In last weekend's Daily News sports feature article on Bruce Ratner the developer asserted, "Groundbreaking alone was vindication of sorts. But, of course, the final frosting on the vindication cake will be when we open the doors." (Strenuous rebuttal here.)
So, despite his empty slogan of "Jobs, Housing, and Hoops"--he sold off the Nets and half of the arena (which will be a net loser for the City) to a Russian oligarch, is providing seven jobs for local workers and shown no sign of a single unit of affodable housing or promised public open space, leading to decades of massive surface parking lots—he takes a bow and claims "vindication."
But Mr. Ratner can no longer deny reality or attempt to rewrite history because our community's principled, tenacious, and epic fight, and the way Ratner's arena came to be, has been captured for all history in a new, riveting documentary: Battle for Brooklyn.
After winning Best Documentary and Best Film at the Brooklyn Film Festival last week, Clinton Hill filmmakers Suki Hawley, Mike Galinsky and David Beilinson's eight-year-in-the-making movie is making its theatrical debut this weekend.
The film opens theatrically on June 17th at Cinema Village in Manhattan (22 East 12th Street). Showtimes each day are 1,3,5,7 and 9:15.
>> CLICK HERE For Showtimes and to Purchase Tickets
With this film the developer's narrative can no longer hold, and we urge you to attend a screening this weekend and spread the work to friends, neighbors, family and colleagues.
Why is it so important that you attend a screening this opening weekend of the 17th, 18th or 19th, and why are we exhorting you to spread the word? First off, it is a riveting and remarkable film. It captures the essence of our fight in a compelling, dramatic narrative that will move you, enrage you, and make you laugh and cry. It also has universal appeal.
But also because well-attended screenings on those dates at Cinema Village will ensure that the film gets booked in well over 100 cities around the country.
Why does that matter? Here's why:
There is a scene in the film with Mayor Bloomberg speaking at the arena groundbreaking ceremony, with protestors in earshot outside the powerbrokers' tent. The Mayor says, "Nobody's going to remember how long it took, they're only gonna look and see that it was done."
We know he is wrong. But the success of Battle for Brooklyn will ensure that our story, the community's commitment to the principled fight, will forever be at the forefront of any history of Atlantic Yards. (Even as the struggle continues.)
We urge you to please help make the film the success it rightfully should be, and to reward and support the filmmakers' extraordinary commitment--sticking with the story for eight years because they knew how important it was to tell it on film.
The filmmakers gave eight years of their lives to make this film, and it is a gift to the community. The least we all can do in return is give 93 minutes and the cost of a ticket to attend a screeninng this weekend.
If Battle for Brooklyn screens around the country large, new audiences will learn of and be inspired by the principled and tenacious fight our community waged against the preposterous and destructive Atlantic Yards project, against the sort of government abuses that have become so commonplace across this country that nearly every community is struggling with the issues we've struggled with here in Brooklyn.
The media narrative that the developer paid for (and continues to do so) will be revealed, to a wide audience, as mythology. Audiences will also see, and come to understand, the corrupt actions of Forest City Ratner and its friends in government. We are confident that national audiences will connect with the film; the audiences at the film's two sold-out Hot Docs festival screenings in Toronto loved the movie.
We urge you attend an opening weekend screening and to encourage your sphere of contacts to see the film at Cinema Village on June 17, 18 or 19.
If you can get five to ten people (or more!) to see the film this weekend, it will be a tremendous boost to the film.
Also, if you are a Facebook user, blogger or Twitter-er, please use those methods to alert your networks to the film and its June 17th opening weekend. There is plenty to say about it as you can see from the abundant praise below.
>> More information about the film, including a synopsis, can be found at www.battleforbrooklyn.com.
>> The film's Facebook page is at: http://www.facebook.com/battleforbrooklyn
Battle for Brooklyn has had a great reception in the press, even before it has started its theatrical run. Here's a small sample
"The movie...has heart, soul and chutzpah...Feisty but fairly reported...The time line that drives 'Battle for Brooklyn' makes it as urgent as any Hollywood thriller."
-- Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News
NY Times Critics' Pick
-- Neil Genzlinger, New York Times
"Don't miss Battle For Brooklyn, a terrific film version of the sorry tale of Atlantic Yards, a cautionary tale for all cities."
