The Bushwick Film Festival (BFF) has announced its return to all live screenings only. Beginning November 1st and going through November 7th, the festival will feature over 100 independent films from Brooklyn and around the world.
“After having the experience of going fully virtual in 2020 and hybrid in 2021, we realized that we prefer to focus on live screenings which is what makes film festivals so special. It was great to find new ways to connect with audiences over the last two years, but connecting with filmmakers and our audiences in real life is really where our heart is,” reflected festival founder Kweighbaye Kotee.
For its latest edition, the Bushwick Film Festival has formed a new partnership with Williamsburg Cinemas where all festival films will be screened. In addition to screenings, the festival will also host special events including its Opening Night Red carpet Reception presented by Spectrum on November 1st at Lot 45.
The opening night reception will feature specialty cocktails by Johnnie Walker Blended Scotch Whisky, returning for another year as the official spirits sponsor of the BFF. As a fierce supporter of trailblazing women, Johnnie Walker has been supporting the festival for 15 years – empowering women & diverse filmmakers from around the world.
Other live festival events taking place this year include an industry panel and networking event at Circa Brewing Co. in downtown Brooklyn, a screenplay reading selected from its best screenplay submissions, and a closing night awards ceremony. The BFF Metaverse experience, presented by Lowkeygiant also returns for the duration of the festival week. Audiences will be able to beam into the BFF Metaverse where they will find an exotic virtual world filled with whimsical avatars, NFT art shows and videos, events and digital media content.
Over the last 15 years, BFF has screened the works of nearly 1000 independent filmmakers from Brooklyn and over 50 different countries. The BFF has grown into one of the most anticipated cinematic events in Brooklyn and is recognized for its contribution to the borough’s artistic, cultural, and economic growth. Out of the over 100 films that will be included in this year’s programming, Approximately 10 filmmakers will walk away with awards in categories such as Best Feature (Narrative/Doc), Best Short (Doc /Narrative), Best Web Series, and more, joining the ranks of BFF alumni such as Marcus Reinaldo Greene, Dawn Porter, Adepero Oduye, Stefon Bristol, Shaka King, Alexander Dinelaris, Bradford Young, Katori Hall, Kitty Green and many more.
Film programming highlights can be found below, as well as on the official film festival website:
New Yawker’s Shorts Block
This block is a collection of films highlighting the stories of New Yorkers in all their glory, with the city as their backdrop. These films explore who New Yorkers are, what really matters to a New Yorker which includes community, environmental and social justice, love, culture, and so much more. As a New York Film Festival, these are films we are especially excited to see on the silver screen. Explore
Cuidando Al Sol I Sun & Daughter
In the Bolivian Titicaca Lake, ten-year-old Lucía faces a range of new, conflicting emotions when her father leaves for the capital La Paz. In that mythical place, while she waits for her dad to return, she builds her daily life around the expectations of her life after their reunion. Explore
Peter is a misanthropic dwarf hiding from the world in his shabby New York City apartment. But an unexpected visit from his upbeat—and possibly unhinged—neighbor Winona forces him out of his shell and onto an impromptu road trip. Featuring a compelling performance from Roberta Colindrez, who most recently won us over as Lupe in Amazon Prime’s A League of Their Own. Explore
Whispers of War
The US Premiere of Whispers of War. When Khalil, a primary school teacher in Berlin, gets hold of war images from his Kurdish hometown of Cizre, he believes to recognize his long lost sister in the blurry material. His life starts slipping out of his hands when he tries to rescue her from the war zone and find media attention for the brutal footage. When the conflict reaches Khalil’s class, he is forced to admit: It’s not only about competing in the realm of news media, but also about protecting his own life in Berlin. Explore
Out of Breath
A normal day for out-of-work actor Jean-Michel turns upside down when a confrontation with a racist police officer leaves the cop dead and Jean-Michel on the run. Set at the height of the George Floyd protests against the surreal backdrop of the early pandemic, Out of Breath confronts the ambiguous relationship between individual responsibility and structural oppression today. This film is also a sly retelling of Jean-Luc Godard’s 1960 New Wave Classic Breathless, a tribute we can appreciate in a new light after the recent passing of Godard, whose influence on cinema is enduring. Explore
