BIFF @ Tanglewood
June 3 @ 10:00 am - 9:00 pm
An event every day that begins at 10:00 am, repeating until June 5, 2022
The Berkshire International Film Festival returns this weekend, June 2 to 5, screening independent feature, documentary, short and family films on big screens across the county, with panel discussions and events focusing on filmmakers and artists from both sides of the camera.
Films will screen at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, the Triplex in Great Barrington (on Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and the Tanglewood Learning Institute in Lenox. They also have virtual films available for screening at home. Here are the films coming to Tanglewood.
Friday, June 3
Shorts 1 — 10 a.m.
CODED: THE HIDDEN LOVE OF J.C. LEYENDECKER (2021)
J.C. Leyendecker was one of the most prominent artists of his time, but his story is largely forgotten. Forced to keep his sexuality a secret, his coded imagery spoke directly to the gay community and laid the foundation for LGBTQ representation in advertising today. Director Ryan White brings a cast of well-known names: Neil Patrick Harris, Jari Jones, Judy Goffman Cutler, Jennifer A. Greenhill and John T. Nash.
MARTHA MITCHELL EFFECT (2022)
She was once as famous as Jackie O — and then she tried to take down a President. Martha Mitchell was the unlikeliest of whistleblowers: a Republican wife who was discredited by Nixon to keep her quiet. Until now. Directors Anne Alvergue and Debra McClutchy tell her story.
TALKING PICTURES 2019 | 0:19 min. | US Sixteen paintings, sixteen poems. Bob Holman, founder of the legendary Bowery Poetry Club, and husband of maverick American painter Elizabeth Murray regales us with his remarkable, energizing and surprising poetry which both interprets and reveals with wonderful intimacy their shared life together alongside Murray’s iconic paintings. Director Kristi Zea and the filmmaker will be here for the screening.
Secret Name — 1 p.m.
Nelie escaped a miserable existence by becoming a frontline nurse in 1914. One day, she takes the identity of Rose, a young woman from a good family, who dies in front of her. She presents herself in her place at Madame de Lengwil’s house, to become the reader of this wealthy woman. The lie works beyond her expectations.
Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen — 4 p.m.
The fall of 2021 marked the 50th anniversary of “Fiddler on the Roof,” the film Pauline Kael (The New Yorker) called “the most powerful movie musical ever made.” Narrated by Jeff Goldblum, FIDDLER’S JOURNEY TO THE BIG SCREEN captures the humor and drama of director Norman Jewison’s quest to recreate the lost world of Jewish life in Tsarist Russia and re-envision the beloved stage hit as a wide-screen epic.
Oscar-nominated filmmaker Daniel Raim puts us in the director’s chair and in Jewison’s heart and mind, drawing on behind-the-scenes footage and never-before-seen stills as well as original interviews with Jewison, Topol (Tevye), composer John Williams, production designer Robert F. Boyle, film critic Kenneth Turan, lyricist Sheldon Harnick, and actresses Rosalind Harris, Michele Marsh and Neva Small (Tevye’s daughters). The film explores how the experience of making “Fiddler” deepens Jewison as an artist and revives his soul.
Jack London’s Martin Eden — 7 p.m.
“Jack London’s Martin Eden” is based on the celebrated writer’s autobiographical novel. Set in 1909, it tells the story of a poor and unschooled sailor who unexpectedly meets Ruth Morse, a magnetic young woman of means and education. Their unconventional attraction upends both lives and propels timely themes of impossible love, dogged individualism in pursuit of the American Dream, and the quest for a comfortable place in an inconstant world.
“Jack London’s Martin Eden” was filmed on Nantucket and was produced through director Jay Craven’s Semester Cinema program, where 30 professionals mentor and collaborate with 45 students to make an ambitious feature film for national and international release.
Saturday, June 4
Pasang: In the Shadow of Everest — 10 a.m.
PASANG chronicles Pasang Lhamu Sherpa’s tragic and inspiring journey to become the first Nepali woman to summit Everest in 1993. As an uneducated, indigenous woman and a Buddhist in a Hindu kingdom, Pasang’s dream to scale the legendary mountain pits her against family, foreign climbers, her own government, and nature itself. Her determined pursuit of Everest plays out within the context of her nation’s quest for democracy and the emergence of the commercial climbing industry. As told by the Nepalis who knew her, by some of the world’s most notable alpinists, and by Pasang herself, her historic quest would transfix her country and uplift a new generation’s belief in its possibilities.
Animated Shorts — 1 p.m.
THE BOY and the JAZZ – Director: Flavio Dos Santos – Brazil
Animated short that tells the story of a boy in love with music who, upon seeing the window of a musical instrument store, decides he wants a trumpet to become a jazz musician. When he realizes that the price of the instrument is higher than he can afford, he feels frustrated, but then he starts looking for ways to achieve his goals.
