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2016 Tribeca Film Festival Documentary Shorts: New York Then

2016 Tribeca Film Festival Documentary Shorts: New York Then

“Joe’s Violin”

The documentary
shorts presented at the Tribeca Film Festival included both human stories and
New York’s past. The films delved into themes of chaos, survival, and a glimpse
into a life of the city that forever evolves but a time past that cannot be
forgotten. After the screening, the filmmakers joined in for a Q&A. 

About the Film: “Joe’s Violin”

A 91-year-old
Holocaust survivor donates his violin to an instrument drive, changing the life
of a 12-year-old schoolgirl from the Bronx and unexpectedly, his own.

About the Director: Kahane Cooperman is the
director/producer of “Joe’s Violin.” She has also directed several other
documentaries. She is currently the showrunner/executive producer of The New Yorker Presents.” Prior to that
role, she was a co-executive producer of ‘The Daily Show’ with Jon Stewart. She
began her career at Maysles Films.

Kahane Cooperman talks about “Joe’s
Violin”

Cooperman began by
introducing the two subjects of her film who were seated in the audience, the
violin owner Joseph Feingold and Brianna.

 “The way I got this idea was very simple.
My car radio was on and I tuned on the classical radio station WQXR and I heard
a promo for their instrument drive; it said donate your instruments and the
instruments are going to New York City school kids. They mentioned the
donations they already had gotten and one of the instruments was Joseph’s
violin. I just thought, ‘I wonder if
there’s a story there with this violin and if the student who gets the violin
will know the story.’ I got in touch with the radio station and they allowed
me the privilege of pursuing the story and this film is what unfolded. It was a
very moving experience. I do love music but I don’t play an instrument. I think
music is incredibly powerful but I’m also moved by the idea of how a small
gesture can make you dream and change someone’s life. Somehow the idea of this
was very compelling to me and that it might play out in the context of this one
instrument shared by two people who were born 80 years apart.

About the Film: “Mulberry” 

This cinematic
portrait of Little Italy explores how a working class neighborhood of tenement
buildings transformed into the third most expensive zip code in the United
States. Part funny, part sad, the film investigates how gentrification and rent
control are affecting the neighborhood’s long-term residents.

About the Director: Paul Stone

Brooklynite Paul
Stone started his directing career in the edit room at Ridley Scott &
Associates. In “Tales of Time Square,” Paul recreated 1980’s Time Square. The
footage was often mistaken for stock and went on to be screened at over 50
festivals in the U.S. and abroad. His previous short ‘Man Under’ (TFF 2015)
explored the rise in NYC subway suicides.

Paul Stone talks about “Mulberry”

“I saw my neighborhood disappearing, changing. I have no problem with
gentrification, but it’s gotten to a point of hyper gentrification. Little
Italy in New York is known for its soul and its people, and it was rapidly
disappearing. I wanted to tell the story about who inspired me in terms of my
friends and that Little Italy is still alive and well, and that there are still
a lot of characters left.

About the Film: “Starring Austin
Pendleton” 

Austin Pendleton is
that quintessential character actor you might recognize. We follow Austin as he
reflects on his life and craft, while his A-list peers discuss his vast
influence, dogged determination, and what it means to be an original in today’s
celebrity-obsessed world.

About the Directors Gene Gallerano and
David H. Holmes

David H. Holmes has studied and acted under the
direction of Mr. Pendleton. His film and television credits include ‘Birdman’, ‘Law
and Order’, ‘Girls’, ‘Mr. Robot’, and ‘The Following’. Gene Gallerano is the co-founder of The Neboya Collective, and has
produced and starred in works including, Occupy’, ‘Texas’, ‘Fireworks’, and ‘The
Talk Men’, which he also directed.

Holmes and Gallerano talk about “Starring Austin Pendleton” 

The directors met ten
years ago in an Off-Broadway show and studied with Austin Pendleton for about
five years. They consider him a big mentor. “We look up to him a lot and we
wanted to make sure in the end that we could look him in the eye. He was very
happy we made the film. At the Tribeca Talks the other day it was the first
time Austin saw it.  Someone asked
him if he had any input into the film and he said no because then you start
manipulating it and controlling it; particularly his stutter, he said I would
have told them ‘cut that’.” He wasn’t preventing us from making art.”

About the Film: “Taylor and Ultra on
the 60s, The Factory and Being a Warhol Superstar”  

Warhol superstar
Ultra Violet (Isabelle Colin Dufresne) and Lower East Side icon Taylor Mead
(poet/actor/artist) share their stories of Manhattan in the 1960s.

About the Director: Brian Bayerl

Brian Bayerl’s
documentary work includes ‘8: The Mormon Proposition’ (Sundance 2010), and ‘For
Once in My Life’ (SXSW Audience Award Winner 2010). This is his third
collaboration with producer Michael Huter, including ‘Datuna: Portrait of
America’ (London’s Raindance Winner 2015) and Full Circle.

Brian Bayerl talks about “Taylor and
Ultra on the 60s, The Factory and Being a Warhol Superstar”
 

“Our producer  came across photographs of Robert
Indiana, Andy Warhol, Taylor Mead and Ultra Violet and a lot of other figures
of the sixties Pop Art. When documenting those photographs we met Taylor Mead
and Ultra Violet and instantly fell in love with them; they were just so
captivating and charismatic and fun that over the next four years we had
opportunities to interview them and gather footage. When we lost both of them,
we were approached by the Warhol Museum about putting something together and
that’s exactly what we wanted to do. We put this film together as an homage to
both of them.”

About the film “Dead Ringer” 

There are only four
outdoor phone booths left in all of New York City—this is a late night
conversation with one of them.


About the Directors: Alex Kliment, Dana O’Keefe, and Michael Tucker

Alex Kliment is a filmmaker and musician from New York. He
is also a talking head. Dana O’Keefe is a filmmaker based in New York and
Stockholm. Michael Tucker is a documentary filmmaker who lives in upstate New
York.

Alex
Kliment, Dana O’Keefe, and Michael Tucker
talk about “Dead Ringer”

“Our film started
with learning about the statistic that there were only four outdoor telephone
booths left in New York City. The city’s replacing them with Wi-Fi hotspots, We
thought, ‘What’s a fun way to dramatize the changing urban landscape that also
reflects a lot of other changes of the human landscape and how we relate to
each other. We thought about how to impersonate and put ourselves in the mind
of a pay phone.  This film was an opportunity
to visit with very tragic heroes of our sidewalk — the payphones of New York
City.”

Award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker, Susan Kouguell teaches screenwriting
at Purchase College SUNY, and presents international seminars on screenwriting
and film.  Author of SAVVY CHARACTERS SELL SCREENPLAYS! and THE SAVVY SCREENWRITER,
she is chairperson of Su-City
Pictures East, LLC, a consulting company founded in 1990 where she works with
writers, filmmakers, and executives worldwide. www.su-city-pictures.com, http://su-city-pictures.com/wpblog

 

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