The 13th Annual Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF) will showcase 80 of the latest in independent feature, documentary, short and family films from 28 countries, from May 31 to June 3 in Great Barrington and June 1 to 3 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
“Among the many things I love about the BIFF is its increasing reflection on and discovery of our global community,” notes the festival’s Founder and Artistic Director, Kelley Vickery. “The characters and stories in this year’s films are as diverse as ever—showing us unique perspectives of what life is like for a broad range of people in very different places and circumstances. BIFF always celebrates independent filmmakers and we are especially excited to honor the talented and evocative career of Rachel Weisz. We are continuing our “Tea Talks” series with engaging films and discussions and very proud to have a special event with a screenplay reading of MUMBET. We strive to bring a special festival to our vibrant community, so we truly believe there is something for everyone!”
On Thursday, May 31, in Great Barrington, the festival opens this year with the Sundance hit AMERICAN ANIMALS. This docudrama is the extraordinary and thrilling true story of four friends who brazenly attempt to execute one of the most audacious art heists in US history.
The following day, on June 1, In Pittsfield, BIFF will open at the Beacon in Pittsfield with the rock-and-rolling BAD REPUTATION about the one and only Joan Jett. The documentary follows her incredible, uncompromising and influential career. You will leave singing “I love rock ‘n’ roll!” The opening night begins with a party at the Beacon Cinema followed by the presentation of the NINTH annual “Next Great Filmmaker Award.”
On Friday, June 1 – Tribute Night – The festival will pay tribute to the Academy Award-winning actor, Rachel Weisz for her remarkable achievement in film. Over the past 25 years, Ms. Weisz has displayed her fearlessness, intelligence and talent in over 64 roles and has won or been nominated for nearly every industry award – from a BAFTA, to a Golden Globe, to an Oscar. We celebrate the incredible body of work she has already created and the creative peaks she continues to climb. As part of the tribute, Ms. Weisz will be in conversation with David Edelstein, New York chief film critic on the stage of the Mahaiwe following by a screening of her new film DISOBEDIENCE.
The festival will host the Special Event – Staged script reading of the upcoming film MUMBET and Q&A after the reading with the cast and crew. Director/Producer Alethea Root, writer Stephen Glantz, producer Kim Waltrip, executive producers Jayne Atkinson and Elizabeth Aspenlieder, co-producer Jana Laiz, Diane Pearlman and Jameelah Nuruddin, production designer Carl Sprague, and costume designer Kevin Draves, Governor Deval Patrick and State Representative Smitty Pignatelli will all be in attendance.
She could neither read nor write, yet with fearless courage, Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman used the very words written by the men she served, “all men are created free and equal” to challenge the courts and sue for her freedom, changing the course of history 80 years before the Emancipation Proclamation. This is the true story of an unsung American hero who was truly a founding Mother of our country.”
On Sunday, June 3, BIFF will close with the highly acclaimed Sundance hit, WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? about the life and legacy of Mr. Rogers. The film was directed by Academy Award-winning director Morgan Neville and produced by Nicholas Ma who will be in attendance for a Q&A after the screening. Film courtesy of Focus Features.
The BIFF’s EIGHTH Annual Jury includes actors Karen Allen, Jayne Atkinson, Scott Cohen, Michel Gil and Peter Riegert, distribution guru Josh Braun, New York Film Festival director Kent Jones, past Academy president and producer Sid Ganis and producer Nancy Hult Ganis and award-winning producer Darren Dean. There will be five films in competition for feature documentaries and five films in the narrative category. The award will carry a $5,000 prize sponsored by GWFF USA to be presented on Sunday, June 4 at Allium in Great Barrington.
The BIFF has become the festival of choice for filmmakers and film lovers who are seeking a unique Berkshire experience and a place to indulge their passion for film. The Festival connects audiences to compelling documentaries, award-winning international releases with incredible parties and events, all just a short drive from New York City and Boston. Films and events will be held throughout Great Barrington and Pittsfield, including the Triplex Cinema, the historic Mahaiwe Theatre, and the Beacon Cinema, as well as area restaurants.
The NINTH annual “Next Great Filmmaker” Competition created and sponsored by Berkshire Bank will kick-off online on Friday, April 27. Voting will continue through to May 30 and the winner announced at the opening night presentation in Pittsfield, Friday, June 1 at the Beacon.
