Presented to Jack Garner, renowned critic, dedicated supporter of our film festival, and lover of film, the Rochester Film Legacy Award honors a filmmaker or film supporter based in the Rochester area whose passion and dedication embodies Rochester’s proud film legacy. Legacy Award recipients to date are June Foster, Marilyn O’Connor, and Brock Yates.
Jack Garner has been writing and talking about films in Rochester for nearly a half century and was at the meeting when the idea of the then-unnamed High Falls Film Festival was first discussed. He began reviewing films formally for the Democrat and Chronicle in 1977, starting with the original Star Wars. He was appointed chief film critic of Gannett in. 1987, and his writing appeared in up to 100 Gannett newspapers worldwide — where, for more than 30 years, Jack’s enthusiasm and expertise shaped the film-going experience for countless readers.
Jack’s memoir and anthology titled From My Seat on the Aisle was published in 2013 by RIT. Before focusing on film, Jack worked as a rewrite man on the city desk at the Rochester Times-Union, where he was part of the news team that won the Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Attica Prison rebellion in 1971.
He is one of only four people to receive the prestigious George Eastman Medal of Honor from George Eastman Museum, where he currently serves as a trustee. Jack has served on the boards of Writers & Books and BOA Editions and has taught film courses at MCC and RIT. He holds bachelor’s degree from St. Bonaventure and a master’s degree from Syracuse University.
Jack has been married since 1970 to Bonnie Garner and they have three grown children and six grandchildren.
When spoiled rich girl Sasha Li blows through most of her trust fund, she is cut off by her father and forced to go back to China and work for the family toy business.