My Brooklyn

Jan 162014
 

There are some interesting events coming up this month, including this screening and seminar by the NYU organized by the Students of Color Collective.

There is a free screening on Tuesday, May 8th at the Silver School of Social Work (1 Washington Square N), and a free seminar on gentrification titled “How Well do You Know Your Neighbors?” featuring My Brooklyn director Kelly Anderson, Dr. Lance Freeman from Columbia, Dr. Robert Hawkins from NYU and others.

Come Check it out! RSVP at tinyurl.com/SCC-RSVP-NYU

 

 

Jan 022014
 

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Happy New Year My Brooklyn community,

Great news – My Brooklyn is going to be on TV on Tuesday, January 14th!

The screening is part of the PBS series America ReFramed, curated by the American Documentary team (the producers of POV). America ReFramed brings nonfiction independent films to the airwaves and cable, showcasing films that give viewers a “snapshot of the transforming American life — the guts, the glory, the grit of a new and changing America.”

Most of the screenings are on PBS World channels, but some regular stations, like WGBH in Boston, are showing it on their main channels too. To find out if you have PBS World via broadcast or cable, go to http://worldchannel.org/schedule/localize/ and enter your zipcode. The program you are looking for is America reFramed and the date for My Brooklyn is Jan. 14th, 2014. It’s not as complicated as it sounds, and there are some other amazing documentaries on the series so it’s worth knowing how to find it.

My Brooklyn will also be streaming free from the America ReFramed site for a month (details coming up on that).

Thanks, as always, for all your support. And best wishes for 2014!

Kelly & Allison

Dec 192013
 

Henry Stewart, film critic for The L Magazine, just listed My Brooklyn in his Top Ten list for 2013:

From the review:

“This documentary about the Bloomberg Administration’s redevelopment of Downtown Brooklyn was the smartest explanation of gentrification I’ve ever watched or read, a concise and well-researched breakdown of how government conspires with developers and moneylenders to break and remake the city as they please, regardless of facts on the ground.”

Thanks Henry Stewart and L Mag!

 

 

Dec 052013
 

mybklyn-poster-webfinal There are some screenings coming up we wanted you all to know about.

On Wednesday Dec. 11th The Intentional is partnering with several DC organizations to present My Brooklyn at The Coupe. More info here.

In Boston, on Thursday Dec. 12th the MIT Urban Films series will show My Brooklyn. More info here.

And we are in Moscow and St. Petersburg this weekend, Dec. 7th! Info here and here.

 

Oct 132013
 

Change is in the air in NYC! We have an exciting election coming up in New York City – and it’s been great to hear the themes of My Brooklyn echoing through the campaign rhetoric! We even issued an endorsement in the primary – for Carlos Menchaca, who was running to be the democratic candidate for City Council in Sunset Park/Red Hook. Carlos, who will likely become the first Mexican American and openly gay City Council rep, beat Sara Gonzalez, the council candidate with the most support from the Real Estate lobby’s PAC. We like to think that the film, and all the great work you have done screening it and talking about the issues over the past year, have played some small part in putting issues of inequality and development on the agenda.

In other news, My Brooklyn continues to screen often, to large and smaller crowds. This week we will be at the Architecture and Design Film Festival in New York (Thursday and Saturday, Oct. 17 & 19, at 9:30pm). Kelly will be speaking after each screening and also part of a free panel called “Brooklyn Renaissance for All?” Please come and spread the word.

We are also super excited to be kicking off a section on Brooklyn at the Creative Time Summit. The theme this year is “Art, Place and Dislocation in the 21st Century City,” and the lineup of speakers and projects looks like it will provide an opportunity for some provocative and interesting discussions about art, urbanism, and social change.

Finally, there will be a “Brooklyn Gentrification” boat tour on Saturday, Nov. 2 (1:45pm)! Kelly and Arthur Platt from the AIA (American Association of Architects) will take folks for a ride along the Brooklyn waterfront, shedding light on the impact of development along Brooklyn’s post industrial waterfront from Sunset Park to Greenpoint. Tickets and more info here.

