Films screen at University Settlement Camp

After the success of last year’s film festival, the Beacon Independent Film Festival (BIFF) will host its second annual event Sept. 12-14, at University Settlement Camp in Beacon.

BIFFThe festival will showcase an array of emerging filmmakers both local and international. The film festival will consist of short and feature length independent films that are unique to small film festivals. The mission is to showcase diverse voices and alternate perspectives and grow Beacon into a place that celebrates and fosters filmmaking.

Each film will also have a Q-and-A session for audience members to pose questions to cast, producers, and directors.

Along with the featured films, the festival is adding new family-friendly events. BIFF will hold a free hour of children’s programming Sunday morning. This year, BIFF held its first Young Filmmakers Program for local children aged 10-14, and their short film Emma’s Errands will be screened Sunday at 11 a.m. This short will be followed by a student panel and special programming by the Poughkeepsie Children’s Media Project. On Saturday and Sunday, the Wee Play Community Project will host a children’s tent featuring face painting, craft project, and Imagination Playground blocks.

More new events that will take place throughout the weekend include an Opening Gala Friday night following the screening of Lemon. The party will be held at Dogwood starting at 10 p.m., and will feature spoken word artists Decora, Edwin Torres, and Poet Gold and the OMV Crew. A Filmmakers Breakfast will be held at CineHub in Beacon at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. Festival audiences will vote on an audience award to be announced and presented after the festival.

University Settlement Camp, a historic children’s camp nestled at the base of Mount Beacon, is the venue for all BIFF films. Local vendors including The Beacon Bite, Homespun, Caffe Macchiato, Dogwood, The Hop, and Tas Kafé will be onsite selling refreshments. Beacon recycling outfit Zero to Go will handle all trash and recycling.

“Beacon is such a vibrant, supportive community. We’re excited to welcome everyone to the festival,” festival founder Terry Nelson said.

Tickets can be bought at the door or online at


  • three-day pass, regular price: $35
  • Opening night: $15
  • One film plus shorts: $10
  • Saturday all-day pass: $20
  • Sunday all-day pass: $20
  • NYS Benefits Cardholder festival pass: $10
  • Seniors and students receive a 10 percent discount

About the Beacon Independent Film Festival

Founded by Beacon resident Nelson, the Beacon Independent Film Festival celebrates filmmaking and the act of watching films with others in the community. It is a grassroots event that strives to make good film accessible to everyone. Films screened either do not have a distributor or are only lightly-distributed; all represent a diversity of voices and perspectives. Local, national and international filmmakers are featured and many of them participate in discussions with the audience after their movies are shown. Within its own community, the Beacon Independent Film Festival wants to create a strong film program to further enhance Beacon’s current reputation as an arts mecca.

Beacon Independent Film Festival Lineup

Friday, Sept. 12

7:30 p.m.

How You Doin’ Boy — Voicemails from Gran’pa (short)

A character-driven hybrid short film about pint-sized elderly Latino Gran’pa leaving a series of humorous unanswered voice-mails for his grandson Davy. The project combines 3D printed, hand painted miniatures of Gran’pa with actual messages left on the director’s phone by his real life grandfather.


Three-time felon. One-time Tony award winner. Lemon Andersen is a pioneering poet whose words speak for a generation. But Lemon has landed back in the ‘hood, living in the projects with 13 family members and desperate for a way out. So he turns to the only thing he has left, his pen and his past. In this intricately crafted documentary, Lemon follows one man’s harrowing journey to bring his life story to the stage while battling the demons from his past. Featuring a surprise turn by Spike Lee and music by Hip-hop phenoms Mos Def, Talib Kweli and Aloe Blacc.

10 p.m.

Opening night gala at Dogwood

Featuring spoken word performance artists and poets Decora, Edwin Torres, and Poet Gold and the OMV Crew.

Saturday, Sept. 13

11:30 a.m. — 1:30 p.m.

