The show must go on.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the cancellation of several events, the Brooklyn Film Festival (BFF), New York City’s longest running international-competitive film festival, will still take place from Friday, May 29 to Sunday, June 7.
Now in its 23rd year, the local festival that selected more than 140 film premieres will take on a different theme given that this year’s event will be virtual. Dubbed “Turning Point,” it will showcase the BFF’s entire slate of films on its website.
BFF Executive Director Marco Ursino discussed the unique nature of the week-plus long event and its importance to Brooklyn.
“The important new aspect of this year’s festival is without a doubt its outreach,” he said. “Our audience this time around is planetary and the very idea is as exciting as unsettling. That said, our mission statement and its implications are meant to affect our local daily life more than anything else. ‘Turning Point,’ our main 2020 theme, and ‘Relearn How to be Human,’ the name we assigned to our promotional campaign, hit the very core of our future life.
“The 23rd Brooklyn Film Festival is primarily about exposing the uncertainty of our tomorrow. It is about trimming our behavior for the higher good. It’s about protecting our wellbeing to re-create a safer environment, a healthier society. At the end of the day, it’s about caring with the capital ‘C.’ Our engine is a wonderful collection of indie films coming from every continent, except Antarctica. And our drive comes from observations and words of young, talented artists who BFF has been trusting for the past 23 years.”
BFF is a Canadian Screen Award-qualifying festival. It received 2,590 film submissions from 92 countries and selected more than 140 film premieres programmed into 36 different, two-hour program blocks.
All festival films will play for free via BFF’s website for the whole duration of the festival, but viewers must first open a free account and can begin to pre-register on the BFF website. The video server will be hosted by Vimeo. Audience voting will be limited to one vote per account.
“The Brooklyn Film Festival, with its 2020 event, plans to highlight and dissect people’s character and problem solving attitude as it shifts from one time zone to the next,” Ursino said. “The international role BFF has always played on the world’s stage will now come truly handy while with our film lineup we travel from one corner of the planet to another. ‘Turning Point’ is about refreshing our own point of view. It’s about rethinking our old assumptions and learning from the people who share our screen whether they live in a different continent or across the street. ‘Turning Point’ is about reinventing our planet and our life.”
The films are divided into six categories, including feature narratives, feature documentaries, short narratives, short documentaries, experimental films and animation. Each film will try to win the festival’s Grand Chameleon Award.
In each of the six film categories, BFF’s judges will select the Best Film, while the festival will select the Spirit Award, and the audience will select the Audience Award winners. According to the BFF, the festival will award one of each of the following for each category: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Composer, Best Style, Best Editor, Best Cinematographer, Best Screenwriting, Best Producer, Best New Director, and Best Brooklyn Project. Through sponsors, BFF will assign to the winning filmmakers more than $60,000 in prizes (cash, products, and services).
BFF will also organize parallel live events such as filmmaker introductions and Q&A sessions on the BFF website, Facebook and other social media.
The 16th kidsfilmfest will also be hosted online via the BFF’s website from May 29-June 7.
“Kidsfilmfest aims to discover, expose and promote the youngest generation of filmmakers,” said BFF. “The film program is tailored for children of all ages (films are rated “G”), and consists of numerous animated shorts, documentaries and live-action films.”
For a list of films, times, dates and more information, visit www.brooklynfilmfestival.org.