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by Lela Scott MacNeil
April 18th, 2011

Here at Rooftop, we’ve been burning the midnight oil, watching thousands of films, finding gorgeous new venues, and planning exciting special events filled with robots, wrestlers, lesbian space aliens, and more.

And now we just can’t contain our excitement any more. It is our pleasure to announce the lineup for their 15th Annual Summer Series, presented by IFC and New York Magazine, featuring:

  • Over 50 shows: every weekend from May 13th – August 20th
  • 23 feature-length films including 2 World Premieres and 15 US or NY Premieres
  • 183 short films from 26 countries, shown in themed programs such as Romance Shorts, Thriller Shorts, and New York Non-Fiction
  • Fiction, documentary, comedy, drama, animation and more
  • 15 spectacular outdoor venues with stunning views across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens & The Bronx
  • Live music, filmmaker Q&As, and after parties with complimentary drinks
  • Special events such as a live wrestling match at the screening of Robert Green’s Fake it So Real, featuring the semi-pro wrestlers from that film, and a sneak attack performance by the musical guerillas from the Swedish comedy The Sound of Noise

We’ve come a long way from that single screening of work by unknown filmmakers atop Founder Mark Elijah Rosenberg’s 14th Street tenement building in 1997.

But while these days you might see us out on tour with Academy Award nominated films like Gasland, asking James Franco how he prepared to embody cultural icon Allen Ginsberg in Howl, or most recently discussing deadly martial arts techniques with Saoirse Ronan, star of Joe Wright’s new action fairytale Hanna, that doesn’t mean we’ve lost touch with why we started Rooftop Films in the first place. In fact, we’ve grown the way we have by staying true to our original mission: to put on great events in spectacular outdoor locations, showcasing films that might otherwise never get the attention they deserve.

Drawing mostly on loyal grassroots support and leading an event-based marketing revolution Rooftop has helped enable the success of many of our alumni, including the films Wasteland, Trouble the Water, Holy Rollers, Winnebago Man, and many others. And now, through our Rooftop Filmmakers’ Fund, we’re making sure that more of the powerful, understated films that have become Rooftop’s trademark are not only seen, but made. As an example, we believed in Sean Durkin’s short film Mary Last Seen enough to help fund his feature Martha Marcy May Marlene, which went on to win him best director at Sundance and a distribution deal with Fox.

At the end of the day though, people come to our shows not only for the films they won’t see anywhere else, but because our events are exciting, fun, and sometimes outrageous. This year is no different. For example, when we show Robert Greene’s Fake It So Real, about a ragtag group of independent, semi-professional wrestlers from North Carolina, we’re going to stage a live wrestling match featuring subjects from the film. Every screening of Robert’s well-crafted documentary will be great, but ours will be the only one where people will actually get body-slammed.

Here’s our schedule for May 2011:
(Our full schedule, with all dates, locations, individual short films and additional features will be announced soon.)

Friday, May 13, 2011
Rooftop Films Summer Series Opening Night: This is What We Mean by Short Films

Opening Night of Rooftop Films 15th Annual Summer Series will feature grand stories in little packages, with some of the greatest new short films from all around the world.

Saturday, May 14, 2011
Freeloader

(Zachary Raines | New York | World Premiere)
A special World Premiere of a new film by New York based filmmaker, Zachary Raines. A serious comedy following Frank, a feckless young man recently dumped by his girlfriend. In need of a place to stay, Frank moves from couch to couch, testing the patience of friends – and the kindness of strangers – until his luck runs out.

Thursday, May 19, 2011
Sound of Noise

(Ola Simonsson & Johannes Stfarne Nillsson | Sweden | NY Premiere)
A clever and maniacally entertaining Swedish comedy about a group of “musical terrorists” who break into hospitals, banks, and other public places to play compositions using the surroundings as their instruments. The screening will feature a special live performance by the musicians from the film.

Friday, May 20, 2011
Dark ‘Toons (Short Films)

Our popular annual program of enjoyably evil animation.

