Driving down any of Brooklyn’s impressively endless avenues – Flatbush, Bedford, Atlantic – you can gauge the neighborhood you’re in by the names on the bodegas, proudly proclaiming the area above their stock of hot sandwiches, cold beer, soda. They’re proud to be in Brooklyn, sporting their nabe on their front like a badge of honor shared by the area’s auto repair shops, diners; even new, upscale local eateries often sport some fun rendition on the area’s name.
The Williamsburg International Film Festival, now in its 8th year, is sponsored by Brooklyn Films on a platform built by Brooklyn Design.Studio and has been held for the better half of the last decade across venues in its namesake neighborhood, from Williamsburg Cinemas to the Knitting Factory. This year, however, the eight-year-old film fest will be held at Hunter College, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Why? “If you don’t shake things up they get stale and boring,” Michael Helman, the festival’s spokesman, told the Brooklyn Paper. “We want to give the attendees and filmmakers a different experience.”
In addition to Brooklyn being “stale and boring,” the organizers of “WILLiFEST,” as it brands itself, were seduced across the East River by a partnership, the Brooklyn Paper reported.
Despite not taking place in Brooklyn, the three-day-fest – which will be happening this weekend from Friday, September 15 to Sunday the 17th – two of the festival’s nearly 50-film lineup are about Brooklyn and have the borough’s name in the titles. The films, unlike the festival, don’t simply use the borough as a branding technique: they’re about Brooklynites and Brooklyn life.
People move from around the world to New York just to “shake things up.” So much goddamn beautiful shaking goes on in this city, we’ve become known for it, and it’s become a brand. Brooklyn, especially Williamsburg, carry a weight in their names which is often rewarded in cash. The Williamsburg International Film Festival loses the honesty of its name the moment it moves not just out of the neighborhood, but out of the borough – and with the justification that they’re shaking things up. Be true to your school, be true to your bar, be true to your borough (someone’s gonna need to write a song about that last one).
The Williamsburg Independent Film Festival, also in its 8th year, has not yet announced any plans to defect and is currently accepting submissions.
[H/t: The Brooklyn Paper]
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