It’s hard to say what Bushwick will look like in October, but it appears that its future will involve the Bushwick Film Festival returning for a 14th round. The festival announced on Monday that it would begin taking submissions for features, documentaries, shorts and web series and, in fact, short film scripts too, according to the submission site.
The longtime project of Kweighbaye Kotee, an NYU grad and sometime filmmaker, programming at the Bushwick Film Festival is pretty out there, capable always of delivering an array of indies you are not likely to see on the big screen anywhere else. The winner of last year’s festival, which was held virtually, was a movie called Milkwater, a project surrounding Molly Bernard, who plays a best friend on the TV Land sitcom “Younger.” (Per the testimony of one of the festival’s brand ambassadors, the movie was selected, in part, for its strongly Brooklyn qualities: “The film is very clearly and obviously, set in Brooklyn. It’s full of Brooklyn-based actors, throws in jokes about the L-train and a number of jokes about what New Yokers must do.”) A previous winning feature at the festival, a movie called The Ghost Who Walks, also featured one-time North Brooklyn resident and podcasting-star Dasha Nekrasova playing a sex worker.
But much like the Tribeca Film Festival across the East River, a festival that Kotee has worked with a bunch, Bushwick Film Festival has probably done more notable work with its documentary programming. Before netting their minor hits at Sundance, directors like Elizabeth Wood and Kitty Green both screened their debuts at the Bushwick Film Festival’s doc section. Wood, after co-directing a documentary on crime in post-Katrina New Orleans, would, of course, would stay in the neighborhood to shoot her millennial thriller White Girl, set in nearby Ridgewood and eventually sold to Netflix.
But maybe, if like Martin Scorsese, you used your time in quarantine to shoot a short, your submission could find great company at the festival. In 2018, the festival opened with a movie called Bushwick Beats, which featured no fewer than six Bushwick-set shorts on the subject of love and romantic misadventure. Three years later, the movie would eventually see wide-release via VOD, under the curiously gentrified new title Brooklyn Love Stories. Deeper in the past, the festival has screened other locally-set shorts like Brett Glass’s “The Misadventures of Incredible Dr. Wonderfoot” and Natalia Leite’s “The Game.” Leite would eventually go on to land a feature that played at SXSW called M.F.A. in 2017.
The festival’s submission deadline is June 15th, though ‘early bird’ submissions close on March 15th. Those are offered at a discounted fee of $25 for shorts and $35 for features. Submit here.
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