berkshire international film festival

BIFF 2016 - Bruce Dern

Jun 1, 2016

  Bruce Dern has acquired the reputation of being one of the most talented and prolific actors of his generation. He turns 80-years old on Saturday – the same day he will be honored with a tribute at the Berkshire International Film Festival.

He will be in conversation with famed film director Douglas Trumbull, who directed Dern in the 1972 classic, Silent Running. Their talk will be followed by a screening of the Oscar nominated Nebraska at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington at 7PM.

  Hoping to reclaim who she was before marriage and children, an empty nester retreats to Cape Cod where she embarks upon a quest to set herself free. A Year By The Sea is based on the book of the same name by Joan Anderson and stars Karen Allen.

The film will screen as part of the Berkshire International Film Festival on Saturday, June 4th at 12:30pm at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, MA.

  The documentary feature film, Life, Animated, will be The Berkshire International Film Festival’s opening night film in Pittsfield, MA at The Beacon Theatre on Friday, June 3rd at 7pm.

Life, Animated tells the story of how Owen Suskind, who is autistic, found a pathway through Disney animation to language and a framework for making sense of the world. This emotional coming-of-age story follows Owen as he graduates to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence. Owen’s father, Ron Suskind, wrote a book of the same name to tell his family’s story of losing Owen.

The film interweaves classic Disney sequences with verite scenes from Owen’s life, the film explores how identification and empathy with characters like Simba, Jafar, and Ariel forge a conduit for him to understand his feelings and interpret reality.

Life, Animated won the Directing Award for a U.S. Documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and director, Roger Ross Williams, join us now. Roger Ross Williams is an Academy Award winning documentarian -- winning in 2010 for the Documentary Short Subject, Music by Prudence.

  From the director of the Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom; The Music of Strangers, tells the extraordinary story of the renowned international musical collective created by legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

The feature-length documentary follows The Silk Road Ensemble -- a group of diverse instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, arrangers, visual artists and storytellers -- as they explore the power of music to preserve tradition, shape cultural evolution and inspire hope.

The Music of Strangers is the Berkshire International Film Festival's opening night film at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, MA on June 2nd at 7 p.m. Yo-Yo Ma will participate in a Q&A following the film.

  The 11th Annual Berkshire International Film Festival will take place from June 2nd through the 5th in Great Barrington and June 3rd though the 5th in Pittsfield, MA.

The festival will bring films, filmmakers, industry professionals and film fans together for a celebration of independent film featuring documentaries, narrative features and short films – along with special tributes, parties, and discussions.

Kelley Vickery, Founder and Executive Director of BIFF and she joins us with a preview.

  Detective Lieutenant Laurel Hester spent 25 years investigating tough cases in Ocean County, New Jersey, protecting the rights of victims and putting her life on the line. She had no reason to expect that in the last year of her life, after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, that her final battle for justice would be for the woman she loved – as she struggles to transfer her earned pension to her domestic partner, Stacie Andree.

Laurel Hester’s story was shared in Cynthia Wade’s documentary, Freeheld, which won an Academy Award in 2008 for Best Documentary Short Subject. The doc has been adapted into a narrative feature film directed by Peter Sollett and starring Julianne Moore and Ellen Page.

The Berkshire International Film Festival will present a screening of the new film on October 4th at The Triplex in Great Barrington. Berkshire resident, Cynthia Wade, will be in attendance to introduce the film and participate in a Q&A afterward. Laurel Hester’s sister, Lynda, will also be in attendance.

BIFF - The Paper Trail

May 28, 2015

  The Paper Trail is screening at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, MA as part of the Berkshire International Film Festival on Sunday, May 3st at 1:30pm.

The documentary is about writers and people in the literary world talking about what they do, how they do it, what it means to them - and the future of writing and publishing. The talking-head style doc features luminaries and authors who are just starting out.

We are joined by the film’s director, Kelly Carty, and the co-director,  writer, and producer, Jonathan Bee.

Jimmy Chin

  In the high-stakes game of big-wall climbing, the Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru may be the ultimate prize. Sitting at the headwaters of the sacred Ganges River in Northern India, the Shark’s Fin has seen more failed attempts by elite climbing teams over the past 30 years than any other ascent in the Himalayas.

