9th Annual Berkshire International Film Festival

May 29 – June 1 in Great Barrington and Pittsfield

By: - Apr 27, 2014

The 9th Annual Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF) announces the packed weekend line-up of films which is marked by robust international programming and the Festival’s continuing dedication to programming the best in documentary film.  The BIFF will showcase 75 of the latest in independent feature, documentary, short and family films from some 18 countries.  The festival, which takes place from May 29 – June 1, 2014 in Great Barrington and May 31 – June 1st in Pittsfield, MA, will bring films, filmmakers, industry professionals and film fans together for a four-day festival celebrating independent film featuring 29 documentaries, 28 narrative features and 16 short films.  Some of the countries represented this year are Jordan, Afghanistan, Philippines, India, Chile, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Iceland, Morocco, Iceland, Israel and France, and a record 41 filmmakers will be in attendance with their films.


“The programming at BIFF continues to get stronger and this year proves that once again.  I am very excited about the incredible top-notch films we were able to secure and bring to the Festival,” Vickery commented.  “In our narrative feature section we have selected films from promising filmmakers like Gillian Robespierre and established directors such as Roman Polanski, and in our documentary selection, we have cultivated the most timely, funny and thought-provoking documentaries of the year.  The BIFF’s programming has combined our sense of wonder, our curious spirit, our desire to engage in the world around us and our need to explore the far corners of the globe.  With 18 countries represented, the BIFF truly brings the world to the Berkshires!”




The BIFF will commence with an Opening Night Gala event and the East Coast Premiere screening of the narrative feature film MAY IN THE SUMMER, directed and written by Cherien Dabis (AMREEKA) on Thursday, May 29 at 6PM at the Mahaiwe Theater.  After receiving glowing reviews at its world premiere in the dramatic competition at the Sundance Film Festival, this beautifully shot film takes place in Amman, Jordan. MAY IN THE SUMMER follows sophisticated New Yorker May Brennan (Cherien Dabis) to her childhood home in Amman, Jordan for her wedding.  Shortly after reuniting with her sisters and their long divorced parents, myriad familial and cultural conflicts lead May to question the big step she is about to take.  The film also stars Bill Pullman, Alexander Siddig, Hiam Abbas, Nadine Malouf and Ritu Singh Parde. The Huffington Post wrote “MAY IN THE SUMMER is everything that I'd hoped it would be: profound, passionate, funny, romantic…it brilliantly shows the challenges of being American, even Arab-American, in the Arab world.”   Cherien Dabis will be in attendance and will hold a Q&A immediately following the film.


After the screening, the celebration will continue with an opening night party under the BIFF tent with dinner by Max Ultimate Food of Boston and dancing to the live band CITY RHYTHM. 



BIFF’s Opening Night in Pittsfield at the Beacon will feature the audience hit, which also premiered at Sundance, THE TRIP TO ITALY.  Two men, six meals in six different places on a road trip around Italy. Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, reprise their hilarious culinary and cultural road trip through Italy improvising their impressions of their favorite actors over plates of delicious pasta and seafood…the trips just keep getting better! 

Prior to the opening night feature film, Berkshire Bank and BIFF will present the fifth annual “Next Great Filmmaker Award” chosen among 4 films in competition. The films in competition are IF I TELL YOU, MOON FISHING, WATER DOGS, and REACHING HOME.  Voting begins Friday, April 25 on the BIFF website.  Before the opening night screening, the celebration kicks off at 5:30PM with an opening night party upstairs at the Beacon with food catered by Mission.
 The evening is generously sponsored by Berkshire Bank.



BIFF will host a very special screening and Q&A with the inspiring film THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL at 7PM at the Mahaiwe.  Celebrate one of the most stirring, inspirational and unheralded true stories of America’s favorite pastime with the BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL.  Whether or not you are a baseball fan, this crowd-pleasing film, tells the true underdog story of the irrepressible Bing Russell (father of Kurt Russell) and the rise of the Portland Mavericks. In 1973, skepticism was high when actor Bing Russell, most well known as Deputy Clem on Bonanza, created the only independent baseball team in America, the Portland Mavericks, which he bought for $500.  Their spirit was contagious and the Maverick’s independence alarmed the professional baseball establishment, setting the stage for an epic showdown in 1977.  The film will leave you cheering.  The directors and Russell’s grandsons Chapman and Maclain Way, the producer Juliana Lembi and baseball player (whose career was re-launched with the Mavericks) and author Jim Bouton will be in attendance for a Q&A immediately following the film.  The New York Daily News wrote, “The film is so engrossing, American and wild, it should be remade as a feature.”  And as a matter of fact, the screen rights were snatched up at Sundance!


