Brooklyn’s Greenpoint Film Festival 2023 Announces Film Lineup With Big Focus on Ukraine and Poland

 

Brooklyn’s Greenpoint Film Festival announced the film lineup for its 12th edition, which will return to indoors screenings for the first time in two years August 2-6. GFF will kick things off with an Opening Night “Echoes of Ukraine” theme featuring Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Roslowski’s documentary The Hamlet Syndrome. Saim Sadiq’s Joyland will be the Closing Night selection.

As it has for more than a decade, the film festival will be screening and celebrating truly independent films and filmmakers, a world away from the studios and (especially notable at this time) the AMPTP.

The film festival will include 48 films (10 features, 38 shorts), with screenings at The Boiler / ELM Foundation (191 N. 14th Street). Along with the Opening Night selection, this year’s lineup has strong representation from Poland, along with Greenpoint FF’s solid survey of stateside indie films. Film industry catering favorites Wilson Rivas Crafts will have a food truck on the premises providing food and concessions for film goers and attendees. The Boiler’s backyard will serve as the film festival’s film-centric community mixer epicenter – open to the public and serving food and beverages before everyone heads inside for that day or evening’s air-conditioned screenings.

Filmmakers and celebrity guests will participate in GFF’s green “red” carpet, and the Filmmaker Awards will be presented prior to the Closing Night screening. Short film award winners will receive a “Short to Feature Accelerator” prize by R2W2.

Greenpoint Film Festival Creative Director Ricardo Vilar, said, “We are thrilled to be returning indoors for this year’s edition of the film festival. We’re having fun when say we are “steaming” our films this year since we’ll be in The Boiler but our lineup definitely has a lot of heat with award winners, thought provoking subjects, exciting new talent, and more. For more than a decade, we have celebrated cinema here in North Brooklyn, and this year’s edition looks to be one of our strongest yet.”

The Opening Night presentation on Thursday, August 3 is themed “Echoes of Ukraine” featuring Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Roslowski’s The Hamlet Syndrome. The film looks at a group of young Ukrainian actors, each with psychological scars of the war in Donbas, who are cast in an experimental theatrical production of Hamlet. As they confront Hamlet’s famous “To be, or not to be” soliloquy, the actors process their own dilemmas, mere months prior to Russia’s 2022 full-scale invasion of their country. The screening will be preceded by Orr Bortman’s short documentary Lesyk a.k.a. Words of Wisdom which profiles Astoria’s Alexander Lesyk Balaban, a Ukraininan stamp collector who’s prized collection is part of the fight for the survival of Ukraine’s identity and history.

The Closing Night selection is Saim Sadiq’s feature film debut Joyland. The first Pakistani film to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize as well as the Queer Palm. The film follows a man who takes a job as a backup dancer at a Bollywood-style burlesque. His infatuation with another performer, a dynamic and strong-willed trans woman leads to trouble and complications with his family and wife. The presentation will feature a special pre-recorded interview with Sadiq and cast members with Siddhant Adlakha following the screening.

Highlights among the other features include two films from Poland with kids at the center of their stories. Piotr Stasik’s Film For Aliens is about a boy given the task to make a film for aliens that will help save the world, and Ana Maria Kasperska’s Hela focuses on a teenage girl who makes up her mind to track down her recently adopted little sister and bring her back so they can be together.

On Wednesday, August 2, Michał Kwieciński’s Filip will be screened at a special invite only Greenpoint FF preview at the Polish Consulate. Based on Leopold Tyrmand’s autobiographical novel, the film is a gritty character study focused on a handsome young Polish Jew who escapes the Warsaw Ghetto and disguises himself as a French Gentile so he can work as a waiter in an exclusive hotel and restaurant in Frankfurt. He revels being in the center of luxury and romancing Aryan women – which is punishable by death. When the war begins to take a bloody toll on those closest to him, his intricately built alternate life and world starts to crumble.

Filmmaker-focused highlights include a special workshop, “How to Make a Documentary in One Day,” for young, aspiring filmmakers (21 years-old or less) and will be taught by Piotr Stasik (Director, Film For Aliens). The workshop will focus on ways the kids can tell stories via film. More information on the workshop is HERE (Google forms to apply).

