Bushwick Film Festival 2023 is a community film festival that reflects the diversity of Bushwick, the Latin heart of Brooklyn, and the Puerto Rican community in particular. The festival was founded in 2007 by Liberian-born Kweighbaye Kotee to provide opportunities for filmmakers of color.
16th Bushwick Film Festival 2023
The 16th Bushwick Film Festival 2023 uses the “Sweet Sixteen” to focus on stories of life’s defining moments. A diverse selection of over 125 films is shown at the Williamsburg Cinemas in Williamsburg, Brooklyn; From Wednesday-Sunday, October 25-29, 2023. Movies are $19. Pass available. The theme is a clever commentary on the fleeting nature of life, especially in a world ravaged by climate change, environmental degradation, pandemics, social media extremism, identity politics, immigration and war. Life changes more quickly than ever before, and most of us have little prior experience to rely on Life changes more rapidly, and we must find our own way without the social buffers that guided previous generations. And changes keep coming throughout our lives.
Another big change we’re all going through is that after the police lynching of George Floyd, it’s time to be proud of our heritage.
Special events include:
Opening Night Red Carpet Reception at Brooklyn Borough Hall on Wednesday, October 25.
Film industry conference with filmmaker talks and networking opportunities at B Electric Studios.
Sweet 16 Party at Lot 45.
Awards include Best Feature Narrative, Best Feature Documentary, Best Short, and Best Web Series.
The festival has partnered with Bolivia Lab to promote more South American films, including the US premiere of Haroldo Borges’ Brazilian film “Bittersweet Rain” (Soudad Fez Morada Aqui Dentro). 15-year-old Bruno endures his first heartbreak, while slowly going blind and figuring out how to be LGBTQ+ in a small Brazilian town. Being LGBTQ+ in New York is one thing Being LGBTQ+ can be life-threatening in the socially conservative Latin world. Shot with non-professional actors, it won “Best Film” at the Mar del Plata International Film Festival in Argentina.
“Know Your Place” by Zia Mohajerjasbi follows two Eritrean American teenagers as they deal with identity and displacement in a gentrified Seattle In Emmy nominee Ramon Philippe Pesante’s “Playing Sam,” Samantha discovers her inner Latinx actress after her ex-boyfriend’s acting career takes off.
In “Don’t Worry About India” by Arjun Jr. and Nama Film Collective, an Indian filmmaker turns his camera to his homeland and sees how the world’s largest democracy has a culture rooted in inequality and right-wing populism. Indian culture is Latin through Trinidad
“Bad Like Brooklyn Dance Hall” by Ben DiGiacomo and Duti Vanier looks at Jamaican party music in Brooklyn. Dancehall comes from reggae which has clave, African and Latin rhythms.
“Uane” examines the importance of journalism during the Tigray genocide in Ethiopia.
“Estamos Unidos” highlights the resilience of Central American immigrants. It touches on the immigrant situation in New York City right now. There is no way to stop immigration from Central and South America. Have mercy on the immigrants. They didn’t come for a big television. Climate change and the violence of gangs exiled from Los Angeles prisons force people to leave immediately or face death. You will also migrate. Some walked across the border from Venezuela in sandals, carrying their children, and penniless. It is a difficult, dangerous road. People find their way by sticking together. Once they settle in, they will become great New Yorkers and great Americans who will uplift the entire country.
“Storming Caesar’s Palace” by Hazel Gurland-Pooler illuminates the feminist anti-poverty movement led by black women in the 1960s-70s and their impact on today’s fight for social justice.
Thiago Janato’s “Esú and the Universe” documents the struggle of a Nigerian professor in Brazil to prove that Esú, the Candomblé (Yoruba) orisha, is not Satan. Brazil has the largest African diaspora population in the world. The government claims there is no apartheid, but there is. If you complain about this, you will be in trouble because you will complain against the government. The Nigerian who did the first Yoruba translation of the Bible, translated the Christian Satan as Esu, and that organization has stuck, even though it is completely false, as nothing more than a competitive rant between religions.
[Editor “Kiko” Keith ~ If you think Esu is the devil, then you are reading the words of the devil himself. Esu is the Nigerian Yoruba Orisha of crossroads, decision points on life’s journey. If this reminds you of bluesman Robert Johnson, you’re right. But Robert Johnson didn’t make a deal with the devil, he stuck to his African roots and that made him great. The blues came from North Africa through the Caribbean. Esu is Elegua in Cuba and Puerto Rico, Papa Legba in Haiti, and Elegbara in Brazil. The Cubans crowned me Eleguá the day I moved to Puerto Rico. I had no idea who it was, but having had my own life-defining experience and having studied the Yoruba Orisha, I can only agree. I am an idol of Elegy. He was there at the beginning of creation so He knows the beginning and the end of everything. He is a divine messenger. In African Diaspora traditions, before we dance, we ask Elegua to connect us to the divine because dancing is how we pray. When a salsa song starts, “E le le le le-le-le,” that’s Elegua’s call. He brings people together, loves to dance, clown around and make people laugh. He opens and closes the way to our personal destiny. I am a journalist who brings Latin and other people together. As a journalist I can open and close most doors. I am one of the best Argentine tango dancers in the Caribbean and love to dance anything. I became funny in Spanish, even though I had never been funny before. Sometimes when I express my Orisha, I have to explain that I do not practice witchcraft and I am not the devil. Satan is a creation of one of my ancestors, the Persian prophet Zarathustra. His ideas about heaven and hell were accepted by Jews, Christians and Muslims. European colonizers considered anything non-European to be the devil. We are still colonized. There is no devil in Yoruba tradition. Satan is nothing but fear in your own head. Esú does not bring evil. At every stage of life, you have a choice. You can make a good or bad decision, but the decision is yours. Don’t blame Esu for your own mistakes or take all the credit for your blessings. It’s just the power of chance Presented by opportunities combined with your own decisions. This is how life goes. [hope]