The Beacon Independent Film Festival creates a chance for stories to be told, and emotions to be visualized. Not only does this festival showcase emerging, hard-to-find artists, but it provides opportunities for an entire industry of people - from editors to lighting designers to grips (people who build the systems that the lights can hang from) - to work on projects that light up the screen. It spotlights resources for local filmmakers, like The CineHub, a film studio that rents out its space and equipment to filmmakers in the area. I keeping with Beacon's family-friendly community spirit, the Beacon Independent Film Festival gives kids opportunities to showcase films they've worked on with BIFF Young Filmmakers and Spark Media Project.
Filmmaking folks have been getting ready and anticipating this weekend all year, the weekend of the Beacon Independent Film Festival, where you can watch feature films, shorts, documentaries and more. Panel discussions, food vendors, green space, and interactive activities for kids and adults make it an event for the whole family. Come hungry, because Barb's Butchery will be there with hot dogs, hamburgers, hummus and veggies.
Most of the film screenings happen at the University Settlement Camp. The same lovely piece of land where you find the Beacon Pool in the summer, disc golf, and weddings, the site is on Wolcott Avenue, on your left in the woods if you are headed south out of Beacon. The address is 724 Wolcott Avenue, Beacon, NY 12508, and directions are here. The location is wheelchair-accessible.
Special Events Include:
Opening Night Gala at Dogwood: Friday night at 9:30.
Panel Breakfast at CineHub: Saturday morning from 9 to 11. CineHub is a filmmaker's dream collaborative production studio here in Beacon and the Hudson Valley. This event is free, courtesy of a sponsorship from The Beacon Bagel.
All screenings are at the Settlement Camp, with the exception of FRIGHT NIGHT (Block 6) on Day 2, Saturday, which is at The CineHub.
How It Works
Tickets are sold in "Blocks." You can buy a three-day pass, or you can buy in "blocks," which means that you get to watch the films being shown in that block of time. Blocks are $12 each, and a three-day pass for the entire festival is $35. Buy tickets here.
Festival Film Schedule
DAY 1 - Friday
From 7 to 9 pm
(Directed by Andrew Porter, 16 minutes)
In 2004, Joseph Bertolozzi recorded the sounds of the Mid-Hudson Bridge in Poughkeepsie, using those sounds to compose Bridge Music, making the bridge the largest percussion instrument in the world. The music contains no other tones than those of the bridge itself. This documentary follows Bertolozzi’s journey from playing the Mid-Hudson Bridge to eventually making music with the Eiffel Tower.
A Song For You: The Austin City Limits Story
(Directed by Keith Maitland, 94 minutes)
From Willie Nelson to Wilco, Ray Charles to Radiohead, A Song For You: The Austin City Limits Story, offers the ultimate backstage pass to 40 years of incredible live music. See how longtime producers and loyal fans have made ACL the longest running music show in television history.
After the screenings, head to Dogwood for the Gala at 9:30.
BLOCK 1: 9 to 11 am
Filmmaker Breakfast and Panel at The CineHub
BIFF/The CineHub Filmmakers Breakfast will include a panel from 10 to 10:45 am called “Why Film Fest”: a discussion about film festivals as a venue for independent film and how they serve filmmakers. This will be an opportunity for the festival filmmakers, local filmmakers and other interested guests to become familiar with The CineHub, and local filmmaking resources over a light breakfast.
- Laurence Asseraf – Founder and Director of BeFilm, created in 2004
- Gregory Bray – Filmmaker and Professor
- Kimberly Wright – Film Producer, Sesame Street
- Caitlin Crowley – Director of Home Media Sales, Icarus Films
- Gavin Briscoe – Release Manager, Monument Releasing
Sponsored by Beacon Independent Film Festival, The CineHub, and Beacon Bagel
BLOCK 2: 11:15 am to 1:15 pm at The University Settlement Camp
Under A Stone
(Directed by William Klayer, 23 minutes)
A woman returns to her hometown for a family obligation. She reunites with her brother, but they clash in how they cope with their awful past.
