Greenpoint Gazette
Last year's Brooklyn Film Festival

Brooklyn Film Fest to Explore Winning Filmmaking Formula

BY Tanay Warerkar

Brooklyn’s filmmakers, up and comers and aficionados alike, are set to descend on Williamsburg, for the Brooklyn Film Festival, which kicks off at the end of the month at indieScreen and Windmill Studios NYC.

The 17th edition of the festival will feature more than 100 films – feature-length, documentaries, and shorts, selected from over 2,000 submissions. This year’s festival is themed “Formula,” and explores whether there is a winning formula to create a successful independent film that engages audiences.

“Do formulas apply exclusively to big budget filmmaking, are there formulas for independent filmmakers, and is there such a thing as formula-free filmmaking?” asked Marco Ursino, the Executive Director of the film festival, in regards to the themes being explored at this year’s event. “How does a project preserve its independent spirit when the story is told by adopting proven storytelling formulas? We encourage our filmmakers, audiences, industry guests, Brooklyn, all New Yorkers and the rest of the world to stir the ingredients in this potent and perplexing formula.”

One of this year’s two opening night features is entitled “I Believe in Unicorns,” and tells the story of a teenaged girl, who as the only caretaker of her disabled mother, looks for release in a relationship with an older man. Along the way, she gains the ability to escape into a fantasy life. But the romance begins to fade as she starts encountering the man’s volatile temper.

For the director of the film, Leah Meyerhoff, the idea for the project came in response to the lack of complex portrayals of women on celluloid. Meyerhoff noted that growing up there were not enough characters she could relate to in films, and the synthesis of the film germinated from trying to create a more relatable female lead.

“I was interested in using unicorns as a coming-of-age metaphor,” said Meyerhoff, in regards to the title of the film. “They’re childlike creature but at the same time they have this mature component to them.”

Meyerhoff completed her undergraduate studies at Brown University and then went on to study filmmaking in graduate school at NYU. It’s where her film came to life, and for Meyerhoff, who has previously showcased her work at the Festival, “I Believe in Unicorns,” marks her feature-film length debut.

This year, award winners at the Festival will walk away with $50,000 in film services and products including a seven-day theatrical release at indieScreen for the best narrative feature and best documentary film.

The Festival kicks off May 30, and in the past, filmmakers who have showcased their work at the festival have garnered major attention nationwide – Jeffrey Karoff’s “Cavedigger,” was nominated for a best documentary short earlier this year at the Oscars and Suki Hawley and Michael Galinsky’s “Battle for Brooklyn,” was shortlisted for an Academy Award in 2011.

Brooklyn Film Festival, May 30 to June 8, screenings at indieScreen and Windmill Studios NYC, for more information and showtimes visit


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