Part and parcel of the Festival’s mission is to call for a green and eco-friendly future and with that in mind, the festival is teaming up with New York City’s largest soundstage company – Broadway Stages, who has made an unparalleled commitment to renewable energy by conveying solar power to their soundstages and productions. Similarly, all of the Greenpoint Film Festival’s venue dressings, provided by Universal Production Services are also eco-friendly, including a Step-and-Repeat made out of wood with replaceable logos instead of printing them and each year throwing out the prints.

To purchase passes and tickets and to find more information on the Greenpoint Film Festival, please visit:https://greenpointfilmfestival.org/.

 

2023 Greenpoint Film Festival Official Selections

PRIVATE POLISH CONSULATE PREVIEW

Filip
Director: Michał Kwieciński
Country: Poland; Running Time: 125 min
In 1943, a Polish Jew, who managed to escape from the Warsaw ghetto, is waiting restaurant tables in Frankfurt while pretending to be French and taking revenge on the Nazis in his own unique way.
OPENING NIGHT – ECHOES OF UKRAINE

The Hamlet Syndrome
Directors: Elwira Niewiera, Piotr Roslowski
Country: Poland; Running Time: 85 min
The Hamlet Syndrome is a powerful portrait of a vibrant young Ukrainian generation, the first one born after the collapse of the Soviet Union, shaped by the Maidan Revolution of 2013, empowered by political change and scarred by war.
Preceded by
Lesyk a.k.a. Words of Wisdom
Director: Orr Bortman
Country: USA; Running Time: 32 min
A moving portrait of Alexander Lesyk Balaban, an eccentric Ukraine stamp collector living in Astoria, NY for over fifty years. Told across four seasons and spanning over 1,000 years of history, come spend some time with Lesyk, who’s extensive stamp collection is part of the fight for the survival of Ukraine’s identity and history.

CLOSING NIGHT

Joyland
Director: Saim Sadiq
Country: Pakistan; Running Time: 127 min
The youngest son in a traditional Pakistani family takes a job as a backup dancer in a Bollywood-style burlesque and quickly becomes infatuated with the strong-willed trans woman who runs the show.

ADDITIONAL NARRATIVE FEATURES

Film For Aliens
Director: Piotr Stasik
Country: Poland; Running Time: 73 min
Fourteen-year-old Jeremi is a YouTuber. His father, a space agency employee, promised to show him the launch of a real rocket, but called it off at the very last minute. Instead, he sends the boy to his grandpa’s place in the countryside. To distract Jeremi from spending time on the Internet, his father comes up with a competition. Jeremi receives a package with a small robot that gives him tasks to complete. The boy is supposed to create a message for aliens in the form of a film, which will help to save the world. At first unhappy, Jeremi gradually makes friends with a group of local kids. Together, they make the film until the secret plan comes to light.

Hela
Director: Anna Maria Kasperska
Country: Poland; Running Time: 84 min
When teenage trouble maker orphan Hela learns that her 5 years old sister has been adopted, she decides to run away from the reformatory to find and kidnap her sibling.

Mechanical Bulls
Directors: Jake Schick, Joshua Laufer
Country: USA; Running Time: 62 min
Mechanical Bulls is the story of four wayward twenty-somethings reconnecting after years apart. Taking place over the course of one day, the once close-knit group attempt to confront their personal truths and unresolved issues with each other.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURES

The Artist and the Astronaut
Director: Bill Muench
Country: USA; Running Time: 100 min
The Artist & the Astronaut tells the unlikely love story between the artist Pat Musick, a civil rights activist, and the Apollo astronaut Jerry Carr as they participate in some of the most historic events in human history.

Into The Spotlight
Director: Thaddeus D. Matula
Country: USA; Running Time: 99 min
A heartfelt story of how a script, a stage, and a theater program composed of adults with disabilities celebrate their creativity, explore life’s complexities, and empower a community, in their own words and their own way.

Searching: Our Quest for Meaning in the Age of Science
Director: Geoff Haines-Stiles
Country: USA; Running Time: 100 min
Physicist and best-selling author Alan Lightman investigates how key findings of modern science help us find our bearings in the cosmos. What do these new discoveries tell us about ourselves, and how do we find meaning in them? Travel from the infinity of the small to the infinity of the large, meeting with the co-discoverer of one of the most distant galaxies yet known.

