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New York City Wants Its Own Citizens to Pick Their Favorite NYC-Centric Film, From ‘Crooklyn’ to ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’

The "One Film, One New York" initiative wants to bring New Yorkers together to celebrate the films they love.

“Desperately Seeking Susan”

What is the quintessential New York City film? The city’s own Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment is eager to know, and has launched a new citywide campaign — in tandem with the New York Times — to “unite New Yorkers around one great film.” The initiative, known as “One Film, One New York” is inspired by the success of its recent “One Book, One New York” campaign, which asked citizens to pick a favorite book to then “read together” as a city.

“We are thrilled to be launching this program to unite New Yorkers around one film, and provide the opportunity for all New Yorkers to watch it for free on the same night,” said Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin in an official statement. “Film has the power to bring people together and to spark a civic conversation. These five films all raise important themes in their respective genres, and they all celebrate New York in creative and memorable ways.”

New York Times film critics A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis have selected five noteworthy New York films for New Yorkers to vote on during the month of August. The winning movie will be announced the first week of September, and then be screened for free in all five boroughs on September 13.

Each of the five nominees were all shot on the streets of New York, and reflect “the unique, diverse sounds, and musical traditions of The Big Apple.” Per today’s announcement, “the aim is to give every New Yorker access to a night out at the movies, and to support these vital cultural institutions.” The nominees are:

“Crooklyn,” directed by Spike Lee (1994)
“On the Town,” directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen (1949)
“New York, New York,” directed by Martin Scorsese (1977)
“Desperately Seeking Susan,” directed by Susan Seidelman (1985)
“The Wedding Banquet,” directed by Ang Lee (1993)

“New York and movies are two of the things I love most, and I’m not sure it’s possible to love one without the other,” said New York Times chief film critic A. O. Scott. “Since the very beginning of motion pictures, New York has presented many faces to the camera. It’s glamorous and gritty, tough and magical, an inexhaustible landscape of skyscrapers and tenements, bridges and tunnels, rooftops and sidewalks…Even though, as New Yorkers, we like to argue, maybe we can all come together and agree on a movie–one that reflects who we are or who we dream of being, one that finds the true music of the city amidst the noise and chatter.”

“New York is a great movie city – its theaters were my first film school – so I was delighted to be a part of One Film/One New York,” added Times film critic Manohla Dargis. “I’m especially thrilled that New Yorkers will be able to see the winning movie on the big screen, where it belongs.”

Instructions on how to vote are now available right here, plus more information on the event.

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