Dec 192012

Poster for My BrooklynWe are so happy to announced that IFP and FIlmwax are presenting a one-week theatrical run of My Brooklyn at reRun Theater in Dumbo, Brooklyn. Two screenings every night for one week! Tickets at Reserve early before they sell out — the venue is a lot of fun with a bar, food and room to connect with others at the show. Check out special our guests and events:

Friday, Jan. 4
7:30pm and 10:15pm
Special opening night discussion at both screenings: “Gentrification: What it is, and What it Isn’t” — M.I.T. Historian Craig Wilder, featured in My Brooklyn, will discuss how the redevelopment of Downtown Brooklyn fits into a larger and often invisible history of corporations, in concert with government policy, planning out the long-term future of neighborhoods. Director Kelly Anderson present.

Saturday, Jan. 5
4:45pm and 7:45pm
Special discussion at both screenings: “Soul of Brooklyn” — MoCADA and Soul of Brooklyn founder Laurie Cumbo and Brooklyn small business owners will facilitate a discussion of why small businesses are socially, culturally, and economically important to the community. Director Kelly Anderson present.

Sunday, Jan. 6
One screening only, 1pm.
Director Kelly Anderson present.

Special screening before 1pm screening: short documentary “What is the Communty Board?” by Tamara Gubernat, Tomasz Gubernat, Nkenge Scott & Cassie Wagler.

Monday, Jan. 7
7:30pm and 10:15pm
Special discussion at 7:30PM screening: “I Saw Magic” — Photographer Jamel Shabazz, who appears in My Brooklyn, will show a specially curated selection of photographs of Downtown Brooklyn from 1980–2000,” with discussion afterward of the cultural and social significance of Fulton Mall. Director Kelly Anderson present.

Tuesday, Jan. 8
7:30pm and 10:15pm
Special panel at 7:30pm screening: “Connecting the Dots Between City Policy and Neighborhood Change,” with guests Michelle de la Uz from Fifth Avenue Committee and Deb Howard from Pratt Area Community Council. Director Kelly Anderson present.

Special screening before 10:15 screening: short documentary “A Voice for Vacancy” by Ahmed Tigani, Alex Mallis, Rachel Mullon and Ryan Daniels.

Wednesday, Jan. 9
7:30pm and 10:15pm
Special discussion at 7:30pm screening: “The Politics of Urban Design at Fulton Mall, past and present,” with Meredith TenHoor and Damon Rich, authors of Street Value: Shopping, Planning and Politics at Fulton Mall. Producer Allison Lirish Dean present.

Thursday, Jan. 10
7:30pm and 10:15pm
Special panel at 7:30pm screening: “CityPoint: The Continuing Fight for Equity and Accountability,” with guests from FUREE and Good Jobs New York. Producer Allison Lirish Dean present.

Special screening before 10:15 show: short documentary “Willets Point: The Iron Triangle” by Nicholas Weissman and Corey Wascinski.

Tickets for all screenings at

Dec 142012

Screening My Brooklyn in Vienna, Austria in early December was inspiring and insightful. We were invited by This Human World International Film Festival, which did a special program on urbanism featuring films that “deal with everyday life in big cities and the experience of urban reality … concentrating on the city as a place of increasing social imbalance.” The excellent program was organized by Justin Kadi and Mara Verlic, both professors of urban planning at Vienna’s Technical University.

There were two screenings of My Brooklyn, both sold out. At the second screening, Justin and Mara invited two experts on gentrification — Florian Huber and Yvonne Franz — to reflect on the differences and similarities between Brooklyn and other cities, particularly in Europe. Perhaps not surprisingly, Huber and Franz both argued that the changes we have seen in Brooklyn of late reflect global pressures on cities, and are not unique to Brooklyn or New York City despite important local features. “What might take five years in Brooklyn will take 10 or 15 years to transpire in Vienna,” said Franz, whose work compares gentrification in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Amsterdam. She attributed the longer timeframe in Vienna to policies that help stabilize rents, including strong commercial and residential rent control, and the large percentage of housing (about 60%) that is owned by the state.

It was inspiring to hear and see how policy in Vienna has helped stabilize even neighborhoods that are changing in ways that make them feel a lot like parts of Brooklyn. I spent the better part of a day searching on foot for the Karl-Marx-Hof, the largest housing project in the world. While I never quite managed to find it, I did come across a lot of social housing built in the 1930s that aimed to create community and solidarity among workers by providing them with daycare, laundry, education centers, libraries, health centers and other amenities in their apartment buildings. While these buildings seem to have reverted to being regular (albeit rent-stabilized) housing, I was happy to have my eyes opened to the unique history of “Red Vienna.”

Thanks to the festival and particularly to Justin and Mara for making my visit so memorable.