At her core, Kweighbaye Kotee is a community builder: she triumphantly brings together artists and audiences, neighborhood long-timers and newbies alike. Her talents coalesce most notably in the Bushwick Film Festival, her passion project that is celebrating its 11th anniversary October 11–14. Greenpointers caught up with the local curator and filmmaker to discuss the morphing landscape of film, the partnerships she builds, and the side projects that continue to keep her busy.
Greenpointers: Do you live in Brooklyn, and if so where and for how long? Kweighbaye Kotee: I have lived in Brooklyn for 14 years. Williamsburg for two and now Bushwick for 12.
GP: Can you talk a little about the genesis of the Bushwick Film Festival? And how many participating volunteers and films are there in the coming festival? KK: I started the Bushwick Film Festival in 2007, while I was still in school at NYU. Initially, I really just wanted to share my love for indie film with other people in the neighborhood and celebrate filmmakers. Later on, I realized my position in the industry (female, immigrant, a woman of color) and wanted to do more. I began to use the festival as a place to bring people of all backgrounds together to connect through film. I also wanted to use our platform to help diversify the industry. This year, we plan to select about 100 films out of the 1,200+ films that submitted to the festival. Typically we have around 50 volunteers and interns who make it all happen. Continue reading →
It isn’t a new development that North Brooklyn is a hub for creative expression—in fact, last year marked the ten year anniversary of the Bushwick Film Festival. Last year’s fest brought an exciting series of more than 100 screenings, panel discussions and events designed for independent and up-and-coming filmmakers, with a strong emphasis on diversity—especially women, people of color and the LGBTQ community. The festival also takes a global turn and has been showcasing the work of not just local auteurs but filmmakers from around the world.
The 2018 festival will take place this October, and they are currently seeking submissions.
Important deadlines are as follows: Early Bird, February 15; Regular, May 15; Late, June 15; Extended Late, June 30. Filmmakers and web series directors who want the unique opportunity to screen their work in front of Bushwick audiences can now submit their film on FilmFreeway.com or Withoutabox.
More info on how and what to submit can be found here.
October 12th was the 10th Annual Bushwick Film Festival‘s opening night, which showcased the film “In Case of Emergency,” directed and written by Stefanie Sparks. Sparks has been working in film for half her life; In Case of Emergency is her second feature film.
Entering the film festival was a bit daunting for me—I don’t usually attend these types of events. To celebrate the opening night, there was a red carpet reception at the well known House of Yes (2 Wyckoff Ave). Photographers, journalists, and other press and filmmakers were in attendance and mingling amidst bright flashing lights. I was mostly looking forward to the film screening and hadn’t thought about networking, but was approached by a director/producer and a couple of artists. It was a pleasant surprise but also appreciated. Once I entered the theater, I was taken aback by the grandiose scene. The night started off with an emcee and an interview with the founder and CEO of Bushwick Film Festival, Kweighbaye Kotee. She’s an 11-year resident of Bushwick with a passion for independent films.
“Stories are the best way to bring people together,” Kweighbaye says. Her hope with BFF is to inspire women; in particular, women of color. She chose Stefanie Sparks’ film In Case of Emergency to kick off the opening night and the festival itself. “What I’m looking for is diversity on and off camera. An extra bonus with this film is that it was local,” Kotee says. Continue reading →
Ok so it seems that Summer is officially done and done… and for two weeks we’ll get to enjoy “Fall” before Winter sets in. So get out there! Catch some international burlesque, see a movie, visit an art studio! Because soon enough it’ll be zero degrees with a wind chill of -20.
One view of art is that the artist’s role is to create not for themself alone, but for the community they are a member of. This community centered view of art prioritizes the concept of resonance. Something is said to be resonant when it is able to move beyond itself as a point of origin and reverberate deeply throughout its environment. Are you resonant as an artist? Here are a few opportunities for you to let your work reverberate in your Brooklyn community. Continue reading →