The Bushwick Film Festival kicks off tomorrow night in Brooklyn, bringing a full lineup of films and shorts to the borough in its 11th year.
Running from opening night this Wednesday, October 10, to its final festivities on Sunday, October 14, the festival is chock full of programming: features and shorts, documentaries, panels of speakers and even a few parties!
This year, expect an array of films from around the world, but also those that hit close to home, exploring themes of gentrification, homelessness, culture and identity from Brooklyn to the world beyond.
Here are a few of the movies, shorts and docs we’re looking forward to:
(Warning: Trailer is NSFW)
Written and directed by Brooklyn native Darien Sills-Evans, this film follows the last afternoon of a couple breaking up in their one-bedroom apartment. After five years together in a gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood, one is moving out and hopefully on with their life… but as the tagline says “Love means never having to give up your apartment.”
Don’t Be Nice
A documentary following a group of New York City Slam Poets as they prepare for a national championship event in 2016, while grappling with modern American realities, from police violence to the co-opting of black culture by the mainstream. These poets represent New York to speak their perspectives on a national stage—literally.
Josh Ethan Johnson
A documentary that follows a day in the life of Martha, a Harlem resident and mother of twelve, who makes her living by driving for Uber and Lyft. With ride-hailing apps and the effect they have on both the taxi industry and their own workers in the news, the documentary is timely, while providing a close-to-home look at the realities of life in New York as Martha opens up about the most intimate struggles she faces in life.
Airing with the “Fear of a Black Planet” block of shorts, this 12-minute short film is set in modern-day Brooklyn, where “the staff of a black hair salon fend off a strange new monster: white women intent on sucking the lifeblood from black culture,” according to IMDB. It was an Official Selection at the Sundance Film Festival and Diallo is a Brooklyn Resident, which is great—plus, the trailer has an amazing old-school, B-movie horror vibe!
Finally, check out the “Female Cinematographer” shorts block, featuring works with women as Directors of Photography—a notorious Hollywood boys club that’s opening up more and more to women, and is all the better for it. The features are varied in theme but united by the individuals behind the camera. Check out a trailer for the short documentary, Cinematographer, which is about female cinematographers (and also being shown) to get you ready for the showing:
Judges for the festival will include some big names this year, including Bilge Ebiri, a film critic formerly of The Village Voice, and actress Catherine Curtin, most recently known for her work in the hit TV show Orange is the New Black.
A full list of the panels that will be convened during the festival can be seen here, covering a range of topics (blockchain in entertainment, anyone?), but for our money, check out the Women in Film & TV panel, which features actors, producers, writers and directors—plus the Bushwick Film Festival’s founder, Kweighbaye Kotee.
Over the last decade, the Bushwick Film Festival has grown to include films from the world over, and in the last years, helped to distribute $400,000 in grants to local organizations and artists. It gives filmmakers a place to showcase their films, network and hopefully find audiences for their work.
In one of the premier arts communities of Brooklyn, the Bushwick Film Festival provides a unique opportunity to explore diverse New York voices alongside those from abroad, to both celebrate the beauty, the absurdity, and even the difficulty of life while pushing to increase our awareness and inclusion of worldviews outside our own… See you there!