Seems like every neighborhood in North Brooklyn these days has its own localized film festival that may or may not feature locally focused content. In contrast, The Art of Brooklyn Film Festival, whose screenings start tomorrow, May 7, is a platform for Brooklyn-centric independent film: mostly, locals making movies about their own local experiences, but also Brooklyn-born filmmakers making movies in Europe and European-based directors shooting pictures in Brooklyn. We talked to festival communications director Anthony DeVito, a working actor and native Brooklynite (like most of the people involved in the festival), about what audiences can expect from the coming week.
It seems like Brooklyn has so many film festivals these days. What sets yours apart?
The Art of Brooklyn Film Festival is the only festival in the world devoted entirely to Brooklyn—an indie film scene with global influence. AoBFF screens films by Brooklyn born and based makers, who live in the borough and around the world. In order to become an official AoBFF selection, films must have a connection to the borough. We’re the only ones who do that.
How many neighborhoods are represented by the filmmakers this year?
Our Brooklyn-based filmmakers come from all over the borough: Park Slope, Bay Ridge, Fort Greene, Coney Island, Brooklyn Heights, Bushwick, and more. We’re also featuring films that were shot in Brooklyn from filmmakers as far away as Japan and Italy, and films made by Brooklyn filmmakers in Europe.
The 2014 Art of Brooklyn Film Festival will feature 63 films at six screening locations in Brooklyn Heights, Bay Ridge and Clinton Hill—and our opening night party was in Park Slope. Rather than focusing on a single neighborhood, AoBFF is the independent, international festival for the entire borough.
Do you think there’s a film community in Brooklyn?
Absolutely. Brooklyn’s indie film scene is as vibrant and international as the borough itself. The “New Brooklyn” creative scene tends to get the bulk of the media attention, but there are amazing filmmakers from communities all over the borough. We created AoBFF to bring all of these voices together.
Has the Brooklyn film scene changed in the last five, 10, 20 years?
Yes. Brooklyn has become one of the most important centers for independent film in the world. There has been an influx of young artists to the borough over the last decade or so, but this scene is bigger than that. We think the renaissance in Brooklyn independent filmmaking is more due to the availability of technology, which enables more independent artists to create world-class films. We designed AoBFF as a hub for this evolving scene, which includes Brooklyn-born, Brooklyn-based and Brooklyn-centric films and filmmakers.
Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart