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Red Hook Film Festival Takes On New Meaning In Sandy Aftermath

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The director of the Red Hook Film Festival decided that the show must go on after Hurricane Sandy, and his vision became a reality Saturday as the seventh annual festival kicked off. NY1's Bree Driscoll filed the following report.

The scent of fresh popcorn filled the auditorium of the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition Saturday as audience members settled in for the first screenings of the seventh annual Red Hook Film Festival.

"It is much better than just seeing a regular commercial film," said one attendee. "It's more real. Let's put it that way."

"I think it will be a little emotional, for me, anyway, being that I was a victim," said another. "I'm anticipating some emotion."

Less than a year ago, the gallery space was filled with more than five feet of water from Hurricane Sandy.

"I saw all the Sheetrock about halfway up the floor to the ceiling being intact, and the rest of it was all damaged and fallen. It was a real mess," said Richard Capuozzo, president of the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition.

"The walls disintegrated, and things that used to be around were washed away," said Fritz Steven Weiss, a board member of the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition.

Representatives from the coalition known as "BWAC" said it took months of hard work and more than $50,000 to get the space up and running again.

"We house the souls of artists," said Judith Hooper, the gallery manager at BWAC. "As the gallery manager, people come up to me and they talk about how happy that they are that they can come here and hang their work, and how important it is for them to be able to show what it is that they do."

Many of the films at this year's festival focus on Hurricane Sandy.

"We're a neighborhood film festival, and in respect to all the devastation that went on all around this area, I couldn't do it with a clear conscience without including the neighborhood and what we went through," said Daniel During, the director of the Red Hook Film Festival.

A year after Hurricane Sandy, BWAC is completely rebuilt and is currently hosting five different shows, the most in the coalition's history, showing it has come back stronger than ever.

For more information, go to redhookfilmfest.com.

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