The show must go on!
Well, the film industry is in a tough spot right now, to say the least. With the current pandemic and social distancing wiping out most public events, film festivals either have to go digital or be cancelled altogether. Well, canceling was never an option for the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival. The organizers have decided that their 10th year must go on, even if it means it must go online.
“Art of Brooklyn is the only festival in the world that screens in neighborhoods across the entire borough — including those often ignored by arts and culture events — for thousands of people every year,” states AoBFF Executive Director Joseph Shahadi. “Over the past decade, over a dozen of our premieres went on to get distribution and one became an HBO series. But I think the thing that makes us really stand out is our audience. When you come to AoBFF, you see famous film industry folks rubbing elbows with people from the neighborhood. That’s how it should be.”
The festival is featuring over 70 entries this year, and here are just a few of the highlights:
American Pie’s Jason Biggs stars as a documentary filmmaker whose latest film was about the gang-related murder of a kid, which he had caught on tape. Two years later, while dealing with a moral fallout, he receives an unexpected visit from someone who has been recording him and threatens his life. Director Lanie Zipoy does a terrific job of keeping audience members out of the loop, slowly revealing important factors as the story progresses, and Jason Biggs turns in one of his career-best performances. The Subject will premiere on June 1st at 7:00 pm and will have an encore showing on June 11th at 9:00 pm.
Born Just Now
Director Robert Adanto intimately captures the work and life of Belgrade-based performance artist, Marta Jovanović. After leaving an eight-year abusive marriage, Jovanović developed her art as a way to cope with the trauma that she suffered. Seeing her talk about her experiences and her artistic process is engaging, and the art itself is even more so. Beautifully photographed and edited, the film is a captivating look at a female artist who dares to live on her own terms. Born Just Now will be available on June 12th at 7:00pm.
This short film tells the story of a young artist named Gabrielle, who strives to become a ballerina. Despite not having danced before, she joins a ballet class, where she is bullied by both her classmates and her teacher. Gabrielle does, however, strike an unexpected friendship with the class’s star ballerina, who takes a liking to Gabrielle’s drawings. The film is a sweet and uplifting story about friendship, as well as overcoming struggles to accomplish your dreams. Writer/director Nicola Rose put much heart and dedication into telling this story, and its inspirational message comes through beautifully! Gabrielle will be featured on June 9th at 9:00pm and June 12th at 5:30pm as part of the festival’s “Under A Girl’s Eye” shorts block.
There are plenty of interesting characters in New York City, but none as interesting as Jane Marx, a colorful and eccentric tour guide. Director Caroline Macfarlane gets up close and personal with this extraordinary individual and sees that there is more to her than meets the eye. What is especially interesting is how Macfarlane’s own friendship with Jane develops over the course of shooting, as they discover how much they have in common. Macfarlane herself actually becomes a subject in her own film, and seeing her scenes with Jane is like watching two siblings reconnecting. Falling Forward will be featured on June 3rd at 9:00pm and June 7th at 4:30pm as part of the festival’s “Real Characters” doc block.
A playful throwback to the Mediterranean comedy films of the 60’s, this film follows three couples (all played by the same male and female leads) as their respective on-the-run lives intersect on a boat headed to Greece. The titular Italian city of Brindisi is beautifully photographed, and is an interesting look at three different perspectives on life. Brindisi will be featured on June 6th at 8:00pm.
States Joseph Shahadi, “People all over the world who wouldn’t have been able to join us in person can attend our festival and interact with filmmakers during live-streamed Q&As. We’re already hearing from this audience that despite everything, they are glad that we are accessible to them this year. Of course, I hope locals will join us too, like always. The idea of a film festival as a snooty or elite event feels very old fashioned to us. We always say that if AoBFF is a party then everyone is invited.”
The 10th annual Art of Brooklyn Film Festival will run from June 1st-June 12th, and the films will be featured through a virtual festival platform provided by Eventive.
Tickets can be purchased through the festival website, aobff.org.