Exacting Change for Oneself at the 2014 Art of Brooklyn Film Festival

By Shari Berman 

Some filmmakers come from a different point of view about change. Change does not require another person to be a catalyst to make it happen; it comes from within. In MILK AND HONEY (Narrative Short, Directed by Daniel Pfeffer) a teenager (Yainis Ynoa) decides to leave her abusive foster home life in the past and embark on her own journey, but in order to affect change, she must face her internal demons first. MILK AND HONEY is a moving piece that shows if you attempt the change, you will find the strength and support to succeed in your mission.

RESCUE (Narrative Short, Directed by Paul Bland) builds on this concept of deciding to help yourself. It takes a look at a misfit woman (played wonderfully by Leah Barker) who decides to save herself from herself by saving another. Of course, we all know that change is not easy even if you know you want to make the change.


The beautifully, carefully paced film SLOW AND STEADY (Directed by Annie Kaempfer) shows that change does not happen right away no matter how much you may want it. If you force it, it won’t thrive. And, some times you just can’t change how others see you especially if you don’t fit in a conventional category. Some times you just have to decide to stop trying to assimilate.

WHITE ALLIGATOR (Narrative Feature, Directed by Raquel Almazan) takes this life lesson to a whole other level as we watch a Puerto Rican actress (Viviana Leo) discover her skin is too white for her to be considered Hispanic, but she is too Hispanic to be considered white. All of these films have strong female characters that inspire.


MILK AND HONEY screens during the Brooklyn Born and Raised block on May 8th at I.S. 30 Mary White Ovington Auditorium at 7:30pm. It plays with HOW YOU DOIN’ BOY? VOICEMAILS FROM GRAN’PA, WAITING FOR MOLLY, THE MASTER CLEANSE, PEPPER and BODIES IN IRREVERSIBLE DETRIMENT.

RESCUE and SLOW AND STEADY screen with BALANCE, AN HONORABLE MAN, THEMES FROM A ROSARY, INQUIETUDE and WITHOUT FIRE in the Opening Night Drama Block Wednesday, May 7th at Founder’s Hall at 7pm.

WHITE ALLIGATOR screens on May 10th at 2pm in Founder’s Hall.

Shari Berman is an award-winning filmmaker and partner in Be Independent Productions. 

The 2014 Art of Brooklyn Film Festival runs May 7-11. For full schedule, film guide, trailers and tickets:



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Being a catalyst for change at the 2014 Art of Brooklyn Film Festival

By Shari Berman 

Some filmmakers see clearly how one person can have a huge impact on the life of another. AN HONORABLE MAN (Narrative Short, Directed by Harrison P. Crown/ William G. Utley) is a fine example of this. This film – where a priest (Michael Pemberton) conducts funeral services with no mourners in attendance – begs the question, “Who is the honorable man on screen?” Is it the priest going on with the service alone or the seemingly unloved deceased in the coffin? Moreover, is the person with the respectable title and the ability to go through the honorable motions of societal norms more effectual than the person who lacks that ability or status? The piece is introspective, quiet and surprisingly powerful. It reminds me greatly of August Stringberg’s, “The Stronger” in the use of the priest’s silent counterpart in the film.

Another powerful film is PEPPER (Narrative Short, Directed by Craig Robert Young). Though the story on the surface of this film is about a female impersonator helping an eight-year old boy find his way home, it is really a film about how an eight-year old boy helps a grown-up find out the truth about himself and what is really important. In this film, the seemingly less powerful person – the lost person – unwittingly exacts change in another human being.


This also is shown in WITHOUT FIRE (Narrative Short, Directed by Eliza McNitt) when a Navajo girl proves that she is the stronger individual when she helps to improve her overly domineering mother’s life. In addition, this film cleverly uses the mother (Misty Upham) and the daughter (Magdalena Begay) to symbolize traditional ways of living and modern life. It shows how they can exist together to bring about change for the good of all.

Where WITHOUT FIRE puts force for change front and center on screen, INQUIETUDE (Narrative Short, Directed by Morgan Davidsen) goes in a different direction and equally succeeds. The character on screen is not strong. She is an anxious dancer (Nina Ingemann) who can’t find the nerve to enter an audition without throwing up. Instead of being affected by the people in her day-to-day life, an unseen individual makes all the difference in her world. These films will make you remember that the individual can make a difference whether present or acting from afar.

PEPPER screens during the Brooklyn Born and Raised block on May 8th at I.S. 30 Mary White Ovington Auditorium at 7:30pm. It plays with HOW YOU DOIN’ BOY? VOICEMAILS FROM GRAN’PA, WAITING FOR MOLLY, THE MASTER CLEANSE, MILK AND HONEY and BODIES IN IRREVERSIBLE DETRIMENT.

AN HONORABLE MAN, INQUIETUDE and WITHOUT FIRE screen on Wednesday, May 7th at Founder’s Hall at 7pm. They play in a solid Drama Block including: BALANCE, SLOW AND STEADY, RESCUE, THEMES FROM A ROSARY and RESCUE.

I’ll be talking about some of these films, and others, in future installments so stay tuned.

Shari Berman is an award-winning filmmaker and partner in Be Independent Productions. 

The 2014 Art of Brooklyn Film Festival runs May 7-11. For full schedule, film guide, trailers and tickets:

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Passion, Creativity, Insanity and the 2014 Art of Brooklyn Film Festival

By Shari Berman 

It’s always interesting to look at the state of humanity through what art is offering. Image

In these times of disease, war and general lack of humanity, it gives me hope and faith that things can get better because people do care, and are willing to look at the problems of the world not as general humanitarian issues, but as personal ones.

Being on the screening panel (and Board) of the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival allows me to look at what independent filmmakers are focusing on today. And by independent, I don’t just mean films outside of the Hollywood Studio system, but films that are mostly financed by the filmmakers themselves.

Some films in the festival have well-known names attached — such as Stephen Baldwin in BALANCE and Nicholas Brendon (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame) in INDIGO and Mark Margolis (Breaking Bad) and David Johansen (New York Dolls, Buster Poindexter) in BODIES IN IRREVERSIBLE DETRIMENT. But all truly indie films depend on their content and the technique of everyone involved, from director to actor to DP to gaffer to editor to succeed. Often, there is no big marketing plan to drive the work – just the art and love of the project.

So, independent filmmakers – with their limited budget and self-reliance – must be by nature creative thinkers and passionate about the projects they involve themselves with. Just to give the non-filmmaker reader some perspective – it’s not unheard of it taking more than 5 years for an independent filmmaker to complete a feature film. Short films can be created quicker, but in general a fifteen-minute film would realistically take at least a year to complete. So you either have to be completely insane to embark on this journey or really passionate…or perhaps a little bit of both.

The films in this year’s festival run the gamut in terms of genres, but one thing many of them have in common is showing how change can happen – whether on an individual level or a societal one – from one act or one discovery or with the unlikeliest person being the catalyst for it.

Through this series of blog posts, I’ll be talking about some of the films in the festival that touch upon this theme, so stay tuned for more. And if you just can’t wait to read about the films, check out our schedule (with links to descriptions and trailers) here.

Shari Berman is an award-winning filmmaker and partner in Be Independent Productions. 

The 2014 Art of Brooklyn Film Festival runs May 7-11.


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ImageWe are proud to announce Official Selections for the 2014 Art of Brooklyn Film Festival. Our fourth annual festival is our biggest yet… with 63 films at 6 locations across Brooklyn over 4 days, including:

–       23 World Premieres

–       6 US/ Premieres

–       8 East Coast Premieres

–       3 NYC Premieres

–       18 Brooklyn Premieres


Feature Films:


Drama, 90 Min. USA

Directed by Nick Sicurella

Brooklyn Premiere

Behind Closed Doors follows three main storylines that are interwoven into a complex web of mystery and truth which takes place in a small, quiet Long Island town.     Tiffany and John’s college relationship is put to the test when John discovers Tiffany’s obscure perspective about love. Larry, an elderly man suffering from Alzeihmer’s, lives a simple life with his daughter Natalie, who’s constantly fighting for their financial survival. Paul, an elementary school principal, has gained respect not only from his place of work but at home for being a loving family man. These seemingly unrelated stories collide when one horrifying event sends their lives into a whirlwind of chaos.