Before the screening and Q&A, a gourmet ballpark dinner will be held with the filmmakers and participants under the BIFF tent catered by Castle Street Café.  The evening is generously sponsored by GWFF.



BIFF’s Closing Night in Great Barrington will also feature an audience hit, which premiered at Sundance THE TRIP TO ITALY.  Two men, six meals in six different places on a road trip around Italy. Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, reprise their hilarious culinary and cultural road trip through Italy improvising their impressions of their favorite actors over plates of delicious pasta and seafood…the trips just keep getting better! 


BIFF will mark the closing of the festival with a closing night party at Castle Street.


Our 9th Annual Berkshire International Film Festival has an array of incredible films, Q&A’s with directors, producers, and actors and a great lineup of festivities.  BIFF has become the festival of choice for filmmakers and film lovers who are seeking a unique Berkshire experience and a place to indulge their passion for film. The Festival connects audiences to compelling documentaries, award-winning international releases with incredible parties and events, all just a short drive from New York City or Boston. Films and events will be held throughout both Great Barrington and Pittsfield, including the Triplex Cinema, the historic Mahaiwe Theatre, and the Beacon Cinema and area restaurants.


The BIFF is honored to have our Third Annual Jury includes actors Mary Kay Place, Karen Allen, and Peter Riegert, Casting Director and Producer Susan Arnold, Producer Tom Jacobson, Distribution Gurus Josh Braun and Dan Braun, Directors Karen Goodman and Matthew Penn, and renowned Film Critic and New York Film Festival director of programming Kent Jones. There will be five films in competition for feature documentaries and five films in the narrative category.  The award will carry a $5,000 prize sponsored by GWFF USA to be presented on Sunday, June 1st at Allium in Great Barrington.The films in competition for Narrative are: A THOUSAND TIMES GOOD NIGHT, MY SWEET PEPPER LAND, OBVIOUS CHILD, UNDER THE SAME SUN and HELLION. In thedocumentary category: HAPPY VALLEY, THE CASE AGAINST 8, E-TEAM, GRAZING THE SKY, and IVORY TOWER. 




1:00PM NIGHT CAP, 2000Written by Claude Chabrol and Caroline Eliacheff from the novel by Charlotte Armstrong, Directed by Claude Chabrol and stars Isabelle Huppert, Jacques Dutronc and Anna Mouglalis. 

Claude Chabrol’s taut thriller stars Isabelle Huppert as the villainous spider at the centre of an intricate and murderous web of deception.


3:15PM SCENE OF THE CRIME, 1986 – Written by Andre Techine, Pascal Bonitzer, Olivier Assayas, Directed by Andre Techine, starring Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux, Wadeck Stanczak.

Thomas is fourteen and perhaps because not much happens in his remote village in southwestern France, he likes to tell tales.  But then one day, something really does happen to him, something that upsets his like and the lives of everyone around him.


 9:30AM –THE MAHAIWE -The morning begins with a selection of kids shorts from KIDS FLIX MIX for ages 4 to 8, a colorful collection of short films from around the world, hand-picked as audience and jury favorites from the 2013 New York International Children’s Film Festival. THIS SCREENING IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.


10:45AM –THE MAHAIWEERNEST AND CELESTINE for ages 5 and up. Based on the classic Belgian book series by Gabrielle Vincent, the film was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 88th Academy Awards. THIS SCREENING IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.



TO BE TAKEI follows George Takei and his husband Brad, as they prepare for Takei’s dream project, ALLEGIANCE, a musical based on his harrowing childhood experiences inside a Japanese American internment camp during World War II.  The documentary shows his rise to fame as helmsman Hikaru Sulu on STAR TREK, to his advocacy for marriage equality and civil rights.  Tickets $12.



