“Ukraine Is Not a Brothel,” the story of the street protest group Femen, screens on October 3 at 7 p.m. | BUSHWICK FILM FESTIVAL
Since 2007, the Bushwick Film Festival has provided opportunities to explore both domestic and international indie films as well as new media projects.
This year’s edition, which runs October 2-5, screens 10 features and two programs of shorts that total another 15 titles. There are also panels, workshops, and, of course, a few parties.
Though the website line-up does not highlight specific gay-themed films, a variety of screenings and other events explore timely topics of LGBT community interest including feminism and the role of women in the world, immigration, artistic expression, cultural work that contributes to social change, and the impact of gentrification on traditional social life in Brooklyn.
On October 3, 7 p.m., the festival screens Kitty Green’s feature documentary “Ukraine is Not a Brothel,” which explores that nation’s newest feminist sensation, Femen, a group of women who bare their breasts in public protest against prevailing images of Ukrainian women as either brides for sale overseas or as commodities in the world’s sex tourism trade. Their activism has sparked the imagination of women elsewhere in Europe. (Cobra Club, 6 Wyckoff Ave. at Jefferson St.)
On October 5, 12:30 p.m., Bruce Goodison’s British-made film “Leave to Remain” is screened –– a feature drama about the difficulties facing a charismatic teenage Afghan asylum seeker in the UK, who must either tell his unbelievable truth or give authorities the story that will ensure he can stay. (Cobra Club, 6 Wyckoff Ave. at Jefferson St.)
Also on October 5, 3 p.m., the festival screens Petter Ringbom’s feature documentary “Shield and Spear,” which tells the story of an artist whose caricature of South African President Jacob Zuma provokes a lawsuit, death threats, and a massive street protest. The film explores identity, art, race, and freedom of expression in South Africa two decades into its democratic life. (Cobra Club, 6 Wyckoff Ave. at Jefferson St.)
On October 5, 2 p.m., one of the festival’s two programs of shorts includes Beyza Boyacioglu and Sebastian Diaz’s 21-minute “Toñita’s,” which tells the story of one of the last Puerto Rican social clubs in hipster haven Williamsburg –– a refuge where Maria Toñita struggles to maintain Nuyorican culture against the devouring “growth machine.” (Radio Bushwick, 22 Wyckoff Ave. at Troutman St.)
On October 4, 1 p.m., “Conscious Filmmaking: Creators and Supporters of Stories That Change Us” is a panel discussion about how cinema can be harnessed to make positive change in society and in the world. Panelists include Marc Bicking, the founder and president of Epic Stone Productions, a media financing company; Vivianne Njoku, a Nigerian-born video artist who lives in Brooklyn and is director of cultural sustainability at Filmmakers Without Borders, which works to harness art, education, and technology in encouraging young people in cinema; Lisa Dent, director of resources and award programs at Creative Capital; and Laurel Gwizdak, the education director at Reel Works, a nonprofit filmmaking program that teaches documentary filmmaking to at-risk youth in Brooklyn. (Radio Bushwick, 22 Wyckoff Ave. at Troutman St.)
Also at 1 p.m. on October 4, the festival presents a workshop on “Crowdfunding to Build Independence.” (Brooklyn Desks, 49 Wyckoff Ave. at Willoughby Ave.)
True to its roots as a festival founded by female entrepreneurs, Bushwick also presents a “Women in Film and TV Panel & Reception” at noon on October 5. (Lightspace Studeios, 1115 Flushing Ave. near Varick Ave.)
For a complete guide to the Bushwick Film Festival and for tickets, visit bushwickfilmfestival.com.