BIFF 2017 – Day 1



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149th & Grand Concourse

(Directors: Andy & Carolyn London; Producer: London Squared) (3 min)

A playfully animated documentary portrait of New York City and its diverse voices.


One For the Road

(Director: Fernanda Faya; Producer: Temporal Filmes) (12 min)

As she moves from Brazil to NY, the filmmaker looks back at her grandma’s migration as a way to find traces of her own identity.


All Appliance

(Director & Producer: Chuka Umunna) (13 min)

Roy and Jack Vanasco are brothers who fought during WW II. Upon their return to their native Brooklyn, they opened All Appliance Refrigerator Company. After sixty-one years, they closed their doors. Chuka Umunna celebrates the authentic, the tactile, the forgotten human story. He’s dedicated to being around people, places and things with values and qualities from another time.


One October

(Director & Producer: Rachel Shuman; Producer: Garret Savage) (56 min)

Filmed in October 2008 on the eve of Obama’s historic election and an unprecedented economic crisis, this lyrical portrait of New York City follows WFMU radio reporter Clay Pigeon as he takes to the streets to talk to fellow New Yorkers about their lives, their dreams, and their relationship with the city. These revealing interviews are woven between vivid scenes of New York’s eccentric byways, which together reveal a city—and a nation—at a crossroads.



Following the screening director Rachel Shuman and the Beacon Independent Film Festival will present CITIES LOST AND FOUND: A NEW CONVERSATION ABOUT URBAN DEVELOPMENT. This panel will use the film as a catalyst to bring together urban planners, developers, writers, and activists to discuss “how to love the places you live and save the places you love.” This timely conversation is very relevant to Hudson Valley citizens who are witnessing their own cities undergo a similar trend of sweeping urban renewal and gentrification. Director Rachel Shuman will take part in the panel along with Jennifer Schwartz Berky, Ben Schulman, and moderator Cassim Shepard.
Jennifer Schwartz Berky is an Ulster County legislator who has worked for more than 30 years as a professional urban planner in environmental protection and economic development. Her focus has been community revitalization and adaptive reuse of historic places, cities and sites, waterfronts, downtowns, and cultural institutions in the United States and abroad, including time as a consultant for the World Bank in Washington, DC. Berky now runs her own community-driven development consulting practice, Hone Strategic, and is a regular lecturer in environmental and urban studies, including 4 years at Bard College.
Ben Schulman is a writer and editor with a focus on architecture, urban planning, and policy. His work has appeared in The Atlantic’s CityLab, ARCHITECT Magazine, Belt Magazine, ICON Magazine, Metropolis Magazine, New Geography, Streetsblog, and numerous others. He currently works with Small Change, a real estate equity crowdfunding platform that connects investors to developers dedicated to building better cities. When not writing about cities, Schulman helps head the Contraphonic Sound Series, an attempt to document cities through sound.
Cassim Shepard, an urbanist, filmmaker, and writer, will moderate the panel. Shepard’s film and video work have been screened at the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and the United Nations, among others. As the founding editor-in-chief of Urban Omnibus an online publication of The Architectural League of New York, he spent six years researching stories of urban innovation. Shepard teaches in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University and his first book, Citymakers: the Culture and Craft of Practical Urbanism, will be released in October 2017.




Enjoy a live performance from Dirt Bikes , and meet some of this year’s filmmakers.

BIFF – Day 2    BIFF –  Day 3