The 2012 Art of Brooklyn Film Festival kicks off its sophomore year with a free screening of the Brooklyn-set, 1991 Steven Seagal cult classic ‘Out For Justice‘, complete with a Seagal look-a-like contest. From August 4 –12 at St. Francis College’s Founders Hall and Maroney Theaters (180 Remsen St) The 2012 AoBFF will feature forty-five premieres from all over the world, all of which have a meaningful link to the borough. This year’s selections include a Turkish film inspired by Brooklyn’s diversity, a documentary created by an Italian filmmaker about a Hassidic Brooklyn rapper and a claymation short by a young animator who was born and raised in Brooklyn…New South Wales, Australia. The Art of Brooklyn Film Festival is the first to showcase emerging filmmakers who are Brooklyn-born, Brooklyn-based and/or Brooklyn-centric.
Executive Director Joseph Shahadi says, “Brooklyn is the first big art scene of the 21st century but major events mostly cluster around only a few north Brooklyn neighborhoods. Our innovation is simple: We include everyone, from Boerum Hill to Bergen Beach, Fort Greene to Flatlands. For us, it’s only Brooklyn when you count all of it.” Centrally located in subway- accessible Brooklyn Heights, The Art of Brooklyn Film Festival is unique in that most of the founders were born in the borough. “This isn’t about hipster bashing though,’ the Philadelphia- born Shahadi says. “Creative people have always made Brooklyn their home. But now that the borough has become an international center for art and culture, excluding some people because they live in the ‘wrong’ neighborhood is unacceptable. There are no wrong neighborhoods or demographics. Everyone is invited to this party.”
In addition to new independent films The 2012 Art of Brooklyn Film Festival features special events, including a panel of award-winning female documentary filmmakers like Heather Quinlan, whose film on the New York accent ‘If These Knishes Could Talk’ premiered at the AoBFF last year before earning national and international acclaim. Other events include talkbacks with filmmakers, after parties showcasing Brooklyn bands, food trucks featuring delicious street cuisine, nightly discounts at area bars and restaurants and more. Celebrity hosts will emcee select screenings, including documentary filmmaker and scholar Annette Danto and film and TV actor Eric Mabius (Ugly Betty, Resident Evil).
Hollywood has already taken notice. The official poster for The 2012 Art of Brooklyn Film Festival was chosen by a production designer for the bedroom of Dakota Fanning’s character in the upcoming ‘Very Good Girls‘. The edgy design was the result of an international contest held by The Art of Brooklyn and won by Portuguese illustrator Tiago Moura. The director Elliot Lester (Blitz, Love is the Drug) said, “I heard about the AoBFF in Los Angeles from (producer) Dustin Williams and asked to be a judge. Brooklyn is long overdue for a major film festival. These guys are smart and well-connected, and I’m excited about this festival — it could be Brooklyn’s Tribeca.”
Festival Director Jason Cusato leads a jury of industry professionals who judge the winning films, including Lester and Mabius, actress/filmmaker and curator at Michigan’s prestigious Waterfront Film Festival Christine Elise McCarthy (ER, 90210), director/ producer Digger T. Mesch (Cinescape magazine’s Power 100) and TV personality/ film critic Bobby Rivers (VH1, Whoopi Goldberg Show.) Frequent Brooklyn resident Eric Mabius says, “I have always loved Brooklyn, it is one of the most creative and productive environments in the world. These absolutely unique surroundings deserve to be celebrated with a festival possessing the Art of Brooklyn’s kind of vision: to be a major industry event that gets everyone excited about the things we already know. The whole idea of bringing New and Classic Brooklyn together — nobody else is doing that, until NOW.”
SELECTED FILM HIGHLIGHTS *Feature/Documentary/Short
92 Skybox Alonzo Mourning Rookie Card (Brooklyn Premiere) – Official Selection Sundance Film Festival
Director: Todd Sklar
In 2007, he wrote & directed his feature length debut, BOX ELDER, which developed a cult following after Sklar & his cohorts toured the film across the country throughout 2008. Afterwards, Sklar founded Range Life Entertainment, a privately held marketing company that tours independent films to college campuses on a quarterly basis. ‘92 SKYBOX ALONZO MOURNING ROOKIE CARD is Sklar’s first short film.
