Summer Films, Still

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Interesting factoids heard on NPR this weekend: In a poll of 770 full- and part-time workers, over half said that they don’t feel refreshed as they head back to work today. Maybe because a quarter of those polled took no time off this summer, and the 21 percent who did vacation for a week or more felt stressed within two hours of setting foot in the office. (Less if you got stuck on the A/C this morning.)

How dispiriting–but buck up, because summer isn’t over! Fall starts Sept. 23, which leaves us with three more weekends of Rooftop Films.

Now in its 11th year, the outdoor film series has come a long way since Mark Elijah Rosenberg hosted a screening of shorts on the roof of his East Village apartment, and subsequently got evicted. “Literally, when I first started it, I thought I’d be doing it for four hours,” he said, but the next summer he continued the DIY screenings of independent films atop one of Bushwick’s McKibben Street lofts, well before the other artists and college grads started moved in.

king.jpgSince then, he’s stayed steadily ahead of the curve, attracting the attention of the IFC Channel, which posts shorts screened at Rooftop on its website (here), and filmmakers who give Rooftop a sneak preview of their films before their New York premieres.

This year’s Rooftop festival featured four of these advance screenings, including Quiet City, one of the “mumblecore” films now at the IFC Center; King Corn, a documentary about our obsession with the grain, which airs Sept. 22 at Rooftop before opening at Cinema Village Oct. 12, and one other “secret screening”on Sept. 15 that Rosenberg promised would be “one of our coolest of the year for sure.”

Both are at the Old American Can Factory in Gowanus, HQ for Rooftop’s roving summer series, and like most of their shows this summer, tickets will sell out soon (click here to purchase). In an age of Netflix and Movies on Demand, Rosenberg and his colleagues know how to get audiences excited about going out to see films.

“The fact that we’re showing cutting-edge cinema that they’re not going to be seeing anywhere else–that right there is what makes audiences want to attend and what makes filmmakers want to be a part of it, and what makes all of us here want to work so hard at it.” The skyline views and pre-film concerts don’t hurt, either.

Rooftop photo by Sarah Palmer/Rooftop Films. King Corn photo by Sam Cullman, Mosaic Films. Sent by Nicole.

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