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by Kate Gellene
May 5th, 2014

Rooftop Films began as a single night of short films on an East Village roof (and lead to founder Mark Elijah Rosenberg’s fortuitous eviction). Kicking off our 18th season, Rooftop Films is still dedicated to the medium of short films as one of innovation, experimentation, and burgeoning talent. This season we will present 120 shorts in over a dozen programs curated to compliment the theme and spirit of the films.

Rooftop Films returns for Opening Night with This Is What We Mean By Short Films, a selection of dynamic short films that encapsulates the adventurous spirit of our organization.

As always, the program will showcase some of the best, most innovative short films by independent filmmakers around the world, including: Dustin Guy Defa’s Berlinale and SXSW award winning “Person to Person”, Rooftop Films alumi Frances Bodomo’s “Afronauts”, and the mind-bending, anarchic sequel to Becky Sloan & Joe Pelling’s “Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared”.

Throughout the summer we will screen dozens of films from dozens of first time filmmakers, up and coming directors, and some tried and true indie favorites: Rose McGowan’s directorial debut “Dawn”, Rooftop Alum & Film Fund Grantee Todd Rohal’s Sundance Award Winning “Rat Pack Rat”, the NY Premiere of Film Fund Grantee Lucy Walker’s The Lion’s Mouth Opens”.

Here are the short films of the 2014 Rooftop Films Summer Series. The full schedule including locations and dates will be announced in the coming weeks.

45 7 Broadway (Tomonari Nishikawa | 5’)
This is an experimental film about Times Square, the noises and movements at this most well-known intersection.

70 Hester Street (Casimir Nozkowski | 11’)
A documentary about a synagogue, a whiskey still, a raincoat factory and other past lives of my childhood home.

Afronauts (Frances Bodomo | 13’)
It’s July 16, 1969: America is preparing to launch Apollo 11. Thousands of miles away, the Zambia Space Academy hopes to beat America to the moon in this film inspired by true events.

Alagoas – Brighton (Jeremiah Zagar | 5’)
“Brighton” is the love story of a young urban couple who abandon their burgeoning careers in order to build a life in community-supported farming. But just as they begin to hit their stride, the grim onset of cancer threatens to topple their dream.

An Extraordinary Person (Quelqu’un d’extraordinaire) (Monia Chokri | 28’)
A 30-year-old scholar, intelligent and beautiful yet socially crippled, is forced to attend a bachelorette party where her quest for authenticity leads to an unavoidable confrontation with old acquaintances.

The Apartment (Josh Freed | 4’)
A short documentary about the One and Only Yossi Rosenberg. Shot, directed and Edited by Josh Freed.

Arena (Piotr Bernas | 16’)
What are the reasons underlying the human drive toward self-destruction? What is the wellhead of motivation for a person who chooses a life involving perpetual struggle, self-harm and risking their health? Is the road of physical pain an escape route from other kinds of pain? And finally, what lies at the roots of the contemporary fascination with risk and aggression? Arena is a film project about contemporary games, arenas and gladiators.

Astigmatismo (Nicolai Troshinsky | 4’)
A boy, having lost his glasses, can only see one thing in focus at a time. His sight gets attracted by the sounds that surround him. He will have to explore a blurry world of unknown places and strange characters.

Baby Mary (Kris Swanberg | 8’)
Shot with non-actors on the west side of Chicago, Baby Mary, is the story of eight-year-old Kiara, who while walking home from school finds a neglected toddler and decides to take her home.

Balance (Mark Ram | 11’)
Two mountain climbers are scaling the extreme peaks when disaster strikes. They are dangling three thousand feet above the ground. What seems certain death becomes a balance between the two, connected by a single rope.

Baths (Tomek Ducki | 4’)
Two elderly swimmers meet at the baths for their ritual swimming. This time they are diving deeper than usual.

Beauty (Rino Stefano Tagliafierro | 10’)
A short story of the most important emotions of life, from birth to death, love and sexuality through pain and fear. It is a tribute to art and his disarming beauty.

