"Three Identical Strangers, "Edie," "Streakers" score with BIFF audiences, jurors

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The Berkshire Eagle



GREAT BARRINGTON — "Three Identical Strangers," a documentary about three complete strangers who accidentally discover that they are identical triplets, separated at birth, won both the Juried Documentary Award and the Audience Award for best documentary at the recently concluded 13th Berkshire International Film Festival.

A United Kingdom entry, "Edie," was awarded the Juried Narrative Award. The Audience Narrative winner was "Streakers," a romantic comedy from Switzerland, directed by Peter Luisi.

"I'm honored and thrilled that 'Three Identical Strangers' has won the Documentary Award at BIFF," filmmaker Tom Wardle said in a statement. "Sorry to not be there to accept in-person. On behalf of the whole filmmaking team I'd like to thank the Jury and everyone who came to see the film in Berkshire [sic]. It has been a 5-year labor of love to bring this documentary to the screen, and it is wonderful that it has been received so positively by BIFF audiences."

"Three Identical Strangers" opens June 29 in New York.

"Edie's" writer and director, Simon Hunter, was on hand to accept the award. He gave his thanks to the BIFF and Berkshire audiences for receiving his film "so generously."

The winner of the Berkshire Bank "Next Great Filmmaker Award" was the French short film "With My Own Two Hands." In a statement sent from Paris, French director Michael Barocas said, "I'm proud and honored to win this prize ... and I thank my wonderful cast and crew, and especially my wife who had the original idea for the film."

The Jury prizes were presented at a brunch Sunday at allium Restaurant. Serving on the BIFF Jury were actors Karen Allen, Jayne Atkinson, Michel Gill, Peter Riegert, and Scott Cohen as well as industry professional Josh Braun of Submarine Entertainment, producers Sid and Nancy Ganis, producer Darren Dean, and filmmaker and New York Film Festival director Kent Jones.

The festival, which began last Thursday and wrapped Sunday, screened 80 short and feature length narrative and documentary films. More than 50 filmmakers and industry professionals were in attendance.

Former Gov. Deval Patrick and actress Jayne Atkinson introduced a screenplay reading of the Berkshire-based film, "Mumbet." After the reading, it was announced that Submarine Entertainment had come to agreement to represent the "Mumbet" film directed by Alethea Root, produced by Root and Kim Waltrip, and executive produced by Octavia Spencer, Jayne Atkinson and Elizabeth Aspenlieder.

Actress Rachel Weisz was this year's BIFF honoree. Weisz appeared at Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center Friday evening in an onstage conversation with chief New York Magazine film critic David Edelstein, before a screening of her new film, "Disobedience."

The BIFF also presented the second year of "Tea Talks" including talks from Academy Award-winning screenwriter Charles Randolph and award-winning artist Gregory Crewdson; Academy Award-winning director Cynthia Wade and her new film "Grit;" and a special sneak-preview screening of "Diane" with writer/director Kent Jones, actor Mary Kay Place, and costume designer Carissa Kelly.

BIFF's seventh annual Filmmakers Summit, a two-day event attended by the 2018 selected filmmakers, offered a program of panel discussions, lectures, and special events led by known industry professionals.

BIFF 2019 will be held May 30-June 2, 2019. Submissions will open Oct. 1, 2018.






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