Greenpoint Gazette

The Return of the Brooklyn Film Festival

BY Jeff Mann

Lights! Camera! APP-tion!

Details for this year’s Brooklyn Film Festival (BFF), themed “Magnetic”, were announced last week along with the rollout of a new mobile app campaign, “Expand Your View.” The competitive event will run from May 31st through June 9th with screenings to return to indieScreen (289 Kent Avenue) as well as debuting at a new host, Windmill Studios NYC (287 Kent Avenue).

Since its inception in 1998, BFF has grown steadily. This year, Director of Programming Nathan Kensinger will have his hands full, as he chooses nominees from more than 2,000 submissions. The festival will premiere over 100 films with winners earning prizes totaling over $50,000 in film services and products. Prizes include a seven-day theatrical release at indieScreen for both the Best Feature and Best Documentary award winners. The full lineup will be announced in May.

Many BFF alums have gone on to be released theatrically or in other markets such as home media, On Demand and web streaming. Some who have garnered critical acclaim and nationwide distribution are Suki Hawley and Michael Galinsky’s Battle for Brooklyn (shortlisted for a 2011 Academy Award nomination), Kelly Anderson’s My Brooklyn (one of the most successful DIY releases of 2013 so far), Lawrence Michael Levine’s Gabi On The Roof in July, Daryl Wein’s Breaking Upwards, Arin Crumley & Susan Buice’s Four Eyed Monsters and Katie Dellamaggiore’s Brooklyn Castle (selected by P.O.V. for a nationwide PBS broadcast in 2013).

“Magnetic is our study on all those invisible forces that bring people together or push them apart,” explained BFF Executive Director Marco Ursino. “We intend to create a field where filmmakers from different parts of the world attract each other into collaborations and partnerships. Magnetic will be a multi-layered competition between the positive and the negative, where the real prize will be a Brooklyn breakthrough.”

To help make BFF a family-affair, on Saturday, June 1st, the festival will present the ninth annual kidsfilmfest, a film program tailored for children of all ages (all features are rated “G”), and consisting of numerous short animation, live-action and documentary films. A Q & A with the filmmakers and a filmmaker’s workshop follows each program.

“Expand Your View,” the mobile app campaign developed in partnership with advertising giant TBWA\Chiat\Day New York and app developer WiMO Reality, was designed to drive festival awareness and ticket sales. Once downloaded to a smartphone, the app allows users to scan or photograph a “film code visual” – similar to a barcode, but with color – with their phones, read the code and expand it, so they can view BFF’s 2013 trailer. Once the final program is set, the same technology will be applied to each film to help festival-goers navigate BFF’s schedule. The trailer’s codes have a bit of a science fiction feeling, having been constructed from thousands of compressed frames from last year’s award winners. Codes for this year’s entries will be made from the compressed film of the movies they represent.

To view the 2013 Brooklyn Film Festival trailer, visit:
For more info about the festival, visit


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