The City’s first international film festival celebrates 20 years, and for 2017 receives submissions from a record 120 countries

by matt Scanlon

For the 20th anniversary of the Brooklyn Film Festival, New York City’s first international film competition received a total of 2,650 submissions from a record setting 120 nations. Since 1998, BFF’s mission, as it explains in a press statement, “has been to draw worldwide attention to Brooklyn as a center for cinema, and to promote artistic excellence and the creative freedom of artists, without censure.”


As of press time, Festival staff is still in the process of winnowing submissions to a final 130, divided into six categories: Feature Narrative, Feature, Short Narrative, Short, Experimental, and Animation. Each of the featured works is shown twice at the June 2 to 11 event, principally at main venues Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg and Windmill Studios NYC in Greenpoint (additional programming will be presented on June 5 and 6 at Syndicated in Bushwick, and on June 9 at UnionDocs in Williamsburg). Additionally, on June 3, the Festival’s 13th annual kidsfilmfest will be held at Made in NY Media Center by IFP in Dumbo, and on June 10, its 6th annual Exchange program will be hosted by Kickstarter in Greenpoint.

For most of its categories, BFF offers awards for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Composer, Best Editor, Best Cinematographer, Best Screenplay Writer, Best Producer, and Best New Director. In part through the resources of sponsors (principally Stella Artois, but including WNET, Euro channel, G-Star Raw, Panavision, AbelCine, and TBWA/CHIAT/DAY), more than $60,000 in prizes will be given to winning filmmakers.


“Since inception, BFF has reviewed more than 30,000 projects and showed more than 2,000 films,” said Executive Director Marco Ursino. “We want to honor the indie filmmaker’s creativity and resourcefulness, and celebrate Brooklyn’s amazing popularity.”

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