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The Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF) will run from June 2rd through June 5th, 2011 in Great Barrington and June 3rd through June 5th in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The film festival will feature some 70 US and international independent feature films, documentaries, and shorts.

In addition, BIFF will host Q&A sessions with filmmakers, a special screening of Pittsfield native, Kent Jones and his latest film on Elia Kazan written and directed with Martin Scorcese, and the BIFF has partnered with the Human Rights Watch Film Festival to showcase films from the festival which will conclude in an exciting panel discussion with award-winning filmmakers and professionals in the field. This year’s festival will feature films from 15 countries and host over two dozen filmmakers. The sixth anniversary will also include the expansion to Simon’s Rock and the continuation of the successful Berkshire Bank’s sponsorship of the Next Great Filmmaker Award, and the Juried Prize Award for narrative and documentary films sponsored by GWFF USA.

The festival kicks-off in Great Barrington with the Sundance documentary hit which puts the spotlight on one of the great journalistic institutions “Page One; Inside the New York Times” directed by Andrew Rossi. “Page One” is in the great tradition of a fly-on-the-wall documentary. Andrew Rossi’s riveting documentary PAGE ONE: INSIDE THE NEW YORK TIMES deftly gains unprecedented access to the New York Times newsroom and the inner workings of the Media Desk. With the Internet surpassing print as our main news source and newspapers all over the country going bankrupt, PAGE ONE chronicles the transformation of the media industry at its time of greatest turmoil. Writers like Brian Stelter, Tim Arango and the salty but brilliant David Carr track print journalism’s metamorphosis even as their own paper struggles to stay vital and solvent, while their editors and publishers grapple with up-to-the-minute issues like controversial new sources and the implications of an online pay-wall. Meanwhile, rigorous journalism is thriving—PAGE ONE gives us an up-close look at the vibrant cross-cubicle debates and collaborations, tenacious jockeying for on-record quotes, and skillful page-one pitching that brings the most venerable newspaper in America to fruition each and every day. Opening night festivities include a cocktail party and light buffet supper for pass-holders catered by Max Ultimate Food from Boston at the “BIFF Tent” behind the Town Hall in Great Barrington prior to the screening of “Page One.”

The Sixth anniversary celebration continues its’ expansion into Pittsfield and will kick-off at the Beacon on Friday, June 3rd with the opening night presentation of the Sundance Audience award-winning film “Buck” by director Cindy Meehl and the winning short film of BIFF and Berkshire Bank’s Next Great Filmmaker Award. “Your horse is a mirror to your soul, and sometimes you may not like what you see. Sometimes, you will.” So says Buck Brannaman, a true American cowboy and sage on horseback who travels the country for nine grueling months a year helping horses with people problems. BUCK, a richly textured and visually stunning film, follows Brannaman from his abusive childhood to his phenomenally successful approach to horses. A real life “horse-whisperer”, he eschews the violence of his upbringing and teaches people to communicate with horses through leadership and sensitivity, not punishment. Buck possesses near magical abilities as he dramatically transforms horses – and people – with his understanding, compassion and respect. In this film, the animal-human relationship becomes a metaphor for facing the daily challenges of life. A truly American story about an unsung hero, BUCK is about an ordinary man who has made an extraordinary life despite tremendous odds. The director will be in attendance for a Q&A following the screening and will also be the closing night film of the BIFF on Sunday, June 5 at the Mahaiwe.

In addition to the 28 narrative features, 20 documentaries, 22 shorts from 19 different countries, BIFF will host some special events throughout the weekend including GWFF USA’s Juried Prize Award for narrative and documentary filmmaking, WAMC’s The Roundtable live from the Triplex on Friday, free family film screenings and a panel discussion called “Small Acts, Big Changes” on Human Rights with award-winning filmmakers and industry professionals on Sunday, special screenings at Simon’s Rock College and Hancock Shaker Village, a special preview screening of the documentary on Jacob’s Pillow and a special event sponsored by Berkshire Media and Film Commission of A LETTER TO ELIA written and directed by Pittsfield native, Kent Jones and Martin Scorcese on Saturday.

The BIFF’s second annual Jury will include, actors Peter Riegert, Jayne Atkinson, and Michel Gill, award-winning screenwriters Courtney Hunt and John Orloff, distribution guru Josh Braun, Production Designer Kristi Zea and casting agent Gretchen Rennell. There will be four films in competition, for both categories of feature documentary and narrative, and the award will carry a $5,000 prize sponsored by GWFF USA to be presented on Sunday, June 5th at allium in Great Barrington.

The festival will also have five short film programs which will showcase some 22 shorts from the Berkshires and around the world.

Feature and documentary films from the US include, “A Letter to Elia” directed by Martin Scorcese and Kent Jones, “A Novel Romance” directed by Allie Dvorin “Beginners” directed by Mike Mills, “Bellflower” directed by Evan Glodell, “Buck” directed by Cindy Meehl, “Crime After Crime” directed by Yoav Potash, “Granito” directed by Pamela Yates, “If A Tree Falls; The Story of the Earth Liberation Front” directed by Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman, “Miss Representation” directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, “Never Stand Still” directed by Tom Honsa, “Norman” directed by Jonathan Segal, “On The Ice” directed by Andrew Okpeaha MacLean, “Page One; A Year at the New York Times” directed by Andrew Rossi, “Part Time Fabulous” directed by Alethea Root, “Rebirth” directed by James Whitaker, “The Four Faced Liar” directed by Jacob Chase, “The Myth of the American Sleepover” directed by David Robert Mitchell, “Troubadours” by Morgan Neville, “We Still Live Here” directed by Anne Makepeace, “We Were Here” directed by David Weissman, “Whisper in the Darkness” directed by Sean Branney, “Windfall” directed by Laura Israel, and “!Women Art Revolution” directed by Lynn Hershman.

International feature and documentary films include “A Barefoot Dream” (South Korea) directed by Tae-gyun Kim, “Copacabana” (France) directed by Marc Fitoussi, “Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Dairies)” (India) directed by Kiran Rao, “Dusk (Schemer)” (Netherlands) directed by Hanro Smitsman, “Face To Face” (Australia) directed Michael Rymer, “Feathered Cocaine” (Iceland) directed by Örn Marino Arnarson and Thorkell S. Hardarson, “Habermann” (Germany/Czech Republic/Austria) directed by Juraj Herz, “Happy Happy (Norway) directed by Anne Sewitsky, “Henry of Navarre” (German/France/Spain/Czech Republic) directed by Jo Baier, “Hitler in Hollywood” (France) directed by Frederic Sojcher, “Illegal” (Belgium) directed by Olivier Masset-Depasse, “Kinyarwanda” (Rwanda/US) directed by Alrick Brown, “L’Amour Fou” (France) written by Pierre Thoretton, “La Prima Cosa Bella (Italy) directed by Paolo Virzi, “Monga” (Tawain) directed by Doze Niu, “My Afternoons With Margueritte” (France) directed by Jean Becker, “Position Among The Stars” (Netherlands) directed by Leonard Retel Helmrich, “Red Light Revolution” (China/Aust) directed by Sam Voutas, “The Child Prodigy” (France) directed by Luc Dionne “The Green Wave” (Germ/Iran) directed by Ali Samadi Ahadi, “The Life of Fish” (Chile) directed by Matias Bize, “The Team” (Canada) directed by Patrick Reed, “The Trip” (UK) directed by Michael Winterbottom, “You Don’t Like the Truth; 4 Days in Guantanamo” (Canada) directed by Luc Côté and Patricio Henriquez and “Youth Producing Change” directed by various teen filmmakers from various countries.

[ source: BIFF ]

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