Slow and Steady

Max is on a mission to make Christmas with her father a success, but a one-night stand and an untimely death might prove too much to handle.


After a tragedy, a young girl struggles to maintain perspective as she treads in a shallow pool of obligation. Spiraling into the heights and depths of despair, she stops participating in the world in the usual way.


Alex has recently returned to New York City after spending 10 years in Europe as the unrecognized muse to a famous filmmaker. Overeducated, underemployed, and branded as unstable, she struggles to reboot her life in Brooklyn.

When Alex is kicked out of her apartment and fired from her low-paid job, she turns to family and friends only to be rejected. Determined to help her ailing father while still pursuing a creative career, Alex picks up shady part-time work and tangles with many colorful characters. Eventually she meets Frank, an enigmatic film producer, and they fall in love. But Frank’s even more checkered past catches up with the couple.

Wallabout is an intimate first-person account of an outsider who survives by her wits as she encounters an often corrupt and hypocritical society. It’s an urban meditation on artistic perseverance and the eternal search for family.

2 p.m. — 5 p.m.

F TO 7th

F TO 7th is a web series about Ingrid and her descent into pre-middle age. Judgmental as ever, Ingrid struggles to find herself in a world where sexuality and gender have left her old-fashioned lesbianism behind.

Women in film panel discussion


Enid Zentelis – Enid is writer/director/producer of Sundance Grand Jury Prize feature nominee, Evergreen, which screened at festivals worldwide before selling to AMC. She wrote and directed feature, Bottled Up, starring Oscar winner Melissa Leo. Enid was a Sundance Institute Screenwriting Fellow, a full scholarship recipient at NYUs Graduate Film Program and is a professor at NYUs Ungrad Film and TV department.


INGRID JUNGERMANN – Ingrid has written and directed several short films and co-created the acclaimed web series, The Slope. She is currently developing a TV show version of F TO 7th and a feature film called Women Who Kill, a crime comedy about love and death. She is an MFA candidate at NYU Graduate Film School. BETH LEVISON – As a director, producer, and story editor, Beth has received two Emmys and three Peabody Awards. Lemon is her documentary feature debut and was directed and produced in partnership with Laura Brownson. Beth served as a Consulting Producer on Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present, was the Supervising Producer of short form video for the Internet startup Etsy. She was the Senior Producer/Director of the PBS series E2. Beth teaches Producing I for first year MFA candidates enrolled in New York City’s School for Visual Arts’ Social Documentary program. KAITLIN PUCCIO – Circles is Kaitlin’s debut film, which she wrote, directed, acted in, and produced. For “Circles,” Kaitlin won Best Director of a Short Film at Golden Egg Film Festival LA 2014, and was nominated for Best Actress. Kaitlin graduated from NYU with a degree in Philosophy, French, and Creative Writing. She founded a production and writing company called Bent Frame, LLC in 2013.

5:30 p.m. — 7:30 p.m.

I Used to Dance

This documentary from The Netherlands shows with wonderful illogic the insight into the life of a young woman who is suddenly forced to live in a different way. She is diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Lupus. Through her imagination she’s able to cope.

Kumu Hina

Imagine a world where a little boy can grow up to be the woman of his dreams, and a young girl can rise to become a leader among men. Welcome to Kumu Hina’s Hawaii. During a momentous year in her life in modern Honolulu, Hina Wong-Kalu, a native Hawaiian māhū, or transgender, teacher uses traditional culture to inspire a student to claim her place as leader of the school’s all-male hula troupe. But despite her success as a teacher, Hina longs for love and a committed relationship. Will her marriage to a headstrong Tongan man fulfill her dreams? An incredible docu-drama that unfolds like a narrative film, Kumu Hina reveals a side of Hawaii rarely seen on screen.

7:30 p.m. — 9:30 p.m.

The ‘H’ Is Silent

A short portrait documentary exploring the personal struggles and experiences of a young, gender-bending New Yorker as he prepares to go out for the night in drag.

