Wednesday, November 15, 2006

New York for Reel

New York films are what make those of us who grew up anywhere else want to move here when we grow up. We see Diane Keaton and Woody Allen capping off an odd and elegant evening with hot dogs under the 59th St. Bridge, Dustin Hoffman going to town on the hood of a taxi in the middle of a busy intersection, Cher strolling home in Brooklyn Heights under an impossibly big moon, Audrey Hepburn sitting on a fire escape strumming a guitar, and we get a glimpse of ourselves leading a different life.

And so we transplants who now feel ourselves, perhaps, New Yorkers owe, in a sense, a debt of gratitude to the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting (MOFTB), which marks its 40th anniversary this month with a series of screenings, a book release and a photography exhibit.

The MOFTB is a huge resource to big production companies making on-location movies and television shows as well as local indie filmmakers, providing free location permits, police assistance, discounts and various other supporting production services.

(Of course, you can also blame the MOFTB when you can’t park on your block because Law and Order is shooting there that day or some overly eager production assistant stops you on the sidewalk and makes you wait until they “get the shot.” It can be annoying, without a doubt, but try to be patient – those films and TV shows they’re shooting add jobs and revenue to the city.)

Many of the events commemorating the MOFTB’s 40th anniversary have already passed – such as October’s Coney Island Film Festival, in which (WARNING: BLATANT PLUG COMING) Aram Bauman, my production partner, and our friend Stephanie Armstrong screened their short film Red Meat.

But you can still catch a number of events, including the following:

  • Tuesdays-Sundays, 12:00-7:00 p.m, through November 27: Exhibit featuring photographs from Scenes from the City: Filming in New York 1966-2006, a new book examining filmmaking in New York over the last 40 years. The book shows how New York itself becomes a character in the films set here and also documents the city’s changing landscape – as well as the history of location shoots here. Tribeca Cinemas Gallery, 13-17 A Laight St. (between Varick and Sixth Ave.).
  • Wednesdays, November 15, 22 and 29: Screenings of experimental and indie short films about the city. 11-15, 1:30 p.m., Andy Warhol’s The Chelsea Girls; 11-22, 1:30 p.m., Central Park; 11-29, 2:30 p.m., Living American Theater Dance, Company, and Kiss Me Petruchio. New York Public Library’s Donnell Library Center, 20 West 53rd St. (between Fifth and Sixth Aves.).
  • Friday, November 17, 6:00-7:30 p.m.: A book-signing by James Sanders, an architect and New York history buff who put together the new photographic survey of New York films, Scenes from the City: Filmmaking in NY 1966-2006, produced with the MOFTB. International Center for Photography (ICP), 1133 Sixth Ave. (@ 43rd St.).
  • Tuesday, December 5, 6:30 p.m.: A talk – and another book-signing – by James Sanders (see above), Recital Hall at the CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Ave. (@ 34th St.). Advance reservations required; to register, call the CUNY Graduate Center's Office of Continuing Education and Public Programming at 212-817-8215 or email
  • Thursday, December 21, 7:00 p.m.: A screening of director Ry Russo-Young's Marion, a remake of Psycho set in the West Village. Jonathan Shorr Gallery, 109 Crosby St. (@ Prince St.). Presented by the AIC-Cypher Salon, a series combining poetry and filmmaking.

For more details on these events, click here. And, to learn more about the book Scenes From the City, check it out at

MsManhattan commemorates the MOFTB’s 40th anniversary by launching New York for Reel: Resources for NY Filmmakers and Film Buffs. Over the next few weeks look for links to local film festivals, production resources, best places to see indie films and more.

And, if you’d like to support a humble local indie filmmaker – namely, MsManhattan (WARNING: BLATANT SELF PROMOTION COMING) – check out the Exposure online film contest sponsored by SciFi Channel and Sundance Channel. RF EYE-D, a short film I wrote, produced and co-directed (with DP/Editor/SFX Artist extraordinaire, the aforementioned Aram Bauman) is in contention this week only (November 13-19). To view and to vote, go to and then to – and email the links to all your friends.

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