Sci-Fi, 90 min. USA

Directed by Arthur Vincie

Brooklyn Premiere

Chris is a psychic who experiences his life out of order – he “slips” uncontrollably between the past, present and future. When he commits a murder in the future he realizes he has to change his present and past to prevent it from happening. But how can he do that if he’s not even sure of “when” he is?



Suspense/Horror/Noir, 92 min. USA

Directed by John Hawthorne Smith

East Coast Premiere

Eli Casey, an up-and-coming photographer and recovering heroin addict, implodes after his son is kidnapped. He separates from his wife. He stops working. He gives up. As a favor to his agent, Eli begrudgingly agrees to shoot a wedding. While there, he takes a picture of a suspicious couple who offer to bribe him in return for deleting certain photos. Eli refuses. The next day, Eli discovers that the flower girl at the wedding disappeared and Eli sets out to conquer his demons and save the girl.



Comedy, 92 min. USA

Directed by Viviana Leo

Brooklyn Premiere

A Puerto Rican network awards a young native actress her own show, documenting her quick rise to success in New York. Her only problem: she’s white.

Feature Documentaries:



Documentary, 81 min. USA

Directed by Alessandra Giordano

Brooklyn Premiere

Coney Island, the once magnificent “Playground of the World” has survived many battles, but now faces its greatest enemy: corporate greed. Center stage in the passionate struggle to protect the amusement park from an unscrupulous developer and a group of misguided politicians is Dianna Carlin, owner of the celebrated Lola Star boutique,and newly turned political activist. This modern day David and Goliath tale chronicles the courage and determination of a community to preserve the spirit and authenticity of a legendary American Icon and an entire way of life in the face of “Big Money” and ruthless real estate development.



Documentary, 82 min. USA

Directed by Laura Brownson & Beth Levison

Brooklyn Premiere

Three-time felon, one-time Tony Award winner, Lemon Andersen is an acclaimed poet who broke out on Broadway in Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam. But Lemon has landed back in the Brooklyn projects, is living with thirteen family members, and is desperate for a way out. He turns to the only things he has left, his pen and his story. A beautifully crafted film, LEMON follows one man’s journey to bring his life story to the stage while battling the demons from his past. Featuring a surprise turn by Spike Lee and music by Hip-hop phenoms Kanye West, Mos Def, Talib Kweli and others, this documentary debut personalizes the anguish of a generation of men clinging to the margins but fighting for something more.



Documentary, 92 min. USA

Directed by Gayle Embrey

NYC Premiere

Throughout the world, people instinctively go to the walls, painting their stories to give voice to their life experiences. Beyond The Walls brings to life the struggles and successes, through the creation of murals, in the West Bank, Northern Ireland, Liberia, El Salvador, Argentina, Australia, and the United States.



Documentary, 83 min. USA

Directed by James Crotty

East Coast Premiere

Told with humor and suspense, and shot in a gritty verite style reflecting its unvarnished South Bronx milieu, CROTTY’S KIDS follows five Eagle Academy debaters as they evolve from content-light amateurs to critical thinking heavyweights. However, debate is only an ongoing McGuffin to the heart of the story: young men in search of an intellectual father figure. Coach Crotty arrives in their lives with the clock running out. In two years, the young men of Eagle are likely to become grist for a staggering statistic: 50% or urban males never graduate high school. Will they defy the statistic that brought Crotty to them in the first place?


Short Documentaries:


Graves of Arthur Kill

Documentary, 32 min. USA

Directed by Will Van Dorp

World Premiere

Though it’s been described as an “accidental museum,” the graveyard of ships at New York City’s southernmost point isn’t on any tourism maps. The site is owned by a metal recycling company and visitors are turned away. But this bone yard begs for attention. Rusty tugboats sit lopsided in its muddy waters. Rotting wooden skeletons of old barges dot the shoreline. Collectively, these crumbling vessels seem like haunting maritime sculptures in a massive art installation.