THE WORLD’S GREATEST HOME – Director: Zubar Pradham -Canada
The ‘World’s Greatest Home’ is a beautiful story about the journey of two children from remarkably different backgrounds and the exquisite world they build together. Set in Guerrero, Mexico, it begins with the protagonist Levi, a child separated from his family in Guerrero, who is now forced to scrummage through scraps to put a meal on his table. As he encounters David, a hometown boy from a seemingly high income family, he is introduced to a stunning world filled with superheroes, delicious food, swimming pools, amusement games and lots of color.
THE MIDNIGHT SUN – Director: Connor Radding – United States
A park ranger is disoriented by her internal desire to find a missing boy. An animated short film about isolation, loss, and a search for meaning.
Nothing Compares — 4 p.m.
NOTHING COMPARES charts Sinéad OʼConnorʼs phenomenal rise to worldwide fame and examines how she used her voice at the height of her stardom before her iconoclastic personality led to her exile from the pop mainstream. Focusing on Sinéad’s prophetic words and deeds from 1987 to 1993, the film presents an authored, richly cinematic portrait of this fearless trailblazer through a contemporary feminist lens.
The archive-led documentary features era-defining music videos and concert performances alongside previously unseen footage from this period.
The film is underpinned by a new interview with Sinéad herself, in which she reflects on events in her own words, and from a present-day perspective. Intimate first-hand contributor interviews add to the tapestry with additional insights from contemporary artists, musicians, and social commentators introducing broader themes of Irish history, politics, and global activism, all the while reflecting on Sinéad’s artistry, impact, and legacy.
My Old School — 7 p.m.
In 1993, 16-year-old Brandon Lee enrolled at Bearsden Academy, a secondary school in a well-to-do suburb of Glasgow, Scotland. What followed over the next two years would become the stuff of legend.
Brandon had been privately tutored in Canada while he accompanied his mother, an opera diva, on tour before her tragic death. The preternaturally bright student surprised teachers by blazing toward his goal of entering medical school, displaying a wealth of knowledge beyond his years. Brandon found friends despite his initial awkwardness. He took bullied students under his wing, introduced classmates to seminal retro bands, and even starred in the school’s production of South Pacific. But then his unbelievable secret was revealed.
Filmmaker Jono McLeod returns to his old school for a nostalgic look at the strange but true story of his former classmate, Brandon Lee. Utilizing playful, period-specific animation, a pitch-perfect soundtrack, the memories of students and teachers, and the talents of Alan Cumming to bring the tale to life, My Old School offers more than one surprise along the way.
Sunday, June 5
Berkshire Shorts — 10 a.m.
Filmmakers will be here for the screening.
THE SWEET TASTE OF FREEDOM (2022)
A man facing a lifetime prison sentence has 48 hours to put his life in order.
THE BACKPACK (2021) A small-town police Sergeant reflects on the collision of his roles within his community. On a ride along through the roads where he grew up, raised his children, coached his kids and their friends, and where he’s patrolled for 30+ years, memories come flooding in at every turn. We hear the emotional impact and trauma these roads hold for him, as well as how he has mended these wounds for himself and how he plans to for other police officers. By the end of the film, you see a man beyond the badge he wears.
HOW TO DISAPPEAR (2022)
A girl collects herself in her parked car at the gas station after doing something unimaginable. When the gas station clerk offers to help her, they form an unexpected connection.
IN RUINS (2022)
Secluded in a cabin in the woods, an aspiring writer struggles to complete his first work. To his surprise, he sees a man out on the lake he’s supposed to have to himself. When the two meet, their perspectives on artistic expression clash.
Bitterbrush — 1 p.m.
Hollyn and Colie spend a last, long summer working as range riders herding cattle in remote Idaho. Totally off-grid, and alone with each other, they brave inclement weather and perilous work conditions as they ponder their futures. A portrait of friendship, life transitions, and the work of two skilled young women in the isolated and beautiful landscape of the American West, BITTERBRUSH is an intimate portrayal of a way of life rarely seen on film.
McCurry: The Pursuit of Colour — 4 p.m.
MCCURRY: THE PURSUIT OF COLOR is the first intimate feature-length portrait of the contemporary photojournalist Steve McCurry. The one thing more poignant than McCurry’s pictures is his tumultuous 40-year career, which he’s spent traveling the globe essentially alone, capturing candid snapshots depicting the complexity of human life.
Exclusive interviews with family, friends, colleagues, and with the photographer himself, bring to life the stories behind some of the most iconic photographs of the 20th century. With unique access to the photographer’s creative process and unpublished images, we discover how McCurry’s vulnerabilities set him on the path to greatness and we witness first-hand his commitment to recording what defines and unites humankind-arace against time in an increasingly fractured and culturally homogenous world.
The Wait — 7 p.m.
The Wait is a story about a woman undergoing an emotional battle between sense and passion. The universal themes of love, honesty and longing come to play on a secluded island in the Finnish archipelago isolated from the world afflicted by a pandemic.
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