The buzz has started. Programming has been announced and the excitement is building as film buffs wait for the theater doors to open on the 2016 Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF), to be held June 2-5.
Now in its eleventh year, BIFF brings the best of independent filmmaking from around the world to the Berkshires with a four-day schedule jam-packed with documentaries, features, and shorts screened at movie theaters in Pittsfield and Great Barrington. A handful of films are in competition for the juror and audience awards, and the festival’s Next Great Filmmaker Award will be announced on opening night. Special events with Bruce Dern, Yo-Yo Ma, Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow, Douglas Trumbull, and Gregory Crewdson round out the weekend.
This year’s BIFF kicks off Thursday, June 2, in Great Barrington with a pre-screening cocktail party catered by Mezze under the BIFF Tent across from the Mahaiwe Theater on Castle Street, and Friday, June 3, at Hotel on North, just a few blocks from the Beacon Cinema on North Street. The Triplex Cinema on Railroad Street in Great Barrington is the festival’s third screening venue.
As BIFF gains recognition for its fun, festive parties as much as its solid programming, the spotlight shines on the Berkshire’s notable food scene as much as on the films and filmmakers. Both Mezze and Hotel on North are well-known in the Berkshires and beyond for inspired chefs whose creative menus feature fresh, seasonal ingredients from local farms and artisanal partners. The festival’s dinner-by-the-bite fare is complemented with premium wine and spirits from Berkshire Mountain Distillers and Carlo Huber Selections. Allium in Great Barrington plays host to the filmmaker brunch and Juried Prize announcement on Sunday, June 5.
Visit biffma.org for information about programming and passes for this year’s festival and special events, and to cast your vote for the Next Great Filmmaker Award. Box offices at each theater sell tickets right up to show time for most festival films, when available, including the free family screenings of the Kids Flix Mix on Sunday morning at the Mahaiwe and Beacon.
See you at the festival!
Nancy Macy is a freelance writer and editor based in the Berkshires.