The Art of Brooklyn Film Festival is a unique event that brings Brooklyn’s celebrated film and media makers together with their peers across the country and around the world. The award-winning AoBFF is a filmmaker-focused event, platform and showcase for exciting emerging creators and established voices. We partner with film distributors and media organizations, host world-class talkbacks, create innovative programming for networking and skill building, and screen in state-of-the-art theaters for enthusiastic audiences across Brooklyn.
Our 2020 Festival was our first-ever Digital Edition, produced in response to the Covid pandemic. Rather than delay or cancel, our dedicated team of organizers was able to pivot early and produce a full 12-day festival on schedule, screening over 70 films, livestreaming filmmaker talkbacks, and hosting special events, all for a worldwide audience. We partnered with Eventive to launch as one of the first fests on their new Virtual Festival Platform, which streams films with studio-grade DRM protection. We also instituted a Revenue Sharing Program, to give a percentage of our net screening profits back to our filmmakers. Thanks to the enthusiastic support of our wonderful creative community and audiences, we were able to have an incredibly successful 10th Anniversary, providing a showcase for independent art and community at a time when it was needed most.
As we plan our 2021 Festival, our goal is to produce a hybrid event that combines both in-person and Virtual (online) elements. We will follow NYC’s guidelines closely to determine what in-person events are possible in June 2021, based on rules for indoor gatherings as well as venue availability. The safety of our community is always our priority as we strive to deliver a world-class film festival experience.
Founded by working artists in 2011, over a dozen festival premieres have gotten theatrical distribution to date — and one became an HBO series. We have held events in nineteen different venues in nine neighborhoods across Brooklyn (so far,) often partnering with local businesses and organizations to reach the widest possible audience.
Our innovative approach to ensure that no single POV dominates the curation process includes working with a different Guest Festival Director every season. And our ethical and transparent submission policy is a model for the industry.
We believe that film festivals exist for filmmakers, not the other way around.
OUR SCREENPLAY COMPETITION:
Unproduced film or TV scripts in any genre, 120 pages maximum. Entries are scored by a team of professional script readers, managed by our Script Contest Director, Gina Leone. (Read more about prizes in Awards & Prizes section.)
In 2014 we became the only indie film festival to build and program our own video-on-demand streaming platform: Brooklyn On Demand, where we broadcast festival favorites, original series and more, online and on a Roku channel with over 16,000 subscribers, alongside Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. brooklynondemand.com
ABOUT THE FESTIVAL
• In 2020 we launched our first Digital Edition (on schedule) in response to the Covid pandemic on the Eventive Virtual Festival Platform
• In 2019 we added a new venue - the state of the art auditorium of Sunset Park High School
• In 2018 we hosted a special 25th Anniversary screening of the indie classic "Just Another Girl On The IRT" with director Leslie Harris in attendance
• In 2017, we screened Kelly Reichardt's 'Certain Women' and welcomed Neil deGrasse Tyson as a special festival guest for our New York Premiere of the feature 'Future '38'
• In 2016, we screened the premiere of the theatrical cut of Spike Lee’s new documentary ‘2 Fists Up’ through a partnership with ESPN Films.
• Our Official Selections Hunter&Game (2015) Lake Nowhere (2015), Lemon (2014), American Bomber (2013), Casual Encounters (2013) and You Bury Your Own (2012) all went on to get distribution.
• Our 2014 Best Animation winner ‘How You Doin’ Boy? Voicemails From Gran’pa’ was sold as a series to HBO Latino.
• We won a Brooklyn Innovation Award for Creative Group of the Year in 2015 for our leading-edge use of technology.
• We welcomed 2,000 guests to the 2016 AoBFF
OUR INDUSTRY PARTNERS:
• We have enjoyed strategic partnerships with IFP, New York Women in Film and Television, The NYC Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment, Prime Latino Media, film distributors BOND/360 and IndiePix films, Pratt Institute, ESPN Films, NBC Universal and LiveStream, among others.
OUR ETHICAL SUBMISSION POLICY:
• We watch every film submitted to us, right up until midnight of our extended deadline. And yes, we have programmed films we received on the last day of submissions!
• Our Film Selection Panel is a diverse group of industry professionals, and we choose a new Guest Festival Director each season, so that the AoBFF doesn’t reflect a single, static point of view.
• Only films that we receive through our submissions process are eligible for festival awards.
HOW WE SCREEN:
• Our main screening space is a 300-seat theater at St. Francis College in Downtown Brooklyn. We also screen at a 280-seat auditorium in Bay Ridge, and a state-of-the-art 4K cinema at Pratt Film/Video, the new Sunset Park High School, among others.
• Our Technical Director pre-screens every selection in advance, to ensure the best-quality version of your film screens for our audience.
• We only screen from digital files to ensure a high quality screening without the technical pitfalls that can accompany DVDs or Blu-Rays.
• Our projectionists always remain in the theater for every screening.
We prefer to screen premieres, especially for features. It can be hard to decide where to premiere your film and we want to make a strong case for doing it with us. We have a great track record of opening films, garnering them press and industry attention with successful screenings... If ESPN Films trusted us to premiere the theatrical cut of Spike Lee’s 2 Fists Up, maybe you can too? We’re just saying.
THE AoBFF EXPERIENCE:
• We create opportunities to connect with your peers and industry at our world-class audience talkbacks, panels for networking and skill building, and our amazing Opening Night Party.