(Directed by James Christopher, 90 minutes)
Chris, lost in his late 20s and scrambling to find a sense of identity, returns home to small-town Texas when he learns that his mother has died. As he confronts the family, friends, life and love he abandoned, Chris must finally come to terms with his decision to run and try to take control of his own future.
BLOCK 3: 1:45 pm to 4:30 pm at The University Settlement Camp
The Bad Kids
(Directed by Louis Pepe, Keith Fulton, 101 minutes)
Teachers at a Mojave Desert high school take an unconventional approach to improve the lives of their struggling students.
Panel discussion (45 minutes)
BLOCK 4: 5 pm to 7 pm at The University Settlement Camp
Solo, Piano- N.Y.C.
(Directed by Anthony Sherin, 5 minutes)
On a cold winter morning, a lone piano stands curbside in New York City. Passersby stop and play. Plinking slightly out-of-tune over the white noise of Broadway’s cars, buses, trucks, and sirens, the piano awaits its fate.
Kate Plays Christine
(Directed by Robert Greene, 112 minutes)
Director Robert Greene and actress Kate Lyn Sheil blur fiction and reality as they investigate and reconstruct the story of newscaster Christine Chubbuck, who infamously committed suicide live, on-air in 1974.
BLOCK 5: 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm at The University Settlement Camp
(Directed by Enid Zentelis, 21 minutes)
Au Pair is a dark comedy indie series pilot. Min, a young Chinese woman, is in America to realize her radical feminist agenda - being an au pair is a means to an end - but her host mother, newly divorced Cindy, intends to use Min as dating bait.
Women Who Kill
(Directed by Ingrid Jungermann, 93 minutes)
Commitment-phobic Morgan and her ex-girlfriend Jean, locally famous true crime podcasters, suspect Morgan’s new love interest is a murderer.
BLOCK 6: 10 pm to 11 pm at The CineHub
The Graveyard Shift
(Directed by Lara Arikan, 2 minutes)
It’s long past midnight when the tired and jumpy waitress decides to go investigate the ominous noise she hears right outside the roadside coffee shop where she’s working. She discovers that she is being attacked by a zombie! The zombie wobbles inside the shop and corners the poor waitress behind the counter. How will she save herself? What will it take?
(Directed by Tim Hall, 13 minutes)
A photo of a mysterious house changes to reveal a dark secret. Adapted from the M.R. James story “The Mezzotint.”
(Directed by Charlie Manton, 20 minutes)
The Story Of A Girl In A Cardboard Box.
Chateau Sauvignon: terroir
(Director by David Maire, 13 minutes)
Chateau Sauvignon: terroir follows the isolated adolescent son of a storied vintner family who finds himself torn between obeying his father’s callous restrictions and preventing his ailing mother from deteriorating further. When a doting woman and her indifferent son arrive seeking a tasting and tour of the winery, Nicolas sees an opportunity to help care for his mother, as well as prove his worth to his choleric father. However, his wayward plan quickly takes a turn for the worse, and his missteps put his family’s secretive murderous ways in peril of being unearthed.
(Director by Nick Rusconi, 30 minutes)
His name is Arthur and he is a serial killer. He wants to quit, though. Will he succeed?
Day 3 - SUNDAY
BLOCK 7: 10 am to 10:30 am at The University Settlement Camp
Kid-produced projects, made with:
- Spark Media Project/BIFF Kids Workshop
- Spark Media Project
- Sesame Street
(Directed by Jack Ofield, 6 minutes)
In the human love affair with food, what could possibly go wrong? How did the simple act of eating to stay alive go so far off the rails?
FREE PROGRAM: 10:45 am to 11 am
A performance by Compass Arts’ Pompatom Ensemble
Beacon children bring a world rhythm-filled performance of poetry and song on drums, xylophones, recorders, and hand-made instruments.
BLOCK 8: 11 am to 3 pm
(Directed by Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley, 90 minutes)
Landfill Harmonic follows the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, a Paraguayan musical group of kids who live next to one of South America’s largest landfills. This unlikely orchestra plays music from instruments made entirely out of garbage. When their story goes viral, the orchestra is catapulted into the global spotlight. With the guidance of their music director, they must navigate this new world of arenas and sold-out concerts. However, when a natural disaster devastates their community, the orchestra provides a source of hope for the town. The film is a testament to the transformative power of music and the resilience of the human spirit.
