THE BERKSHIRE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL WRAPS SEVENTEENTH
PAYING TRIBUTE TO AWARD WINNING ACTOR STEPHEN LANG, SCREENING 80 FILMS, WITH DOZENS OF FILMMAKERS, TEA TALKS AND EVENTS!
Juried Prize and Best of Fest Audience Awards Announced!
June 5, 2023, Great Barrington, MA – Sunday, the Berkshire International Film Festival wrapped a spectacular festival, filled with luminaries such as Stephen Lang, Ruth Reichl, Karen Allen, Barbara Kopple, Cynthia Wade, and the producer from the closing night film, as well as 40 filmmakers in attendance and hundreds of film lovers. Today, BIFF announces the winners of the annual BIFF Juried Prize Award and the BIFF Audience Award. BIFF patrons watched films in-person throughout Great Barrington and Lenox as well as online. The conclusion of the festival also featured the last film to be shown at the Triplex Cinema after 30 years. Efforts are being made to purchase, renovate and re-open the theater by the group “Save the Triplex,” and you can find more information about the group, the Gregory Crewdson photograph to purchase or just to donate to the cause at this site: https://www.savethetriplex.org/.
In the Juried Narrative category the German film, EVERYBODY WANTS TO BE LOVED, directed by Katharina Woll was awarded the top prize. The film is being distributed by Zeitgeist Films. In the Juried Documentary category, the winner was BAD PRESS directed by Rebecca Landsberry-Baker and Joe Peeler who was in attendance. The Jury prize is sponsored by GWFF USA and was presented at a brunch on Sunday at Number Ten restaurant in Great Barrington. Serving on the BIFF Jury were actors Karen Allen, Jayne Atkinson, Scott Cohen, Michel Gill, Peter Riegert, creative consultant Greg Rhem, Josh Braun of Submarine Entertainment, production designer Kristi Zea and director/writer Kent Jones.
The Audience Award Winner for narrative features went to THE ORIGIN OF EVIL, directed by Sebastien Marnier, which will be released by IFC Films later this year. The Audience Award Winner for favorite documentary film was CALL ME DANCER directed by Pip Gilmour and Leslie Shampaine and an Honorable Mention in that category goes to IMMEDIATE FAMILY, directed by Denny Tedesco. The director Leslie Shampaine from CALL ME DANCER shared this comment, “Thank you for this beautiful award! The whole team from Call Me Dancer is deeply appreciative. We want to thank everyone at BIFF where so many creative people gather to show their films at this fantastic festival.
And we greatly appreciate the enthusiastic audience who came to see Call Me Dancer. It has been a five-year journey making this film and it is thrilling when it resonates so well on the big screen!”
The Audience Award winner for narrative short went to PTERRY, directed by Mikey Riva, Jr. and the Audience Award winner for documentary short was awarded to KEEP MOVING, directed by Susanna Kidd.
The winner of the 13th annual Berkshire Bank “Next Great Filmmaker Award” was presented to the short film BELOW SURFACE. The film was directed by Lukas Hauser and produced by Berkshire resident Judith Bookbinder.
Highlights of the 4-day festival included the opening night screening of FOOD AND COUNTRY, with Ruth Reichl in attendance for a Q&A at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. The Opening Night party was held under the BIFF tent with dinner, dancing 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, STEPHEN LANG for his achievement in film. Karen Allen, who worked with him in WHITE IRISH DRINKERS, paid tribute to his work in theater, television and film calling him an “actor’s actor.” Lang was in conversation with WAMC’s Joe Donahue, generously sharing his wonderful and engaging stories from his rich and varied career. Immediately following the conversation, BIFF screened his film LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN. 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 Mr. Lang’s honor.
The BIFF also presented the sixth year of “TEA TALKS.” This year’s talks included: CELEBRATING EXCELLENCE IN FILM THROUGH THE LENS OF BERKSHIRE FEMALE FILMMAKERS with a panel discussion involving actor/director Karen Allen, academy award-winning director Barbara Kopple and academy award-winning director Cynthia Wade.
A special day at Tanglewood was also presented with films GEOFF MCFETRIDGE: DRAWING A LIFE, the SXSW Grand Jury Prize winner; the Sundance hit, PIANOFORTE; ONYX THE FORTUITOUS AND THE TALISMAN OF SOULS which was filmed in Lenox and had the director Andrew Bowser in attendance; and YOU WILL NOT PLAY WAGNER with the director Lilia Levitina and Berkshire resident and actress Annette Miller in attendance for a packed Q&A.
Closing out the 17th year, BIFF presented the Sundance hit film, IT’S ONLY LIFE AFTER ALL about the iconic folk-rock band The Indigo Girls, with the producer in attendance after the film.
Other highlights were Karen Allen’s new film A STAGE OF TWILIGHT; Isabelle Huppert’s latest film LA SYNDICALISTE; Kristin Scott Thomas’ new film TWO TICKETS TO GREECE; and documentaries with Nikki Giovanni, Bethann Hardison, Helen Britton, Jane Campion, Joyce Carol Oates, gallerist Geoffrey Young, artist Warner Friedman and art collector, Ginny Williams.
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 work, and parties throughout downtown Great Barrington including a Filmmaker Party sponsored by Depart Wines on Friday night. The BIFF proudly screened films all weekend as well at the Linde Center at Tanglewood and the Lenox Town Hall.
In its seventeenth year, BIFF proudly presented the thirteenth annual Filmmakers Summit, a two-day industry summit offered to the 2023 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 2023 BIFF include the Triplex Cinema, GWFF USA, Studio Two, The Red Lion Inn, Berkshire Bank, The Frances Davis Fund, Wheatleigh, the Annie Selke Companies, Love Today Productions and Old Mill Road Media. Presenting Sponsors include Karen Allen Fiber Arts, Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Stella Artois, Haven Cafe, Depart Wines, Abbott’s Livery, The Barrington, and Granville House. BIFF’s festival partners include the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, the Lenox Town Hall, and the Tanglewood Learning Institute.
With over 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 18th annual BIFF will be held May 30 – June 2, 2024; submissions will open October 1, 2023 and passes will go on sale November 1, 2023.
# E N D #