Report Back from the Berkshire International Film Festival

Emily, Sarah and DTU buttons

Emily, Sarah and DTU buttons

We just returned from a great screening at the Berkshire International Film Festival. We traveled to the Berkshires in a caravan containing four dogs, two babies, and eleven cast and crew members.

Eight of us and one baby

Eight of us and one baby

Disturbing the Universe was the festival’s opening night film and we screened in the historic Mahaiwe theater to a sold out audience of more than 600. In attendance was our sister Karin Kunstler Goldman, our mother Margaret Ratner Kunstler, Attica lawyer Liz Fink, Chicago 8 lawyer Len Weinglass, former Attica Prison Guard Mike Smith, Central Park Jogger exoneree Yusef Salaam, Sarah’s husband and our voiceover recordist Jesse Ferguson, associate producer Tracy Bunting, and Randy Credico, Director of the Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice. Yusef’s baby daughter Onaya, born this past December, met Sarah’s son William, born in March. It was adorable seeing them together.

Margaret Ratner Kunstler, Yusef Salaam and babies

Margaret Ratner Kunstler, Yusef Salaam and babies

Before the festival, journalist Bill Everhart wrote a piece on the film for The Berkshire Eagle. You can read the full article here. We have never had so many of our interview subjects present for a screening. Mike Smith and Len Weinglass watched the film for the first time. The film received a standing ovation and and nine of us took to the stage following the screening for an inspiring Q & A.  Our interviewees spoke about why Bill Kunstler’s story is relevant today, how much work still needs to be done to fight racism and injustice, and the importance of working to preserve and honor the rights won for us by the last generation of warriors. It was a truly special evening and we are so grateful to the Berkshire International Film Festival for giving us this incredible opportunity to share the film with our community and theirs.

Onstage after the screening

Onstage after the screening

On Friday morning Yusef Salaam, Sarah, and I appeared on The Roundtable, a radio program hosted by Joe Donahue and Sarah LaDuke, that broadcasts on WAMC in New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. You can listen to the broadcast here. On Saturday, I participated in a panel called “Truth Be Told: Documentary Filmmaking Revealed” with filmmakers Pamela Yates and Juan Mandelbaum. Sarah and I were lucky enough to catch Pam’s amazing film The Reckoning about the International Criminal Court at the Sundace Film Festival. The Reckoning will have its New York premiere on June 12th when it opens the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. For more information on the screening and to purchase tickets click here. Juan Mandelbaum spoke about his film Our Disappeared (Nuestros Desaparecidos) about the victims of the military dictatorship in Argentina that was in power from 1976-1983. The panel was moderated by filmmaker Alejandro de Onis. Next up, the Seattle International Film Festival, BAM CinemaFEST in Brooklyn, New York, the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, and stay tuned for the announcement of our Fall theatrical release. Onward! Best wishes, Emily Kunstler

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