Kate Bornstein Is a Queer & Pleasant Danger

For decades, performance artist and writer, Kate Bornstein, has been exploding binaries and deconstructing gender—and her own identity. Trans-dyke. Reluctant polyamorist. Sadomasochist. Recovering Scientologist. Pioneering gender outlaw. Kate Bornstein Is a Queer & Pleasant Danger joins her on her latest tour, capturing rollicking public performances and painful personal revelations as it bears witness to Kate as a trailblazing artist-theorist-activist who inhabits a space between male and female with wit, style and astonishing candor. By turns meditative and playful, the film invites us on a thought-provoking journey through Kate’s world to seek answers to some of life’s biggest questions.

Sunday, September 14

11 a.m. (Free for everyone)

Biff young filmmakers

Emma’s Errands

A simple trip to the grocery store goes hilariously wrong.

Doing It for Me

Doing It for Me is a unique youth-produced documentary, exploring the dropout crisis from a personal and introspective viewpoint. Rather than present faceless statistics, Doing It for Me offers an intimate and compassionate glimpse into the real experiences of high school dropouts as told by young people. As the majority of participants are in high school, they hope Doing It for Me will shed light on a real topic that they feel passionate about and deeply connected to. They hope through learning about Jessica and Victoria’s struggle and journey, that the film will motivate young people who have dropped out to get back on-track and find new purpose in their lives.


At a time, for a time. Erstwhile is a short film about four sisters, and the last night they spend together before the eldest goes to college.

12:30 p.m. — 2 p.m.

The Gringa

Jane Fuller lives in El Paso, Texas, — one of the safest cities in the U.S. Just a short drive over the border is Juarez, Mexico, a neighboring city known for its deadly drug cartel violence. Here, Jane risks her life on an almost daily basis to help the poor build sustainable homes. But this is more than just a handout. Jane only helps those willing to help themselves.

By Blood

By Blood captures the surprising story of American Indians of African descent, or Freedmen, as they battle their own tribes and the federal government to regain their tribal citizenship. The film documents the different ways indigenous American Indian tribes, their minority members, and surrounding communities are confronting racism and intolerance.

2:30 p.m. — 4 p.m.

Un Lugar Mejor (A Better Place)

Thimbo wants to be a football player. Malik dreams of managing his own business. Demba just thinks of going to a better place. This documentary comes to us from Spain.

Evaporating Borders

An essay in five parts, Evaporating Borders offers a series of vignettes, poetically guided by the filmmaker’s curious eye and personal reflections. Through the people she encounters along the way, the film dissects the experience of asylum seekers in Cyprus: A PLO activist and exile from Iraq is denied asylum within 15 minutes; neo-Nazi fundamentalists roam the streets in an attack on Muslim migrants; activists and academics organize an antifascist rally and clash with the neo-Nazis; 195 migrants drown in the Mediterranean. Originally from Yugoslavia and an immigrant to Cyprus, Iva Radivojevic investigates the effects of large-scale immigration on the sense of national identity in one of the easiest ports of entry into Fortress Europe. Poetically photographed and rendered, the film passionately weaves the themes of migration, tolerance, identity and belonging.

4:30 p.m. — 7 p.m.

Time After

Everybody’s having babies in Brooklyn. Except Sunita and Vivek. Time After: a film about what to do with the rest of your life… Time After follows Sunita Pandya and Vivek Fernando, a Brooklyn couple who are trying to decide on whether to have a family while pursuing their careers. A raucous dinner party with their friends, John, Emily, Silva and Tamara lead Sunita and Vivek to have the conversation they’ve been putting off. Time After is about that moment when one decision changes the course of your life irrevocably.

These Hopeless Savages

When big news comes in for the constant bachelor Shawn, he makes it a mission to visit everyone who has shunned him for years. This includes his old friend Greg — a children’s musician living in the cozy, domestic confines of Brooklyn. After the two hit some hilarious re-acquainting pains, they soon hit the American road for a trip that will show them the gifts and the costs of real friendship.

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