Putting the ‘Berkshire’ into the Berkshire International Film Festival

A still from Cynthia Wade's 'Mondays at Racine'

(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Amidst a festival celebrating works by filmmakers from around the world – and around the corner right here at home — the 7th annual Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF) will host a two-day Filmmakers Summit beginning Thursday, May 31, 2012, featuring a diverse program of panel discussions, lectures, special events and breakout sessions led by well-known industry professionals.

Diane Pearlman, BFMC Executive Director, will address the attendees at the Filmmakers Summit luncheon on Thursday, May 31, at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox. Pearlman will speak about the resources available in Berkshire County for potential future film productions. “The Berkshires is a place of inspiration for many artists, so it is only natural that film is the next art form to be promoted here” Pearlman says.

The BIFF itself is presenting a handful of works by, about, or connected to Berkshire artists, including Wunderkinder, written by Stephen Glantz; Mondays at Racines, by Academy-Award winning documentary director and cinematographer Cynthia Wade; Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters, based on the acclaimed photographer and southern Berkshire County resident Gregory Crewdson and helmed in large part by a crew of Berkshire filmmakers; and The House of Mirth, based on the Edith Wharton novel of the same name (Wharton, of course, lived in Lenox at her home, The Mount).

BFMC Board of Director’s member and BIFF participant Stephen Glantz says, “The BFMC wants to be an economic engine that creates work for not only the film people here, but also the actors, artists, designers, tech people and others that a filmmaking hot spot would create.”

Glantz, one of the screenwriters for the film Wunderkinder, will be in attendance at both screenings of the film. Glantz notes, “I’m really thrilled that BIFFMA is showing Wunderkinder. Working mostly in Europe, it’s the only chance for my friends here to see my work.” The screenings will take place on Friday, June 1, at 9am at the Triplex in Great Barrington, and Sunday, June 3, at 1:15pm at the Beacon in Pittsfield.

Academy-Award winning documentary director and cinematographer Cynthia Wade served as director and producer for the short film Mondays at Racines. The entire cast and crew will be in attendance after the screenings — one taking place on Saturday, June 2, at the Beacon at 2:15pm; the other on Sunday, June 3, at the Triplex at 11:45am.

A still from 'Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters'

Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters is a film based on the acclaimed photographer and southern Berkshire County resident Gregory Crewdson. Four Berkshire residents worked for the film: production designer Carl Sprague; director of photography Rick Sands; camera operator Daniel Karp; and actress/casting director Juliane Hiam. Notable local locations are North Street in Pittsfield and MASS MoCA in North Adams. This will be the closing film at the festival, on Sunday, June 3, at 7pm at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington. After the film, Gregory Crewdson, director Ben Shapiro and director of MASS MoCA Joe Thompson will be part of a panel discussion.

“It is wonderful that BIFF is showcasing three talented Berkshire residents,” Pearlman says. “We are so glad they are getting local recognition.”

BFMC Advisory Board member and Pittsfield native Kent Jones will return to the festival this year and serve on the Third Annual Jury to choose the best between the five films in competition for feature documentaries, and the four films in the narrative category. Last year Jones, a renowned film critic, screened and discussed his movie, A Letter to Elia, on which he collaborated with Martin Scorsese. Former Pittsfield Mayor James M. Ruberto presented Jones with a key to the city for his accomplishments.

The House of Mirth, based on the Edith Wharton novel of the same name, will be screening for free as part of the ongoing celebration of Edith Wharton’s 150th birthday. The film will show on Sunday, June 3, at 3pm at the Mahaiwe.




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