2022 BIFF Honoree is Multi Award-Winning, Legendary Actor ALFRE WOODARD
BIFF Includes Documentary Film ART & KRIMES BY KRIMES about Acclaimed Artist and Activist, Jesse Krimes; the Northeast Premiere of Award-Winning Film PRETTY PROBLEMS; Tea Talks Featuring artists Don Gummer and Stephen Hannock; and an Intimate and Wide-Ranging Conversation with Female Directors, Writers and Producers; Plus, Dozens of International and National Narrative Features and Documentaries, Short Films including BIFF’s Continued Partnership with the Palm Springs International Animated Film Festival
GREAT BARRINGTON, MA: April 22, 2022 —The 16th Annual Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF) announces another blockbuster weekend line-up of films, events, and incredibly special guests. The festival runs from June 2 – 5 in Great Barrington and Lenox. Marked with strong international programming and an ongoing commitment to presenting the best in documentary film, the festival brings together films, filmmakers, industry professionals and fans for a four-day celebration. The lineup features 25 documentaries, 27 narrative features, 15 short films, and13 animated shorts. The festival brings stories from 30 countries including Germany, Guatemala, Oman, France, Switzerland, Poland, Australia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, UK, Vietnam, Denmark, Canada, Bulgaria, Spain, Romania, South Korea, Norway, Italy, and Egypt. This year’s festival promises to not only transport film fans to foreign lands, but also deliver important, engaging, powerful and entertaining stories from around the United States and here in the Berkshire community. BIFF is also proud to have expanded to the Linde Center at Tanglewood where films will be presented throughout the weekend. And finally, BIFF will present a curated selection of the feature and short films being presented at the in-person festival, to be screened virtually.
“As we embark on our first hybrid film festival after two years of continuing to meet our mission in creative ways, it is exciting to see the incredible line-up of events, talks and films from around the world, and honoring Alfre Woodard is a thrill,” said BIFF Board Chair, Pat Fili-Krushel. “Additionally, I would like to thank all of our sponsors and patrons who have continued to support the BIFF during these challenging times, and especially to my fellow board members who have been steadfast, devoted and committed to making sure BIFF strongly remains part of the Berkshire cultural fabric which makes me very proud. Here’s to BIFF’s Sweet 16!”
“We are thrilled to share an extraordinary line-up of films from near and far,” said Kelley Vickery, BIFF’s Founder and Artistic Director. “One of the many things I love about the BIFF is the diversity of films that our filmmakers bring to the Berkshires. Each year we present films from different ends of the world, shining the light on our ever-changing, ever-growing, and ever-hopeful global community. It is my hope that BIFF will inspire our Berkshire audience with wonder, curiosity, engagement, laughter and perhaps even a call to action. I continue to be amazed at the amount of inspired independent filmmaking that is being created, and I celebrate those filmmakers who share their stories and their talent. BIFF continues to bring the world to the Berkshires! It is also with a profound sense of gratitude that BIFF dedicates this festival in honor of the irreplaceable Lola Jaffee and Douglas Trumbull – both influenced our community, and the filmmaking community and were inspirational and fundamental to our organization.”
THURSDAY, JUNE 2 —Opening Night, Great Barrington, sponsored by Berkshire Bank: The festival opens with ART & KRIMES BY KRIMES which shares the story of artist Jesse Krimes, who while locked-up for six years in federal prison secretly created monumental works of art – including an astonishing 40-foot mural made with prison bed sheets, hair gel, and newspaper. Leaning into his own identity as a convicted felon and celebrated artist, Jesse turns the spotlight on people still in prison, asking us to question surface representations, recognize overlooked beauty, and celebrate the transcendent power of art to connect us and elevate the human spirit. “I’m very proud to open our 16th annual film festival with such a beautiful, inspiring and meaningful documentary,” said Vickery. “As an artist and activist, Jesse Krimes shares his journey and the function of art as a lifesaver and redeemer. I’m grateful he is sharing his film and time with us on opening night, as we will be better for it.”
The director, Alysa Nahmias, and artist Jesse Krimes will be in attendance for a Q&A following the film.
The opening night begins with a presentation of the TWELFTH annual “Next Great Filmmaker Award” sponsored by Berkshire Bank. Cast your vote before May 31 at www.biffma.org and be part of the excitement!