Documentary, 28 min. Iceland/USA

Directed by Lindsay Blatt

Brooklyn Premiere

Herd In Iceland is a documentary about the annual round-up of the Icelandic horse. During the summer months, they live a wild existence, grazing in the highlands and raising their young. Each fall, they are rounded up by local farmers and directed across the stunning landscape. The film documents the herders as they collect their horses across the island’s remote terrain. This valued tradition is a social and cultural touchstone for both the farmers who own the horses and the city dwellers who travel to the countryside to participate. The horse holds a precious place in Icelandic culture, art and tradition; for over 1,000 years Icelandic law has prohibited the importation of horses onto the island. Herd has received ten festival awards.



Documentary, 21 min.            Australia

Directed by Thomas Hyland & Sean Fennessy

US Premiere

Just Passing Through is a straight-up, stylish snapshot of life as a full-time musician in Australia. Three of Australia most respected artists (Gareth Liddiard, Sarah Blasko, Paul Dempsey) speak candidly about the challenges they face from finances to fatigue – as grow older through the murks of the music industry.   Director Thomas Hyland coaxes his subjects to reveal their most intimate ‘3am thoughts’ – the kind of conversations musicians only have amongst themselves. It’s a confronting and fascinating dissection of an industry where the business side is often swept under the smoke machine. This is fame and fortune Australia style – unglamorous and hardly secure.


HOW GREAT IT WAS (Mooi Geweest)

Documentary, 35 min. The Netherlands

Directed by Ilja Willems

US Premiere


HOW GREAT IT WAS is a film about an aging men’s field hockey team from the south of the Netherlands that has been playing together for over 50 years. Most of the guys are approaching the age of 70. They decided to play their very last game together. It is a film about male friendships, getting older and not being capable to do all the stuff they used to do. But fortunately, growing old is easier when you are doing it together. It is a portrait of a team of friends with all their different personalities. The film evolves around the very last field hockey game of their lives.


Under The Bus

Documentary, 47 min. USA

Directed by Keif Roberts & Peter J. Haas

Anthony has driven a school bus in Staten Island, New York for twenty-four years. His plans to retire suddenly grind to a halt when the Union (ATU 1181) goes on strike in response to a contract dispute with the City of New York.   The film follows Anthony and his fellow drivers to the picket line, where they find themselves battling harsh winter weather, a media blackout, Union politics and a Mayor who refuses to negotiate. When the City puts Anthony and the driver’s jobs out to bid, a tense atmosphere erupts as non-union ‘replacement drivers’ start crossing the picket lines. As the strike drags on, many workers fear they will have to leave their Unionized jobs in order to support their families.



Documentary, 21 min. Vietnam/USA

Directed by Joan Widdifield

Brooklyn Premiere

Rainy Season is an intimate story about a family’s unexpected change of fate, set in the larger context of post-war Vietnam. A rubber tree-farming family comes to grips with life after their youngest son finds a leftover American mortar while searching for grasshoppers. With unprecedented access and shot over five years, Rainy Season captures the land’s sumptuous beauty and reveals the far-reaching sorrow that it harbors.


SPOKE: A Short Film About NYC Bikes

Documentary, 15 min. USA

Directed by Heather Quinlan

World Premiere

SPOKE is about NYC Bikes – the good, the bad, and the needs improvement. Featuring interviews w/reporters, city workers, sanitation workers, lawyers, and people who love bikes but not bike lanes, love bikes but not CitiBikes, people who want to scrap the whole thing altogether, and people who wouldn’t change a thing.



Documentary, 7 min. USA

Directed by Patrick Armitage

World Premiere

It has been said that everyone has a story. In New York City, we are surrounded by millions of these stories every day, but how often are you granted the opportunity to really connect with a complete stranger? We spent one day looking for someone willing to share their story with us, and returned with surprising results.


Short Films:



Comedy, 15 min. USA

Directed by Jean Pesce

Mr. Lamb is Jean Pesce’s NYU – Tisch School of the Arts pre-thesis film. It is a dark comedy about a diner waitress named Myrna, who is in love with her pen pal — the convicted murderer, Charles Lamb. Myrna is convinced of his innocence and their mutual love. When Mr. Lamb escapes from prison and shows up at Myrna’s door, her dreams of romance turn into a violent nightmare – involving a can of chili.