BIFF FILMMAKERS SUMMIT
For the SEVENTH year, the BIFF will present the annual Filmmakers Summit—a two-day talent academy offered to the 2018 film selection filmmakers. Offering a diverse, multi-dimensional program of panel discussions, lectures, special events, and breakout sessions lead by known industry professionals, the BIFF Filmmakers Summit celebrates and supports the advancement of filmmakers and recognizes film as a relevant and important medium. Beginning on Wednesday, May 31, the Filmmakers Summit is an integral part of the festival experience for filmmakers. Ensuring the freshest and most poignant dialogue in conjunction with incredibly unique events, this Summit goes way beyond networking; it will fortify the festival experience. The Summit features special effects legend Douglas Trumbull, head of CNN Documentaries, and other industry professionals.
THE LINEUP: FEATURES, DOCUMENTARIES, AND SHORTS
AMERICAN ANIMALS, US (d. Bart Layton with: Evan Peters. Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner, Jared Abrahamson, Ann Dowd, Udo Kier
*EDIE, UK (d: Simon Hunter with: Sheila Hancock, Kevin Guthrie, Amy Manson, Paul Brannigan, Wendy Morgan) Q&A with Simon Hunter following the screening
EIGHTH GRADE, US (d. Bo Burnahm with: Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton)
HOCHELAGA, TERRA DES AMES, Canada (d: Francois Girard with: Samian, Raoul Max Trujillo, Vincent Perez)
*L’INSTANT INFINI, France/Switzerland (d. Doulgas Beer with: Jennifer Rihouey, Leonard Delacroix, Mathieu Chardet) Q&A with Douglas Beer following the screening
*JULIE, BLUE, US/Ukraine (d: Roxy Topoworyc with: Polina Snisarenko) Q&A with Roxy Topoworyc following the screening
LOVELING, Brazil/Uruguay (d: Gustavo Pizzi with: Karine Teles, Otavio Muller, Adriana Esteves, Konstantinos Sarris, Cesar Troncoso)
MAZE, Ireland (d: Stephen Burke with: Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Barry Ward, Martin McCann,Eileen Walsh, Niamh McGrady, Ross McKinney)
NO DATE, NO SIGNATURE, Iran (d: Vahid Jalilvand with: Navid Mohammadzadeh, Amir Agha’ee, Hediyeh Tehrani, Zakiyeh Behbahani, Sa’eed Dakh, Alireza Ostadi)
PIEDS NUS DANS L’AUBE, Canada (d: Frederic LeClerc with: Shauna Bonaduce, Roy Dupuis, Marianne Fortier)
SCAFFOLDING, Israel (d: Matan Yair with: Asher Lax, Ami Smolartchik, Yaacov Cohen, Keren Berger)
SHELTER, Israel (d: Eran Riklis with: Golshifteh Farahani, Neta Riskin, orald Liddawi, Haluk Bilginer, Mark Waschke)
*SILK ROAD, Denmark (d: Mark de Cloe with: Olivia Lonsdale, Gijs Blom, Jonas Smulders ) Q&A with Mark de Cloe following the screening
STREAKERS, Switzerland (d: Peter Luisi with: Beat Schlatter, Doro Muggler, Bendrit Bajra, Luna Wedler)
THE CHARMER, Iran/Holland (d: Milad Alami with: Ardalan Esmaili, Lars Brygmann, Stine Fischer Christensen, Austa Lee Jesperson)
THE ETERNAL FEMININE, Mexico (d: Natalia Beristain with: Karina Gidi, Tessa La, Danie Gimenez Cacho, Pedro De Tavira)
THE GUILTY, Denmark (d: Gustav Moller with: Jakob Cedergren, Jessica Dinnage, Johan Olsen, Omar Shargawi)
THE HOUSE BY THE SEA, France (d: Robert Guediguian with: Ariane Ascaride, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Gerard Meylan, Jacques Boudet, Anais Demoustier)
THE INVISIBLES, Germany (d: Claus Rafle with Max Mauff, Alice Dwyer, Ruby O. Fee, Aaron Altaras, Victoria Schulz, Florian Lukas)
THE JUNIOR LEAGUE, Canada (d: Eric Tessier with: Antoine-Olivier Pilon, Rémi Goulet, Alice Morel-Michaud)
*THE LONG DUMB ROAD, US (d: Hannah Fidell with: Tony Revolori, Jason Mantzoukas, Taissa Farmiga, Grace Gummer, Ron Livingtson, Casey Wilson)
