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2016 Brooklyn Film Festival Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg
Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg

The 2016 Brooklyn Film Festival (BFF) will run from June 3rd through June 12th at two main venues: Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg and Windmill Studios NYC in Greenpoint.

The festival which has received 2,854 films from 120 countries, a new record for the festival, closed submissions for its 19th annual edition themed Experiment. The event will present a total of 110-120 film premieres (final number TBA in May) and each film will be shown twice.

BFF Executive Director Marco Ursino said of the 2016 edition, “With our 20th anniversary around the corner, the festival feels like floating in mid-air between our history and our plans for the future. It is this subtle sense of instability that fuels our ‘Experiment’ Edition. The experiment is reinventing ourselves, it is about allowing the unknown, and it’s about paying attention to the youngest storytellers. Every year we launch a new generation of talent, and this year’s selection is as experimental as it is mind altering.”

To reinforce the fact that after 19 years, BFF still manages to experiment with the medium, the punch line of this year’s advertising campaign, created by TBWA/CHIAT/DAY, screams: “Go before it’s cool!” BFF’s list of sponsors for 2016 also includes WNET, WNYC, Eurochannel, Yelp, ProductionHUB, and Heineken. As a nonprofit organization, BFF is supported, in part, by public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

The most exciting news this year is the programming team. Five new head programmers and over forty new screeners have been reviewing a record number of submissions produced within the past two years. Every film is in competition, and even the shortest one can win the top award: the Grand Chameleon. Over $60,000 in prizes (products, services, and cash) will be associated to twenty-seven awards. In each of the six categories BFF’s judges will select Best Film, Spirit Award, and Audience Award winners. From all the six categories combined, BFF will pick Best Actor and Best Actress, Best Composer, Best Editor, Best Cinematographer, Best Screenplay Writer, Best Producer, and Best New Director Award winners.

BFF’s Feature Narrative programmer is Marin Gazzaniga. She is a writer, producer and filmmaker who has created video and digital projects for top entertainment brands including HBO, IFC, Turner, AMC and Lionsgate. The Feature Documentary programmer is Julie Bridgham, an award winning documentary filmmaker. She directed and produced “The Sari Soldiers,” for which she received the Nestor Almendros Prize for courage and commitment in human rights filmmaking, and both a Sundance and IFP Documentary Fellowship. Natalie Gee, a multiple short film producer leads BFF’s Short Narrative category. Brandon Harrison, a graduate of the UCLA School of Film and Television is the Short Documentary programmer. Melanie Abramov, a BFF Alumni and director from Brooklyn, is the Experimental category programmer. She received her BFA from Parsons School of Design and later founded her production company, Dame Productions, which lends a necessary and provocative voice to women in media. Julia Cowle, BFF’s Animation programmer, is an independent filmmaker, illustrator, animator, and comedy writer.

For the fifth consecutive year, on June 11 from 11am-5pm at BRIC, the festival will continue its BFF Exchange, aimed ultimately at connecting filmmakers with film distributors. BFF Exchange will feature a pitch session, panels, and a Happy Hour. Among the various topics, BFF panelists will explore virtual reality, augmented reality, and drones in filmmaking themes.

On Saturday, June 4th from 1pm-3pm at Made in NY Media Center by IFP, BFF will present the 12th annual kidsfilmfest, which aims to discover, expose, and promote the youngest generation of filmmakers. 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. A Q&A with the filmmakers and a filmmaker’s workshop will follow the program.

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