Roadmap To Apartheid (Brooklyn Premiere) – Official Selection of The Manhattan Film Festival, Winner of The Film Heals Award Manhattan Film Festival
Director(s): Ana Nogueira & Eron Davidson
Ana Nogueira is a journalist and first-time filmmaker. She worked as a producer for the national, daily radio and TV news program Democracy Now! in the United States for four years and later as a correspondent for the show. Nogueira was born in South Africa. Eron Davidson is a long-time media activist and also a first-time filmmaker. He has previously produced several short videos that have helped to galvanize excitement for various community organizing projects in the United States. Davidson was born in Israel.
Pillow (NYC Premiere)
Director(s): Miles B. Miller & Joshua H. Miller
Miles B. Miller and Joshua H. Miller are a Writing/Directing team from Little Rock, Arkansas. Born and raised in the American South, the Miller Brothers have an inherent interest in exploring the human condition in the region. Inspired by traditional Southern Gothic literature, they incorporate elements of Magic Realism and Surrealism to push the boundaries of the genre while remaining true to its darkest roots.
The Strange Ones – Official Selection Sundance Film Festival
Director(s): Christopher Radcliff & Lauren Wolkstein
Christopher Radcliff & Lauren Wolkstein are NYC-based filmmakers who received their MFAs from the graduate film program at Columbia University School of the Arts. Together and separately, their work has played in numerous festivals around the world, such as SXSW, Sundance, Palm Springs Shortfest, San Sebastian, Clermont-Ferrand, and Rotterdam, among others.
The Shoemaker (Brooklyn Premiere)
Director: Michael Kaves
Kaves began flexing his artistic urges in the tunnels of the NYC transit system at the ridiculously young age of 10. While these endeavors secured him a spot in the graffiti hall-of-fame, they almost landed him a rap sheet. In the early 1990s Kaves became a founding member of the hip-hop group Lordz of Brooklyn. In 2011, Mr. Kaves made his directorial debut with The Shoemaker.
Bathing and the Single Girl
Director: Christine Elise McCarthy
Christine Elise McCarthy has been acting professionally for 25 years. She has been seen on many television shows – notably as Emily Valentine on Beverly Hills 90210, ER, HBO’s Tell Me You Love Me, Law & Order: SVU, China Beach and In the Heat of the Night. She has been on the selection committee of Michigan’s Waterfront Film Festival for all of its 14 years. 2011 saw her directorial debut, Bathing & the Single Girl, get accepted into almost 80 film festivals and win fifteen awards.
Easy Street (Brooklyn Premiere)
Director: Russell Greene
Easy Street is the writing and directorial debut of Russell Greene. Russell is currently based in New York where he is best known as partner to revered NY film editor Angelo Corrao (collaborating on eleven films), and as one of the principal creative’s behind the acclaimed series Made HERE about downtown New York City performing artists which has just been picked-up for a 3rd and 4th season.
The Pilgrim and the Private Eye (NYC Premiere)
Director: Joel Johnstone
Joel Johnstone is an accomplished actor on both coasts, recently starring opposite James Handy in Finding The Burnett Heart at the Lillian Theatre (LA), and opposite Sian Phillips in last summer’s production of Noel Coward’s Bitter Sweet (NY). The Pilgrim and the Private Eye is Joel’s directorial debut, he has earned his BA degree in theatre from Fordham University and BADA, both Oxford and London.
One Brooklyn Boat (World Premiere)
Director: Megan Hessenthaler
A few short blocks from several major subway lines in New York City, a man lives/d off-grid on a houseboat built as an experiment in urban sustainability. Just a stone’s throw away from some of the richest citizens of the US fires are built for heat, rainwater is caught for showers, and shits are taken in a bucket. This is the story of a boat and the man who chose to remove himself from the traditional narrative of NYC dwelling and strike a balance between urban and rural habitation. Not the first, nor the last to take life off grid, he is the captain of One Brooklyn Boat.
ECHO (Brooklyn Premiere)
Director: Lauren Elizabeth Kelly
In the cacophony of New York City, church bells rarely surface above the din. But at a forgotten landmark church in Harlem, Michael Smith, the “unofficial, unpaid, Quasimodo of St. Martin’s,” rings out music for the community every week– at least for now.
one little bird (World Premiere)
Director: Jennifer Crystal Chien
Illustrator Patricia Raubo discusses her artistic influences, including Polish children’s stories and turn-of-the-century illustrators, accompanied by her pet parrotlet, Phoebe.