Thursday, May 26, 2011
Short Film Thrillers: Trapped in the Machine

A selection of heart-racing, breath quickening, edge-of-your-seat films featuring all kinds of people and things struggling to break free.

Friday, May 27, 2011
Romance Short Films

Romance, served up with a twist.

Saturday, May 28, 2011
Bad Posture

(Malcolm Murray | Brooklyn, NY| US Premiere)
A nuanced, visually inventive vista of young life in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Bad Posture follows Flo as he seeks to make amends – and make a connection – with Marisa, a beautiful girl whose car his best friend has stolen.

Screenings continue every weekend from May 13 through August 20.

Our full schedule, with all dates, locations, individual short films and additional features will be announced soon. Additional 2011 Feature Selections include:

Green (Sophia Takal | Brooklyn, NY | Sneak Preview)
A haunting meditation on jealousy and the ways women manipulate and attempt to destroy each other.

The Catechism Cataclysm (Todd Rohal | Brooklyn, NY | Part of BAM Cinemafest)
www.catechismcataclysm.com
Rooftop continues our partnership with BAM Cinemafest with Rooftop alum Todd Rohal’s madcap story about Father William Smoortser, who drops his bible into a toilet at a rest stop just before embarking on a day-long canoe trip, breaking loose all glorious hell.

The Extraordinary Ordinary Life of Jose Gonzalez (Mikel Cee Karlsson and Fredrik Egerstrand | Sweden | NY Premiere)
www.plattformproduktion.se
Shot over a three year period in José González’s studio, at home and on tour, using a combination of video diary, surveillance camera, tour footage and animation, filmmakers Mikel Cee Karlsson and Fredrik Egerstrand provide a look into the life of one of Sweden’s most interesting artists.

Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same (Madeline Olnek | New York, NY | NY Premiere)
www.codependentlesbianspacealienseekssame.com
Special Gay Pride Weekend celebration. Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same is a joyously campy nod to 50’s sci-fi, following the adventures of lesbian space aliens on the planet Earth, and the romance between Jane, a shy greeting card store employee, and Zoinx, the woman Jane does not realize is from outer-space.

The Redemption of General Butt Naked (Eric Strauss and Daniele Anastasion | Washington, DC)
Joshua Milton Blahyi, aka General Butt Naked, has reinvented himself from the murderer thousands during Liberia’s horrific 14-year civil war to the evangelist Joshua Milton Blahyi. In a riveting cinema vérité journey that unfolds over the course of five years, filmmakers Eric Strauss and Daniele Anastasion follow Blahyi’s unrelenting crusade to redeem his life.

Where Soldiers Come From (Heather Courtney | Austin, TX)
www.pbs.org/pov/wheresoldierscomefrom
From a snowy small town in Northern Michigan to the mountains of Afghanistan and back, Where Soldiers Come From follows the four-year journey of childhood friends and their town, forever changed by a faraway war.

Northside DIY Film Competition Winner
Rooftop partners with Brooklyn’s Northside Festival to present a special outdoor screening of Northside’s first annual DIY Film Competition winner. More info here.

La Bocca del Lupo (Pietro Marcello | Italy)
Pietro Marcello’s elegant, mysterious and moving film tells an epic love story from the ancient Italian port city of Genoa. As Marcello artfully weaves a gorgeous array of archival footage from Genoa’s rich history, breathtaking modern-day 35mm recreations and a sweeping orchestral score into this incredible Italian chant d’amor.

Family Instinct (Andris Gauja | Austria)
Family Instinct is a film about incest – social taboo and a violation of religious norms. The film provides extraordinarily intimate look into the lives of several people that live on the extreme margins of Latvian society, drawing you into a claustrophobic but compelling world that few viewers will have ever experienced.

Neurotypical (Adam Larsen | New York, NY | US Premiere)
www.neuro-typical.com
What is the standard that identifies one person as whole and capable and another as disabled and broken? Neurotypical parallels the lives of three individuals on the autism spectrum, each facing a pivotal stage of growth.

Bellflower (Evan Glodel | New York, NY | NY Premiere)
An apocalyptic love story for the Mad Max generation, Evan Glodell’s impressive feature debut paints a classic, yet urgently contemporary, tale of the destructive power of love.