Boyhood (Ayiokisho) (Jonah Rosenthal | 4’)
Life as a young Kenyan boy living in the Great Rift Valley.

Bradford-Halifax-London (Francis Lee | 10’)
On the 10.22 train from Bradford to London Dad looses his rag, pregnant Mam concocts a surprise whilst their teenage daughter aches from embarrassment on just another ‘typical’ family outing..

Brooklyn Farmer (Michael Tyburski | 26’)
“Brooklyn Farmer” explores the unique challenges facing Brooklyn Grange, a group of urban farmers who endeavor to run a commercially viable farm within the landscape of New York City. As their growing operation expands to a second roof, the team confronts the realities inherent in operating the world’s largest rooftop farm in one of the world’s biggest cities.

Bunda Pandeiro (Carlo Sampietro | 3’)
In Brazilian slang, the phrase Bunda Pandeiro is used to describe attractive buttocks by referring to them as a tambourine. While the ass is a universally recognized symbol of sexual allure, the film blurs lines between gender and race, reducing each participant to the utilitarian role of a musical instrument.

Butter Lamp (Hu Wei | 15’)
A photographer weaves unique links among nomadic families.

C-Rock (Jordan Roth | 29’)
Together, kids on C-Rock face perilous jumps of up to 110 feet. It’s a summertime rite of passage in the Bronx. But growing up means they’ll have to leave this tradition behind.

The Caketrope of Burton’s Team (Alexandre Dubosc | 2’)
A pastry zoetrope tribute to the films of Tim Burton.

Cargo Cult (Bastien Dubois | 11’)
During the Pacific war on the coast of Papua New Guinea, the Papuans want to claim the god Cargo’s gifts by developing a new rite in this beautifully animated film.

Catherine: A Story In 12 Parts (Dean Fleischer-Camp | 14’)
Catherine returns to work after a hiatus. Starring Jenny Slate as the titular character.

Coda (Alan Holly | 9’)
A lost soul stumbles drunken through the city. In a park, Death finds him and shows him many things.

Crime: The Animated Series – Nelson George (Alix Lambert | 4’)
Writer and culture critic, Nelson George, talks about his childhood, the nature of crime, and the state of Hip Hop in the year 2008.

Crime: The Animated Series – Marcus McGhee (Alix Lambert | 5’)
When Hartford teacher Marcus McGhee has his car stolen, the police refuse to assist him. Directors Alix Lambert and Sam Chou mix humor with stark reality in this animated documentary short.

Cruising Electric (Brumby Boylston | 1’)
The marketing department green-lights a red-light tie-in: 60 lost seconds of modern movie merchandising.

The Cut (Genevieve Dulude-De Celles | 14’)
The Cut tells the story of a father and a daughter, whose relationship fluctuates between proximity and detachment, at the moment of a haircut.

Darling (Izabela Plucinsica | 6’)
What is it like when you have lost your memory, when you wake up and you cannot even recognize your husband? A woman wakes up from a dream facing a stranger who claims to be her husband. DARLING deals with loss, intimacy as well as alienation, helplessness and despair, but also hope.

Dawn (Rose McGowan | 17’)
Dawn is a quiet young teenager who longs for something or someone to free her from her sheltered life.

Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared II: Time (Becky Sloan & Joe Pelling | 4’)
Eventually everyone runs out of time – but before that happens to you, make some time to go on a journey, a journey through directorial duo Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling’s existentialist universe of temporal confusion, TV guides and bathtime. Time is the sequel to their original mind-bending viral hit Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared.

Dusty Stacks of Mom (Jodie Mack | 40′)
Interweaving the forms of personal filmmaking, abstract animation, and the rock opera, this animated musical documentary examines the rise and fall of a nearly-defunct poster and postcard wholesale business; the changing role of physical objects and virtual data in commerce; and the division (or lack of) between abstraction in fine art and psychedelic kitsch. Using alternate lyrics as voice over narration, the piece adopts the form of a popular rock album reinterpreted as a cine-performance.

