PAYING TRIBUTE TO AWARD WINNING ACTOR ALFRE WOODARD,
SCREENED NEARLY 80 FILMS, WITH DOZENS OF FILMMAKERS, TEA TALKS AND EVENTS!
Juried Prize and Best of Fest Audience Awards Announced!
June 6, 2022, Great Barrington, MA – Sunday, the Berkshire International Film Festival wrapped a spectacular festival, filled with luminaries such as Alfre Woodard, Jesse Krimes, Don Gummer, Stephen Hannock, Karen Allen, and the director, writers and cast from the closing night film, as well as 40 filmmakers in attendance. Today, BIFF announces the winners of the annual BIFF Juried Prize Award and the BIFF Audience Award. BIFF patrons watched films in-person and online in their first ever hybrid festival. This year’s festival was dedicated to the remarkable lives of Lola Jaffe and Douglas Trumbull.
In the Juried Narrative category the Lebanese film, FARAH, was awarded the top prize about a 14-year-old girl who lives in a small village in Palestine set in 1948. The film is being distributed by Film Movement. In the Juried Documentary category, the winner was OPEN FIELD directed by Kathy Kuras. Kuras was not in attendance but the subject of the film, quarterback Sami Grisafe, accepted the award for the team. The Jury prize is sponsored by GWFF USA and was presented at a brunch Sunday at Number Ten restaurant in Great Barrington. Serving on the BIFF Jury was actor/director Karen Allen, Josh Braun of Submarine Entertainment, screenwriter Maria Nation, casting director Gretchen Rennell, filmmaker and producer Kent Jones and MTV programmer and creative consultant Greg Rhem.
The Audience Award Winner for favorite documentary film was too close to call, so we are presenting it to both CIRQUE DU CAMBODIA directed by Joel Gershon and FIDDLER’S JOURNEY TO THE BIG SCREEN directed by Daniel Raim, which will be released
this month by Zeitgeist Films. The Audience Award Winner for narrative features went to MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON being released by A24 later this month.
The winner of the 12th annual Berkshire Bank “Next Great Filmmaker Award” was presented to the short film TO WADE OR ROW about a couple who stops for the night at a small town hotel, but the destination turns out to be much more important to Jane than Henry knows. The filmmaker Rebecca van der Meulen was on hand to accept the award.
Highlights of the 4-day festival included the opening night screening of ART & KRIMES BY KRIMES, with director Alysa Nahmias and the artist Jesse Krimes in attendance for a Q&A with fellow artists Craig Russell, Jared Owens and Gilberto Rivera. The film received an enthusiastic standing ovation to a full house at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. The film was purchased by MTV Documentaries and will be releasing later this year. The Opening Night party was held under the BIFF tent with dinner and cocktails sponsored by Berkshire Bank and catered by The Break Room at Greylock Works. Saturday evening in Great Barrington, the BIFF honored Award-winning actor, ALFRE WOODARD for her achievement in film. The past president of the Academy and industry icon, Sid Ganis, paid tribute to her work in film and her activism. Woodard was in conversation with WAMC’s Joe Donahue, generously sharing her wonderful and engaging stories from her rich and varied career in film. Immediately following the conversation, BIFF screened her film JUANITA. The tribute evening was generously sponsored by GWFF USA and included a party under the tent with cocktails, dinner and jazz catered by Peter Platt and Old Inn on the Green. A private reception was held after in Ms. Woodard’s honor. .
The BIFF also presented the fifth year of “TEA TALKS.” This years talks included: THE FUTURE OF FILMMAKING IS FEMALE; CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN IN FILM with a panel discussion involving directors Kristi Zea and Kestrin Pantera, writer/actor Britt Rentschler and writer and BIFF board member, Mary Mott. The other talk was THE ART OF DON GUMMER which included a talk with artist Don Gummer, artist Stephen Hannock, Mass MoCA director Kristy Edmunds and producer and BIFF board member Veronica Beach.
Closing out the 16th year, BIFF presented the SXSW Audience Award winning film, PRETTY PROBLEMS about a couple who are invited on a getaway trip with affluent strangers: down the rabbit hole, and into the most unhinged weekend of their lives. The film was followed by a conversation with director Kestrin Pantera, writer/actor Michael Tennent, writer/actor Britt Rentschler, actor Alex Klein and producer Katya Anderson moderated by writer and BIFF board member Mary Mott.
Other highlights were Juliette Binoche’s new film BOTH SIDES OF THE BLADE; A24’s new film MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON; Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize winning film FIRE OF LOVE; the documentary THE REVEREND with Reverend Vince performing after the screening; and the new documentary about Leonard Bernstein, BERNSTEIN’S WALL with director Douglas Tirola in conversation.
Screening 80 narratives and documentaries features and shorts during the festival, the BIFF also hosted more than 40 filmmakers and offered free children’s programs, Berkshire filmmakers, and parties throughout downtown Great Barrington as well as the Linde Center at Tanglewood.
In its sixteenth year, BIFF proudly presented the twelfth annual Filmmakers Summit, a two-day industry summit offered to the 2022 film selection filmmakers. A diverse, multi-dimensional program of panel discussions, lectures, and special events, led 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. The event is sponsored by Mary Mott and Gordon Simmering and The Frances Davis Fund.
Premiere Sponsors of the 2022 BIFF include the Triplex Cinema, GWFF USA, MAX Ultimate Food, Studio Two, The Red Lion Inn, Berkshire Bank, Max Ultimate Food, The Frances Davis Fund, Wheatleigh and Townvibe. Presenting Sponsors include The Annie Selke Companies, Karen Allen Fiber Arts, Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Stella Artois, Haven Cafe, Berkshire Money Management, Depart Wines, Abbott’s Livery, Canna Provisions, Fairfield Inn and Suites, and Granville House. BIFF’s festival partners include the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center and the Tanglewood Learning Institute.
With nearly 1000 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.
The 17th annual BIFF will be held June 1 – 5, 2022 and passes and submissions will open October 1, 2022.
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