The layout of the 21,000-foot mountain’s perversely stacked obstacles makes it both a nightmare and an irresistible calling for some of the world’s toughest climbers. Hauling over 200 pounds of gear up 4,000-feet of technical, snowy, mixed ice and rock climbing is actually the simple part of this endeavor. After crossing that gauntlet you reach the Shark’s Fin itself: 1,500 feet of smooth, nearly featureless granite. There are few pre-existing fissures, cracks or footwalls. It is simply a straight sheet of overhanging rock.

Director Diego Ongaro’s first feature film, Bob and the Trees, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and is going to screen at the Berkshire International Film Festival on May 29th in Great Barrington.

The film is a fiction narrative and was entirely shot in the Berkshire in winter 2014 in the middle of the Polar Vortex using mostly non-professional actors.

Diego Ongaro joins us this morning along with Bob Tarasuk – the actor playing, Bob, a version of himself in the film.

  The BIFF is back! The Berkshire International Film Festival is celebrating 10 years at the end of this month. The BIFF is a world-class festival that is an integral part of the cultural fabric of the Berkshires.

The festival runs Thursday, May 28th through Sunday, May 31st in Great Barrington and Pittsfield, Massachusetts with screenings at The Triplex, The Mahaiwe, and The Beacon.

Kelley Vickery is the Founder and Director of BIFF and she joins us with a preview of this year's offerings.

Cast members from the 1978 classic National Lampoon’s Animal House are meeting for a reunion at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington Saturday. There’s also a Q-and-A after the screening.


   The Berkshire International Film Festival is presenting a special cast reunion and screening of the classic 1978 comedy, National Lampoon's Animal House, on Saturday night.

Members of Faber College's infamous Class of 1963 including Karen Allen, Peter Riegert, Mark Metcalf, Martha Smith, Jaime Widdows, and Judy Belushi will be in attendance following the film for a Q&A and a performance by Otis Day to complete the evening at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, MA.

Also in attendance will be the man who was at the helm of the film, director John Landis. Landis became famous for his work on Animal House - going on to direct such films as The Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf in London, Trading Places, Coming to America, and The Three Amigos.

    Beth Harrington is an award-winning independent producer, director, and writer.

Her most recent film, The Carters, The Cashes and the Course of Country Music. It will screen twice at this year's Berkshire International Film Festival.

BIFF - "Fort Tilden"

May 29, 2014

    The narrative feature, Fort Tilden, will screen twice at The Berkshire International Film Festival this weekend. Tomorrow at 9pm at The Triplex in Great Barrington and Saturday at 2pm at The Beacon in Pittsfield.

The film is the full-length feature debut co-written and co-directed by Sarah Violet Bliss and Charles Rodgers.

    Blue Gold: American Jeans is a feature-length documentary about how one unlikely garment ended up connecting us all. Following vintage jeans hunter Eric Schrader around the world, Blue Gold searches for the reason we all wear blue mining pants from the late 1800s.

An ambassador of Americana, Eric trades in the history, myth, and intrinsic values that have made blue jeans the most expensive and fetishized piece of vintage clothing on the planet. From fashion history and subculture aspiration to the lost tradition of American manufacturing, Blue Gold explores Americana in our globalized world, where cultural exchange and social responsibility demand greater transparency and inspire innovation.

Blue Gold: American Jeans will have its festival premiere at The Berkshire International Film Festival this weekend -- screening at 11:30am on Saturday at The Beacon in Pittsfield and again at 11:30am on Sunday at The Triplex in Great Barrington.

Filmmaker Christian Bruun joins us.

    Cherien Dabis is a Palestinian American director, producer, screenwriter, and actor. When her debut feature-length film, Amreeka, was released in 2009, she was named one of Variety magazine's "10 Directors to Watch."

Her new feature, May in the Summer, is a culture clash drama-comedy and is tonight’s opening night film at the 9th Annual Berkshire International Film Festival.

In the film, May Brennan (played by Dabis) returns from New York City to her childhood home of Amman, Jordan for her wedding. Shortly after reuniting with her sisters and their long-since divorced parents, myriad familial and cultural conflicts lead May to question the big step she is about to take.

Cherien Dabis is in The Berkshires ready for the screening at BIFF tonight and she joins us, now.

The 9th Annual Berkshire International Film Festival will spotlight 75 features, documentaries and short films, as well as parties, filmmaker Q&As, workshops and awards, from May 29th to June 1st in Great Barrington and Pittsfield, Mass.