Eager (Allison Schulnik | 9’)
“Eager” is a traditional, stop-motion and clay-mation film ballet by painter/animator Allison Schulnik. It is a celebration of the moving painting. Although there is a beginning, middle and end, what it retains in traditional material and methods, it avoids in narrative structure. It is an uncertain account of what exists somewhere between tragedy and farce.

Eleanor Ambos Interiors (Andrew Ellis | 15’)
A close-up look at the whimsical life of 86-year-old interior designer Eleanor Ambos. Since her arrival to the U.S. at age 20, Eleanor’s strong will and keen eye have transformed her design business into a multi-million dollar empire. Yet at home, this eccentric tycoon’s lifestyle is astonishingly simple.

Fear of Flying (Conor Finnegan | 9’)
A small bird is afraid to fly, but with winter approaching and everyone flying south, he must face his fears… for the most part.

Flesh (CARNE) (Carlos Gomez Salamanca | 8’)
Flesh reveals the sacrifice of an animal during a countryside celebration in Colombia. This animated short film proposes various readings around the body and the memory thru moving paintings.

Flirting or Coquetry (Julian Petschek | 4’)
A brief summary of flirting behavior provided by the contributors of Wikipedia.

Funnel (Andre Hyland | 7’)
When a man’s car breaks down, it sends him on a quest across town that slowly turns into the most fantastically mundane adventure.

Goodbye Rabbit, Hop Hop (Caleb Wood | 4’)
A mind in the city looks inwards, and escapes to the rabbits domain.

Graceland (Christian Hödl | 11’)
In her small flat in Munich Angelica lives an Elvis Presley-centered life, far away from the world which she perceives as loud and bad sometimes. She spends from 600 to 700 Euros a month for Elvis fan stuff, but she only needs 20 Euros a week for food. Angelica lives in a very special way and at the same time she is very self-reflected. The film is the portrait of a middle-aged woman, who wants to live as she wants to: with Elvis Presley.

Hacked Circuit (Deborah Stratman | 15’)
This circular study of the Foley process portrays sound artists at work constructing complex layers of fabrication and imposition.

Hi, My Love (Oi, Meu Amor) (Robert G. Putka | 3’)
Men are from Mars, women are from Brazil. A conversation unfolds, and two lovers find themselves on separate wavelengths.

How To Keep Smoking (John Wilson | 10’)
How to video about smoking.

I Am Alone and My Head is On Fire (David O’Reilly | 1’)
A man is alone and his head is on fire.

I Think This is the Closest to How the Footage Looked (Youvai Hameri | 10’)
A man recreates with poor means a lost memory. A memory of the last day with his Mom. Objects comes to life, in a desperate struggle, to produce one moment that was gone.

I’m A Mitzvah (Ben Berman | 18’)
A young American man spends one last night with his deceased friend while stranded in rural Mexico.

In The Air Is Christopher Gray (Felix Massie | 10’)
Christopher Gray has been in love with Stacey for quite some time, and no amount of lemonade can cool his desire. Meanwhile, Barry Flint has just bought his son a five-foot python from the pet store.

Introduction to a Care Home (Niklas Holmgren | 27’)
Linda is a middle-aged woman working at a care home for people with chronic psychological disabilities. One day a young, attractive guy comes to live there. Linda is overwhelmed by sexual desire for him.

Jonathan’s Chest (Christopher Radcliff | 13’)
Everything changes one night for Alex, a troubled teenager, when is visited by a boy claiming to be his brother — who disappeared years earlier.

Keep the Change (Rachel Israel | 16’)
A young man is forced to attend a support group that leads to an unexpected connection.

Kids and Explosions – Swear Words (Thomas Vernay, Yann Wallaert | 3’)

Inspired by GIF, this video clip is about the clichés of american antagonisms: Christian thought, homeland love and excesses of the USA.

