Thursday, July 22, 2010

Moviehouse goes outdoors

By Aaron Short

This month, Moviehouse brings gentrification horrors, schizophrenia, and teen violence to Sternberg Park — in film!

The four-year-old film and video collective is once again screening short films from the neighborhood in the neighborhood this summer, debuting an excellent collection of documentary and fictional shorts on July 24 at Sternberg Park’s handball courts off Lorimer Street.

The films, “Open House” and “Study for A Moral Society,” are must-see attractions that explore the effects of Williamsburg’s rapid development.

Filmmaker Diane Nerwen’s poignant 30-minute documentary, “Open House,” investigates the tragic underside of Williamsburg and Greenpoint’s condominium boom. A 16-year resident, Nerwen found the spot demolitions of two-family homes and factories and the quick construction of 30-story towers on the waterfront “disorienting.” Thinking that she wasn’t alone in her feelings, she set out to interview her neighbors to document how it was affecting them.

“It’s pretty intense to watch a house on your street getting torn down, and it was easy to find,” said Nerwen.

“Study for A Moral Society” is another exploration of human behavior at the margins by the inventive filmmaking trio Russell Fong, Victor Jeffries II, and CK Swett.

The threesome spent an afternoon with Lawrence, a paranoid schizophrenic man who wanders the streets of Williamsburg shouting nonsensical rants. The result is an uncomfortable yet endearing profile of the well-recognized neighborhood character.

Alice Cox’s beautifully desolate narrative, “L to Canarsie” (pictured), is the story of a woman who moves to Bushwick with her boyfriend and slowly acclimates herself to her new home after he dies unexpectedly. Cox, a Bushwick resident herself, shoots her neighborhood in a sparse style that provides an outsider’s view of Bushwick’s industrial scenery.

Moviehouse at Sternberg Park (Lorimer Street and Montrose Avenue). July 24, 8 pm. Free.


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