Killer Thrillers Shorts Block
This features a number of films that will get your blood pumping. The block includes two exceptionally captivating films that lie on either side of the genre’s spectrum, and represent the exciting complexities that can be found in genre film. A highlight in this block is Wild Bitch, a quirky thriller about a local reporter’s interview with a mousy housewife about her life-changing encounter with a coyote. This leads to an eerie trek in the woods that leaves them forever bonded with each other… and the beast. The short is co-directed by British pop sensation and actress Kate Nash and her co-star from GLOW Rebekka Johnson. Conversely, Sam Max’s dark thriller Chaperone, a short about a chilling request made by a young boy to a middle aged man, starring Zachary Quinto, comes at an exciting time, coinciding with Quinto’s return to American Horror Story. Explore
Arthouse Cinema Shorts Block
A collection of short films that explore the artistic possibilities of the cinematic medium features a number exciting, colorful, energetic, genre defying works. Some standouts include: Hot Toddy, an animated comedy that centers on the messy world of true crime, murder, intrigue and the equally messy world of female friendship. Hot Toddy is accompanied by the music of L.A based punk band Slutever who ushered in a new era of riot grrrl sound with their 2016 album Almost Famous. Earth To Zippy! – An irreverent ode to the silent films of yesteryear, a martian lands on Earth to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming an actor in Hollywood, but finding success is more difficult than he imagined. Director Mickey Bloom has offered us a tribute to the screwball comedies popularized by the likes of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin modernized. This is a short by someone who loves movies for people who love movies. Explore
Crossing Borders Shorts Block
A collection of short films that explore immigration themes, cross-cultural identities and the emotional, physical, and metaphorical experiences. Featuring stories of immigrants, adoption, multicultural families and communities, Crossing Borders considers the complex state of identity today. Some highlights include: Amandi Comes Home about two female childhood friends who announce their adoption of an Ethiopian boy over a celebratory dinner. The evening takes a heated turn as guests debate raising a black boy by white women in present-day America; Chiqui about a married couple who immigrate from Colombia to New Jersey to find a better life for themselves and their unborn son. Upon their arrival, they quickly realize that the American Dream is not as easy to achieve as they thought; and Tejano Night about an awkward Mexican-American, who is forced to tag along with his cousin to a local bar after butchering his Spanish pronunciation at dinner. Explore
Modern Love Shorts Blocks
Back to back short film screenings focusing on the complicated life and experiences of people who are brave enough to pursue love. In this block you’ll find stories about intimate nights gone bizarrely wrong, online sex and solo karaoke, lonely agoraphobics searching for love, dating app fiascos, uncomfortable international couple conversations and everything in between. If you pay attention, you’ll witness a charming performance from The Deuce’s Jamie Neuman. Explore
You Won’t Break My Soul
This shorts block features a collection of films that spotlights hope and perseverance of the soul of black, queer and trans folks. Here you’ll witness stories of healing, finding joy, and turning lemons into lemonade. Highlights include: The House of LaBeija, a short documentary film featuring members of the prominent ballroom family. The film features original music compositions from Manhattanite, Khalif Diouf. Other block highlights include, When We Arrive As Flowers about a dancer who realizes her trans femme identity through a choreographic journey. This block also includes, Savitree, the directorial debut of transfemme model, activist, and artist Richie Shazam. With Julia Fox cameos! Explore
This year’s Bushwick Film Festival is supported by a variety of sponsors and partners including Spectrum, Johnnie Walker, Chemistry Creative, Broadway Stages, Circa Brewing Co., Heard City, Liman Video Rental, Lot 45 and Williamsburg Cinemas.
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