Krisha (Trey Edwards Shults | 14’)
Krisha has not seen her family for many years. When Krisha decides to join her family for a holiday dinner, tensions escalate and Krisha struggles to keep her own demons at bay.

La viande + L’amour (Johanna Rubin | 1’)
A very short romantic comedy, the essence, the very crescendo, the embrace, the kiss. All of it represented in raw meat. It can’t get more physical than this.

Late For Meeting (David Lewandowski | 2’)
“Late for Meeting” is the first companion piece to the 2011 short film entitled “Going to the Store”

Le Labyrinthe (Mathieu Labaye | 9’)
6m² for the rest of his life…

Levitate (Leah Ross | 13’)
Levitate is a portrait of the Rockaways NY and its residents 3-7 months after Hurricane Sandy devastated the peninsula. Shot on s16mm, the film is a montage of voices and landscapes left in limbo from the storm.

The Lion’s Mouth Opens (Lucy Walker | 15’)
A stunningly courageous young woman takes the boldest step imaginable, supported by her mother and loving friends in this stunning documentary from acclaimed filmmaker Lucy Walker.

Love Doesn’t Care (Farzad Zarzaneh | 14’)
Rakel and Dag are in love and are seemingly the perfect couple until an old friend of Dag’s shows up and things take a subtle yet dramatic turn.

Love in the Time of March Madness (Melissa Johnson | 9’)
A story about the hilarious and awkward misadventures of a 6’4’’ tall woman who is a star on the basketball court but struggles to find true love.

M4W (Annelise Ogaard | 20’)
A candid glimpse into the life of a young woman who stays above the poverty line by hiring herself out as a dominatrix to men she meets online.

Marilyn Myller (Mikey Please | 6’)
Marilyn maketh. Marilyn taketh awayeth. Marilyn is trying really hard to create something good. For once, her expectation and reality are going to align. It will be epic. It will be tear-jerkingly profound. It will be perfect. Nothing can go wrong.

Manicure (Stephanie Ahn | 11)
Interweaving the forms of personal filmmaking, abstract animation, and the rock opera, this animated musical documentary examines the rise and fall of a nearly-defunct poster and postcard wholesale business; the changing role of physical objects and virtual data in commerce; and the division (or lack of) between abstraction in fine art and psychedelic kitsch. Using alternate lyrics as voice over narration, the piece adopts the form of a popular rock album reinterpreted as a cine-performance.

Master Muscles (Efren Hernandez | 13’)
Veronika and Efren take a trip.

Me + Her (Joseph Oxford | 12’)
When Jack and Jill of Cardboard City are separated by Jill’s untimely death, Jack goes on a journey to mend his (literally) broken heart.

MeTube: August sings Carmen Habanera (Daniel Moshel | 4’)
George Bizet`s “Habanera” from Carmen has been reinterpreted and enhanced with electronic sounds for MeTube, a homage to thousands of ambitious YouTube users and video bloggers, and gifted and less gifted self-promoters on the Internet.

The Missing Scarf (Eoin Duffy | 7’)
A black comedy exploring some of life’s common fears: fear of the unknown, of failure, rejection and finally the fear of death. Narrated by George Takei.

Mooon (James Kwan | 6’)
Everything in the Universe is a little bit sticky.

More Than Two Hours (Ali Asgari | 10’)
It’s 3 AM, a boy and a girl are wandering in the city. They are looking for a hospital to cure the girl, but it’s much harder than they thought.

Mountain in Shadow (Lois Patino | 14’)
A poetic view into the relationship of immensity between man and landscape. We contemplate, from a distance, the activity of skiers on the snowy mountain. The pictorial image and the dark and dreamlike atmosphere transforms the space into something unreal, imprecise, converting it also in a tactile experience.

Mr. Lamb (Jean Pesce | 15’)
Mr. Lamb is a dark comedy about a lonely waitress who is in love with her pen pal — the convicted murderer, Charles Lamb.