SATURDAY, JUNE 4 —Tribute Night, sponsored by GWFF USA: It is a pleasure, and a huge honor, to pay tribute to the multi award-winning and legendary actor, Alfre Woodard. A veteran of film, theater, television, and spoken word, Woodard powerfully illuminates each role she inhabits. Her work as an actor is not simply to entertain, but to inform; to make us walk a mile in another’s shoes, to let us feel the long and unknown road where, at the end of our trip, compassion exists. In addition to her outstanding career in front of audiences, Alfre Woodard is a tireless social activist. With her passion, with her courage, with the nuance and force she brings to each role and each facet of her activist life, Alfre Woodard is, in fact, making a better America. Ms. Woodard will be in conversation with WAMC’s Joe Donahue on the stage of the Mahaiwe prior to the screening of her film JUANITA. BIFF is very proud to honor her.
“I am deeply grateful and humbled that we will be honoring the incredible actor, Alfre Woodard this year,” said Vickery, of this year’s honoree. “One of the most versatile actors of her generation and named by the New York Times as one of ‘the 25 greatest actors of the 21st Century,’ Alfre Woodard has won or been nominated for nearly every award that the entertainment industry bestows, including a record 17 Emmy nominations. We are thrilled she will join us on the Mahaiwe stage.”
SUNDAY, JUNE 5 —Closing Night: BIFF will close with the award-winning feature film, PRETTY PROBLEMS. PRETTY PROBLEMS is a hilarious new film about Jack and Lindsey who are invited on a getaway trip with affluent strangers: down the rabbit hole, and into the most unhinged weekend of their lives. Can their relationship survive? Winner of the SXSW Audience Award (where it had its world premiere) and the Sonoma Film Festival Jury Prize Award, the film will have you laughing out loud from the very first scene. The film’s director, Kestrin Pantera, writer and actor Michael Tennant, writer and actor Britt Rentschler and actor Alex Klein, will be in attendance for a Q&A following the film.
In addition to the dozens of remarkable films, BIFF will host special events throughout the weekend including GWFF USA’s Juried Prize Award for narrative and documentary filmmaking, free family film screenings, and panel discussions. BIFF’s popular “Tea Talks” also return. This festival-favorite began three years ago, and this year’s selections include in-depth conversations with special guests about the film industry with some of our program’s featured films. The Tea Talks include a film about artist Don Gummer featuring Gummer in conversation with artist Stephen Hannock and Mass MoCA Executive Director, Kristy Edmunds. The other talk will be about the challenges and opportunities for women in film and will feature directors, producer, writer and actor. The film line-up also includes a new French film with Juliette Binoche, the much-anticipated new A24 film about the beloved character Marcel the Shell, SXSW Audience Award winning documentary BAD AXE, and Sundance Grand Jury prize winner FIRE OF LOVE.
The BIFF’s 2022 Jury includes actor Karen Allen; distribution guru Josh Braun; director Kent Jones; screenwriter Maria Nation; distributor and filmmaker Greg Rhem; and casting director Gretchen Rennell. In competition are four documentaries and four films in the narrative category. The award includes a $5,000 prize sponsored by GWFF USA to be presented during a brunch on Sunday, June 5th at Number Ten in Great Barrington. The films in the narrative competition are THE FALCONER, FARAH, THIS IS WHERE I MEET YOU, and WILDHOOD. In the documentary competition are MAMA BEARS, OMARA, OPEN FIELD, and ZERO GRAVITY.
The TWELFTH annual “Next Great Filmmaker” Competition created and sponsored by Berkshire Bank, will kick-off online voting on Monday, April 25. Voting will continue through May 31 and the winner will be announced at the Opening Night presentation in Great Barrington on Thursday, June 2 at the Mahaiwe. The films in competition are: THE BROOM, FOR GOOD, SCARLET, and FREE TO CARE. www.biffma.org/nextgreat
BIFF FILMMAKER SUMMIT
In 2022, the BIFF will host its eleventh annual Filmmaker Summit—a two-day talent academy for this year’s filmmakers. This diverse, multi-dimensional program of panel discussions, lectures, special events, and breakout sessions is led by known industry professionals. Beginning on Wednesday, June 1, the Filmmaker Summit is a truly unique introduction to the festival for filmmakers. The Filmmaker Summit is sponsored by Mary Mott and Gordon Simmering. Scholarship awards to the Filmmaker Summit were donated by The Frances Davis Fund in memory of Estelle Davis, our Mother, who really appreciated a good movie.
Premiere sponsors of the festival include the Triplex Cinema, GWFF USA, Studio Two, Berkshire Bank, The Red Lion Inn, MAX Ultimate Food, Old Mill Road Media, The Frances Davis Fund, and Wheatleigh. Supporting sponsors include The Annie Selke Companies, Karen Allen Fiber Arts, Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Canna Provisions, DéPart Wines, Stella Artois, Abbotts Livery, Haven Cafe, Berkshire Money Management, Granville House and Fairfield Inn and Suites.