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TRAILER DEBUT: Sneak Peek of “Aardvark” from Rooftop Films, SnagFilms & indieWIRE

TRAILER DEBUT: Sneak Peek of "Aardvark" from Rooftop Films, SnagFilms & indieWIRE

Rooftop Films, indieWIRE and SnagFilms are pleased to present a special sneak preview of Kitao Sakurai’s New York City indie film “Aardvark” (see trailer below) on July 15, 2010 as a joint celebration of our birthdays. Three NYC organizations committed to supporting independent cinema, all born around the same date, we have grown up together as a vital part of the independent film scene in New York and around the world.

Next week, Rooftop, indieWIRE and SnagFilms will jointly celebrate our birthdays, and the independent film scene we care so much about. This screening of “Aardvark,” the debut feature by Kitao Sakurai, represents so much of what the three organizations stand for: discovering emerging directors, supporting independent filmmakers, bringing new unseen films to audiences, building a community around cinema, and, of course, hosting great events. This unique event showcases “Aardvark” prior to its official U.S. and international festival premieres.

The “Aardvark” trailer:

“Our organizations are all dedicated to giving exposure to exceptional independent films,” said Mark Elijah Rosenberg, Founder and Artistic Director of Rooftop Films. “”Aardvark” is the perfect film to celebrate this collective goal. Sakurai is a first-time filmmaker with a strong, distinctive vision who has crafted a thriller that transcends genre. Combining a tight plot with a disquieting mood, the film is suffused with a raw emotional power that immerses viewers in the psyche of a fascinating and wholly unique protagonist.”

The event will be held on top of the gorgeously gritty Open Road Rooftop, in the Lower East Side. Before the movie, there will be live music by the film’s composer, Fall On Your Sword. After the screening, we will have a Q&A with Kitao Sakurai, and an after-party with free drinks courtesy of Radeberger Pilsner.

Since July 1996, indieWIRE has been covering the business and art of indie film, becoming a mainstay in the global press and providing a crucial critical voice. Since July 1997, Rooftop Films has been attracting thousands of viewers to unique outdoor screenings of movies that would otherwise go unseen, and supporting independent filmmakers through grants, partnerships, services and education. Since July 2008, SnagFilms has been finding the world’s most compelling documentaries and making them available to audiences world wide for free via the web, allowing other websites to easily “snag” a film and post it elsewhere.

Date: Thursday, July 15, 2010
Venue: On the Open Road Rooftop
Address: 350 Grand St. @ Essex (Lower East Side, Manhattan)
Directions: F/J/M/Z to Essex/Delancey
Rain: In the event of rain the show will be held indoors at the same location
8:00PM: Doors Open
8:30PM: Live Music by Fall On Your Sword (myspace.com/fallonyoursword)
9:00PM: Film
10:30PM: Filmmaker Q&A
11:30PM-1:00AM: After-party: Open Bar at Fontana’s (105 Eldridge St. @ Grand) Courtesy of Radeberger Pilsner
Tickets: $10 at the door or online at www.rooftopfilms.com
Presented in partnership with: indieWIRE, Snag Films, IFC, New York magazine, Radeberger, Open Road NY, Fontana’s, the NYC Council Manhattan Delegation & NYS Senator Daniel L. Squadron


“Aardvark” is the first feature film from the creative partnership of Kitao Sakurai and Andrew Barchilon, who founded the New York based production company Naked Faces.

KITAO SAKURAI (“Aardvark” writer-director)
Kitao Sakurai was born in Kinugasa Japan in 1983, the son of a baroque lute soloist. Growing up in Cleveland Ohio, Sakurai began his career as a child actor (Kevin Smith’s “Dogma”) and short filmmaker, allowing him to participate in numerous international film festivals while still in high school. Dropping out of college at the age of 18 and moving to New York City, Sakurai worked in opera staging and set design before turning his focus to cinematography, which is his primary focus to this day. Most recently as a cinematographer, Sakurai photographed the Gotham Award winning feature “You Wont Miss Me” directed by Ry Russo-Young, which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. “Aardvark” is Sakurai’s debut feature film as writer-director.

The leading news, information, and networking site for independent-minded filmmakers, the industry and moviegoers alike, indieWIRE launched on July 15, 1996 and re-launched with a bold new approach on January 12, 2009. Winner of the Webby Award for best film website, indieWIRE was lauded as a “must read” by Variety, branded the “online heartbeat of the world’s independent film community” by Forbes, and dubbed “best indie crossroads” by film critic Roger Ebert.

Twelve years after launching indieWIRE, company founders sold the company to SnagFilms, the new venture founded by Ted Leonsis and backed by Steve Case and Miles Gilburne. indieWIRE Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder Eugene Hernandez noted in a letter to readers at the time, “We created indieWIRE twelve years ago to fill a gap for filmmakers and the industry. The concept was to create a platform to deliver news, information and other resources. Along the way, indieWIRE emerged as a hub for the community.”

SnagFilms features free ad-supported viewing of more than 1,500 award-winning titles from some of the greatest names in documentary film production and distribution. All films are fully shareable anywhere on the web, and since its launch in July 2008, SnagFilms’ library has been featured on over 2 billion web pageviews, via more than 80,000 web pages, including throughout the AOL channels, and the websites of The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, IMDb, the Miami Herald and Politico, hundreds of non-profits, special interest sites and blogs, and thousands of social network pages. OVGuide has twice named SnagFilms a Top Site and MovieMaker Magazine named SnagFilms to its annual list of “50 Best Websites for Moviemakers.” SnagFilms also includes indieWIRE, for more than 13 years the web’s top source of news, reviews and information about independent film.

The company was founded by digital entrepreneur, documentary film producer, professional sports teams’ owner and philanthropist Ted Leonsis, and is additionally backed by AOL co-founder and Revolution LLC Chairman, Steve Case; philanthropist and former digital executive Jean Case; operating executive and philanthropic venture capitalist Miles Gilburne; a group led by Ted and Jim Pedas, founders of Circle Films; and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

If you’re a filmmaker, producer, or a distributor with documentaries in need of distribution, please reach out to submissions@snagfilms.com

Rooftop Films is a non-profit organization whose mission is to engage and inspire diverse communities by showing movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, teaching filmmaking to young people, and renting low-cost equipment to artists and non-profits. At Rooftop Films, we bring underground movies outdoors.

But Rooftop Films is more than a film festival. We are a community. We are a collective collaboration between filmmakers and festivals, between audience members and artists, between venues and neighborhoods. In addition to our annual festival, we also give away grants to filmmakers whose work we have screened, help produce new films, teach filmmaking and media literacy to New York City public school students, and rent out equipment at low cost to artists and non-profits.


“Aardvark” (Kitao Sukuarai | New York, NY | 90 min.)

“Aardvark” is perhaps the first narrative film to star a man blind since birth. In a role inspired by his own life, Larry Lewis plays a solitary man recovering from alcoholism and working towards stability. When he joins a Jiu Jitsu academy he finds a close friend in his young hard-partying instructor, Darren. But, as disturbing aspects of Darren’s life are revealed, Larry soon finds himself alone and faced with the consequences of a horrific act of violence.

Click here to buy tickets to the event.

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