Brooklyn Film Festival Lineup Announced

(released 5/11/2022)

Brooklyn Film Festival will hold its 25th edition from June 3-12, 2022, themed Unthinkable, with 150 film premieres. The festival received 2,694 films from 91 Countries for its 25th edition and the films that were selected will be programmed into 35 two-hour blocks.

BFF divides all films into six categories: Feature Narrative, Documentary Feature, Short Narrative, Short Documentary, Experimental, and Animation. BFF's selection criteria, a 25-year-old set of rules, constitute the true festival's trademark: participating films cannot be older than two years; films are selected from submissions only; all films in the festival participate in the awards competition. Even the smallest film can win the top festival award: the Grand Chameleon.

This year, both online and in-person events will be a part of the festival schedule. Online via the festival's website and Cinesend will once again be the video server host.   In-person venues include Windmill Studios in Greenpoint and Union Docs in Williamsburg.

BFF is bringing back the BFF Exchange, a day of panels, pitch sessions and a happy hour at a venue to be announced.

In a release, BFF Executive Director Marco Ursino said of 25th BFF, themed Unthinkable, "It is undeniable that we are living in divisive times, where every political and social current creates and follows its own fabricated truth. In such a world, any profound statement is destined to please some, while it offends others. What we used to define reality, has been carefully hidden, to the point that it has become almost unthinkable. With our 25th edition, BFF wants to reignite the audience's imagination, offer an opportunity to revisit reality, and reinforce the Unthinkable, by presenting 150, uncensored film projects from every corner of the world."

The full film lineup has been announced and can be found on their website. Here is a partial list of the films in competition:


World Premiere of LEON'S FANTASY CUT; Dir: Josh Caras, Jon Valde, United States, 99 min, 2021, Narrative Feature

Two first generation Ukrainian-American brothers, George and Iggy, know they are destined for great things. George is a wannabe business scion festering in a cell phone store. Igal is a small-time, pot dealer and an aspiring rap mogul. They are stuck together in a suffocating studio apartment in South Brooklyn, and are constantly at each other's throats.

World Premiere of SIGNS OF LOVE (OPENING NIGHT FILM); Dir: Clarence Filler, United States, 96 min, 2021, Narrative Feature

Signs Of Love takes place in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia, a tough neighborhood where cultures mix but the law of the streets still rules. Hopper Jack Penn stars as Frankie, a young man from north Philly who dreams of a better life.

World Premiere of STAG; Dir: Alexandra Spieth, United States, 93 min, 2022, Narrative Feature

An urban loner fights for a chance at redemption when she's invited to her estranged BFF's bachelorette party.

World Premiere of WELCOME, VIOLETA!; Dir: Fernando Fraiha, Brazil, Argentina, 107 min, 2021, Narrative Feature

Eager to write her next novel, "Violeta," Ana joins the "End of the World Residency," a well-known literary lab in the Andes Mountain Range. There, she meets Holden, a charismatic leader and creator of a method in which artists abandon their own lives to live as their characters.

US Premiere of DREAMLIFE; Dir: Melvin Moti, Netherlands, France, 85 min, 2020, Narrative Feature

In the 1960s, at the height of the Space Race, a 23-year-old French geologist named Michel Siffre went to live in an underground cave for two months. Siffre investigated how the human body deals with extremely long isolation in a confined space, and how our sleep cycle responds to the absence of daylight.

US Premiere of PEDRO BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA; Dir: LaĆ­s Bodanzky, Brazil, Portugal, 107 min, 2021, Narrative Feature

It is 1831 and Pedro, the former emperor of Brazil, gathers physical and emotional strengths to face his brother, who usurped his kingdom in Portugal. The film is set on the Atlantic Ocean, aboard an English frigate, in which members of the court, officers, servants and slaves mingle in a babel of languages and social positions.

US Premiere of POUR L'AMOUR; Dir: Andrzej Mankowski, Poland, 90 min, 2021, Narrative Feature

Marlena struggles with a serious marital crisis due to the alcohol addiction of her husband, Zbigniew. Via the Internet, she meets Bruno, a Senegalese, who brings back Marlena's self-confidence and sense of womanhood. However, it turns out that the man plans something rather different for her than building a relationship with her.

