by Nicholas Camacho
July 14th, 2014

Rooftop Films is proud and excited to bring you two fantastic selections from this year’s South By Southwest Film Festival. On July 18th and 19th, the films ‘Mateo’ and ‘10,000KM’ will help to bring a taste of the world-renowned Austin, TX festival to Sunset Park, Brooklyn. These two incredibly touching films about the desire for connection – romantic, familial, and cultural – perfectly demonstrate the kind of programming that should be celebrated at independent film festivals. Rooftop Films is proud to bring them to the 18th Annual Summer Series, with special events including a performance by Matthew Stoneman AKA Mateo himself.

Over the past 29 years, South by Southwest has established itself as a powerful cultural showcase, combining music, film, and interactive media into one of the world’s most respected and innovative festivals. Rooftop Films has enjoyed screening selections from SXSW for the last five years, and in addition to ‘Mateo’ and ’10,000KM,’ Rooftop also programmed ‘Pulp’, ‘Infinite Man’, ‘The Case Of The Three-Sided Dream’, all of which had their World premieres at SXSW. Anja Marquardt’s ‘She’s Lost Control’, which screens at Rooftop Films on August 15th, made its North American Premiere at SXSW.

“Every year we fall in love with films that we’re privileged to premiere at SXSW Film, and the biggest rush is having others fall in love with them as well”, says Janet Pierson, head of the SXSW Film Festival. “We’re huge fans of the creative and exciting exhibition that is ROOFTOP FILMS – and love that they are presenting adventurous and wonderful independent films in such an enjoyable way for the audiences of NY.”

‘Mateo’ follows the journey of Matthew Stoneman, a ‘white guy’ from New Hampshire, who learned to play authentic and fluent Spanish songs while serving time in an LA prison for robbery. At once his worst enemy and greatest fan, this is the unlikely story of Matthew (Mateo) busking the streets, traveling to Cuba and attempting to record his newest bolero record (romantic Latin tunes).

’10,000KM’ is the story of Alexandra and Sergi, who must rely on virtual communication to keep the flame of their relationship alive. But with their realities no longer shared and the touch of one another gone, the technology that has supposedly brought the world closer together may just tear them apart.


July 18th and 19th starting at 8pm EST.


The Roof and Courtyard of Industry City: 220 36th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11232

Mateo” Details

July 18, 2014
MATEO (Aaron I. Naar | 85 min.)

8:00PM Doors Open
8:30PM Live Music by Matthew Stoneman
9:00PM Film Begins
10:30PM Q&A with filmmaker Aaron I. Naar and subject Matthew Stoneman (Mateo)
11:30PM After Party

More info:

At a nearly empty open mic night in Los Angeles, people sit on the floor listening to an unassuming, redheaded man with a guitar awkwardly introduce himself for far too long. For the last 13 years this man, known simply as Mateo, has been living and working as America’s first white mariachi singer, playing guitar and singing in Spanish at Mexican restaurants and private events across the city. However peculiar his profession may sound, it is nowhere near as strange as his transformation from Matthew Stoneman, a New Hampshire born pop musician with an Elton John sound. In the mid-90s, with his personal music struggling to find an audience, Matthew took to a life of crime, and was eventually incarcerated for five years in a maximum-security state penitentiary for robbery. During his stint he struck up a friendship with a group of Mexican musicians in the prison recess yard who soon taught him hundreds of Spanish-language classics. He emerged as the mysterious, angelic-voiced Mateo.

For the last four years, director Aaron I. Naar has watched the enigmatic Mateo weave a strange path from the street corners of Los Angeles to the revered recording studios in Havana, Cuba. On the brink of completing an album of original songs in Havana, Mateo struggles to keep his demons in check, which seem all too plausible in derailing his goal. Shockingly candid onscreen, Mateo is revealed as complicated man living disparate lives – a simple, mostly solitary existence in Los Angeles and a self-indulgent, almost destructive one in Cuba. Mateo captures, with a piercing gaze, a portrait of a troubled artist living with a checkered past, fraught with poor management, Cuban women, and family turmoil as he moves towards a still unclear future.

10,000KM” Details

July 19, 2014
10,000KM (Carlos Marques-Marcet | 99 min.)

8:00PM Doors Open
8:30PM Live Music by Adrianne Lenker
9:00PM Film Begins
11:30PM After Party sponsored by New Amsterdam Spirits and Bulleit Bourbon

More info:

Alexandra and Sergi have been together for years and are very much in love. They live in Barcelona, Spain and are planning to have a baby. But when an artist residency in Los Angeles offers Alexandra a one-year all expenses paid chance to re-launch her photography career, the couple’s plan becomes complicated. Separated by 10,000 kilometers, Alexandra and Sergi must rely on virtual communication to keep the flame of their relationship alive. Does “distance” really test our love or does it justify our capacity to fall out of it?

Director Carlos Marques-Marcet’s beautifully constructed feature debut seems to come out of nowhere with the perfect synthesis of style, acting and film technique. Natalia Tena (Game of Thrones, Harry Potter) stars as Alexandra alongside David Verdaguer, who plays Sergi, a student preparing for his teaching exam. Their relationship is skillfully established through an intimate 22-minute opening shot – exclusively inside their apartment – as they make love, eat breakfast and go about their day. Raw, passionate performances and palpable chemistry between the two leads make each frame exciting to watch. However, the email from the artist residency disrupts this calm and sends both the couple and the film’s structure into disarray. The latter chapters are told through fragmented sequences of blurry video-chats, emails, Facebook updates, and text messages and we see the characters begin to transform. In the hands of a less skilled storyteller, this narrative could have come across as gimmicky, but Marques-Marcet’s clever execution instead reinforces the films core themes and sets 10,000 KM apart from others in its genre.

With their realities now only shared virtually, the technology that has supposedly brought the world closer together may just tear them apart. By structuring the film edit and varied techniques in order to mirror the characters’ relationship, 10,000 KM manages to achieve one of the most singular and believable portraits of a modern-day relationship to date.


About SXSW Film:

Every March, creatives of all stripes gather in Austin to witness, share and inspire the visions that will galvanize the filmmakers and ideas of tomorrow. SXSW Film Conference & Festival champions the vitality, innovation and opportunity that drives the entertainment and media landscape, and boldly tackles the evolution of all aspects of “film” today, down to its very definition.


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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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