May 31, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan
The 22nd annual Brooklyn Film Festival will get underway tonight in Williamsburg.
The 10-day-long celebration of cinema will feature 133 different films from over 30 countries all centered around this year’s theme of “The Gathering.”
“The theme-statement is essentially a call to all those people who are searching for clarity and intelligent exchanges,” said Brooklyn Film Festival Executive Director Marco Ursino. “On the programming side this year, more than ever before, we wanted to empower all those filmmakers who are thinking and working in critical systems, outside of the box, and against all odds.”
The festival will operate out of two main venues: the Wythe hotel in Williamsburg and Windmill Studios in Greenpoint. Some additional programming will be held at Alamo Drafthouse in Downtown Brooklyn, Syndicated in Bushwick, UnionDocs in Williamsburg and Made in NY Media Center in Dumbo.
Films from newcomers and seasoned industry veterans alike will be screened throughout the festival. Comedian Jim Gaffigan will take on a dramatic role in his new film “Above the Shadows,” premiering tonight at 8 p.m.
Documentary film “Sanctuary” will also be making its world premiere at the festival. The film tells the story of Amanda Morales, a Guatemalan mother of three who claimed sanctuary in a New York City Church to avoid deportation by ICE.
This year’s festival boasts the largest presence of female directors to date, with 46 percent of the films directed by women.
“I’m also proud to say that four out of our six festival programmers are women and the festival is run mostly by women,” Ursino said.
At the end of the festival, awards for best actor, actress, composer, style, editor, cinematographer, screenplay writer, producer, new director and Brooklyn project will be given out. Roughly $50,000 in prizes, including cash, products, and services, will be given out.
The festival will run from May 31 through June 9. Tickets begin at $15 and are available for purchase online.