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2018 Film Festival: Second Annual “People Preserving Place” Film Festival a Hit

2018 Film Festival: Second Annual “People Preserving Place” Film Festival a Hit

June 1, 2018 | NYPAP

Over 500 people came out for the grand finale of the Archive Project’s Second Annual Film Festival, People Preserving Place! The last feature, a screening of the classic 1954 film On the Waterfront, along with a variety of accompanying events, was set amidst the opulent splendor of the United Palace of Cultural Arts, a former Lowe’s Wonder Theater dating from 1930.

This year, the festival increased its number of overall screenings and attendance, and it enjoyed the support of a number of new sponsors. It also presented its first event in the Bronx. But that didn’t mean it failed to hold a number of tried and true favorite events like Preservation, She Wrote with host Susan De Vries along the Bowery.

A slew of talented individuals shared their time discussing films and talking about how preservation themes appeared in various films. In Harlem, Jessica Green at Maysles Documentary Center rolled out the 16 mm film projector for a double-header, focused on Hamilton Heights’s brownstone revival (A Sense of Pride) and the obliteration of the former San Juan Hill neighborhood (The Case Against Lincoln Center). Archive Project board member and Harlem resident John Reddick led a discussion with George Calderaro from Save Tin Pan Alley and Yuien Chin from Harlem One Stop. In the Bronx, Archive Project board member and Bronx resident Paul Onyx Lozito introduced the film Lost Rondout: A Story of Urban Removal at BronxArtSpace. Filmmaker Lynn Woods led a discussion focused on urban renewal following the screening.

Preservation advocacy documentaries ruled the night at the J.M. Kaplan Center in Manhattan. Archive Project board member and Manhattan resident Gina Pollara introduced films touching on four subjects: the World’s Fair Pavilion in Flushing Meadows, Queens; the Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn; Little Syria in Lower Manhattan; and tall buildings on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Matthew Silva spoke about his film Modern Ruin, Daniel Phelps and Brian Paul reviewed their efforts in The Domino Effect, and Mary Ann Dinapoli of Friends of the Lower West Side provided an eloquent backdrop to the story of endeavors to landmark the physical remnants reflecting the cultural story of Little Syria, once a flourishing corner of Lower Manhattan.

Brooklyn’s moment in the spotlight came on a Sunday evening as the Archive Project screened At the Corner of Third & Third, a documentary by Max Kutner about the historic Coignet Stone Building in Gowanus, as well as neighborhood change in the areas surrounding the Gowanus Canal. The screening took place in the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club boathouse, and attendees were able to sit in canoes for the show. A short called The Waterfront preceded the main attraction, and a robust discussion about landmarking and rezoning followed the presentation. 

The film festival’s penultimate event unfurled amidst the Deco-Gothic stonework of the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest on the Upper East Side. Local neighborhood organization Carnegie Hill Neighbors partnered with the Archive Project to bring two 1960s documentary films by filmmaker Gordon Hyatt to the screen in the church’s undercroft following a tour of the church.

Hyatt was on hand to introduce both films: La Vie Elegante and A Fantasy of Forgotten Corners. From glimpses inside the long-demolished Brokaw Mansions that helped spur passage of the NYC Landmarks Law to encounters with the cast iron streetscapes of what is now SoHo, the films left those in attendance grateful for Hyatt’s film efforts decades ago.

When the festival concluded with the screening of On the Waterfront at United Palace of Cultural Arts, a number of events accompanied the final film itself. The Historic Districts Council facilitated a pre-show tour of the ornate movie palace. Mike Fitelson of the United Palace of Cultural Arts led the tour and welcomed attendees from the steps of the glittering lobby. As audiences filed in, the Archive Project’s executive director, Brad Vogel, moderated a panel on preservation and the New York waterfront. Panelists included Captain Jonathan Boulware of the South Street Seaport Museum, independent historian Eric K. Washington, and S.S. Columbia Project 

moment in the spotlight came on a Sunday evening as the Archive Project screened At the Corner of Third & Third, a documentary by Max Kutner about the historic Coignet Stone Building in Gowanus, as well as neighborhood change in the areas surrounding the Gowanus Canal. The screening took place in the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club boathouse, and attendees were able to sit in canoes for the show. A short called The Waterfront preceded the main attraction, and a robust discussion about landmarking and rezoning followed the presentation.

The film festival’s penultimate event unfurled amidst the Deco-Gothic stonework of the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest on the Upper East Side. Local neighborhood organization Carnegie Hill Neighbors partnered with the Archive Project to bring two 1960s documentary films by filmmaker Gordon Hyatt to the screen in the church’s undercroft following a tour of the church.

Hyatt was on hand to introduce both films: La Vie Elegante and A Fantasy of Forgotten Corners. From glimpses inside the long-demolished Brokaw Mansions that helped spur passage of the NYC Landmarks Law to encounters with the cast iron streetscapes of what is now SoHo, the films left those in attendance grateful for Hyatt’s film efforts decades ago.

When the festival concluded with the screening of On the Waterfront at United Palace of Cultural Arts, a number of events accompanied the final film itself. The Historic Districts Council facilitated a pre-show tour of the ornate movie palace. Mike Fitelson of the United Palace of Cultural Arts led the tour and welcomed attendees from the steps of the glittering lobby. As audiences filed in, the Archive Project’s executive director, Brad Vogel, moderated a panel on preservation and the New York waterfront. Panelists included Captain Jonathan Boulware of the South Street Seaport Museum, independent historian Eric K. Washington, and S.S. Columbia Project Board Member Elizabeth “Liz” McEnaney. At the conclusion of the screening, Tommy Hanley, the actor who had long ago played the boy “Tommy” beside Marlon Brando on the pigeon-filled rooftops of Hoboken, engaged in a Q&A with Tom Meyers of the Fort Lee Film Commission onstage.

The Archive Project is already looking forward to next year’s preservation film festival. Please let us know if you have any ideas for preservation-related films, panelists or potential venues.

The Archive Project would like to thank its sponsors of the 2018 People Preserving Place Film Festival:

DzineNY

The Science of Color

CTA Architects

K!ck Condiments

City Winery NYC

NYC Metropolitan Chapter of the

American Planing Association

 

Above: Over 500 people turned out for the grand finale of the Archive Project’s Preservation Film Festival at United Palace of Cultural Arts, a screening of On the Waterfront | Courtesy of Donna Brennan