Convento (Jarred Alterman | New York, NY | NY Premiere)
convento.tumblr.com
With gorgeous, flowing camerawork filmmaker Jarred Alterman transports us into the world of Dutch kinetic artist Christiaan Zwanikken, who resurrects the deceased local wildlife by reanimating the skeletal remains with servomotors and robotic engineering. Christiaan Zwanikken and his robots will be there in person at the screening.

Fake it So Real (Robert Greene | New York, NY | NY Premiere)
fakeitsoreal.com
Filmed over a single week leading up to a big show, the film follows a ragtag group of independent, semi-professional wrestlers in North Carolina, exploring what happens when the over-the-top theatrics of the wrestling ring collide with the realities of the working-class South. The show will include a live wrestling match featuring the film’s subjects before the screening.

At the Edge of Russia (Michal Marczak | Poland)
Alexei is a nineteen year old recruit being flown in to perform his military service on the frontier of northern Russia. The base is one of few such remaining outposts on the Arctic Ocean. There are five other seasoned and long serving soldiers stationed here, each with their own personal story or secret that has caused them to retreat from the real world. Their training and breaking in of the new arrival is sometimes humorous, at times harsh. Gradually, they each reveal something of themselves in their daily interactions and private moments as they continue their absurd duty in this snow covered no man’s land, hundreds of miles from the nearest human settlement.

World’s Best Dad (Joshua Gross | New York, NY | World Premiere)
www.worldsbestdadmovie.com
Miles hasn’t seen Matt since their father passed away. Now, they’re going to blast him into space. Once they steal his ashes. And figure out how to launch the rocket. And get him to Nevada…

Falling Overnight (Conrad Jackson | Los Angeles | New York Premiere)
www.fallingovernight.com
Falling Overnight tells the story of twenty-two year old Elliot Carson on the day before he has surgery to remove a brain tumor. Facing what could be his last night, Elliot’s path intersects with Chloe Webb, a young photographer who invites him to her art show. Elliot welcomes the distraction and as the night descends, Chloe takes him on an intimate and exhilarating journey through the city. But as morning approaches, and Chloe learns of Elliot’s condition, the magic of the evening unravels, and they must together face the uncertainty of Elliot’s future.

Additional 2011 Summer Series Short Film Programs include:

New York Non-Fiction
Scratches, beats, and elegies from the city of cities.

Clermont Ferrand
Rooftop works with the world’s premier short film festival to bring you a stunning selection of short gems from across the globe.

Animation Block Party
Some call it punk rock, some call it grass roots, but labels aside, NYC-based Animation Block Party is dedicated to exhibiting the world’s best independent, professional and student animation.

Kill Screen Video Game Night
Rooftop partners with the avante garde video game magazine Kill Screen to bring you an evening of short films that ask the question, “What does it mean to play games?”

Orbit (Film) (NY Premiere)
www.orbitfilm.com
A collaborative, feature-length omnibus movie about our solar system where every planet is represented by a short film. Co-produced by Rooftop Films and Cinemad.

Rural Route
A program of film offering city dwellers a glimpse of the rural life, where the grass is indeed greener. This program will be fittingly screened on a brand new Rooftop Venue: The Brooklyn Grange, an organic rooftop farm in Long Island City, Queens.

Industriance
Razor sharp short films about the changing industrial and agricultural landscape in urban and rural America and beyond.

Rooftop Shots
The official Closing Night of Rooftop Films 2011 Summer Series includes short films all about endings. Films so sharp we call them shots, fired from the roof one last time this year.

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2 Responses to “Announcing our 15th Annual Summer Series Lineup”

  1. [...] independent film series, Rooftop Films, has announced it’s lineup for it’s 15th Annual Summer Series.  They will kick off their 15th season down on the Lower East Side at the Open Road Rooftop [...]

  2. [...] April 18, 2011: FAKE IT SO REAL is going to Rooftop for the biggest film event of the summer! [...]

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About Rooftop Films

Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.

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