Drama, 11 min. USA

Directed by Annie Kaempfer

Brooklyn Premiere

Max is on a mission to make this Christmas with her father a success, but a one-night stand and an untimely death might prove too much to handle.



Suspense/Horror/Noir, 36 min. USA

Directed by Motoko Fukuyama

Brooklyn Premiere

Daughter wakes from a nightmare in which a group of girls are chasing after her shadow. Over the following days Mother’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic in response to signs of daughters burgeoning sexual maturity and desire for independence. Pan, an elf-like intruder, appears one evening in Daughter’s bedroom and seduces her. During their second encounter, both of their shadows separate from their bodies, terrifying Daughter. Mother scolds Daughter for losing her shadow and violently re-attaches it to her. The following evening, as Pan and Daughter are making love, Mother intrudes and stabs Pan in the back as he climaxes. Liberated, Daughter walks out of the house the next morning into the daylight – without a shadow.



Drama, 11 min. USA

Directed by Paul Bland

World Premiere

RESCUE follows a girl as she struggles to come out from behind her camera and connect with the world that she has been capturing in frozen images.



Drama, 24 mi. USA

Directed by Brian McCann

East Coast Premiere

Jeremy is a realist. He believes in what he can see and what can be empirically proven, but a string of events in his life cause him to falter in his skepticism. He wonders if the odd events in his life are somehow related or if it is just his mind making connections where there are none. Once he starts to seriously consider one scenario he would have once considered implausible it becomes hard for him to a draw the line between what is possible and what isn’t.



Drama, 22 min. USA

Directed by Donari Braxton

Brooklyn Premiere

T-FAR stories the fall from grace of two wavering creatives, Moise and Andelise. Moise, an anonymous, would-be genius whose hobby is to reconstruct model replicas of bombs, is struggling to make peace with the sudden rise-to-fame of his photographer girlfriend, Andie. Aware of her recent distance, and of the suspicious relationship she maintains with art-collector and mentor Choggys West, he commits to a somewhat unlikely undertaking: to build the world’s first functional homemade nuclear weapon. And as he professedly nears successful completion of his project, Andie, caught between, must decide whether she believes Moise mad, and therefore should help him, or if she believes in him enough conversely that she should take action to stop him.



Film As Art (Experimental/Avant-Garde), 11 min, USA

Directed by James G Barry

World Premiere

Lady Bird’s Eye View is the on-line pseudonym that belongs to a young beautiful amateur photographer.   As she walks through the city she posts pictures of street art in various forms and states of decay. In Sunny Day she has garnered the attention of another photographer. One who seems to have a decidedly different purpose and technique.



Comedy, 13 min. USA

Directed by Sammy James, Jr.

Brooklyn Premiere

Desperate to get his music to the masses, high-strung bandleader Dom demands relentless rehearsing! Between practice and perfect, however, lies a minefield of egos, ineptitude, and attitude problems.



Comedy, 27 min. USA

Directed by Aaron Wolf

World Premiere

Lance Wesley lost his job and fiancee on the same day. Depressed and downtrodden, he moves back into his parents’ Guesthouse where he spent his youth. As he fights constantly with his frustrated and less-than-patient father, relics from his past pay him a visit. Will his past propel him forward?


Milk and Honey

Drama, 23 min. USA

Directed by Daniel F Pfeffer

East Coast Premiere

On her fifteenth birthday, Maya Rivera makes the ultimate decision to run away from her abusive foster home. She confesses her escape plans to her loyal boyfriend, Josiah, but little does she know her crazed and jealous stepbrother, Johnny, is hot on their trail.



Drama, 12 min. USA

Directed by Jesse Knight

A troubled woman with a mysterious past and a packed suitcase waits for her friend. But the more she says the clearer it is that something is wrong. Who is she? Why is she lying? And who, or what is she waiting for? Waiting For Molly is a taut psychological portrait of a woman on the edge of her own sanity searching for meaning and humanity among strangers. It’s a story about lies, desire, trying to find truth.



