On June 3rd, 2011, the Brooklyn Film Festival presented the United States Premiere of "Battle For Brooklyn" as its opening night film. This screening - called "the perfect combination of movie and event" by the NY Daily News - took place at the Brooklyn Heights Cinema, and was followed by an Opening Night Party at the powerHouse Arena in Dumbo.
"Battle For Brooklyn" is a feature-length documentary directed by Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley which tells the story of the controversial Atlantic Yards development site in Brooklyn. Over the course of seven years, it follows Daniel Goldstein, a neighborhood resident whose life is radically transformed by the threat of losing his home to eminent domain. While struggling to keep his property from being seized by private developers, Daniel helps organize his community to fight back against the developers plans, working with the group Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn. This "amazing grassroots movement," according to the NY Daily News, "came closer than our leaders dare admit to stopping Atlantic Yards."
As the Director of Programming for the Brooklyn Film Festival and as a documentary photographer living in Brooklyn, I've had the privilege of getting to know many of the Brooklynites who battled against the Atlantic Yards. "Battle For Brooklyn," however, is a film that all residents of Brooklyn should be proud of, as it fairly presents the opposing sides of the issue and captures the passion that Brooklynites have for their borough, no matter where they stand on the Atlantic Yards.
The US Premiere of "Battle For Brooklyn" was covered in the NY Post as one of the "Best of B'klyn Fest" films, and in L Magazine in an article about "The Atlantic Yards Odyssey." Additionally, the NY Daily News wrote three articles about the film's premiere at the Brooklyn Film Festival, saying of the screening "the timing couldn't be more perfect" and "it would be hard to find a better movie to open this year's Brooklyn Film Festival than "Battle for Brooklyn." The film went on to win both Best Documentary and the grand prize for best film at the Brooklyn Film Festival.
On June 17th, "Battle For Brooklyn" opened in theaters, with excellent reviews from many sources - it was a New York Times Critics' Pick, and received 4 stars from Time Out New York and the New York Daily News. In their review of the film, NPR wrote "this story is pertinent far beyond New York." On November 18th, 2011, "Battle For Brooklyn" was among the 15 documentary films shortlisted for an Oscar from the 84th Academy Awards.
For more information on the film, please visit battleforbrooklyn.com. For more information on the Atlantic Yards - and on some of the Brookly residents who have fought against it - please visit Norman Oder's Atlantic Yards Report, Lumi Michelle Rolly's No Land Grab and the website of photographer Tracy Collins, who has been documenting the Atlantic Yards project since its inception. Also, several other films have captured aspects of the Atlantic Yards story, including Vicente Ortega's documentary "Freddy's" - which had its World Premiere at the 2010 Brooklyn Film Festival, the Meerkat Media Collective's short documentary "Brooklyn Boondoggle" (2009), "Stadium Status" (2010) by the Internets Celebrities, and "Brooklyn Matters" (2007) by Isabel Hill. In addition, in 2007 several photo essays were published on this website exploring inside the tunnels underneath the Atlantic Yards development site.