Sweet 16: Bushwick Film Festival will milestone birthday with dozens of indie films Oct. 25-29

people at bushwick film festival
The Bushwick Film Festival returns for its 16th year next month.
Photo courtesy of Bushwick Film Festival/Facebook

The Bushwick Film Festival is preparing for a milestone birthday celebration this month by embracing themes of personal growth and a new passage into life’s next chapter. From Oct. 25 – Oct. 29, the festival will celebrate its “Sweet 16” with red carpets, live screenings, movie industry conferences, screenplay competitions, award ceremonies and more.

The festival, developed in 2007, is a platform for emerging filmmakers to showcase their work to a diverse and global audience, both in New York City and internationally. As a Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Program, the festival belongs to the minority of only 12% of film festivals owned by women of color in the U.S. 

“Turning 16 traditionally symbolizes growth and discovery, but these transformative moments are not bound by age,” said festival founder Kweighbaye Kotee, in a statement. 

All week long, attendees will have the opportunity to delve into narratives that present themes of coming-of-age, self-realization and the quest for personal freedom through the lens of cinema, which will be screened by BFF partner Williamsburg Cinemas. 

This year’s festival will also feature several events for attendees to enjoy, opening with a red carpet reception presented by Spectrum on Oct. 25 at Brooklyn Borough Hall. Guests can enjoy specialty cocktails by Johnnie Walker Blended Scotch Whisky, which will be followed by a Movie Industry Conference at Be Electric Studios and a “Sweet 16” party at Lot 45. 

people at bushwick film festival
Dozens of indie films, some accompanied by talks from filmmakers, will screen during the festival. File photo courtesy of Bushwick Film Festival

In addition to this year’s lineup of over 125 films, around 10 filmmakers will receive accolades in diverse categories including Best Feature (Narrative/Documentary), Best Short (Documentary/Narrative), Best Web Series and others.

“As we usher in the 16th Bushwick Film Festival, we’re celebrating more than just cinema; we’re embracing the journey, the lessons, and the stories that have brought us here,” Kotee said. “Here’s to life’s defining chapters and the many stories that intertwine with them.” 

An exciting lineup of films will be featured, from Halloween-inspired horrors and thrills to social justice and New York-themed films. Highlights include: 

Halloween-inspired Films

Story of Godia Dir. Mouayed Zabtia, Libya (PG 13)

The narrative of a father, Hussein, who resides in a home that was previously his father’s. After his father passed, Hussein turned the estate into a retirement home and later moved in with his two children. Hussein’s son suffers from a disease that requires expensive treatment, and the children are found watching strange things happening in the house. 

Little Yellow Flower – Dir. Chien-Ping Lin, Taiwan (PG)

This short film about yellow flowers may not be what it seems. A photo retoucher revisits his old house and finds yellow flowers that drew a nest of ants. He reflects on his past mistake of killing the flowers, and how angry his father became when he did so. Now, his elderly and paralyzed father is covered in ants, which brings back painful memories from his youth. 

Bodies Will Tumble And Roll – Dir. Eli Vazquez, USA, (Not Rated)

When a dysfunctional cheer squad, consisting of black and Latinx members, is sent to the woods to settle differences, they must learn to become a team. And, save their coach from serial killers.

New York-based films

 City of Dreams – Dir. Imani Celeste Fuentes, USA (Not Rated)

City of Dreams follows four Black art students telling stories of community, divine intervention, and the artistry that led them to a memorable moment: smoking weed in a cramped NYC apartment and trying not to get caught.

Rose Salane’s Lost & Found – Dir. Ava Wiland, Rafael Salazar, USA (Not Rated)

This short documentary follows Salane as she consults an eclectic mix of professionals around the city about the value and significance of rings she has found in the city, uncovering a series of often poignant micro-histories, as well as a much larger, overarching story of New York’s cultural and economic networks.

The Bushwick Film Festival runs from Oct. 25-29 at Williamsburg Cinemas, 217 Grand St. between Driggs and Bedford avenues in Williamsburg. Tickets start at $16. Screening times vary, visit bushwickfilmfestival.com for a full program.