The Brooklyn Film Festival, now in its 18th year, has announced their lineup of narrative and documentary films. 108 features and shorts were selected, from 26 countries and five continents. The festival will open with the East Coast premiere of J. Davis’ “Manson Family Vacation,” starring Jay Duplass and Linas Phillips.
The theme of this year’s festival, “Illuminate,” was described by BFF executive director Marco Ursino as an attempt to “spotlight storytelling without boundaries and welcome multi-layered stories, including the abstract and the inspirational, the intriguing and the ironic. The festival is simply looking for projects that reflect a creative, furious, explosive, and uncontainable intelligence.”
Many of the films screening at BFF also have a New York connection, including Ryan Carmicheal’s “But Not For Me,” the only narrative feature world premiere. Read on for the full lineup, with synopses courtesy of Brooklyn Film Festival:
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“Manson Family Vacation” Director: J. Davis – Two brothers (Jay Duplass and Linas Phillips) reunite when the more free-spirited brother shows up at the other’s door with nothing but a backpack. Together, they get to know each other again while touring the sites of Charles Manson’s exploits and exploring Manson’s contemporary life. EAST COAST PREMIERE
“Abby Singer/Songwriter” Director: Onur Tukel – Divorced stockbroker Jamie Block was once an indie-rock star. Going through a life crisis, he teams up with a filmmaker to make a series of music videos in this trippy, funny film. EAST COAST PREMIERE
“But Not for Me” Director: Ryan Carmichael – Will is a young writer working at an ad agency as a copywriter. Like many others his age, he is hiding his true passion for philosophy and music and holding back his true thoughts, until a relationship with a young woman inspires him. WORLD PREMIERE
“Devil Town” Director: Harvey Mitkas – A young woman enlists a shady detective to help her find her missing sister in this neo-noir with a cast of indie film favorites.
“Eadweard” Director: Kyle Rideout – A psychological biopic that explores the mind of Eadweard Muybridge, the godfather of cinema, who was also the last American to receive a justifiable homicide verdict after killing his wife’s lover. EAST COAST PREMIERE
“Funny Bunny” Director: Alison Bagnall – A young canvasser and a loner teenager who is estranged from his parents go on a journey to meet Ginger, the animal activist with whom the teen has developed an online relationship. EAST COAST PREMIERE
“God Bless the Child” Directors: Robert Machoian and Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck – In this beautifully realized observational narrative, Harper, the oldest of five siblings, must take care of her siblings. EAST COAST PREMIERE
“Inferno” Director: Vinko Moderndorfer – In this Slovenian realist drama, young working class family must deal with the struggles of unemployment while the global economy crumbles and local labor rebels. EAST COAST PREMIERE
“Sweaty Betty” Directors: Joe Frank and Zachary Reed – Two stories come out of the row houses on the border of Washington, D.C. — a pig, Ms. Charlotte, is carted around, vying for a chance to be a team mascot for the Washington Redskins; and two teenage best friends come into ownership of a dog that they attempt to sell. EAST COAST PREMIERE
“Valedictorian” Director: Matthew Yeager – Ben feels less and less in touch with his life in New York City, and over a year, he must confront the connections — or lack thereof — he feels with those he considers close. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
“Wildlike” Director: Frank Hall Green – When teenage Mackenzie is sent to live with her uncle in Juneau, Alaska, she knows it’s not right for her. Shortly after arriving, she embarks on a journey headed south to find her mother.
“20 Years of Madness” Director: Jeremy Royce – The founder of a mid-90’s Public Access TV show in Detroit reunites the cast twenty years later to make a new episode and discovers that his friends and former collaborators are struggling with the hard realities of adulthood.
“Chameleon” Director: Ryan Mullins – The elusive undercover journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas is one of Ghana’s most popular figures. Though the charismatic investigator has named and shamed various high profile malfeasants, his identity remains hidden. U.S. PREMIERE
“Deep Web” Director: Alex Winter – Thirty-year-old entrepreneur Ross William Ulbricht has been convicted for operating the online black market Silk Road. This comprehensive documentary tracks the history of the site and the vigorously pursued case against Ulbricht.
“Frame” by Frame Directors: Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli – Photography was outlawed in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan; however, with the fall of the Taliban, photographers have been key documenters of the changing nation.
“Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi” Director: Neal Broffman – Four weeks after disappearing from his apartment as a student at Brown University, Sunil Tripathi was accused of being Suspect #2 in the Boston Marathon bombings. The false accusations disrupted his family, steadfastly working with his friends to find him.
“I Am Thor” Director: Ryan Wise – Jon Mikl Thor was a bodybuilder, steel gender, and rock star in the 70’s and 80’s who led the theatrical band THOR. Today, he seeks to reclaim his mantle as a high-energy rock star. EAST COAST PREMIERE
“Paradiso” Director: Omar A. Razzak – Projectionist Rafael works hard to tidy up and maintain Madrid’s last remaining adult movie theater, Duque de Alba. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
“Placebo” Director: Abhay Kumar – One of the most competitive medical schools, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has an acceptance rate of less than 0.1%. The high academic standards leave a harsh toll on the students. U.S. PREMIERE
“We Were Rebels” Directors: Katharina von Schroeder and Florian Schewe – Agel took up arms when he was ten to participate in the fight for an independent South Sudan. After leaving the conflict, Agel has returned to an independent South Sudan, where he is the captain of the national basketball team and worries over the young nation’s fragile democracy.
“Wild Home” Directors: Jack Schurman and Robert Schurman – Deep in the woods of Maine, Bob Miner, a Vietnam Veteran rehabilitates abused and abandoned animals. He and his wife have built a kingdom for lions, tigers, hyenas, kangaroos, black bears, and over 200 other species of animals that attracts a diverse set of visitors.