East Coast Premiere of BALLOON ANIMAL; Dir: Em Johnson, United States, 88 min, 2021, Narrative Feature

A young circus performer, Poppy Valentine, is stuck under the harsh demands of her father and their community's expectations. But while on a quick night out to let loose and have some fun with her friends, she finds herself captivated by small-town America, which then forces her to question everything.

East Coast Premiere of RAGGED HEART; Dir: Evan McNary, United States, 85 min, 2021, Narrative Feature

When his estranged daughter tragically dies, a washed-up musician sets out to complete the last song she wrote, hoping to somehow redeem himself and let her rest in peace.

East Coast Premiere of SHAMBALA; Dir: Artykpai Suyundukov, Kyrgyzstan, 99 min, 2021, Narrative Feature

Based on the novella The White Ship, by Kyrgyz writer Chingiz Aitmatov, Shambala tells the story of a lonely, impressionable, seven-year-old boy who lives in a protected forest, high in the mountains, with his grandfather, step-grandmother, auntie and uncle.

East Coast Premiere of WAKE UP, LEONARD; Dir: Kat Mills Martin, US , 73 min, 2021, Narrative Feature

Part comedy, part self-help nightmare, Wake Up, Leonard follows one man's quest for wellness while failing miserably to stay on his vibe. This is the story of a broken-hearted seeker with a tenuous grasp on his mental health, but an admirable faith in the Universe.

NY Premiere of LEARN TO SWIM; Dir: Thyrone Tommy, Canada, 90 min, 2021, Narrative Feature

After a tragic loss, Dezi, a jazz musician, flees in an attempt to rebuild his life, only to find himself haunted by the truth of his past.


World Premiere of HOPE: STORIES OF SURVIVAL DOCUMENTARY; Dir: Joseph Pritchard, United States, 60 min, 2021, Documentary Feature

Hope: Stories of Survival is the first full-length documentary that The Salvation Army has produced. Joe Pritchard, the director of this film, has spent over a decade with this organization, directing short films with the support of his amazing team.

World Premiere of THE UNITED STATES OF FASHION DESIGNER ELIE TAHARI; Dir: David Serero, United States, 65 min, 2021, Documentary Feature

Fashion Designer and Mogul Elie Tahari, has been living the American Dream for more than 50 years. He came to New York in 1971 with less than $100 in his pocket, slept on benches in Central Park, and went on to build a billion-dollar fashion empire.

US Premiere of MERRY CHRISTMAS, YIWU; Dir: Mladen Kovacevic, Iva Plemic, China, 94 min, 2020, Documentary Feature

Communist ideals have long lost their value in Yiwu, a city with 600 Christmas factories, in which Christmas as we know it is produced for the entire world.

NY Premiere of BIG OLD GOOFY WORLD - THE STORY OF OH BOY RECORDS; Dir: Joshua Britt, Neilson Neilson Hubbard, United States, 52 min, 2021, Documentary Feature

This is the story of the little record label that could! Founded by the great John Prine and his two managing partners, Al Bunetta and Dan Einstein.

NY Premiere of DROWNING IN SILENCE; Dir: Chezik Tsunoda, United States, 86 min, 2021, Documentary Feature

Drowning in Silence is an intimate and brave directorial debut from Chezik Tsunoda, documenting her quest for answers and personal journey of healing in the midst of a tragedy.

NY Premiere of FREE RENTY: LANIER V. HARVARD; Dir: David Grubin, United States, 95 min, 2021, Documentary Feature

Free Renty tells the story of Tamara Lanier, an African American woman determined to force Harvard University to cede possession of daguerreotypes of her great-great-great grandfather, an enslaved man named Renty.

NY Premiere of FROM THE HOOD TO THE HOLLER; Dir: Pat McGee, United States, 102 min, 2021, Documentary Feature

Charles Booker rode to the brink of one of the biggest upsets in political history. The documentary follows his campaign across Kentucky, from the most urban to the most rural settings.

GRAIN; Dir: Alex Contell, Tommaso Sacconi, US, Italy, Spain, 81 min, 2021, Documentary Feature

These days, everyone's shooting analog. Whether it is a fashion house seeking out "new" creative or an amateur perusing eBay, analog film photography has piqued the interest (and search history) of people everywhere.

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