With filmmaking and digital technology being so ubiquitous today, it becomes almost difficult to decide the difference between amateur stuff and real aspiring artists. Those budding filmmakers need not look further than the Brooklyn Film Festival, a festival founded in 1998 as a way to bring independent and ambitious filmmakers into the limelight. With the opportunity of having their work shown to an audience filled with movie lovers, critics, and anything in between, the Brooklyn Film Fest offers a once in a lifetime shot for those artists to truly make a mark on society and leave people yearning for more.
The 18th Brooklyn Film Festival took place from June 3 to 12 in Brooklyn (duh), sharing multiple venues between the Wythe Hotel and Windmill Studios. Of the festival’s “quirks,” one such innovative idea is the theme that goes along with each year’s entries. This year’s theme was Experiment, claiming that there’s a certain hopefulness that comes with the uncertainty about the future. Referencing the festival’s 20th year of incarnation, the festival urged its filmmakers to keep “reinventing ourselves” and to draw “attention to the youngest storytellers.”
Taking that into mind, filmmakers from all around the world came to submit their films for the festivals, and boy were there some excellent winners from the pick. With more than 100 submissions and giving away prizes of over $60,000, the festival truly paid back not only the filmmakers for their hard work and efforts on their films, but also the audiences in curating such a wide array of films to choose from. The winners are as follows:
Kieran Valla’s Delinquent won not only the “Grand Chameleon Award” but also the “Best Narrative Feature. And lead actor Alex Shaffer came out with the Certificate of Outstanding Achievement for Best Male Actor. That was the Hamilton of the festival, winning most awards. Others won one each, still nothing to scoff at. Farmer/Veteran by Alix Blair and Jeremy Lange won the “Best Documentary” award, while the “Best Short Documentary” went to Mark Olexa’s and Francesca Scalisi’s Moriom. Dreamlands (Sara Dunlop) won the “Best Narrative Short” all the while Amelia & Duarte won the “Best Animation” Award (Alice Guimaraes and Monica Santos). Behzad Moloud’s Tomorrow After Yesterday and Michael Irish’s Life of Significant Soil won the “Best Experimental” and “Brooklyn Pride Awards” respectively, and Claire Carre came out with the “Best New Director” award for her film Embers.
Awards were sponsored by a number of organizations, including Panavision, Brooklyn Drones NYC, Windmill Studios and more. With the film festival being such a huge hit, there was a convenient “kidsfilmfest” occurring at the same time, with the chance to offer kids the opportunity to watch films targeted to their age group.
With a festival that offers so much for the community and filmmakers alike, we truly cannot help but wonder what the next two years will be as it reaches its two-decade mark and does indeed “experiment” with new ideas.