The Brooklyn International Film Festival (BiFF) ENiGMA-9 announced today the narrative feature and documentary line-ups for its 9th annual festival, which takes place at the Brooklyn Museum June 2nd-11th, 2006. A very competitive year, the 15 narrative features were selected from over 320 submissions and the 11 documentaries were selected from over 560 submissions. In all, 15 countries will be represented in these two sections.
Dave Ratzlow, Director of Programming for BiFF, recognizes "this year’s narrative feature submissions were especially strong. I only wish we had room for more films. We all worked very hard to create a high-quality program with some of the most thought-provoking and cutting-edge films of the year."
The narrative feature slate includes the U.S. Premiere of "Cousins"(Cousines), the first Haitian film to appear at the festival, as well as the East Coast Premiere of "Factotum" starring academy award nominee, Matt Dillon. On June 2, Opening Night, BiFF celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Italian Republic. The Opening Night film presentation will be the U.S. Premiere of "Blood, Death Does Not Exist" (Sangue, La Morte Non Esiste). The following concert, presented by Fondazione Arezzo Wave Italia, will feature the Italian band, Avion Travel.
The documentary slate includes the East Coast Premiere of "In The Shadow Of The Palms – Iraq" and the World Premieres of "Radiophobia" and "Kokoyakyu: High School Baseball".
All films compete for prizes, products, and services, worth over $100,000. The best documentary of the festival also receives the Diane Seligman Award, which carries a $5,000 cash prize.
International Narrative Feature Competition:
Ahlaam, directed by Mohamed Al-Daradji (Iraq). In the first few moments of the Iraq war, a mental institution is destroyed leaving its patients, terrified and confused, to wander the streets of Bagdad. Meanwhile, a young doctor and the families of some of the patients attempt to find them amid the turmoil of a city in chaos. East Coast Premiere.
Blood, Death Does Not Exist (Sangue, La Morte Non Esiste), directed by Libero De Rienzo (Italy). Employing a visceral shooting style in three distinct sections, De Rienzo creates a shocking tour-de-force and emotional roller coaster about two siblings set adrift in modern Italy. The opening night screening and party celebrates the commencement of the festival and the 60th anniversary of the Italian Republic. U.S. Premiere.
Contact (Kontakt), directed by Sergej Stanojkovski (Germany/Macedonia). A grumpy ex-convict and a woman, prematurely released from a psychiatric ward, are thrown together by their scheming relatives. As they repair an old Macedonian villa, this odd couple slowly begins to create a normal life for themselves. East Coast Premiere.
Cousins (Cousines), directed by Richard Senecal (Haiti). After the sudden death of her father, a young woman finds herself homeless on the streets of Port-au-Prince. The film features a wonderful performance by Jessica Geneus as a woman forced to make difficult choices in order to survive. U.S. Premiere.
Factotum, directed by Bent Hamer (United States). Matt Dillon plays the alter-ego of writer Charles Bukowski, a Beat Generation poet and novelist. The film covers his early years as he struggles with alcoholism, dead-end jobs and tempestuous relationships. Lili Taylor and Marisa Tomei co-star in the film. An IFC Films Release. NY Premiere.
Finger And Body, directed by Kei Horie (Japan). The heart-wrenching story of a young pimp, in the midst of an existential crisis, forced to come to terms with an incestuous relationship with his sister. Culminating in a Fellini-inspired adventure, this mesmerizing film establishes Horie as a young filmmaker to watch. U.S. Premiere.
The GoodTimesKid, directed by Azazel Jacobs (United States). Two men, who share the same name, discover each other during important transitions in their lives. A young woman, the object of both their affections, gets a chance to escape her mundane routine. Odd and sweet, this film features terrific performances by the director and two charming newcomers. East Coast Premiere.
Little Fugitive, directed by Joanna Lipper (United States). A colorful remake of the 1953 classic about a young boy who runs away to Coney Island after he is tricked into believing he has killed his older brother. Brooklyn, in all its glory, is featured throughout this High Definition film. East Coast Premiere.
The Last Queen Of The Earth, directed by Mohammed Rezaarab (Iran). A simple yet powerful film about a young Afghani man earning a living in Iran who attempts to return to Afghanistan before the impending US-led attack. The chaos which ensues impedes the search for his wife and family. World Premiere.
Lower City (Cidade Baixa), directed by Sergio Machado (Brazil). Lifelong pals test the limits of their friendship when they both fall for an exotic dancer who hitches a ride on their dilapidated cargo ship. A brutal tale of jealousy, temptation, and lust, the film features standout performances by three of Brazil's best young actors. A Palm Pictures Release. NY Premiere.
Milk And Opium, directed by Joel Palombo (India). A young Muslim musician, away from home for the first time, travels throughout India with his family. He struggles to earn money while dealing with his antagonistic, opium-addicted uncle. With breathtaking images and thrilling musical sequences, Palombo creates a touching and inspiring adventure. East Coast Premiere.