The incredible true story of the show jumping career of the horse Jappeloup and his trainer Pierre Durand. A horse that was too small, too stubborn with many faults but had a remarkable jumping ability and went all the way to the Seoul Olympics in 1988.  Tickets $12.


3 – 5PM –BIFF AT THE MOUNT!  BIFF and the Mount are excited to present: EDITH WHARTON:  THE SENSE OF HARMONY, directed by Elizabeth Lennard who will be in attendance.  The film is a sweeping biography that follows Edith Wharton from the beaches of Newport to the frontlines in France and beyond and features the only known, and very rare, film footage of Wharton.  General $10; Free for BIFF Passholders


For the third year, The Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF) is proud to present the annual Filmmakers Summit; a two-day talent academy offered to the 2014 film selection filmmakers. Offering a diverse, multi-dimensional program of panel discussions, lectures, special events, and breakout sessions lead by known industry professionals, the BIFF Filmmakers Summit is designed to celebrate and support the advancement of filmmakers and recognize film as a relevant and important medium. Beginning on Wednesday, May 29, the Filmmakers Summit is an integral part of the festival experience for filmmakers. Ensuring the freshest and most poignant dialogue in conjunction with incredibly unique events, this Summit goes way beyond networking; it will fortify the festival experience.




Check for dates and screening times




A THOUSAND TIMES GOOD NIGHT (d. Erik Poppe with: Juliette Binoche, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lauryn Canny, Larry Mullen, Jr.)

*BESIDE STILL WATERS (d: Chris Lowell with: Beck Bennett, Will Brill, Chris Lowell, Mohit Narang, Jason Potash) Q&A with Chris Lowell following the screening


CLASS ENEMY (d. Rok Bicek with: Igor Samobor, Natasa Gracner, Tjasa Zeleznik)


THE DOUBLE (d: Richard Ayoade with: Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowka)


*FORT TILDEN (d: Sarah-Violet Bliss with: Bridey Elliott, Clare McNulty, Alysia Reiner) Q&A with Sarah-Violet Bliss following the screening


*HANK AND ASHA (d: James E. Duff with: Mahira Kakkar and Andrew Pastides)  Q&A with filmmakers to follow the screening.


HELLION (d: Kat Candler with: Aaron Paul, Juliette Lewis, Josh Wiggins)


HONEYMOON (d: Leigh Janiak with: Rose Leslie, Harry Treadaway, Ben Huber)


JAPPELOUP (d: Christian Duguay with: Guillame Canet, Marina Hands, Daniel Auteuil)


LOUIS CYR (d: Daniel Roby with: Antoine Bertrand, Gilbert Sicotte, Rose-Maite Erkoreka)


LOVE IS A PERFECT CRIME (d: Marnaud Larrieu and Jean-Marie Larrie with: Mathieu Amalric)


LUCKY THEM (d: Megan Griffiths with: Ryan Eggold, Toni Collette, Thomas Haden Church)


METRO MANILA (d: Sean Ellis with: Jake Macapagal, John Archilla, Althea Vega)


MIELE (d: Valeria Golina with: Jasmine Trinca, Carlo Cecchi, Libero De Rienzo)


MY SWEET PEPPER LAND (d: Hiner Saleem with: Korkmaz Arslan, Golshifteh Frahani, Suat Usta)


OBVIOUS CHILD (d: Gillian Robespierre with: Jenny Slate, Gabby Hoffman, Jake Lacy, Gabe Liedman, David Cross)


OF HORSES AND MEN (d: Benedikt Erlingsson with: Ingvar Eggert Sigurosson, Charlotte Boving)


PARIS OR PERISH (d: Reem Kherici with: Reem Kherici, Cecile Cassel, Shirley Bousquet)


PAULETTE (d: Jerome Enrico with: Bernadette Lafont, Carmen Maura, Dominique Lavanant)


SALVATION ARMY (d: Abdellah Taia with: Said Mrini, Karim Ait M’hand, Amine Ennaji) 

SATELLITE BOY (d: Catriona McKenzie with: David Gulpilil, Cameron Wallaby, Joseph Pedley)


TO KILL A MAN (d: Alejandro Fernandez Almandras with: Daniel Antivilo, Daniel Candia, Ariel Mateluna, Alejandra Yanez)


THE TRIP TO ITALY (d:  Michael Winterbottom with: Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon)


