International Buddhist Film Festival
The International Buddhist Film Festival (BFF) is a presenter of Buddhist-themed and Buddhist-inspired cinema. IBFF includes films of all kinds: features, documentaries, animation, experimental work, children’s films and television programs.
IBFF offers film as a way for general audiences to develop a wider appreciation and better understanding of Buddhism. Works to be exhibited are chosen through program committee invitations as well as through an international open call for filmmakers to submit their work for consideration. Films include English language or subtitled works from all over the world. Over twenty nations have been represented by films in IBFF events.
IBFF has been presented in host cities across the globe: Los Angeles 2003, Washington DC 2004, San Francisco 2005, Amsterdam 2006, Singapore 2007, Mexico City 2008, and London 2009.
Presenting partners have included Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC), Barbican Centre (London), Samaya Foundation (Mexico City), Buddhist Film Festival Europe (BFFE) Amsterdam (Holland), UC Berkeley (California), and Asia Buddhist Film Festival Pvt. Ltd. (Singapore)
IBFF co-presents programs with other film festivals (Seattle International, SF International, SF Asian American, Asian American (NY), Human Rights Watch (NY/SF/London), I See Films (Milan), Indian Film Festival of LA, SF Latino and others), as well as with presenting institutions including Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (SF), Rubin Museum of Art (NY), Fowler Museum (LA), Rafael Film Center (San Rafael), Smithsonian Institution (DC) and others.
IBFF is the public program of Buddhist Film Foundation, Inc. (BFF), which was founded in 2000 (the Buddhist Film Society) with the aim of using modern media as a tool for exploring contemporary Buddhist issues and ideas. As Gaetano Maida, the Executive Director of the Foundation said in a 2000 interview (Inquiring Mind Magazine), "Since people do not read as much as they used to, transformative ideas need to be offered through the medium of film… Film) can open the minds of people who would never cross the threshold of a Zen meditation hall, or even a public lecture…BFF’s main goal is to be a resource, serving filmmakers and educators as well as audiences."
BFF has presented or co-presented over 150 films to general audiences in over a dozen cities in eight countries on three continents, with total attendance in excess of 50,000. Associated public events have drawn over 100,000 visitors.
Festival Media is the distribution service of the Buddhist Film Foundation. Works from International Buddhist Film Festival presentations are marketed as DVDs through educational and consumer retailers in North America. Proceeds benefit the not-for-profit BFF, the filmmakers, and often, through them, the subjects of their films or other designated charities.
Buddhist Film Archive
The first independent Buddhist film archive (BFA) is being developed by BFF on the UC Berkeley campus with the Center for Buddhist Studies. A collection of film prints and master tapes assembled by BFF is the core of an effort to collect, preserve, restore and make available to the public and to researchers and educators the best of Buddhist cinema from the earliest days of motion pictures to the latest digital productions.