The Oh in Ohio, directed by Billy Kent (United States). Parker Posey stars as a woman who seems to have everything going for her, except... she has never had an orgasm. When her husband, played by actor Paul Rudd, leaves her, she begins a wild journey leading her to love and satisfaction in the most unlikely place. Danny DeVito and Mischa Barton also star in the film. NY Premiere.
The Ring Finger (L'Annulaire), directed by Diane Bertrand (France/Germany). A lost young woman, portrayed by supermodel Olga Kurylenko, arrives at a lonely port city and finds work at a strange laboratory that attempts to preserve people’s memories. In a journey of self-discovery, she soon engages in a complicated love affair with her enigmatic employer. NY Premiere.
Road, directed by Leslie McCleave (United States). A freelance photographer and her former lover embark on an increasingly surreal road trip. As the pair surveys toxic clean-up sites, they confront the wasteland of their relationship to each other and to their environment. Shot on a small budget with only a handful of actors, McCleave creates a haunting and thought-provoking film. NY Premiere.
What A Wonderful Place, directed by Eyal Halfon (Israel). An ex-cop, who has become an errand-boy for a violent gangster, rediscovers his moral compass after befriending a troubled prostitute from Ukraine. The film features excellent performances from an international ensemble cast. East Coast Premiere.
Learn more about the narrative features...
International Documentary Competition:
Before Flying Back To The Earth (Pries Parskrendant I Zeme), directed by Arunas Matelis (Lithuania). This heartbreaking and lyrical film follows several Lithuanian children as they cope with having leukemia. The film won the ‘Silver Wolf’ at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam 2005 (IDFA). U.S. Premiere.
Call It Democracy, directed by Matt Kohn (United States). A fresh perspective on voting rights, election reform, and the unresolved controversies threatening to undermine confidence in our democratic process. The film begins when the vote counting stopped and mainstream media coverage ended. NY Premiere.
Crossing Arizona, directed by Joseph Mathew & Dan Devivo (United States). The topical issue of illegal immigration and security on the U.S./Mexico border is told through the eyes of frustrated ranchers, local activists, desperate migrants, and the Minutemen. This expansive film deals with the surprising political stances people take when immigration and border policy fail. East Coast Premiere.
Everyone Their Grain Of Sand, directed by Beth Bird (United States). This inspiring film chronicles the struggles of the fiercely determined citizens of Maclovio Rojas, Tijuana, Mexico. It follows them as they battle the state government's attempts to evict them from their land to make way for corporate development. The film won the Jury Award for Best Documentary at the Los Angeles Film Festival in 2005. NY Premiere.
In The Shadow Of The Palms - Iraq, directed by Wayne Coles-Janess (Australia). Shot before, during and “after” the current war in Iraq, this film offers a revealing and intimate look at the country that has been so much a part of current events, but remains largely a mystery. NY Premiere.
Kokoyakyu: High School Baseball, directed by Kenneth Eng (United States). Offering Western viewers a rare glimpse into an unfamiliar world, the film follows two of the 4,000 high school baseball teams in Japan striving to make it to the National Championships at Koshien Stadium. World Premiere.
Muskrat Lovely, directed by Amy Nicholson (United States). An ironic and tender look at the annual National Outdoor Show in Golden Hill, Maryland, where local high school girls compete to become "Miss Outdoors". After the competition the girls relinquish the stage to an intensely competitive muskrat skinning contest. NY Premiere.
The Racer, directed by Yao Guofa (China). Led by Pak Gao, an all-female team of boat racers takes on not only the champions at the annual Guangzhou International Dragon Boat Tournament, but also prejudice, bureaucracy, self-doubt and the pursuit of honor. U.S. Premiere.
Radiophobia, directed by Julio Soto (Spain). This fascinating documentary examines the Chernobyl disaster and its consequences 20 years later. From the perspective of a group of survivors and people who were on duty at the reactor on the fateful night, the film follows the first time they return to the 'Zone' to reconcile their past with the ruins of the present. World Premiere.
Recycled Life, directed by Leslie Iwerks (United States). For decades, the Guatemala City Garbage Dump and its inhabitants (“guajeros”), who recycle the city's trash, have been shunned by society and ignored by the government. A disastrous event, in January 2005, forever changes the face of this landfill and the many people who call it home. NY Premiere.
Shooting Under Fire, directed by Sacha Mirzoeff (Germany). This moving and often shocking film follows a team of Israeli and Palestinian photojournalists and the German newsman who leads them. Through their coverage of disasters such as suicide bombings, demonstrations and funerals, the film shows the full emotional process, highlighting the difficult moral decisions that confront even the toughest photographers. East Coast Premiere.
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