23rd Aug2015

The 18th Annual Brooklyn Film Festival – Report

by Catherina Gioino


“The filmmaker must follow not traditional thinking.” The filmmaker “must be driving on and across complex, multi-layered, deeply meaningful roads.”

And such is the requirement for this year’s theme of “Illuminate” at the 2015 Brooklyn Film Festival, held on May 29 to June 7, 2015. In an attempt to bring world class films to Brooklyn and provide independent filmmakers a venue for their projects, the Brooklyn Film Festival was created in 1998 and has kicked off to become bigger and better every year. By giving the filmmakers a chance to show their films and rewarding them monetary prizes, film services, and of course the best gift of all, networking, the festival has come to be regarded as one of the most enthralling festivals that the average filmmaker can submit to and hopefully win a prize.

With films going to the BAFTAs and Oscars, it’s no wonder that the festival is a top hit among filmmakers. Over 2300 films sent in from 114 countries competed for entries to the film festival. Sadly, only 108 films from 26 countries were selected. Literally, you have a better chance of applying to Harvard and getting in (at a 5.3% acceptance rate) than getting your film premiered here (at a 4.6% acceptance rate).

Nonetheless, the first international film festival holds its exclusiveness in high regard. It holds its screenings at three venues: the Wythe Hotel, Windmill Studios NYC, and at Nitehawk Cinema. The festival also holds a children’s film festival, aptly called the “kidsfilmfest,” which is now in its 11th run and took place at the Made in NY Media Center by IFP. This year is also a first for the festival as they welcome a new director of programming, Bryce J. Renninger, who previously served as the Director of Programming at NewFest, and the Managing Director of the South Asian International Film Festival. He also produced the film Hotline at the 2014 Brooklyn Film Festival.

In addition to awarding over $50,000 in awards to festival winners, the festival has its BFF Exchange in which filmmakers are connected with film distributors and allows for networking events and pitch sessions. With a number of sponsors including WNET, WNYC, New York Film Academy, Panavision, and more, the festival sure does an amazing job in allowing filmmakers to further pursue their dreams.

You can check out the BFF Exchange as well as the films entered into this year’s competition. Look for our next post for a full list of winners from the festival and the films entered.


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