Let’s Get The Rhythm
(Directed by Irene Chagall, 54 minutes)
Let’s Get The Rhythm supplies a strong sample of girlhood savvy mixed with astute observations by experts of all ages while exploring the worldwide hand-clapping game tradition. This uplifting film pays tribute to the beauty of the beat, to the inherent human attraction to rhythm, and to the emergence of the budding social mind.
BLOCK 8B: 2 Free programs. 2:15 pm to 3 pm
A Rhythm Roundtable hosted by Compass Arts
Join Compass Arts to craft instruments out of recycled materials and take part in a hand-clapping hootenanny.
Bach Star Café (SPECIAL PREVIEW)
(Directed by Susan Rockefeller, 40 minutes)
Susan Rockefeller’s new film, Bach Star Café, follows a group of college students as they learn and perform Bach’s “Coffee Cantata” around Boston. From nursing homes to coffeehouses, they delight audiences with the modern take on Bach’s irreverent and timeless cantata and show that classical music - and even opera - can be engaging, humorous and lots of fun.
This delightful film gives a wonderful peek into the process of staging an operatic piece, and the logistics of bringing an ensemble (with harpsichord!) into untraditional venues. Audiences will be inspired to revisit classical music, and see what a forward-thinking rock star Bach was in his time.
Produced in association with Longy School of Music of Bard College.
BLOCK 9: 3:30 pm to 5 pm
A Box Came to Brooklyn
(Directed by Jason Cusato, 27 minutes)
A lifelong Brooklynite struggles to convince his ridiculous neighbors that a mysterious box left in the middle of their street doesn’t prove one of them is a dangerous terrorist.
(Directed by Nicholas Pilarski, 14 minutes)
Developed through a series of creative workshops with a family’s youngest member, I, Destini is an animated film that explores the poignant and imaginative illustration of a youth’s perspective on the effects of having an incarcerated loved one.
(Directed by Margaret Brown, 11 minutes)
In September 2015, the state of Alabama closed 31 DMVs, which largely impacted voters in Alabama’s Black Belt. To combat these closures, the Secretary of State issued a Mobile Voter Registration unit, which traveled to every Alabama county to issue voter IDs.
This Little Light of Mine: The Legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer
(Directed by Robin Hamilton, 27 minutes)
A poor Mississippi sharecropper escapes debilitating abuse to become an indomitable force against the political elite and a voice for millions fighting for the right to vote in 1964. This Little Light of Mine: The Legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer reveals the power of the human spirit and proves that every voice matters.
BLOCK 10: 5 pm to 6pm
FYD (Follow Your Dreams)
(Directed by Chad McCord, 17 minutes)
Daniel Reese has one big dream … to become a successful actor. In the meantime he makes a living as a clown. One sunny afternoon Daniel receives the great news that he has booked an acting job on the hit television series, Doctor Town! He immediately freaks out and questions his own talent. Only after some tough love and inadvertently saving a man’s life does Daniel realize the importance of following your dreams.
(Directed by Emily Hamilton, 7 minutes)
Sex/Ed is a documentary piece that investigates the impact of modern sex education on four subjects. It explores how access to sex education has positively or negatively shaped each individual’s sexual orientation, relations, and beliefs.
(Directed by Kate Phelan, 10 minutes)
A loop of hope and disappointment every 28 days - Kat’s been working at fertility for 3 years. Today will be different. She’s sure.
Clínica De Migrantes: Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness
(Directed by Maxim Pozdorovkin, 40 minutes)
An unprecedented look into the workings of one of the only health clinics that serves America’s untouchable class: undocumented immigrants.
Watch this trailer for The Beacon Film Festival, where a child's curiosity overcomes him for a film production studio, and he may or may not have lifted a camera to then enlist his neighborhood friends to film a zombie movie.
You can buy your tickets online here. It's super easy and you have a lot of flexibility with which parts of the festival you go to. Tickets may also be purchased on location the day of the screenings.
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