Suspense/Horror/Noir, 15 min. USA

Directed by Christopher Soren Kelly

Brooklyn Premiere

Somewhere on the back roads of the Louisiana Bayou, the half-mad and blood-soaked Louis Chasseur, hunts the devil. Instead Chasseur encounters the Devil’s lawyer, weasely Mycroft Coney. In a biblical battle of wills, fast-talking Mycroft fights for his life as the conscienceless Chasseur pumps him for information on the Devil. Eventually, Chasseur gets what he wants…. and more.



Drama, 11 min. USA

Directed by Jeff Wolfe

Brooklyn Premiere

One mans journey of forgiveness. David Lyons (Safe Haven, Revolution) plays Thomas Walker, a man hounded by personal demons and inner turmoil who has lived long enough with the scars of his past. Stephen Collins (7Th Heaven, Blood Diamond) is the Priest he visits to clear his conscience and discover exactly what it means to find forgiveness… or to give it.



Drama, 20 min. USA

Directed by Eliza McNitt

NYC Premiere

A young Navajo girl must find a way to heat her home in order to save her asthma-stricken mother from a bitter winter storm.



Drama, 18 min. USA

Directed by Craig Young & Marc Cleary

NYC Premiere


Today is a big day: it’s aged drag queen Pepper’s estranged son’s birthday, who disowned her 20 years ago for her lifestyle choices. A chance meeting with Charlie, an 8 year old reminds her about the family she left behind and the importance of making amends, or at least trying to.



Film As Art, 13 min. Japan

Directed by TOOWAII

World Premiere


There were a lazy man and a nervous woman. They started quarrel. When a nervous woman couldn’t forgive a man, The scene changed. And they started fighting again by the sound that the musician was playing.



Comedy, 15 min. USA

Directed by Lorenzo Del Bianco

Bizarre homeless people are the soul of New York. It is the whistle of a crazy homeless man that introduces us to one of the million stories he sees as he wanders through the city. It is a simple story. One of many. A night in Brooklyn. It is the story of Beaumont, a young man who is in love with his extravagant glasses and bike and who gets angry at all the people that don’t respect him. Very angry.



Drama, 15 min. USA

Directed by Harrison P. Crown and William G. Utley

World Premiere

Father McCully, an old priest who resents his position in the Catholic Church, arrives at a funeral to give a eulogy to find nobody is present. While giving the eulogy, he examines the man’s possible life and discovers he has met him before.



Drama, 25 min. USA

Directed by Ben Lazarus

East Coast Premiere            – Starring David Johansen and Mark Margolis

Horatio has Body Integrity Identity Disorder, a condition in which people seek to amputate appendages to make themselves feel “whole”. He joins a group for dealing with the affliction, thus meeting Sarah, a quirky BIID sufferer. Both lives intertwine in an attempt to find themselves, while making sense of their disorder and their environment. But in life, trying to deal with an issue will always bring about multiple solutions. One hasty decision can change the course of your life for better or…



Drama, 30 min. USA

Directed by Juliana Puyo

World Premiere

The Dumping Fields is a film about serial killers and the exploration of this facet of the human nature. It’s a thriller that keeps you guessing about who the killer is and the lengths that he will go to hide his identity… even if the biggest surprise will be for him.



Comedy, 15 min. USA

Directed by Daniel Goldberg

Brooklyn Premiere

Welcome to Manifest Refuge, Brooklyn’s most transformative commune. Founded in 1996 by Dr. Emma Horowitz in a Park Slope brownstone, its members are as diverse as the neighborhood itself. But they all have one thing in common: The Master Cleanse. Jim, an outsider, thinks commune member Brook might be the love of his life, but will this seemingly innocuous ritual stand between them? As Jim learns more about Brook’s “soul friends” and their shared right of passage, he gradually begins to realize what he suspected all along: The Master Cleanse has nothing to do with cayenne, lemon, and maple syrup.



Film As Art (Experimental/Avant-Garde), 12 min. Norway

Directed by Morgan Davidsen

East Coast Premiere

Anna is in New York to become a dancer. In her pursuit of a dream, she has no other choice and know no other way. A short film about the artistic ambition that drives towards a goal sometimes on the verge of fatigue and madness. Anna’s dream is somewhat not hers only, but all of ours who strive for something. Not all are dancers or artists, but many of us have an extra urge to show who we are and what we can do. In a way we are doomed. We don’t have a choice. We are living our lives in Inquietude.



