Brooklyn Film Festival looks to ‘spread love’ in ‘bad times’

The Brooklyn Film Festival’s organizers have found inspiration in the midst of political, social and cultural woes that plague our social media feeds.

“Division, bigotry, the wall, Trump. WTF?” the annual festival’s executive director Marco Ursino said in a statement. “But luckily, some great things usually come from bad times.”

The 21st edition of the film fest, dubbed “Threshold,” is one of those “great things,” he boasts. The 10-day event, kicking off June 1 in Williamsburg, features more than 125 feature and short movies from filmmakers across the globe, aiming to send a message of unity.

“In the middle of this undeniably appalling time in American history, Brooklyn Film Festival aims to amplify the voices of its films and filmmakers by shedding light, spreading love and celebrating diversity,” Ursino said.

Films from 30 countries were selected for screenings at the festivals two main venues, the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg and Windmill Studios in Greenpoint, with a scattering of events set for other locations around the city.

The lineup, which includes 19 world premieres, features films that tell stories from varying perspectives — like that of an American millennial who befriends a Lebanese housewife in “Are You Glad I’m Here.”

Here’s a look at five of the features worth checking out. For all events and tickets (single movie tickets start at $15), visit brooklynfilmfestival.com. Exact run times and locations have not yet been announced.

“Are You Glad I’m Here”

Making its New York premiere, this Noor Gharzeddine-directed film finds an American 20-something and a Lebanese housewife striking up an unusual friendship that leads them down an eventually dark path.

“Room For Rent”

A mystery/comedy from the mind of director Matt Atkinson, “Room For Rent” tells the story of a struggling 32-year-old (Mark Little) who’s still living with his parents. After convincing his parents to rent out a spare room, he’s introduced to a “creepy” stranger (Brett Gelman, “Stranger Things”). The flick also stars “Superstore’s” Mark McKinney and “My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s” Stephnie Weir.

“Ice Cream”

This oh-so-relatable narrative sees a 30-year-old woman lose her job and apartment, move back in with her grandma and decide to kick it on the couch with a tub of ice cream instead of facing her problems head on.


An Afghan couple is forced to take on a new life as their status as illegal immigrants is revealed. The Sattar Chamani Gol-directed film is set to make its East Coast premiere at the festival.

“Working in Protest”

Two filmmakers — Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley — set out to capture protests across the country. Footage from the past 30 years comes together in this documentary feature that starts in North Carolina in 1987 and comes to a close in 2017.