Stopping The Next Pandemics
Director: Xavier Deleu
Country: France; Running Time: 96 min
Stopping the next pandemic is a new challenge to the most prominent scientists. Their field studies around the world are showing that our health as humans depends on animal and environmental health. Diseases that occur in the remotest places are now our concern. We live in a connected world. We will have to preserve the environment to prevent future pandemics.

NARRATIVE SHORTS

A History of Sitting in Waiting Rooms
Director: Lorena Russi
Country: USA; Running Time: 9 min
A History of Sitting in Waiting Rooms is the coming of age story you never knew you wanted. Meet Lorenita: a rambunctious six-year-old with six cavities. One for each letter in her name no one can pronounce. Lorenita is a butch Latina fighting to find herself in the cacophony of Queens, NY in the 90s. With the help of her imaginary best friend, Boo, a civil war ghost, Lorenita will poorly navigate the drawn-out pains of puberty.

And Along Came Lily
Director: Danielle Hope Diamond
Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min
And Along Came Lily is an intimate story following a young woman’s journey to understanding the mythical orgasm. Media often portrays sex as all “sexy” “fun” and “adventurous”, but it rarely dives into how complicated and stressful trying to “find” pleasure in the bedroom is. Lily is a sheltered midwesterner struggling with what it means for her to have pleasure and with the help of her best friend Rachel, what that journey looks like.

Astonishing Little Feet
Director: Maegan Houang
Country: USA; Running Time: 9 min
Afong Moy, the first documented Chinese woman to come to the United States, realizes the men who separated her from her family only have interest in profiting off the peculiarities of her bound feet.

Bad Blood
Director: Caitlyn Johnson
Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min
On an Autumn Friday, 10-year-old Olivia receives her period for the first time. However, she shields the truth from her mother, Sharon, and her older sister, Andrea, in hopes of attending a sleepover at the family’s church. Blind to her young sister’s experience, Andrea continues to defy her mother’s wishes as she searches for freedom and her identity outside of their family unit. Unable to communicate as they wish they could, these two sisters find themselves navigating their coming-of-age stories as they try to overcome the guilt of their shame together.

Bowling 4 Eva
Director: Aelfie Oudghiri
Country: USA; Running Time: 14 min
A troubled teen girl spends her time trolling men online and bowling with her grandfather while becoming increasingly medicated by her psychiatrist.

The Confirmation (La Confirmation)
Director: Juan Pablo Daranas Molina
Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min
A tenacious biologist grapples with her beliefs when her ailing daughter turns to spiritual healing in search of a cure.

The Cookbook
Director: Pedro Chaves
Country: USA; Running Time: 22 min
After his father’s debilitating stroke, an estranged son returns home to Central New York where he’s torn between taking over his father’s Lebanese restaurant and carrying on family tradition or pursuing his own dream.

Daddy’s Night
Director: William Pinke
Country: USA; Running Time: 18 min
With Mommy out for the night, Daddy invites over Natalie. But when his daughter Betsy wakes up afraid of a monster, can Daddy put her back to bed in time to get in bed with Natalie?

The Ever Hours
Director: Ella Vance
Country: USA; Running Time: 8 min
In a dreamlike montage of tangible love, we follow three separate stories: Cleo and Noah, a mother and her young daughter, Elsie and Aaliyah, lovers, and Thomas and Kait, an elderly father and his daughter. We are touched by intimate moments of joy and peace in these love stories before transitioning to a lens of loss. The tone is not one of sadness but of hope as we transcend into an abstract interpretation of love as an ethereal and immortal energy that surrounds us even beyond death.

Forgive
Director: Brittany Reeon Lee
Country: USA; Running Time: 36 min
Five people from different walks of life are joined by an art therapist whose sister was a victim of sexual violence. Together, they embark on a session in order to alleviate their feelings of guilt and regret. The session unfolds with each participant candidly sharing their deeply-rooted guilt, shedding light on the personal burdens they’ve been carrying. As the session continues, the therapist’s ulterior motive is revealed, prompting all but one participant to leave.

