YONKERS, N.Y. – Tribeca ain’t got nothing on Yonkers.
Beginning Thursday, filmmakers from across the world will descend upon Yonkers to watch a screening of their films during the first New York Riverlight International Film Festival.
Hosted by the Blue Door Gallery, the festival will feature 21 films from 16 countries. The festival organizer says the films show a lot of promise and potential.
“The gallery wanted to put some more things on in the community that are interesting, and we thought an international film festival is something that is a really good idea,” said Richard Crawford, manager of the Blue Door Gallery and organizer of the film festival.
Despite working with an operating budget of zero, Crawford said, the gallery managed to get the word out about the festival's debut via the Internet. In the end, Crawford and his team received hundreds of film submissions from four continents before narrowing down the field to just under two dozen.
“We had an interest in films that showed a lot of potential and promise from people that were struggling artists,” he said. “I think we found films that are very well made and well done, and some are extremely beautiful pieces.”
Organizers selected films from three categories: short films, which range from five to 15 minutes in length; student films; and feature films. With pieces coming from filmmakers in such places as Italy, Bangladesh and the United Kingdom, the festival has an international appeal.
That makes it perfect for a place like Yonkers, Crawford said.
“We have a real eclectic mix,” he said. “In a place like Yonkers, where people come from such different places and there is such diversity, we thought it would be nice for people to see a film for free, and they can watch them in their native language.”
The festival will kick off Thursday at 6:15 p.m. inside the Riverfront Branch of the Yonkers Public Library and will continue until Aug. 4. If all goes well, Crawford said, he hopes to make this an annual event in Yonkers.
“We have local artists coming in and politicians and filmmakers, and once we get all that documented, next year's a lot easier for everyone to come onboard,” he said.
Admission to all the shows is free. For a complete list of films and screening times, visit the Blue Door Gallery website.