BIFF - "Girl Rising"

May 31, 2013

    This Saturday night the documentary Girl Rising will screen at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, MA as part of The Berkshire International Film Festival. The screening and the following panel discussion is presented in cooperation with the Interdependence Movement and 10×10.

The thesis of Girl Rising is simple: educating girls in the developing world will bring about transformational change. Every day, millions of girls wake to a world that does not see them. But dollar for dollar, they are the best investment in the developing world. 

Girl Rising tells the stories of nine real girls from around the world - girls in Cambodia, India, Nepal, Egypt, Peru, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Haiti, and Sierra Leone. A female writer from each country has written the girl’s story and in the film, each vignette is narrated by an esteemed actress - including Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Kerry Washington. That’s 9 countries, 9 girls, 9 writers, and 9 actresses. In between each girl’s story, the filmmakers share statistical information in an engaging manner and those presentations are narrated by Liam Neeson. 

    The closing night film of the 8th Annual Berkshire International Film Festival is Noah Baumbach’s latest, Frances Ha. It was co-written by Baumbach and Greta Gerwig - who stars. Some of the other perfectly cast actors in the modern black-and-white comedy are Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver, Michael Esper, Michael Zegen, Charlotte D’Amboise, and Grace Gummer.

Noah Baumbach’s previous films include Kicking and Screaming, The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding, and Greenberg. He worked with Wes Anderson on The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and The Fantastic Mr. Fox and co-wrote the screenplay for the Dreamworks animated film, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted.

Frances Ha will screen at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, MA on Sunday, June 2nd at 7pm. Both Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig will be in attendance for a Q&A moderated by artist and Berkshire resident Gregory Crewdson.

    Tom Donahue’s documentary, Casting By, takes us through the last 50 years of Hollywood history from an entirely new perspective -- that of the casting director. Pioneers like Marion Dougherty and Lynn Stalmaster were iconoclasts whose exquisite taste and gut instincts helped to put an end to the studio system and usher in a new Hollywood. They broke away from traditional typecasting and brought actors like James Dean, Dustin Hoffman, Bette Midler, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, and Gene Hackman to the screen.

Tom Donahue combines personal narratives from actors, directors, and casting directors with extensive archival material to reconstruct the untold tale of Hollywood’s most invisible and unheralded profession.

Casting By will screen as part of The Berkshire International Film Festival on Sunday, June 2 at The Triplex in Great Barrington, MA. A Q&A will follow the screening with Casting Directors 
Gretchen Rennell and Elissa Myers.

    22-year-old Kevin Pearce had just come off of the most successful competitive season of his snowboarding career, challenging the dominance of his friend and rival, snowboarding legend Shaun White. Kevin’s professional ascent came at a time when snowboarding tricks were becoming more and more breathtaking – but also more dangerous.

On December 31, 2009, while riding the slopes of Park City, Utah in final training for the 2010 Winter Olympics, Kevin missed his landing and took a hard fall.

He was airlifted to the hospital, where doctors scrambled to save his life as his family flew from their home in Vermont to be at his side. When Kevin finally woke up from his coma - that was only the beginning of a long road to recovering from his Traumatic Brain Injury. From language to vision, motor skills to memory, Kevin had to come to terms with his new impairments.

This is the story told in The Crash Reel - a film by two-time Academy Award nominated filmmaker, Lucy Walker. The Crash Reel is screening at The Berkshire International Film Festival on Friday at 6:30pm at The Triplex in Great Barrington, MA.

    Millions know their voices, but few know their names. In his compelling new film 20 Feet From Stardom, award-winning director Morgan Neville shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century.

20 Feet From Stardom is the opening night film at The Berkshire International Film Festival - it screens tonight at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, MA at 6pm. The film features interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger and Sting to name just a few. 

  One of the backup singers featured in the film is the incomparable, Darlene Love - and she will be in attendance at The Mahaiwe.

From her first number one recording, “He’s A Rebel”, through her string of label hits with legendary producer Phil Spector, to the countless songs she sang backup on for artists like Sam Cooke, Elvis Presley, Dionne Warwick, Cher and Aretha Franklin, Darlene Love has blazed a trail of success in the music industry and was inducted into the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.