Fundamental Shapes
Director: Colin Alistair Campbell
Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min
Jacob, an unemployed actor, stumbles into an unusual gig: nude figure model for a fine arts class. When his next-door neighbor turns up, he must find a way to keep his identity hidden, and their budding romance intact. A gentle romantic comedy about vulnerability, surprising coincidences, and the unexpected ways we find love.

Hangman
Director: Megan Brotherton
Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min
A recently widowed woman works through the complexities of grief with the help of friends, strangers and Tupperware.

Hot Tears
Director: Abigail Weinick
Country: USA; Running Time: 14 min
When a precocious eighth-grader develops a crush on her older sister’s 20-year-old boyfriend, the line between friendliness and flirtatiousness becomes blurred. Eve finds herself lost in his ambiguous nature. After a mutual attraction forms between the two, Eve has to face the consequences head-on.

Hush
Director: Xueni Yang
Country: Czech Republic; Running Time: 15 min
June, a standby dancer, is obsessed with dancing and wants to learn solo choreography with the lead dancer Lauren. However, as soon as she wins the opportunity from Lauren, she is distanced by the group. Thus, she decides to cancel her rehearsal schedule with Lauren and fixes her relationship with the others. When she thinks her life returns to normal, Lauren gets injured during the rehearsal for unclear reasons and has to quit the practice. Feeling guilty about Lauren’s injury, June wants to fill her position as the only person who learned her part to secure the coming show. However, she has to face the same isolation again when she does so.

Interview with Traveler #582
Director: Lisa Steindler, Jon Bernson
Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min
Drawing the power dynamics of a job interview out from behind closed doors, Traveler #582 takes aim at this absurd capitalist ritual and its many tropes.

Leaving Yellowstone
Director: Kayla Arend
Country: USA; Running Time: 23 min
What starts as a romantic trip in the wilderness, turns ugly as Tessa fights for her life in the winter of Yellowstone National Park. Tessa is excited to visit Yellowstone National Park with her new boyfriend, Mark. However, when they arrive, Mark changes, aggression and cruelty building as Tessa starts finding disturbing artifacts around his cabin. What begins as an idyllic winter weekend slowly becomes a nightmare as Tessa realizes she’s alone in the woods with a man she really doesn’t know at all.

Let My Grandpa into Heaven
Director: Lana Bolycheva
Country: USA; Running Time: 8 min
On the day of grandfather’s funeral, 6-year-old Lucas hears his father Patrick in a fit of anger says that the deceased grandpa should be burning in hell. Lucas decides to do everything to help his grandfather avoid hell. By the advice of the priesе Lucas is trying to engage his father into grandpa’s soul rescuing but his father refuses. Their conflict leads to the accident. Lucas faints and gets the opportunity to visit his grandfather who is stuck in space for unforgiven parent’s souls. Their Lucas acquires a new vampire friend who is happy to help the boy.

Lunchbox
Director: Anne Hu
Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min
When a Taiwanese American woman prepares lunches from her childhood, she struggles to forgive herself for pushing away her immigrant mother.

Made in Germany (OT: Zeitpunkt X)
Director: Simon Schneider
Country: Germany; Running Time: 25 min
A nearly finished construction site. The wiring is completed, the walls are painted, the final inspections are being done. The construction manager Thomas Zetzsche is proud of his achievement. The prestigious building he created is a modern dream come true. But suddenly that dream begins to crumble as more and more defects appear. Cables run into dead ends, the fire protection malfunctions and entire rooms go missing. Desperately Thomas is trying to fix the building until he finally accepts that the opening date has to be postponed. Now he must confront his own responsibility in this faulty system and draw the necessary.

Made in Heaven
Director: Yiqing Zhao
Country: USA; Running Time: 14 min
Serena, a closeted lesbian, accidentally finds her mother trying to reconnect with an old boyfriend. She sends her girlfriend to be her mom’s assistant, only to realize her secret can no longer stay hidden.

New Lives
Director: Joey Schweitzer
Country: USA; Running Time: 20 min
A psychological portrait of a Holocaust survivor navigating the trauma of her past with the pressures of assimilation, in 1950s Brooklyn.

