Rooftop Films is a non-profit organization whose mission is to engage and inspire the diverse communities of New York City by showcasing the work of emerging filmmakers and musicians. In addition to their annual Summer Series – which takes place in unique outdoor venues every weekend throughout the summer – Rooftop provides grants to filmmakers, rents equipment at low-cost to artists and non-profits, and supports film screenings citywide with the Rooftop Films Community Fund. At Rooftop Films, we bring underground movies outdoors.
But Rooftop Films is more than a film festival. We are a community. We are a collective collaboration between filmmakers and festivals, between audience members and artists, between venues and neighborhoods. Our goal is to nurture a vibrant independent filmmaking community not only by exhibiting the work of low-budget filmmakers but also by providing essential support systems for those who otherwise have none. Rooftop Films is keeping this vital mode of filmmaking alive and well in New York City and beyond.
In addition to the Summer Series, our work includes:
Rooftop Filmmakers' Fund
Rooftop Films commits $1 of every ticket sold and every film submission fee to fund new productions, an innovative approach to the exhibition/production cycle which uses the support of our community to produce dynamic films. This year, we will be screening a number of films we co-funded, including Benh Zeitlin's award-winning short film "Glory at Sea" (June 12), a post-Katrina shipwreck epic; PJ Raval's feature-length documentary "Trinidad" (September 17), about a town in Colorado that is known as the sex-change capital of the world; and an excerpt from Fabio Wuytack's upcoming feature "Persona Non Grata" (June 14), about his father, a radical left-wing missionary working in Venezuela in the 1970s.
In 2010-11, Rooftop Films gave away over $12,000 in cash and more than $25,000 in services.
Youth Video Education at Automotive High School
For four years, this trailblazing Brooklyn public high school has generously hosted screenings on their beautiful lawn. We in turn host in-school film assemblies and teach film appreciation and production classes to the students. In Spring 2008, alumni Rooftop filmmaker Tamika Guishard created a curriculum using independent films to teach students basic media literacy, particularly focusing on identifying racism and sexism. Meanwhile Rooftop veteran Robert Castillo used his storyboarding skills to instruct students on how to craft their personal stories using images and video.
Rooftop Films has been staging film and music screenings indoors and outdoors all over New York since 1997 and have always been proud of our commitment to quality presentation. When we aren't using the gear ourselves, we rent it at reduced rates, and even provide trained professional technicians who can help exhibitors select the best equipment and/or set up for their events.