drama of a pastor’s crisis of faith feels like the movie Paul Schrader was put on this planet to make.” — Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

“A fierce film [by Paul] Schrader, one of the crucial creators of the modern cinema…. Schrader excavates deep personal history and bares present-day anger and pain with a rare, wondrous intensity. ‘First Reformed’ is a devil-may-care film, made with the sort of reckless abandon… that only an established filmmaker who’s still in a hurry will yield to….” — Richard Brody, The New Yorker

The 2018-19 AFS Screening Series at LPCA continues November 9-10 (film TBA). And save the dates for the 17th Annual Lake Placid Film Festival, with screenings and related programs such as panel discussions taking place Friday through Sunday, October 26-28, 2018—to be kicked off Thursday evening, October 25th, by a special gala tribute to AFS-LPFF co-founder and current Artistic Director Kathleen Carroll, longtime film critic Kathleen Carroll, who was ahead of her time in recognizing the importance of such film directors as Federico Fellini, Francois Truffaut, Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen and Clint Eastwood. To learn more about the 2018 LPFF, please visit lakeplacidfilmfestival.org.