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Why the Rooftop Films Summer Series Matters for New Yorkers

By Mark Olsen | Indiewire May 14, 2012 at 8:24AM

Now starting its 16th year, the Rooftop Film Summer Series kicked off last Friday and continues through mid-August. In the words of founder and artistic director Mark Elijah Rosenberg, the series brings "underground movies outdoors."

Rosenberg makes special note of two screenings at another of the series' signature venues, The Old American Can Factory in Gowanus, Brooklyn. "The Waiting Room," a documentary on health care activism directed by Peter Nicks, and "Bovines," a wordless look at the world of cows directed by Emmanuel Gras, are both films that should engage audiences looking for a unique experience.

"People come to Rooftop for the experience," said Rosenberg. "Just watching a movie outdoors with live music and the social atmosphere of it is a different experience. We want to go even further and really engage people in a way they might not if they saw the film on DVD or even in a theater."


All told there will be nearly 50 events as part of Rooftop's Summer Series, and the organization assists other groups in producing a substantial number of the outdoor screenings around the city as well. While he is careful never to diminish the importance of the selected films themselves, Roseneberg stresses that the Rooftop Films Summer Series is in the end about more than just movies.

"Sitting in a dark room with your one friend, you could be in any theater in the world," he said, "and 90 minutes later you're not any more in touch with the people around you or the people onscreen than you were when you came to the theater. Every Rooftop screening provides a communal environment and that interactivity. Whenever we can we want to push that even further."

This article is related to: Rooftop Films, Rooftop Films Summer Series, Mark Rosenberg

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