According to CBS2, our neighborhood is set to blast off tonight (Tuesday, December 12) with a planned explosion that’s part of some movie special effects. So, don’t freak out, Greenpoint is not under attack. It’s just some filmmakers doing their thing. The fireball effect and explosion will occur on West Street between Milton & Noble between 5:30-9pm.
Greenpoint local Ron Brodie is a freelance independent filmmaker and creative consultant who has lived in the neighborhood for the last five years and used these streets as a backdrop in scenes in his recently released short film, JUMPMAN. A few blocks from that filming location, at Franklin Street’s Moonlight Mile (200 Franklin St), we chatted about filming on 35mm, why Greenpoint feels like a creative utopia and the project that started as a nod to the 35th anniversary of the Air Jordan sneaker and ultimately became about where following any dream can take you.
Greenpointers: Where did the idea for this project first come from?
Ron Brodie: My Director of Photography John Schmidt had come to me with this idea of paying homage to the Jordan sneaker turning 35. His idea was to shoot a 30-second spec commercial and he wanted to shoot on 35mm. 35 years and 35mm, it makes sense, right? I have a commercial background so I think he trusted me with this endeavor and thought we’d make a good, collaborative team. I came back to him and said, ‘We have an opportunity, why don’t we make a short film out of this?’. So the elements inspired by Jordan are still present, but the place I suggested we bring it to was a retrospective look at ourselves and maybe even our generation. Whereas a lot of kids dreamed about becoming Michael Jordan and being excellent, world-class basketball players, we’re still passionate about becoming amazing filmmakers. Whether we could be Jordan, or David Fincher or Steven Spielberg that is a little bit of a gamble and we’ll see where we land, but at least we have a dream and a passion. Continue reading
I was looking at a list of films made in Brooklyn, which listed 146 films shot in Brooklyn. When I looked at the list I noticed that many of the films, which were shot at least in part in Greenpoint, were not on the list. This is an incomplete list of films with Greenpoint locations. If you know of films not mentioned on this list, let us know by emailing [email protected] or commenting on this post.
First on the list are two of the most iconic films made about Brooklyn: 1) Serpico (1973) with Al Pacino, which was shot on Driggs Avenue and 2) Donnie Brasco (1997), based on the real life Greenpointer Sonny Black Napolitano, was shot on West and Manhattan Avenue.
3) The Siege (1998) with Denzel Washington was shot on Manhattan Avenue.
Perhaps no one was more surprised than local producer Joe Campo of Grassroots films when the Justice Film Festival at the Sheen Center in Manhattan named his film Outcasts as the winner of the prize for best film of the festival on October 8th. One of the films that Outcasts beat out was The Story of Us, which featured Morgan Freeman who made a personal appearance at the screening. The judges explained that they chose Campo’s film because Outcasts offered the public a way of seeing the outcasts in a completely different light, that light was hope, viewing the problems of the poor in a non-judgmental way.
October 12th was the 10th Annual Bushwick Film Festival‘s opening night, which showcased the film “In Case of Emergency,” directed and written by Stefanie Sparks. Sparks has been working in film for half her life; In Case of Emergency is her second feature film.
Entering the film festival was a bit daunting for me—I don’t usually attend these types of events. To celebrate the opening night, there was a red carpet reception at the well known House of Yes (2 Wyckoff Ave). Photographers, journalists, and other press and filmmakers were in attendance and mingling amidst bright flashing lights. I was mostly looking forward to the film screening and hadn’t thought about networking, but was approached by a director/producer and a couple of artists. It was a pleasant surprise but also appreciated. Once I entered the theater, I was taken aback by the grandiose scene. The night started off with an emcee and an interview with the founder and CEO of Bushwick Film Festival, Kweighbaye Kotee. She’s an 11-year resident of Bushwick with a passion for independent films.
“Stories are the best way to bring people together,” Kweighbaye says. Her hope with BFF is to inspire women; in particular, women of color. She chose Stefanie Sparks’ film In Case of Emergency to kick off the opening night and the festival itself. “What I’m looking for is diversity on and off camera. An extra bonus with this film is that it was local,” Kotee says. Continue reading
The Brooklyn Horror Film Festival creeped the hell out of the neighborhood last weekend (Oct 14-15), and I had the sick pleasure of attending a screening of Mexican indie horror anthology Mexico Barbaro II, at the Wythe Hotel (80 Wythe Ave). Inspired by demented classics Creepshow and Tales From The Darkside, the second installment of Mexico Barbaro included shorts from eight Mexican directors who delved deep into personal nightmares to share their most terrifying inner thoughts with an audience. Friday night’s screening included a Q&A with director Sergio Tello, and one of the directors of photography. Throughout the shorts, there were some religious elements present, whether it was a cross in the background, a demonic character, or a retelling of a fable. Some of the refs were specific to whichever part of Mexico the film took place, as different regions of Mexico have different religious traditions. “Each segment has its own religion,” Sergio remarked. Continue reading
In its 11th year, The Korean American Film Fest’s Infinite Cinema, headed up by Chung Tsang and Mark Anthony Singh, was held this past Saturday, October 14th in the Wythe Hotel Screening Room (80 Wythe Ave).
A passage on the fest’s website reads, “Embracing the motto of CONNECT. FUSE. REPEAT. KAFFNY Infinite Cinema challenges its audience to discard notions of cultures as separate, discrete and insular, instead exploring the infinite possibilities of contact, fusion, and creation born from the mixing of different backgrounds.”
True to that directive, KAFFNY’s collection of films, which crossed multiple genres and mediums, maintained an impressive cohesiveness in its focus on shared experience, exploring distinct cultural backgrounds within the global context. Cleverly divided into five thematic segments, the fest included 25 short films and two feature length films, as well as moderated panel discussions with many of the filmmakers and actors. Continue reading
The Bushwick Film Festival is here with a mix of screenings and panel discussions built around themes like Funny People, Alt-Horror, and Breaking into Hollywood.
After the Fyre Festival of pizzas, Brooklyn is very close to reaching peak festival—but The Korean American Film Fest, now in its 11th year (so you know it’s legit), is happening this weekend in Williamsburg on Saturday, October 14th and it’s set to be a full day of fascinating and entertaining cultural talks and film screenings. From 1pm till midnight the fest will take over the Wythe Hotel Screening Room (80 Wythe Ave) and is digging into the topic of Infinite Culture through specific lenses: Food, Fashion, Worldwide Korean Connection, Migration, and Crazy, Rich Asian Americans (yes, that’s a real category!). In addition to screening 25 short films and 2 feature length films, the audience will also get the opportunities to engage in meaningful discussions with the filmmakers during moderated panel discussions. Plus free food samples following the food film screening at 1pm!
Tickets are only $15 for the entire day, when you use the 50% off code WEB50.