Suspense/Horror/NoiR , 30 min. France

Directed by Karim Ouaret

Brooklyn Premiere

Terry is a psychologically disturbed predator whose sinister playground is a laundromat. He thinks he is the hero of a comic book that is reading: “Terry Laurence, Gentleman Gangster.” That’s when his memory playing tricks on him. Terry is a victim of an unknown phenomenon that literature considers as a “Lapsus Memoriae,” or a slip of memory.



Film As Art (Experimental/Avant-Garde), 17 min. France / Madagascar

Directed by Raphaël Holt

East Coast Premiere

I found 8mm footage, shot at the time of my mother’s youth in Madagascar. Probably an experimental documentary, this film is a visual essay on melancholy. I worked with the choreographer and dancer Aina Alegre. Together, we tried to explore melancholy through a character who grew up in Madagascar and then came to live in France without ever feeling complete. Her body became a form through which these images could be reshaped. Since the very begining it was clear that a sense of coldness would be part of the film, here linked to a feeling of disapearance. When we started to shoot, snow fell down and I realized it was a visual incarnation of melancholy.



Dark Comedy/Drama, 15 min USA

Directed by Eirin Strickland

East Coast Premiere

This is a fable about a six toed butcher, a prostitute and a fisherwoman who all confront their own shortcomings and struggles with a life that has not always dealt them the best of cards. An unlikely love story and struggle of individuals to take control of their own destinies. This audacious, inspiring and zany tale takes place all in one act near the beautiful and scenic harbor that have brought them all together.


Super-Short Films (10 min. and under)



Film As Art (Experimental/Avant-Garde), 5 min. USA

Directed by Ian Cinco

World Premiere

In this hypnotic music video a mystic and three entrancing priestesses perform a bizarre ritual. Through the juxtaposition of grotesque and beautiful imagery, one can experience both a viscerally evocative exploration of the physical body and a meditation on the transformative ability of the human psyche.



Suspense/Horror/Noir, 6 min. USA

Directed by Jesse Burks

Brooklyn Premiere

Mommy and Daddy love you…very, very much. Starring Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes.)



Comedy, 10 min. USA

Directed by Kevin McMullin

Brooklyn Premiere

A boy finds a dinosaur in the woods, but no one believes him.



Film As Art/Comedy, 2 min.  USA

Directed by Pietro Cocco

US Premiere

The video was born out of the want to display the reality in which I was living for a few months. Even if the fashion in the movie is playing a fundamental role in developing the story I wouldn’t call it a “proper” fashion film because it wasn’t born to promote any fashion brand. The “everyday life” scenes try to tell the story of Bushwick, a prominently Hispanic neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. I wanted to highlight normal situations and chose to make it revolve around a hypothetic ice cream truck and the communication between locals. As I often do in my videos, I try to add a surprise element to the story and in this case it’s a girl named Florencia.



Comedy, 5 min. USA

Directed by Matthew Strickland

World Premiere

New Yorker Kevin becomes obsessed with a girl on the L train. As he watches her he begins to realize he’s not the only one enthralled by her.



Animation, 4 min. USA

Directed by Jaime Ekkens

“A Life with Asperger’s” is an animated documentary that explores the challenges of growing up and living with Asperger’s Syndrome. It is a voice over narrative that demonstrates that Asperger’s is not simply “being a little awkward,” rather it is about adapting to one’s limitations in the face of anxiety and isolation. The technique is a collage of photography, rotoscope, animated characters and live action footage.



Drama, 8 min. USA

Directed by Irina Patkanian

Brooklyn Premiere

Overnight a man turns his family home into a military stronghold fortified with machine guns, barbwire, and barricades. He is completely sane and not alone.



Sci-Fi/Comedy, 10 min. USA

Directed by Michael Lukk Litwak

US Premiere

“The Life and Death of Tommy Chaos and Stacey Danger” is a short film about true love and dinosaurs. A drunk person once described it as “a cross between Blue Valentine and Jurassic Park.”


