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BIFF toasts to another year

(Julia Kaplan) Berkshire International Film Festival paid tribute to director Martin Scorsese. At a ceremony held Saturday at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Scorsese, left, discussed his films with filmmaker and director Kent Jones, a native of Pittsfield.

GREAT BARRINGTON — A sea of lanyards swung through the crowded sidewalks as the downtown was transformed into a festival showcasing film over the past weekend.

The Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF), now in its 14 year, offered movie-goers and filmmakers as well as artists on either end of the camera a look at 21 short films, 29 documentaries and 29 narrative features from more than 20 countries that are currently being produced in independent filmmaking.

Though attendance was still being calculated as of presstime, BIFF Founder and Artistic Director Kelley Vickery estimated that the event, held from May 30 to June 2, attracted more than 4,000 people.

This year’s festival honored director Martin Scorsese, who is known for his 1976 film, “Taxi Driver,” and 1990 film, “Goodfellas.” Being able to honor Scorsese at the annual event was another indication to Vickery that the festival she had founded had truly arrived.

“It was the best year yet … It was both exhilarating and intimidating,” said Vickery. “Scorsese’s career is extraordinary – it has spanned five decades. He is one of the greatest directors of all time and it was a pleasure to honor that.”

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