• We are aggressive about promoting our screenings to press and audience: We have over 4,000 Facebook fans and our promoted posts get over 10,000 views each.
• Your film’s festival run is an important part of its long-term marketing plan. We will partner with you to make the most of your AoBFF screening; before, during and after the festival. Premiering with us pays off!
• Our communication skills are legendary; you’ll always be in the loop.
• We produce broadcast quality interviews with AoBFF filmmakers that appear on our streaming platform Brooklyn On Demand (brooklynondemand.com), online and on Roku even after the festival ends.
• Our filmmakers love screening with us! See industry testimonials here: theartofbrooklyn.org/testimonials
The AoBFF will present awards in the following categories:
- Best Feature
- Best Short
- Best Documentary
- Best Comedy
- Best Drama
- Best Cinematography
- Best Editing
- Best Performance
- Best Short Documentary
- Audience Choice Award
- Jury Prize
- Dark Side Award (For Horror/Thriller/Noir Films)
- Vanguard Award (For Experimental/Non-Linear/Avant-Garde Films)
** New for 2021: Everyone who submits to AoBFF (film or screenplay) gets a live, interactive group pitch session from Roadmap Writers!
We will announce Official Selections for all accepted screenplays, then award laurels for the winners of the following categories:
• Feature Films: Action/Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Thriller/Horror.
• TV Pilots: Drama, Comedy.
• Short Films: One winning Short Screenplay (not genre-specific.)
• All our Accepted Screenplays receive a VIP Pass to AoBFF21, including our Launch party.
• Our 10 Semi-Finalists each also receive ONE FREE PITCH from Virtual Pitch Fest and a 15% discount for all products and services from Roadmap Writers.
• All Official Selections receive a live, interactive group pitch session from Roadmap Writers.
• 3 Finalists each also receive FIVE FREE PITCHES from VPF, plus one FREE SCRIPT LISTING on InkTip
• Grand Prize winner will also receive a LIVE STAGED READING cast with professional actors.
The Art of Brooklyn Film Festival programs all genres including comedy, drama, documentary, animation, horror, sci-fi, music video and experimental. Our Film Screening Panel —led by our annual Guest Festival Director— views all submissions and selects the films we program. We guarantee that ALL films and screenplays submitted will be considered up until midnight of the final day of submissions. A Judging Panel of industry professionals selects award-winning films in each category and our winning screenplay.
The Art of Brooklyn Film Festival strongly prefers to program premieres, especially for features, but will consider all films submitted.
All film submissions must include an online screener. Screenplays must be uploaded in PDF form only.
All filmmakers must have a screening-quality digital exhibition format available. We always screen directly from filmmakers' files. (No DVDs or Blu-Ray.)
If your film is accepted, you will be solely responsible for delivering exhibition materials to us and from the festival venue. The Art of Brooklyn cannot be held liable for any materials that are lost or damaged.
Payment made by credit card via the online submission platform is preferred.
All submission fees must be paid via credit card or PayPal. Festival dates are subject to change. Fees are non-refundable. Refund requests are considered on a case by case basis, and must be made within 1 week of our notification date.
By submitting my film, I allow it to be screened at The Art of Brooklyn Film Festival if accepted.
The Art of Brooklyn Film Festival is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any accepted film for any promotional purposes. (Print, press, online.)
The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations.
The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless The Art of Brooklyn from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.
By entering (submitting to) The Art of Brooklyn Film Festival, entrants release and hold the The Art of Brooklyn, its Board of Directors, Officers, Staff and Volunteers harmless from and against all losses, damages, rights, claims and actions of any kind arising in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from participation with the competition or participation in any competition related activity.
By entering (submitting to) to The Art of Brooklyn Festival you are granting the right for The Art of Brooklyn to screen your film publicly one to two times in the next twelve months (depending on the festival entered).
By entering (submitting to) The Art of Brooklyn Festival you are admitting that you have read, understood and agreed to follow our Rules and Regulations for festival submission and to abide by our Terms and Conditions of service and our general festival Rules and Regulations.
Failure to comply with The Art of Brooklyn guidelines, rules, regulations, or eligibility will be cause for disqualification and can result in having your film pulled from screening or competition.
All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply.
RULES SPECIFICALLY FOR SCREENPLAY SUBMISSIONS:
Screenplays cannot be submitted over 120 pages without festival permission. Screenplays can be in any format (Feature, TV, Short) as long as they do not exceed the page limit.
Screenplays submitted must not have been previously sold or produced unless said sale or production was completed with no financial gain to the writer.
All deadlines are at 11:59pm PST on the date listed. Any deadline alteration or promotion of any kind does not make any entry valid of a refund of any kind.
There are no refunds for any submitted screenplay. Coupons may not be applied to previously submitted scripts.
There is no limit on the number of scripts a writer or writing team may submit.
Prizes are award per script and teams of writers are expected to divide prizes on their own accord.
The decision of the judges will be final and cannot be contested in any manner. There is no score on a scorecard that guarantees advancement to the next level as advancement will be based on all score in the competition.
The contest reserves the right to delay announcements for any reason. Delay may last up to but never more than 90 days. While we never anticipate any delays, such delays will not alter the standing of any screenplay entry and will qualify no script for a refund under any circumstance.
By submitting to the contest you are releasing your script to the film festival and its partners, and holding harmless the festival or any affiliates from any claims, expenses, and liabilities, including but not limited to invasion of privacy, defamation, copyright, libel, trademark infringement, slander, personal property infringement, etc.