We can’t wait for the start of the Berkshires cultural season each spring. And this year, from world-class dance to visual art and literature, we’ve got a lot to look forward to. But one of our all-time favorites is the Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF), which just announced its 2013 schedule of screenings and events.
BIFF was founded in 2005 by Kelley Vickery, a film buff with a background in special-events planning, to bring the best of narrative, documentary, and short films to the Berkshires. Each year, she and her staff undertake a months-long planning process that culminates with a five-day extravaganza of thought-provoking, artistic, and moving films, plus panel discussions, interactive events, and even a party or two. This year’s festival, from May 30 to June 2, will offer more than 75 films from 20 countries.
A headliner for 2013 is Twenty Feet from Stardom, a documentary about back-up singers who have performed onstage with some of the biggest names in music, from Sting and the Rolling Stones to the Talking Heads. One of the subjects, Darlene Love, will even make an appearance at the festival and sing a couple of songs live. We’re also jazzed about Girl Rising, a doc profiling nine extraordinary girls from nine different countries, and narrated by nine big-time actresses, including Meryl Streep, Kerry Washington, Anne Hathaway, and Freida Pinto. To close out the festival, The Squid and the Whale director Noah Baumbach will show his latest creation, Francis Ha, and he and star/writer Greta Gerwig will do a Q&A with the audience afterward. And the jury that will award the ultimate festival prize? You may have heard a few of these names: Karen Allen, Mary Kay Place, Chris Noth, Peter Riegert, Josh Braun, Karen Goodman, and Matthew Penn.
Of course, Kelley loves all her film and event “babies,” but when asked what she’s most looking forward to in BIFF 2013, she says, “The films and parties on opening night are always great, but some of the most beautiful things that happen during the festival are the intimate screenings of smaller films and the Q&A’s afterward. To have that interaction with the filmmakers, to talk about what you loved or what moved you or made you think—that’s what keeps people coming back. That’s what makes the festival fabulous.”