Rooftop Films Expands Annual Festival Across Five Boroughs
Rooftop Films is holding its annual summer festival of underground movies shown outdoors but the festival has expended beyond just rooftops while still managing to keep alive its early party roots. NY1’s Stephanie Simon filed the following report.
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Imagine throwing a rooftop party for friends, showing a film and it being so successful that 16 years later, it's a citywide event attracting thousands. That's what happened to Mark Rosenberg, whose Rooftop Films is now a nonprofit organization showing independent films in outdoor locations across the city.
“We’ve always said that the venues and the gimmick get people to come out but the movies get them to come back week after week,” Rosenberg says.
The organization shows independent films from around the world plus sneak peeks. At the Old American Can Factory in Gowanus, they showed the new documentary "Brooklyn Castle," which comes out nationwide in October.
“‘Brooklyn Castle’ is the story of IS3 teen, which is a public school in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and they have the best junior chess team in the nation. So we decided to follow them for one year to see kind of what makes the school so special, why the chess team is so great,” says filmmaker Katie Dellamaggiore.
The mission of Rooftop is to create community through film. At this particular event, there's a chess tournament and live music by local singer songwriter Katie Mullins.
“I’d say it’s sort of alt-folk with my own little twist,” Mullins says.
“Yeah, well, we get really big crowds now, hundreds of people come out to Rooftop Films. It’s a festive environment. It’s like a rock concert or even a rock festival or something,” Rosenberg says.
Now it's called Rooftop Films and, of course, on this particular night, it is on a rooftop. But the films are shown in all kinds of interesting venues in all five boroughs.
“We’ll be doing screenings in Staten Island this year for the first time at the Staten Island Yankee Stadium,” Rosenberg says.
Another new location is the Bronx Terminal Market. In all there are 17 venues. The screenings provide something for everyone
“I really like it ‘cause the sky is really nice tonight,” says one young movie-goer.
“I mean look at this place, it’s beautiful,” said another viewer. “It should be a good time.”
For more details on Rooftop Films, visit www.rooftopfilms.com.