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The 4th Annual Berkshire International FIlm Festival Will Be Boffo: May 14 - 17

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Vickery at BIFF's opening night 2008

Kelley Vickery is feeling guilty because she is praying for more rain next weekend. The founder of the Berkshire International Film Festival knows that more people will buy tickets for the 70 films she will be screening from May 14 - 17 in Great Barrington if the sun isn’t shining. (She’s not praying for rain on the 14th, however, because BIFF is hosting a free outdoor block party with a DJ on Railroad Street that night from 8:30 to 11 PM .) Vickery is a hands-on impressario: she not only pre-screens hundreds of movies (along with her advisory committee) to create the schedule, but organizes all the parties and panel discussions, which have given BIFF a reputation as a festival for people who are serious about film and having a good time.

For opening night, she has invited filmmakers/directors Emily and Sarah Kunstler, who will speak after a screening at the Mahaiwe of William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe (trailer below),  a film about their radical father, which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. “He was one of the most loved and hated lawyers in New York and one of the most controversial figures in the civil rights movement,” says Vickery. “He represented the prisoners at Attica. He really made history.”

“We’re closing the festival with a film about political action of another sort,” says Vickery of The Yes Men Fix The World, a documentary about two practical jokers who dress up as executives at corporations they hate not only to make fun of greedy capitalists but also to point out the corrupt nature of big business. “The film won the audience award at the Berlin Film Festival, and it’s going to be at the Cannes Film Festival, too.”

The editors of Rural Intelligence are most excited about the documentary Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight (trailer below), which chronicles the life of the influential and legendary graphic designer, who was one of the founders of New York Magazine. (The spirit of Rural Intelligence owes a great debt to New York, where RI‘s founders were both editors many years ago.) As the movie makes clear, Glaser defined the look of the 1960s and 1970s as much as anyone.

Vikery is eager to point out that BIFF is more than documentaries. “We have James Gandolfini’s new film and Jeff Daniels’ new film,” she says, while also noting that she’s included local filmmakers such as Mati Kiin, whose An Impulse to Soar is about the Berkshire Children’s Chorus, and Rick Derby, whose Axis of Good: A Story from 9/11 is about Berkshire residents Don and Sally Goodrich whose son Peter was aboard United Airlines Flight 175 when it flew into the World Trade Center. “We have more films than ever before,” says Vickery. “And we are starting at 9:15 in the morning just like a grown-up film festival!”

4th Annual Berkshire International Film Festival
May 14 - 17
Great Barrington, MA; 413.528.8030
All individual movies are $10, except for opening night tickets which are $20.

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 05/07/09 at 10:05 AM • Permalink