We hope you are having a great fall, and thanks as always for your interest, enthusiasm and action!

Kelly and Allison

Aug 242013
 

mybrooklyn-ourcity-logo-smThis past summer, we made My Brooklyn available for free to anyone in New York City who wanted to host a house party and discuss the politics of urban development. The campaign, dubbed “My Brooklyn, Our City,” was a great success, and is continuing on a national scale in modified form under a sliding scale fee structure. So do check it out and spread the word!

Why did we do this campaign? Once My Brooklyn was released, people were even more eager than we had imagined to delve into the issues the film raises. The demand for community-based screenings throughout New York City began strong and remains steady over a year after our premiere. People commonly share stories with us about how the film is stoking, and transforming, the local conversation about gentrification. My Brooklyn, Our City grew out of a desire to continue this rich discussion, but give people more guidance and more space to reflect on the questions the film confronts.

My Brooklyn, Our City wouldn’t have been possible without our wonderful partners, including Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE), Fifth Avenue Committee, Good Jobs New York, Right to the City Alliance, Pratt Area Community Council (PACC), and National Social and Economic Rights Initiative (NESRI). With their help, we designed MBOC around the house party model, and created a facilitation guide for use by house party hosts.

Out of nearly 50 signups, 32 house parties actually took place. Groups ranged from small and intimate to 200 attendees at one Bed Stuy screening. We asked hosts to provide feedback from each party, and here are a few samples, many of which are also posted on our Facebook page (while you’re there, please “like” us!)

Fifth Avenue Committee, the host of a house party with about 40 attendees at Freddy’s Bar in Brooklyn, reported back:

“The crowd was cantankerous after the screening and there was an abundance of profanity. The movie really does touch a chord. We asked folks to make a commitment to do something to address gentrification, and pledges ranged from running for office, to exposing Real Estate PAC’s, to fighting for affordable housing.”

The host of a house party attended by 14 people in Bed-Stuy, a historically black neighborhood in the heart of Brooklyn, reported:

“We discussed our different understandings of gentrification, all the forces and actors that feed it, and the ways that it harms different folks and communities.” The house party concluded with each individual stating something they each intended to do in the future to address gentrification.”

An unexpected house party venue was the Edge luxury condo in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, itself a poster child for the kinds of luxury development that the film portrays displacing older communities. The party took place in the condo’s own screening room:

“We discussed displacement and redlining, the tragedy of the decimation of so many small, minority-owned and local businesses and livelihoods, and the loss of a communal and public arena well suited to the community as well as speculation and collusion. This is a universal story even though the events are specific to downtown Brooklyn.”

FIERCE, which is building the leadership and power of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth of color in New York City, hosted a house party and connected the issues raised in the film to those faced by their constituents:

“This was a very powerful film and it sparked up a discussion about gentrification in all over New York City. Gentrification not only hurts residents and business owners but also Queer and Trans Youth of Color who frequent the Christopher Street Piers in the West Village by displacing us from our safe space.”

While not every group committed to action, we were excited that many did, and that this “get involved” aspect of the campaign saw some success. We look forward to seeing how communities across the country adapt this campaign to keep pushing the conversation forward!

My Brooklyn continues to screen nationally – most recently at the amazing Esperanza Peace and Justice Center in San Antonio, TX and to a packed audience at the Cape Ann Community Cinema in Gloucester, MA. There are upcoming screenings in NYC at Hunter College’s Roosevelt House and the CUNY Graduate Center, where Kelly will be interviewed after the screening by New York Magazine contributing editor Mark Jacobson. An updated list of sceenings is always available on our website here.

Thanks, as always, for your energy and support.