Noah (Walter Woodman, Patrick Cederberg | 17’)
In a story that plays out completely on a teens computer screen. Noah soon learns the difference between a like and a love.

The North Sea Riveria (Joshua Wedlake | 12’)
A tale of love, life and lunacy told via an estranged odyssey through the digital uncanny. Set along the East Coast of Britain in the latter half of the 20th Century, two deeply introspective and nostalgic men wander through a melancholic seaside resort as it languishes in its dying throes.

Notes on Blindness Rainfall (Peter Middleton, James Spinney | 4’)
For three years after losing his sight, John Hull created audio diaries to reflect on his adaptation to blindness. Using excerpts from John’s tapes, this film recreates the visceral experience of hearing rainfall for the first time without sight. The rain’s sound creates a perception of dimensionality and reconnects John in a tangible way to his environment. A poetic sensory experience.

Numbers & Friends (Alexander Carson | 7’)
In his search for happiness in North America, a European man discovers the pleasures of Fantasy Baseball. Using his new appreciation for sports as a metaphor to re-imagine his life choices, he begins to find new meaning in the world around him. Numbers & Friends is a playful and amorphous cine-essay about sports fandom and cultural identity.

The Obvious Child (Stephen Irwin | 12’)
NY Premiere

Somebody broke the girl’s parents. The rabbit was there when it happened. It was an awful mess.

Of God and Dogs (Abounaddara Collective | 12’)
A young, free Syrian soldier confesses to killing a man he knew was innocent. He promises to take vengeance on the God who led him to commit the murder. Winner of 2014 Sundance Grand Jury Prize.

Once Upon a Tree (Marleen van der Werf | 15’)
Sitting in her Favorite Oak tree, 11-year-old Filine encounters little wonders in the natural world around her.

One Year Lease (Brian Bolster | 11’)
Told almost entirely through voice mail messages, “One year Lease” documents the travails of Brian, Thomas and Casper as they endure a year-long sentence with Rita the Cat-loving landlady.

Open City: The Dreamer (A.V. Rockwell | 5’)
Larry “Antenna Man” Connor makes a name for himself the best way he knows how. (Sorry, No Refunds!)

Orlando’s Book (Wendy Morris | 4’)
A book of English landscapes was awarded to a young man who grew up on mission stations in Southern Africa in the 19thc. This book, belonging to an ancestor of the artist, is the starting point to a reflection on literary memories of places read about but never visited, and on places experienced but never seen illustrated in books.

Pandas (Pandy) (Matus Vizar | 12’)
After millions of generations they have a good chance of becoming another extinct species. But one day, an all too active primate called the human being found them and they became a pawn in man’s game.

Person to Person (Dustin Guy Defa | 18’)
Waking up the morning after hosting a party, a man discovers a stranger passed out on his floor. He spends the rest of the day trying to convince her to leave.

Perth+6hrs (Wendy Morris | 3’)
Perth+6hrs is a personal reflection on the transience of family, on the fleetingness of childhood, and on the inevitable separations as children grow up and move away. The objects in the film are made by the son of the filmmaker. The film is created out of a single drawing.

Phantom Limb (Alex Grigg | 4’)
James and Martha narrowly survive a motorcycle accident. During the aftermath, however, James begins to experience Martha’s phantom pains.

The Pink Helmet Posse (Kristelle Laroche | 9’)
Three pink tutus. Three pink helmets. Three pink skateboards. Bella, Sierra and Rella prove that skateboarding is not just for boys.

Pleasure (Ninja Thyberg | 15’)
Behind the scenes of a porn shoot, the actors practice various positions. The rumor is that one of the girls is doing an advanced routine that requires someone extremely tough. Pleasure is a startling film about workplace intrigue.

Portrait (Donato Sansone | 3’)
A slow and surreal video slideshow of nightmarish, grotesque and apparently static characters.

Rabbit and Deer (Peter Vacz | 16’)
Rabbit and Deer are living happily and careless until their friendship is put to the test by Deer’s new obsession to find the formula for the 3rd dimension. After an unexpected accident Deer finds himself in a new world, unknown to him. Separated by dimensions the two characters have to find the way back to each other.