THREE PEAKS, Germany/Italy (d: Jan Zabeil with: Alexander Fehling, Berenice Bejo, Arian Montgomery)
UNDER THE EIFFLE TOWER, US/France (d: Archie Borders with: Matt Walsh, Judith Godrèche, Reid Scott)
UNDER THE TREE, Iceland (d: Hafsteinn Gunnar Siguross with: Steinpor Hrooar Steinborsson, Edda Bjorgvinsdottir, Sigurour Sigurjonsson, Porsteinn Bachmann, Selma Bjornsdottir)
WOMAN WALKS AHEAD, US (d: Susanna Wright with: Jessica Chastain, Sam Rockwell, Ciaran Hinds, Michael Nouri, David Midthunder, Michael Greyeyes, Bill Camp)
*306 HOLLYWOOD, US/Hungary (d: Elan Boagarin/Jonathan Boagarin) Q&A with filmmaker following the screening
*BAD REPUTATION, US (d: Kevin Karslake) Q&A with filmmaker following the screening
*BREWMASTER, US (d: Douglas Tirola/Susan Bedusa) Q&A with filmmaker following the screening
*GETTING NAKED: A BURLESQUE STORY, US (d: James Lester) Q&A with filmmaker following the screening
RYUICHI SAKAMOTO: CODA, Japan/US (d: Stephen Nomura Schibl)
CRIME + PUNISHMENT, US (d: Stephen Maing)
DARK MONEY, US (d: Kimberly Reed)
*DATELINE: SAIGON, US (d: Thomas Herman) Q&A with filmmaker following the screening
*GRIT, US/Indonesia (d: Cynthia Wade) Q&A with filmmaker following the screening
THE HUMAN ELEMENT, US/Iceland (d: Matthew Testa)
*GONE IN AN INSTANT, US (d: Anthony Holt) Q&A with filmmaker after screening
*IMPOSED PIECE, Belgium (d: Brecht Vanhoenacker) Q&A with filmmaker following the screening
*IT WILL BE CHAOS, US (d: Lorena Luciano, Filippo Piscopo) Q&A with filmmaker following the screening
*MOVING STORIES, US (d: Rob Fruchtman) Collaboration with Jacob’s Pillow with Q&A following the screening with filmmaker and dancers
*LOVE, GILDA, US (d: Lisa Dapolito) ) Q&A with filmmaker following the screening
OF FATHERS AND SONS, Germany/Syria/Lebanon/Qatar (d: Talal Derki)
ON HER SHOULDERS, US (d: Alexandra Bombach)
*OUT OF MY HEAD, US (d: Susanna Styron) Q&A with filmmaker following the screening
*RESTORING TOMORROW, US (d: Aaron Wolf)
*DAUGHTERS OF THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION, US (d: Dana Adam Shapiro) Q&A with filmmaker after screening
STUDIO 54, US (d: Matt Tyranauer)
THE GODDESSES OF FOOD, France (d: Verane Frediani)
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ANDRE, US (d: Kim Novack)
THE WORKERS CUP, UK (d: Adam Sobel)
THIS IS HOME, US/Jordan (d: Alexandra Shiva)
THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS, US (d: Tim Wardle)
WHAT LIES UPSTREAM, US (d: Cullen Hoback)
*WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? US (d: Morgan Neville) Q&A with filmmaker following the screening
BIFF will present two short film programs showcasing 22 shorts. Filmmakers will be in attendance at selected screenings.
*GAME (d: Jeannie Donohue), #SELFIE (d: David M. Lorenz), *DEPORTING MYSELF (d: Julie Neumann), BABS (d: Celine Hand, Logan George), *SURVIVING NEW YORK (d: Megan Miller), *FLY LADY FLY (d: Lucien Flores/Michaela Smith), COOLPOOL ( d: Zachary Myers), NIGHT (d: Christian Scales and *ADVENTURE NOT WAR (d: Max Lowe)
*THE LONG RED LIGHT (d: Chris Hume), EMERGENCY (d: Carey Williams), WALLS (d: Fatmir Dolci/Maik Schuster/Max Poschke), *FEVAH (d: Randall Dottin), *HEIMLICH (d: Lisanne Santor), YOU’RE WELCOME (d: Rebecca Panian), THE SILENT (d: Karen Turner/Dom Lee), *JITTERS (d: Otoja Abit), *EVE (d: Susan Bay Nimoy) and *WITH MY TWO HANDS (d: Michael Baraocas).
*denotes filmmakers in attendance.
VENUES AND TICKETS
Venues for all of the weekend-long events and screenings include the Triplex Cinema, Daniel Arts Center at Simon’s Rock and the historic Mahaiwe Theatre in Great Barrington and the Beacon Cinema and Hotel on North in Pittsfield.