Best,

Allison & Kelly

Jun 262013
 

This article appeared just hours ago in the New York Daily News, announcing a new night market that will be installed along Grove Pl. in Downtown Brooklyn. The writer describes the alleyway as “dingy,” “forlorn,” and “neglected,” which are perhaps reasonable descriptors if you take Grove Pl. as an isolated alley disembodied from any surroundings. But Grove Pl. sits in the context of the Fulton Mall area, a historically thriving African-American and Caribbean space that has long been maligned by journalists and city officials using similar descriptors. This article thus relates to a wider American discourse associating black spaces with failure, decline, and social pathology. Such seemingly benign media tidbits contain a subtler and more insidious message, though. They suggest that spaces that are suddenly desired by wealthy, privileged people were previously of no value to anyone. While some spaces are definitely abandoned, often times they are simply (and incorrectly) perceived as abandoned, or forgotten, or “forlorn,” because they are unappealing to outsiders. “I wouldn’t go there, so it must not be in use, or of importance to anyone,” is how the logic generally goes. It may well be that Grove Pl. as an isolated stretch of street is indeed empty and forlorn, but its immediate surrounding context is anything but. By itself, this article is harmless enough. But in the context of the carefully constructed public discourse that for decades has been pushing an image of Downtown Brooklyn as a failure, it does just a little bit more to distort the reality–and trumpet the gentrification–of one of New York City’s most interesting and celebrated urban spaces.

Jun 132013
 

mybrooklyn-ourcity-logo-smIntroducing … MY BROOKLYN, OUR CITY!

At every screening of My Brooklyn (more than 100 so far!) people ask us “Now that I’m convinced there’s a problem, what can I do?” After a lot of head scratching, and getting together with some of the best minds in the city on this, we have come up with an answer. It’s called “My Brooklyn: Our City” and there is a role for every single one of you who wants to take part in a campaign to strengthen our communities, build collective power and – in the process — influence the upcoming NYC Mayoral and City Council elections.

My Brooklyn, Our City is cosponsored by FUREE, Right to the City, Good Jobs New York, the Fifth Avenue Committee and the Pratt Area Community Council.

Here’s how it works:

We will make My Brooklyn available FOR FREE to anybody in New York City who wants to host a house party or screening during the month of July. We will provide you with a Facilitator Guide which includes guidelines on hosting an event and strategies for facilitating dialogue after the screening. It will also include clear information, resources and next steps for making improvements around key issues raised by the film (like the need for affordable housing, subsidy reform, anti-displacement measures and making the planning process more transparent and accountable).

In return, you agree to:

  • Host the event
  • Get at least six people from your neighborhood or community to the screening
  • Facilitate a discussion of at least an hour (using the provided facilitator packet) about what your interests and goals are as a group, and how to take a next step towards reaching them. (You can find someone else to facilitate if you aren’t comfortable doing it.)
  • Refrain from copying the DVD or sharing the link with anyone else
  • Let us know how it went, and allow us to share your comments (with or without attribution) on our website and/or Facebook page.

If interested, please fill out the form below and we will be in touch with more details.

My Brooklyn, Our City Signup Form

Please email kelly@mybrooklynmovie.com with any questions.

All the best,

Kelly & Allison

May 272013
 

banner2013On Thursday June 6,  My Brooklyn will open the annual conference of the Planners Network. The screening will take place at Hunter College in Manhattan at 5pm, and will be followed by a panel discussion with Peter Marcuse (Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning at Columbia University), Rob Robinson (Co-Founder, Take Back the Land Movement and Housing Program Volunteer, National Social and Economic Rights Initiative) and My Brooklyn co-creators Kelly Anderson and Allison Lirish Dean. A reception will follow.

The Planners Network is an association of professionals, activists, academics, and students involved in physical, social, economic, and environmental planning in urban and rural areas, who promote fundamental change in our political and economic systems. The conference, entitled “Beyond Resilience:  Actions for a Just Metropolis,” will use My Brooklyn to frame a discussion about how traditional planning principals and developer-driven policies create injustices and discrimination. Tom Angotti, Director of the Hunter College Center for Community Planning and one of the conference organizers, said, “My Brooklyn provides an excellent analysis of gentrification, using personal reflections, historical background and a look at the complex process of public policy making. It is a powerful tool for sparking discussion and debate.”

The screening is open to the public and free of charge (conference registrants get priority seating).

For more information, visit www.justmetropolis.org.