UNDER THE SAME SUN (d: Sameh Zoabi with: Ali Suliman, Dirar Suleiman, Mahmud Abu-Jazi)


VENUS IN FUR (d: Roman Polanski with: Emmanuelle Seigner, Mathieu Amalric)








*ART AND CRAFT (d: Sam Cullman and Jennifer Grausman) Q&A with Filmmaker after screening


*BLUE GOLD:  AMERICAN JEANS (d: Christian Bruun)Q&A with Filmmaker after screening


*THE CASE AGAINST 8 (d: Ben Cotner, Ryan White) Q&A with Filmmaker after screening


*DISRUPTION (d: Pamela Yates, Peter Kinoy) Q&A with Filmmaker after screening


*DOGS ON THE INSIDE (d: Brean Cunningham, Doug Seirup) Q&A with Filmmaker after screening


*E-TEAM  (d: Katy Chevigny, Ross Kauffman) Q&A with Filmmaker after screening


*EVAPORATING BORDERS  (d: Iva Radivojevic) Q&A with Filmmaker after screening




FREEDOM SUMMER (d: Stanley Nelson)


GRAZING THE SKY (d: Horacio Alcala)


THE GREEN PRINCE (d: Nadav Schirman)


*HAPPY VALLEY (d: Amir Bar-Lev) Q&A with Filmmaker after screening


*I WILL BE MURDERED (d: Justin Webster) Q&A with Filmmaker after screening


IVORY TOWER (d: Andrew Rossi)


*KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON (d: Alan Hicks) Q&A with Filmmaker after screening


*MISS HILL: MAKING DANCE MATTER (d: Greg Vander Veer) Q&A with Filmmaker after screening


*PAUL TAYLOR, CREATIVE DOMAIN (d: Kate Geis) Q&A with Filmmakers after screening.


PLOT FOR PEACE (d: Carlos Aguillo, Mandy Jacobson, Stephan Smith)


*SLINGSHOT (d: Paul Lazarus) Q&A with Filmmaker after screening


*SOFT VENGEANCE:  ALBIE SACHS AND THE NEW SOUTH AFRICA (d: Abby Ginzberg, Rich Goldsmith) Q&A with Filmmaker after screening


*TAKE BACK YOUR POWER (d: Josh Del Sol) Q&A with Filmmaker and Blake Leavitt after screening


*THIS TIME NEXT YEAR (d: Jeff Reichert, Farihah Zaman) Q&A with Filmmaker after screening


TO BE TAKEI (d: Jennifer Kroot)


*TOUGH LOVE (d: Stephanie Wang-Breal) Q&A with Filmmaker after screening




*THE WINDING STREAM (d: Beth Harrington) Q&A with Filmmaker after screening





BIFF will present two short film programs, which will showcase 14 shorts and will be presented along with filmmakers at selected screenings.


Shorts #1

INTO THE SILENT SEE (d: Andrej Landin), THE HERO POSE (d: Mischa Jakupcak)  *LOMAX (d: Jesse Kreitzer),  *MOON FISHING (d: David Michael), GREAT (d: Andreas Henn) *THE WHEATFIELD (d: Alexander Smith)  *I LIVE HERE (d: Scott Masterson)

Q & A to follow with filmmakers in attendance


Shorts #2

*ENEMY WITHIN (d: David Anderson), *IF I TELL YOU (d: Brian Russell), *REFLECTION (d: Hazuki Aikawa), *TOBACCO BURN (d: Justin Liberman), *BANANAS (d: Aaron Rosenbloom), *REACHING HOME (d: Kenneth Murphy), *WATER DOGS (d: Matthew Slamowitz)  Q & A with filmmakers in attendance to follow.*denotes filmmakers in attendance.




Venues for all of the weekend-long events and screenings will include the Triplex Cinema and the historic Mahaiwe Theatre in Great Barrington and the Beacon Cinema in Pittsfield.


Passes are on sale now at $300 and $500 - $200 passes are sold out.  Individual tickets go on sale Friday April 26and may be purchased online at or by phone at 1-866-811-4111. Visiting the Triplex Cinema or the Mahaiwe Box Office in Great Barrington or the Beacon Cinema in Pittsfield can also purchase tickets.