Lights, camera, action—for Brooklyn.
Filmmakers hit a different sort of set at Brooklyn Borough Hall on Thursday, August 13 as part of a welcoming cocktail reception ahead of the 2015 Bushwick Film Festival. The festival’s reception led into two panels that debated how to prevent developers from forcing filmmakers out of the borough, as well as the economic benefits local film festivals provide.
About 50 people attended the reception, including filmmakers from around the city, country and globe who had entered their documentaries, feature narratives, shorts, feature-length films and web series for awards for the October festival.
“As an artist, to get recognition and [become] part of a community is a hugely motivational force in your life,” said South Park Slope resident Billy Schultz, who directed “The Red Gloves,” which is a candidate for best Art House film. “This is a good catalyst for new work. People can exchange ideas.”
The Bushwick Film Festival, which started in 2007, exhibits domestic and international independent films and new media projects, and helps develop filmmakers’ talents.
The group’s staff organized the reception and said it was meant to be a support ground for the filmmakers.
But once the reception ended, the festivities shifted into the Historic Common Council Chamber and Courtroom for two panels.
City Councilmember Antonio Reynoso, who represents Bushwick, Williamsburg and the Queens neighborhood Ridgewood, spoke in the first panel, which delved into the need for ethical building developments so Brooklyn’s creative minds are not gentrified out of the neighborhoods.
“We lose a lot of the creative people here,” Kweighbaye Kotee, founder and CEO of the festival, said. “There are a lot of new developments happening, and I just want to make sure that as filmmakers and creative people come here, we are not transient….I’d like to make developers more conscious of how they are spending their money.”
To that end, Kotee said she instituted the panels so filmmakers and developers in attendance could start a dialogue with each other. “It would be great to start working with financers so we do not have to leave,” she said.
The festival will be October 1-4 in multiple locations in Bushwick and will feature screenings and events. The award winners will be announced on the final day.