Through the Eye of the Needle (Brooklyn Premiere)
Director: Nina Shapiro
At 15, Esther Nisenthal Krinitz defied Nazi orders, separating from her family as they and the other Jews of her Polish village reported to a nearby train station. With her sister in tow, she survived the war by hiding in plain sight of the Gestapo, posing as a Polish farm girl; they never saw their family again. At 50, haunted by memories, she felt compelled to show her own children the family she’d lost, and all that she’d witnessed and experienced during the war. Untrained as an artist, but trained as a seamstress, she turned to needle and thread, ultimately creating thirty-six large, hauntingly beautiful, and exquisitely detailed works of fabric collage and embroidery–a legacy borne of love, loss, and the sheer force of memory.
Prizefighter (NYC Premiere)
Director: Angela Wong
Boxing is a sport of fierce dedication. It takes time and incredible amounts of energy to become a feared or revered boxer. It’s even harder for female boxers. Heather Hardy is an up-and-coming fighter who is gaining recognition in Brooklyn, New York. On top of working and training full time at Gleason’s Gym, Heather divides her hectic work schedule with her responsibilities as a single mother. This short film profiles the daily struggles Heather faces working toward her long-term goal of becoming a professional fighter.
Slavery And The Law (NYC Premiere)
Director: Paula Heredia
Slavery and the Law is a captivating documentary that follows a group of Brooklyn youth as they create a wall mural that commemorates the shift from enslavement to the Civil Rights Movement. The youth featured in the film are participants in the Youth and Congregations in Partnership (YCP), and Gender-Responsive Re-Entry Assistance Support Program (GRASP), under the office of the Kings County District Attorney. Distinguished professors and historians discuss the history of slavery beginning with the development of Colonial America and the slave trade. As the title suggests, the legal system is introduced in the film as youth and professors explore the laws imposed on slaves
MAS MAN – THE COMPLETE WORK (NYC Premiere)
Director: Dalton Narine
It is the only film made about the man who reached 80 per cent of the planet in a single night. Mas Man (The Complete Work) explores Peter Minshall’s leap from designer in the Trinidad Carnival to an artistic director of the Opening Ceremonies for three Olympic Games, based on his knack for ‘making what is small seem big in an Olympic stadium.’ Minshall served as an artistic director in the 1992 Barcelona Games; Atlanta, 1996; and Salt Lake City, 2006. Olympic producers found his genius for staging grand spectacles in his native Trinidad, where his themes usually play on good and evil. Where his stage has been the mas, which he brings to the street as theater, way beyond the horizon of masquerade.
MY HEART BELONGS TO YOU (Brooklyn Premiere)
Director: Lev Polyakov
A hamster falls in love with an elementary school teacher and dreams about rescuing her from evil demons.
YOU BURY YOUR OWN (NYC Premiere)
Director: Rob Wilson
A family’s fate isn’t always their destiny. The Ryan family has always had it tough. Born poor, Willa Ryan has nevertheless done her best to get by and try to hold her family together. And sometimes it even feels like it’s working. But that was before her youngest brother, Aiden, was found dead. His death hits the Ryan’s hard but John, Willa’s older brother, and Willa have very different ways of coping. John struggles with the suspicion that Aiden’s death was an inevitable action and, worse, that it was somehow his fault. Willa becomes obsessed with knowing not only who killed Aiden but why. She knows that someone needs to take responsibility, pay the consequence, be made to suffer. But then she finds out why Aiden died… and nothing is that simple anymore.
SUBWAY BABY (Brooklyn Premiere)
Director: Sheryl Matthys
After relocating with her husband’s job, this mom’s simple life became complicated after being plunked down in the midst of 8 million pushy people in New York City. Uprooted from a town in Indiana that connected her to the work and people she knew, this pregnant woman with a toddler in tow was feeling lost and without direction until she got back in touch with the 3Cs of life. What are they? Find out in Subway Baby. Do you wonder what kind of society we’ve become in helping others? Do you think we’ve gone overboard on preschool? Are your kids’ values in jeopardy?
P.O.O.P. (World Premiere)
Director: Ben McCarthy
Who do you go to when you can’t stop the rampant pranking? P.O.O.P. of course: The Prevention Of Organized Pranking. The question is… can Norbert stop throwing pies?