FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 4, 2013
From: Berkshire International Film Festival
Great Barrington, MA 01230
Contact: Kelley R. Vickery (413) 528-8030
THE BERKSHIRE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL KICKS-OFF
THE CULTURAL SEASON WITH AN EIGHTH SPECTACULAR YEAR
Juried Prize and Best of Fest Audience Awards Announced
Great Barrington, MA – Today, the Berkshire International Film Festival announced the winners of the annual BIFF Juried Prize Award, the Audience Award and the BIFF/Berkshire Bank “Next Great Filmmaker Award.” In the Juried documentary category, the winners were VALENTINE ROAD directed by first time director Marta Cunningham and GMO OMG directed by another first time filmmaker, Jeremy Seifert who was in attendance with his wife and three children. DIE WELT, from the Netherlands, won in the Juried narrative category from first time Dutch-Tunisian director Alex Pitstra. The Jury prize is sponsored by GWFF USA and was presented at a brunch Sunday at allium Restaurant in Great Barrington. Serving on the BIFF Jury were actors Karen Allen, Mary Kay Place, and Peter Riegert, producer and distribution guru Josh Braun of Submarine Entertainment, Academy Award winning director Karen Goodman, director Matthew Penn, Screenwriter Sam Harper and renowned film critic and New York Film Festival director of programming, Kent Jones.
In the Audience Award documentary category, the winner was CRASH REEL directed by Lucy Walker about US champion snowboarder Kevin Pearce who suffered a terrible brain injury and how Kevin and his family overcame a painstaking process through determination, support and love. SUSKIND directed by Rudolph van den Berg won the Audience Award in the narrative feature category about the extraordinary, true story of Jewish resistance hero Walter Suskind.
The winner of the Berkshire Bank “Next Great Filmmaker Award” was Suha Araj’s short film THE CUP READER. Director Suha Araj and producer Lydia Khoury were on hand to accept the award in a ceremony at the Beacon presented by Berkshire Bank during the Friday opening night in Pittsfield.
Highlights of the 4-day festival included the opening night screening of the award-winning documentary TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM. The film was greatly received by a packed house at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, and the audience enjoyed an incredible performance by Darlene Love who brought the house down singing “Lean On Me” afterward the screening. BIFF also presented the short film FOOD FOR THOUGHT on opening night and actors Tony Shalhoub and Meegan Holoway were in attendance with director Joe Cacaci. The Opening Night party was held at the BIFF Tent on Castle Street in Great Barrington, with dinner catered by Max Ultimate Food, dancing to the 7-piece band City Rhythm – the evening was generously underwritten by Jacqueline and Al Togut. TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM will be released in June by The Weinstein Company.
The opening night at the Beacon in Pittsfield showcased the screening of the award-winning film THE SPECTACULAR NOW. The film was greatly received by a packed house and the audience enjoyed a Q&A with screenwriter Michael Weber. The Opening Night party was held at the YBar on North Street in Pittsfield catered by Mission, with music by JTD Productions. The evening was generously underwritten by Berkshire Bank.
THE SPECTACULAR NOW will be released in August by A24 Films.
Saturday evening in Great Barrington, the Mahaiwe was yet again packed for the special event screening of GIRL RISING. Immediately following the screening, a panel discussion with Producer Tom Yellin, GIRL RISING writer Maaza Mengiste, Global Ambassador Shabana Basij-Rasikh and American feminist Carol Gilligan. Scholar, author and Founder of the Interdependence Movement Dr. Benjamin Barber moderated the panel. This special evening was generously sponsored by GWFF USA and Michael Ballon of Castle Street Cafe catered the dinner party following the screening. GIRL RISING will be released on CNN in June.
The BIFF presented a third and final sold-out presentation at the Mahaiwe on closing night of FRANCES HA. Director Noah Baumbach and actress Greta Gerwig, who both co-wrote the film, were on hand after the film with photographer Gregory Crewdson for a discussion and Q&A on the stage of the Mahaiwe, immediately following the film. The film will have its’ nation-wide release on Friday by IFC Films.
Screening 75 features, documentaries, and shorts, BIFF hosted more than 40 filmmakers and offered free children’s programs, Berkshire filmmakers, a collaboration with The Mount showing PERIODS, a special preview screening of CINEMABILITY to celebrate CATA’s 20th anniversary, a special screening of the short film HALF TIME with Treat Williams in attendance, free lunch presented by the Berkshire CO-OP Market and our annual free kids films on Sunday at the Mahaiwe. BIFF also presented bands on the streets on Great Barrington on Saturday and Sunday.
In its eighth year, BIFF presented the second annual Filmmakers Summit; a two-day talent academy offered to the 2013 film selection filmmakers. Offering a diverse, multi-dimensional program of panel discussions, lectures, and special events, lead by known industry professionals, the BIFF Filmmakers Summit is designed to celebrate and support the advancement of filmmakers and recognize film as a relevant and important medium.
Other films screened at the festival in the narrative feature category included ‘A Lady in Paris,’ ‘A Teacher,’ ‘Before Midnight,’ ‘Broken,’ Computer Chess,’ Crystal Fairy,’ ‘English, Vinglish’ ‘Evelyn’ ‘The Fifth Season,’ ‘Flying Blind ‘The Forgotten Kingdom,’ ‘Guilty of Romance,’ ‘Ninah’s Dowry,’ Smiling Faces,’ The Hunt, ‘I, Anna,’ ‘It Felt Like Love,’ ’Little Lion,’ ‘Prince Avalanche,’ Sister,’ and ‘Soldate Jeannette.’
Other films screened at the festival in the documentary feature category included ‘99% -The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film,’ ‘After Tiller,’ ‘After Winter, Spring,’ ‘Blackfish,’ Casting By’ ‘Cherry Cottage,’ ‘Dirty Wars ‘Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me’ ‘Flex is Kings.’ ‘Genius of Marian,’ ‘GMO OMG ‘Good Ol ‘Freda,’ ‘I Am Divine,’ ‘The Iran Job,’ The Moo Man,’ Remote Area Medical, ‘The Summit,’ ‘Texas Huntress,’ ’These Birds Walk,’ ‘Tiny: A Story About Living Small,’ To Them That’s Gone,’ ‘Valentine Road’ and ‘Venus and Serena.’ and some unforgettable short films such as ‘Mondays at Racine,’ and ‘Saving Face.’
Premiere Sponsors of the 2013 BIFF include the Triplex Cinema, the Beacon Cinema, GWFF USA, Studio Two, Jacqueline and Al Togut, Max Ultimate Food, The Red Lion Inn, and Berkshire Bank. Presenting Sponsors include Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Stella Artois, Karen Allen Fiber Arts, Stonover Farm, Abbott’s Livery, Panther Distributing, Coca-Cola and Days Inn.
With over 700 film submissions this year, the Berkshire International Film Festival has quickly become a destination festival that filmmakers seek due to the enthusiastic audiences it attracts.
BIFF 2013 will be held May 29 – June 1, and submissions will open October 1, 2013.