Bay Ridge is ready for its close-up!
The Art of Brooklyn Film Festival will debut two new screening events next month at Saint John’s Parish Hall on 99th Street and at the Green Church school at the corner of Ovington and Third avenues — the first time the arty, borough-centric movie marathon has made a cameo appearance in the neighborhood.
The four-year-old, four-day-long, multi-genre, cinematic extravaganza requires all its submissions to have been made in Brooklyn, about Brooklyn, by people from Brooklyn, or by people living in Brooklyn. It has held most of its past screenings at Saint Francis College in Brooklyn Heights and at Long Island University Downtown. But the festival’s founders — several of whom live in Bay Ridge — decided it was time for their celluloid celebration to break out into the rest of the borough.
“There are no wrong neighborhoods in Brooklyn, that’s our motto,” said festival spokesman Anthony Devito, a Bergen Beach native now residing in the Ridge. “Film festivals tend to be clustered around a few neighborhoods, but our mission since we started has been about being the film festival for the whole borough.”
To make their Bay Ridge silver-screen dreams a reality, the festival is teaming up with Bay Ridge arts company brooklynONE Productions. The company is best known for putting on local stage events, but it has been working to expand its repertoire — and its founders jumped at the chance to help bring a flick fiesta to the neighborhood.
“We do the theater stuff, but we’re trying to get it out there that we do film and all the other media of the arts. It’s important that people know brooklynONE is at the epicenter of the Bay Ridge Cultural District we’re trying to build,” said co-founder Anthony Marino, a native of Dyker Heights. “It’s for Brooklyn — it’s in Brooklyn — it’s a fantastic collaboration. We’re so grateful to be a part of it.”
Devito said he and his colleagues are in the process of putting together a line-up of documentaries, dramas, comedies, shorts, features, and even avant-garde pieces which they think will appeal to a Bay Ridge audience.
“We’re definitely going to program films that will be a good fit for the neighborhood,” Devito said. “But one thing we notice is, regardless of the neighborhood, if it’s a good film, people are going to like it.”
The festival begins on May 7, with the showing at the school on May 8 and at the parish hall on May 10. Starting times are still being decided. Tickets will be available in advance for $10 and at the door for $12.
The festival will wrap up on May 11 at Borough Hall, where winners in each category will receive trophies of cast aluminum and salvaged wood made in Canarsie.