Thursday, March 30, 2006

Details of innaugural Berkshire International Film Festival in G.B.

Submitted by Kelley Vickery, founder and director,
Berkshire International Film Festival
( ) 528-8030


BIFF Line-Up Includes Robert Altman and Garrison Keillor’s
“A Prairie Home Companion”
March 30, 2006 - Great Barrington, MA: Announcement is made today of the
inaugural season of the Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF), to
take place May 12 – 14, 2006, in Great Barrington MA. Opening the festival will
be the new comedy by Director Robert Altman (who received an honorary Oscar
at this year’s Academy Awards Ceremony for his body of work) A Prairie Home
Companion, written by starring Garrison Keillor along with a cast that includes
Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, Garrison Keillor, Kevin Kline, Lindsay
Lohan, Virginia Madsen, John C. Reilly, Maya Rudolph, Meryl Streep, and Lily
Tomlin. A Prairie HomeCompanion is a “backstage fable about a fictitious radio
variety show that has managed to survive in the age of television.” However,
unknowingly the radio station has been sold and this is the final broadcast.
The film will be released by Picturehouse nationwide in June.
The opening night festivities begin at 6:00pm with a light dinner and
cocktails at local Great Barrington restaurant Pearl’s before the screening of A
Prairie Home Companion at 9:00pm. There will be three other films premiering
that evening at the Triplex Cinema and the Mixed Company Theatre. A “
Soundtrack Lounge” at nearby Club Helsinki will be showing the rarely seen Robert
Altman film Jazz ’34 and afterward Don Byron Plays Junior Walker takes the
stage. Several Great Barrington restaurants will play host to filmgoers after
the opening night films, with each creating a unique atmosphere with live music
and special drinks and desserts. Participating venues include Bizen, Castle
Street Café, Club Helsinki, Due/Verdura, Pearl’s, 20 Railroad, Union Bar and
Grill and the Vault Gallery.
The film festival will feature some 40 films from the US, Australia,
Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, Iran, the Netherlands, Spain and the United
Kingdom. BIFF will include 10 features, 18 documentaries, and 12 shorts as well as
panel discussions, Q & A with filmmakers after screenings and a special
tribute evening to Berkshire native, Michael Haley (see below). Venues for the
weekend-long events will be the Triplex Cinema, Mixed Company Theatre and Club
Helsinki, all in downtown Great Barrington.
Premiere sponsors of the event include Berkshire Living Magazine, Canyon
Ranch Spa, French Rabbit Wines, GWFF, Studio Two, Triplex Cinema and
WRGB-CBS-Channel 6. Supporting sponsors include Abbott’s Livery, Club Helsinki, Medoff
Inc., Mixed Company and the Red Lion Inn.
The Festival tribute for the inaugural season will be given to Berkshire
County native Michael Haley, who has worked in film for over 40 years as a first
assistant director and producer on over 60 films including Angels in
America, Closer, Groundhog Day, A League of Their Own and So Fine to name but a
few. World renowned film and stage director Mike Nichols will present the
award to Mr. Haley at the tribute evening to be held at the Norman Rockwell
Museum in Stockbridge, MA on May 13, 2006.
Club Helsinki and Helsinki Cafe will be presenting “The
Soundtrack Lounge”
with four shows daily and special lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch menus.
Accordion wielding, Yiddish rapping Klezmer-Hip Hop maestro SoCalled will host an
Eastern European laced hip hop shtetl dance party on Friday Night.
Internationally acclaimed horn player, Don Byron will bring his Junior Walker Tribute
project on Saturday night, and Robert Altman’s Documentary of 1930’s Kansas
City Music Jazz’34: Remembrances of Kansas City Swing will be screened on
Saturday and Sunday. Also, funk poet
Everton Sylvester will lead his band Searching For Banjo in one of the most
unique shows in the world. Hector on Stilts who will premier their new music
video, Award winning songwriter Robby Baier will play a solo set, and Citizen
Band will rock the house with their Punk/Folk hybrid sound.
Complete dates and times for films and festivities will be available in the
BIFF program and website May 1. Passes for the festival will go on sale
Monday, April 4 and individual tickets will go on sale Monday, May 1. An
All-Inclusive BIFF Pass are $500 (limited to 125 only and will be sold on a
first-come, first-serve basis) and include the opening night party at Pearl’s, an
exclusive ticket to A Prairie Home Companion, Michael Haley’s Tribute at the
Norman Rockwell Museum, admission to all films and panel discussions, access to
the VIP Lounge and a special BIFF gift. An All-Access Movie Pass are $90
(limited to 100 and will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis) and include
admission to all movies (excluding A Prairie Home Companion) throughout the
weekend. Pass holders must be in their seats 15 minutes prior to the
screening to guarantee seating. Passes may be purchased by contacting the BIFF
office at 413-528-8030 or by contacting _kelley@biffma.com_
( or _Lauren@biffma.com_ ( ) . Individual tickets
may be purchased May 1 at the BIFF Headquarters located in the Triplex
Cinema at 70 Railroad Street in downtown Great Barrington. All films and times
are subject to change.

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