No Other Gods But Me
Director: Alex Spott
Country: USA; Running Time: 7 min
In the midst of a sexual awakening, a religious teen finally musters up the courage to kiss her crush, but will lust send her straight to h-e-double-hockey-sticks?

Nora
Director: Caitlin Ferrell
Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min
Influenced by Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House”, Nora is confronted with her primal urges, when her husband is away on a business trip and she is left home confined to herself.

Powerful Stuff
Director: Justin Andrew Davis
Country: USA; Running Time: 17 min
Confronted by the inspiration for his most problematic character, an indie filmmaker fights to save his career at the premiere of his debut feature.

Repentance
Director: Sam Motamedi
Country: USA; Running Time: 9 min
After sharing online a video of herself dancing, a young Iranian woman is being pressured to apologize on public television.

Rest
Director: Micah Stathis
Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min
Iris, a recently sober alcoholic, is due in court tomorrow: rested and prepared. Unable to fall asleep, she battles the voices in her head and her own desire for a drink as the night stretches on, seemingly without end.

Smothered
Director: Heather Luscombe
Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min
Slim and Dani’s relationship has passed its expiration date, they ride their addiction of each other until it’s too late.

Starved
Director: Sydney Giacomazzi
Country: USA; Running Time: 9 min
A young man’s pet goldfish sits atop a dresser, observing its owner neglect his ambitions, relationship and livelihood in order to feed the only thing that matters: an opioid addiction.

Stay Don’t Go
Director: Brian Velsor
Country: USA; Running Time: 20 min
As the search for a missing teenage girl goes cold – Martha, a devoted volunteer, stumbles across a possible lead. When her warnings are met with indifference and exhaustion, Martha is forced to take matters into her own hands.

Sulam (Ladder)
Director: Noam Argov
Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min
When an immigrant teen must help her mother buy a ladder before a school exam, tensions of belonging in a new country bubble to the surface.

Till Eye Die
Director: Pimprenelle Rouyer
Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min
Isaac is a young painter who suffers from achromatopsia. Since birth, he only sees in black, white and shades of grey. His life changes overnight, when he takes a pill that will make him see in color.

Wild Geese Returning
Director: Ming Zhang
Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min
A blind painter who has never seen the sea is obsessed with painting it, hoping to capture its entirety—till the sea takes him.

DOCUMENTARY SHORTS

Achromatism
Director: Manal Fadlalla
Country: USA; Running Time: 5 min
My documentary is about the way black hijabis are represented in the media through dance. I plan to enlighten people’s knowledge on us black hijabis through a preformative and cinematic documentary.The media is extremely biased in who they want to present to the public and I find that unfair. We work just as hard as others so why is our talent pushed aside?

Breadwinners: Raina Kennedy
Directors: Emily Delaney, Courtney Schaefer
Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min
Breadwinners is a five-part mini docuseries that examines the complex relationship between New Yorkers and the people who feed them. By focusing on farmers, food distributors, and home cooks, the series explores access to sustenance, the power of land, and the magic of community. Episode 4 features Raina Kennedy – co-owner and sourcer for Brooklyn Packers, a co-op that makes food more accessible by distributing fresh produce throughout Brooklyn and Queens without the grocery store pricing.

Faith in Blackness: An Exploration of AfroLatine Spirituality
Director: Charles Reynoso
Country: USA; Running Time: 27 min
“How can the creator of the universe be smaller than me?” Black Latine people around the world practice a myriad of faith traditions. This short-form documentary explores dynamic identities of these AfroLatine people and their journey for a home, a faith in Blackness.

Feeling the Apocalypse
Director: Chen Sing Yap
Country: Canada; Running Time: 7 min
A psychotherapist struggling with climate anxiety explores what it means to live in a dying world.

Limbo
Director: Alex Ramsey
Country: USA; Running Time: 7 min
Edward, now 28, hasn’t seen his family since he crossed the US-Mexico border on foot 10 years ago. Trapped in the US by a maddening waiting game for citizenship, he grapples with the idea of leaving the life he built in New York behind forever in exchange for a long overdue homecoming. Will Edward reunite with his family or continue on in his self-imposed purgatory?

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