5 must-sees at the Brooklyn Film Festival

There’s a decent chance you’re not that familiar with the Brooklyn Film Festival, but you’d be well-served to start paying attention.

The event, which kicks off its 18th annual edition on May 29, spotlights 108 features and shorts that collectively comprise the sort of free-thinking, independent spirit that has been so often associated with the Borough of Kings.

It’s not as well-known as the New York Film Festival, or Tribeca, or BAMcinemaFest, but it offers more than enough to keep cinephiles and casual movie fans alike busy over the coming week, as the summer movie doldrums set in.

These are some of the films that intrigue us the most at the fest, running through June 7 at venues across Brooklyn.


“Manson Family Vacation”

Buzz has built around this movie, acquired by Netflix at the South by Southwest Film Festival in March. The BFF’s opening night selection stars Jay Duplass and Linas Phillips in the story of two brothers who embark on a tour of infamous Manson family murder locations in Southern California.


“Abby Singer/Songwriter”

Onur Tukel has established a name for himself on the micro indie circuit in recent years, particularly for his sharp-eyed hipster vampire flick “Summer of Blood,” set in Brooklyn. This is a self-referential, surrealist work in which Tukel plays a version of himself, working with a stockbroker trying to rekindle a long-dormant singing career. That description probably doesn’t do the film justice.


“Deep Web”

The story of the Silk Road, the digital black market, and the trial of the man alleged to be its founder, gets the documentary treatment in a film by Alex Winter that explores the precariousness of our digital future.


“But Not For Me”

A world premiere at the Brooklyn Film Festival, this movie stars Marcus Carl Franklin as a New York-dwelling copy writer grappling with the challenges of life in the big city. It’s one of many movies with strong local connections playing here.



This is one of the most conceptually ambitious movies playing at the festival, starring Ella Purnell as a teen fleeing her troubled family across the vast Alaskan terrain. The film, from director Frank Hall Green, co-stars mainstays such as Bruce Greenwood and Ann Dowd and is executive produced by the great Christine Vachon, so the credentials are first-rate.