Bushwick Film Festival Returns for 14th Year

The Bushwick Film Festival (BFF) makes its return to Brooklyn at the end of October, holding virtual screenings and in-person events from October 20-24. The 14th annual festival will be kicking off with an opening night reception at lounge/ restaurant, Lot 45. 

The indie film series will also feature a combination of virtual streaming events, live screenings, Q&A panels and hands-on workshops. The festival attracts over 3500 attendees annually, and more than 1500 film submissions from around the world. This year, BFF made changes to their standard submission guidelines by accepting both screenplays and Non-Fungible Token (NFT) videos. 

Every year our program is dynamic, but what makes this year so special is the renewed enthusiasm and appreciation for personal interactions,

BFF founder and CEO Kweighbaye Kotee said in a press release.

Our hybrid model still has limitations, but gives us hope for the future. The stories we share always offer us the ability to see ourselves in ways we hadn’t imagined before, and we look forward to the incredible lineup this year. 

That lineup consists of over 135 films from 27 different countries. Though all films will be available online, BFF partnered with Brooklyn’s Regal Cinemas for a full-day, in-person screening on October 23. The festival is dedicated to highlighting diverse stories and underrepresented storytellers, reflecting Brookyn’s cultural diversity and artistic vibrance. 

The Films

Many films on this year’s schedule grapple with navigating poverty, oppression and identity. BFF will show the acclaimed Women is Losers, directed by Lissette Feliciano and starring Lorenza Izzo and the breakout star of Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Simu Liu. The film follows Izzo as a Catholic schoolgirl fighting poverty and working to build an unprecedented future for herself in 1960’s San-Francisco. Americanized, directed by Erica Eng, follows high school student Eng who, growing up immersed in Oakland’s hip-hop culture, struggles to understand her Chinese-American identity and “tries to find a sense of belonging within two worlds that don’t accept her.”  And in Finesse, directed by Vincent Martell, three Chicago roommates “struggle to survive capitalism and find intimacy,” eventually questioning their relationships after a psychedelic experience. 

The Documentaries

In addition to original screenplays, the festival will feature a selection of documentaries as well. Contributions include Bangla Surf Girls, a documentary directed by Elizabeth D. Costa following three Bangledashi girls as they join a surf club, navigate family pressure and ultimately come of age. The Last Out, directed by Michael Gassert and Sami Khan, tells a parallel story of seeking more from life. The film follows three Cuban baseball players risking everything to train for their Major League dreams. Released in 2020, the film won Gassert and Khan multiple awards and nominations. The Last Out also received a nomination for Best Documentary Feature at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival.  

The Events

Though the official schedule has not been announced, BFF will host filmmaker Q&A’s every night at 7pm, beginning October 20. Festival attendees will also have opportunities to network with industry professionals at an event at Circa Brewing Co. on October 24. For those participating in the festival online, special events are still accessible. A Movie Industry Conference will be held virtually on October 24th,. Panelists include Emmy-nominated producer Mynette Louie and the editor of HBO’s Scenes from a Marriage, Yael Hersonski, among others.. 

To cap off the week of festivities, BFF will send approximately ten featured films home with awards. Categories include Best Feature (Narrative and Documentary), Best Series, and Best Short (Narrative or Documentary.) 

Tickets to the Bushwick Film Festival, and a full list of films, are available here.

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