-- Roberta Gratz, author The Battle For Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs. Mayor Bloomberg 2003 Appointee NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission
"'Battle for Brooklyn' is a riveting flick that shows how real estate developers use sports to seize other people's property and enrich themselves with taxpayer subsidies; it is about how corporate interests enlist their allies in government to get what they want, even if that means lying to the public and screwing people who lack deep pockets and political connections."
-- Michael O'Keeffe, New York Daily News
"If you're a New Yorker, it's a mesmerizing story and for the most part Battle For Brooklyn, provides an engrossing history lesson on this controversial project." (3 out of 4 Apples)
-- Neil Rosen, NY1
"Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley, who co-directed this incisive documentary, have a thing for cranks, die-hards and malcontents. (Their previous movies include Horns and Halos, which charted the wobbly final days of failed Dubya biographer James Hatfield.) So the filmmakers emphasize Daniel Goldstein, a graphic designer who adamantly refused to sell his condo to Forest City Ratner.
The Empire State's eminent domain laws are unusually loose, but most of the rest of this story is pertinent far beyond New York. Change a few names and add the next credit bubble, and a Brooklyn-style Battle could be headed to a neighborhood near you."
-- Mark Jenkins, NPR
"Nothing depicts the borough's backbone with more personality and urgency than "Battle for Brooklyn," the [Brookyn Film Festival's] opening-night selection...Seven years of footage is edited into a crisp, dramatic and narrator-free 93 minutes, focusing on the remarkable story of neighborhood activist Daniel Goldstein, the last resident in a Pacific Street building marked for demolition through eminent domain."
-- Steve Dollar, Wall Street Journal
"...Battle for Brooklyn is a gripping, cinematic story with an epic character arc that condenses seven years into 93 minutes. The film deftly captures infuriating politics and tender personal moments as Goldstein ends one relationship, begins another, gets married and has a child, all while fighting to keep his home."
-- Laura Almo, Documentary.org
"...Perhaps the most insightful film about urban planning and eminent domain to yet emerge, it is also a muckraking portrait of system corruption, of the ways that money causes undue influence within our political system and how the wealthy can muscle their preferred message through the media in increasingly draconian and anti-democratic ways."
-- Brandon Harris, Filmmaker Magazine
"A thoroughly engaging look at the infuriating erosion of individual rights in the interest of corporate concerns and political maneuvering."
-- Basil Tsiokos, Indiewire
"Superb storytelling and great characters…make this a must-see."
-- Susan G. Cole, Now Toronto
"Having observed much of the story in real time, I found Battle most valuable in the camera's witness to the palpable insincerity and cold-blooded indifference of the developer-government alliance. Though Atlantic Yards may not directly evoke the Robert Moses era, when massive numbers of people in New York City were displaced by large public projects, the film shows that the powers today are less blatant but still relentless."
-- Norman Oder, Dissent
"Documentary Battle for Brooklyn exposes the corruption lurking behind the push to oust residents for the Atlantic Yards project in an abuse of eminent domain."
-- Leslie Stonebraker, New York Press
"In Battle for Brooklyn, directors Michael Galinksy and Suki Hawley provide a 21st century addendum to the troubling modern history of eminent domain use. Their film shows, up close and dirty, just how large a role developers play in defining the forms and functions of the urban landscape."
-- Brett Story, Spacing Toronto
"The dedication that Rumur Inc. has shown to documentary filmmaking and to the borough of Brooklyn has been an inspiration to us for more than a decade, and we believe that their latest work is essential viewing for fans of documentary film and for those who care about the future of their communities."
-- Dan Nuxoll, Rooftop Films"
"The documentary is more valuable for its cold-eyed look at how real estate interests work the levers of power in state and city government, dangling the vague promise of job creation in exchange for sweetheart deals that drain the public coffers."
J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader
Filmmakers Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley Interviewed
-- NBC Nightly News with Chuck Scarborough
Filmmaker Mike Galinsky and protagonist Daniel Goldstein Interview
-- ABC's Diana Williams' "Up Close"
The Atlantic Yards Odyssey, On Film
-- L Magazine interview with filmmakers Suki Hawley & Mike Galinsky
Brooklyn's Ongoing Battle
-- The Brooklyn Rail interview by Williams Cole, with filmmakers Hawley and Galinsky