Taylor Lhamon

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Bushwick Film Festival celebrates its 12th year with stories through space and time. The five day event will begin on October 2 and feature over 100 films screened at eight different venues throughout northern Brooklyn.

This year’s Space theme was introduced by the festival’s new creative director, Rah Crawford, as a nod to NASA’s 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing. While this genre certainly brings to mind galactic travel and sci-fi flicks, the theme will also give artists an opportunity to explore what space means to Earth. This means films included are animated shorts, features on gentrification and even a documentary on a brewery. Artists are encouraged to push their limits in expressing what Space means to their stories.

Founded in 2007 by Kweighbaye Kotee, Bushwick Film Festival had modest beginnings, featuring a handful of local films. Since then the festival has grown to more than 1500 submissions from 60 different countries. The team says this has given them the opportunity to share a wider array of stories.

Dedicated to inclusivity in the arts, Kotee established the festival to elevate underrepresented voices. “Movies suffer from a lack of diversity and can be extremely inaccessible to people, like me, who grew up in underserved communities,” Kotee says. “Building a creative platform that equally included women and other underrepresented voices became a personal mission.”

Even in its growth, the organization keeps the mission of inclusivity at the forefront of its vision. This is exceedingly apparent in the festival lineup. Joseph Willwerth, Director of Programming, says diversity plays a huge part in the selection process of films.  

“Filmmaking and storytelling is something that is constantly changing because it’s an art form that keeps up with the times we are living in. We receive many films that deal with important political and social issues and these certainly can strike a chord with us,” Willwerth says. “Of course it’s worth mentioning that who is behind and in front of the camera matters a great deal to us. Diversity has always been the primary focus of the festival. For example, this year over 60 percent of our short films were directed by women, which is something we’re very proud of.”

The Bushwick Film Festival has become a staple for the northern Brooklyn community. This annual event brings together artists and audiences alike for a week filled with films, panels, social gatherings and live music. To join the team for a journey through space and time on Oct. 2-6, visit their website for more information. 

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