Film As Art (Experimental/Avant-Garde), 8 min. USA

Directed by Venise Stephenson

NYC Premiere

A woman meets a stranger on the beach and goes for a seductive, dangerous swim.



Sci-Fi, 8 min. USA

Directed by Jason Markowitz and Zac Grant

World Premiere

If Walt Disney entered The Twilight Zone, this would be it! Trapped inside a bunker, a father tries desperately to help his son, who suffers from a lack of friends



Documentary, 4 min. USA

Directed by Joanna Belbey

World Premiere

In 2012, a couple travels to India for the first time. From protests in New Delhi, to the joy of the Taj Mahal, from ancient villages, to luxury spas, they spend much of their vacation dazed and confused, trying to take it all in. Processing it. Fighting it. Accepting it. To this couple, India is a jumble of images, sounds and smells that they struggle to understand. This 4-minute short film attempts to recreate what these Westerners feel when they experience India for the first time.



Drama, 8 min. USA

Directed by Seth Graves and Gianna Isabella

World Premiere

Balance is a drama with supernatural overtones about Justina, a mysterious and potent young woman who moves seamlessly through intertwined characters to bring the downfall of one with consequences—both good and bad—to others.



Film As Art (Experimental/Avant-Garde), 5 min. USA

Directed by Beth Portnoy

US Premiere

Backed into a corner, a woman tries to expand from her confined position. As she wades through her possibilities, new versions of herself are revealed; reflections that are recognized and powers that are yet to be discovered. a film by Beth Portnoy choreographed & performed by Eleanor Hullihan music by Frères Lumières © 2013



Sci-Fi, 15 min. France

Directed by Youcef Mahmoudi

World Premiere

In a KGB bunker, the day after man landed on the Moon, a woman with psychic powers gets brainwashed to kill the head of NASA.



Comedy/Mockumentary, 5 min. USA

Directed by Artie Brennan

World Premiere

Gowanus Galpagos is a short documentary that shows the distant relatives that inhabit the coastal waters of The Galapagos Islands and Brooklyn’s Gowanus canal. Darwin himself would be shocked to see how different these creatures are. Is man the cause?



Film As Art (Experimental/Avant-Garde), 4 min. USA

Directed by William D. Caballero

NYC Premiere

In this comedic character-driven hybrid short film, a miniature elderly Latino Gran’pa sits next a rustic rotary phone, leaving a quirky voicemail in broken English to his grandson Davy. Through a serious of a few voicemails, which range from birthday wishes to folksy advice about how to garner respect and get ahead in life, Gran’pa begins to express frustration at Davy’s lack of communication. Finally, the phone finally rings with Davy on the line as the credits roll.



Animation, 7 min. Australia

Directed by Ben & Josh McCarthy

World Premiere

Mr Worthington loves Hobnob biscuits but so do the mice that live within his walls. The traps are baited and Mr Worthington waits for the kill. But these movie-mad mice only see the traps as a chance to dress up as their favourite movie heroes and steal the bait.   However, Mrs Worthington has a secret weapon….


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Presenting the Winners of the 2013 Art of Brooklyn Film Festival.


The 2013 Art of Brooklyn Film Festival trophy, custom-forged from salvaged metal and wood by Richard Lodato of Forerunner Creations, a Brooklyn company that specializes in the restoration and recreation of 18th and 19th century cast and forged metal work. facebook.com/ForerunnerCreations

Best Super-Short: 
Directed by Clare Kent

Best Short:
Directed by Maxwell Newman-Plotnick

Best Feature:
Directed by Will McCord

Best Short Documentary:
Directed by Matt Cascella 

Best Documentary:
Directed by Olympia Stone

Best Animation:
Directed by Ben McCarthy

Vanguard Award:
Directed by William Caballero

Dark Side Award:
Directed by Richard Termini

Best Director:
Eric Trenkamp for AMERICAN BOMBER

Audience Choice Award:
Directed by Joe Glickman

Congratulations to the winners, and thank you to ALL our incredibly talented filmmakers. You made our third annual Festival an event to remember, and we’re honored to have screened your films!

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