Rat Pack Rat (Todd Rohal | 17’)
A Sammy Davis, Jr. impersonator, hired to visit with a loyal Rat Pack fan, finds himself delivering last rites at the boy’s bedside.

Rehearsal (Tom Rosenberg | 12’)
A surreal study of a simulated terrorist attack in middle America. Composed frames observe the meticulous care taken to create a hyperreal terrorist event. Once the bomb goes off, hundreds of volunteers deliver a convincing performance as stunned and mutilated blast victims.

Rhino Full Throttle (Nashom im Galopp) (Erik Schmitt | 15’)
A young man uses art to reshape the city around him in search of its soul, but a beautiful tourist overtakes his mission in this imaginative love story.

The Runaway (La Fugue) (Jean-Bernard Marlin | 22’)
A rehabilitated teenage girl stands before a judge for sentencing. Still, she fears the system is stacked against her. Winner of best short at the Berlin Film Festival.

The Shirley Temple (Daniela Sherer | 10’)
The boundaries between childhood and adulthood become blurry for a kid at his mother’s cocktail party. In this experimental-narrative short, characters, symbols and abstractions interchange to examine the relationships between children and adults, escapism and sexuality.

SIX (Frank Jerky | 14’)
SIX is a short film that follows a young boy named DUMBO, who is playing with his toy cars on the hottest day of the summer. The playing takes place on a huge rooftop in Brooklyn. No adults are around. Everyone seems to be indoors – hiding from the heat. Only Dumbo’s sister MAGGIE is on the other side of the roof, but she could not care less about her younger brother’s games.

Street Views (Annie Berman | 8’)
Created entirely within Google, STREET VIEWS is a somnambulist tour defying natural laws of perspective, time, and continuity. Our guide discovers she can get lost while never straying from the map. Places also get lost – like a video store. She attempts to interact with this world. Retracing her path, she discovers even though all has already occurred and is transfixed, it is never the same twice.

Sun of a Beach (Arnaud Crillon, Alexandre Rey, Jinfeng Lin, Valentin Gasarian | 6’)
You’re at the beach. It’s hot. Too hot!!!

Symphony No. 42 (Réka Bucsi | 10’)
NY Premiere

47 observations in the irrational connections between human and nature.

Syndromeda (Patrik Eklund | 21’)
Leif wakes up on the road—naked and bloody—with no memory of what has happened. No one believes him when he claims he was abducted by aliens.

Tim and Susan Have Matching Handguns (Joe Callander | 2’)
NY Premiere

Love is swapping clips with your spouse in the middle of a three gun problem.

Unlocking The Truth (Luke Meyer | 3’)
There is a particular moment right before fame strikes a young musician – between the full flowering of talent and believing in a dream so pure and strong as to feel bulletproof – which at the same time is almost imperceptible as it is happening. This documentary follows Malcolm Brickhouse, Jarad Dawkins and Alec Atkins of the band Unlocking The Truth as they summon all the influences that have helped make them who they are, and cross this metaphysical threshold.

Wawd Ahp (Steven Girard & Josh Chertoff | 3’)
NY Premiere

A man raps in the mirror, cuts off his head, and has sex with it. There is also a cartoon.

Whale Valley (Hvalfjordur) (Gudmundur Gudmundsson | 15’)
Two brothers struggle to find their place and purpose while living in a small remote fjord in Iceland. Special mention at Cannes Film Festival and winner of Best Short Film at Hamptons Int’l Film Festival.

WIND (Robert Löbel | 4’)
WIND is an animated short about the daily life of people living in a windy area who seem helplessly exposed to the weather. However, the inhabitants have learned to deal with their difficult living conditions. The wind creates a natural system for living.

Yearbook (Bernardo Britto | 6’)
NY Premiere
A man is hired to compile the definitive history of human existence before the planet blows up.

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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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