Oct 20: Battle for Brooklyn Makes TV Premiere on DirectTV
Update November 2: Now available On Demand on DirectTV
The Something to Talk About series kicks off this weekend with the premiere of Battle for Brooklyn, Saturday October 20 at 9pm on DirectTVAUDIENCE Network. Check out the schedule for additional airtimes.
Who: Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, Families United for Racial and Economic Equality, Brown Community Development Corporation, BrooklynSpeaks, Fifth Avenue Committee, Brooklyn for Peace, Park Defense Fund Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, Park Slope Neighbors, East Pacific Block Association, Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus, South Portland Block Association, Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, Fort Greene for Peace, Brooklyn Clergy, Elected Officials, Rumur Inc, Tracy Collins and more. > WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 7PM Battle for Brooklyn screening at The Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture 53 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn [Directions] > THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 7PM Candlelight Vigil Join Brooklyn clergy, elected officials and community organizations for a vigil remembering the people and families displaced by the Atlantic Yards project’s use of eminent domain, as well as recognizing those at risk of displacement today. We plan to gather close to the arena entrance at Pacific Bears Community Garden, corner of Flatbush and Pacific. Please follow this link for more information on the exact meeting location. > FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 (arena opening day) 11AM: Press conference @ Barclays Center, in front of the Pacific Bears Community Garden, opposite the arena, at triangle tip where Flatbush and Pacific meet (details to follow).
12PM - 4PM: Popup actions all around the Barclays Center
5PM: Virtual rally—tweet #BarclaysCenter and @AYCrimeScene for housing and jobs now.
8PM: Free outdoor screening of Battle For Brooklyn (battleforbrooklyn.com) @ Dean Playground Ball Field, just half a block from the arena (Dean St. between 6th Ave. and Carlton Ave. MAP) PLEASE NOTE: Should it rain for the Friday, September 28th, 8pm outdoor screening of Battle for Brooklyn the indoor venue is: 669 Atlantic Avenue, Corner of Atlantic and South Portland. [Map]
> SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 4PM Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE) March for Housing, Jobs and Justice This march to Barclays Center concludes FUREE’s 10th Annual Convention @ 80 Willoughby St. 12PM-4PM. March starts at corner of Bridge St. and Willoughby St Join FUREE and local residents for a march through communities under attack from greedy developers and their friends in government.
6-8 PM: Photographer Tracy Collins’ exhibit, ATLANTIC YARDS: DECONSTRUCTED, opening reception at the Soapbox Gallery (636 Dean Street, 1.5 blocks from the arena site, MAP). The exhibit traces the “on the ground” impacts of the development over the past 9 years through photography, video and other media.
As Jay Z Opens the Barclays Center, The Critically-Acclaimed Counter-narrative to the Barclays Hype, “Battle for Brooklyn,” Screens for Free Half a Block Away
“‘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
BROOKLYN, NY — At the 2010 groundbreaking ceremony for the Barclays Center, just one portion of the massive Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, Mayor Bloomberg intoned, “No one’s going remember how long it took. They’re only gonna look and see that it was done.”
Battle for Brooklyn will ensure that, despite the Mayor’s wishful thinking, people won’t forget.
On Sept 28th at 8pm, the Barclays Center opens its doors for the first time for a Jay Z concert. Simultaneously Battle for Brooklyn—the riveting counter-narrative to the intense, multi-million dollar PR campaign developer Forest City Ratner is using to tell a story they and their political supporters want the public and media to believe about their billion dollar arena and all the broken promises they would like to hide—will screen just steps away from the arena.
The critically-acclaimed feature film Battle for Brooklyn—the true story behind the eight-year fight over the Atlantic Yards project—will be screened for free at the ball field at Dean Street Playground just one half block from the arena.
“Our film closely explores the contentious community fight to stop the Atlantic Yards project, and the promises made by the developer and his supporters in New York State and City government. The community’s efforts to have a meaningful say in its future, in the face of top down development and crony capitalism, is a universal story being played out all across the US,” said director Mike Galinsky.
“The developer and the project’s proponents would like this history to disappear down the memory hole. Battle for Brooklyn, this screening and others timed around the arena’s opening plug that hole.”
Battle for Brooklyn, The True Story of How the Soon-to-Open Barclays Center Arena Came to Be, To Screen Across the Nation and in All Five Boroughs
“…Battle for Brooklyn is at its best showing how Atlantic Yards used the pretense of democracy to enrich the powerful, but how it also energized actual citizens to fight the good fight…” — Chris Smith, New York magazine
“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.” — Neil Rosen, NY1
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK — At the 2010 groundbreaking ceremony for the Barclays Center, just one portion of the massive Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, Mayor Bloomberg intoned, “No one’s going remember how long it took. They’re only gonna look and see that it was done.”
Battle for Brooklyn will ensure that, despite the Mayor’s wishful thinking, people won’t forget.
Amidst the growing hoopla and hype of the Brooklyn Barclays Center September 28th opening, Jay-Z concerts and the Brooklyn Nets arrival on the scene, the other story of the eight year fight and controversy that swirled around the arena and the rest of the Atlantic Yards project, the critically-acclaimed, award-winning feature film, Battle for Brooklyn, will premiere at select theaters across the nation and screen in each of New York’s five boroughs (see schedule and link to watch trailer below).
“Our film closely explores the contentious community fight to stop the Atlantic Yards project, and the promises made by the developer and his supporters in New York State and City government. The community’s efforts to have a meaningful say in its future, in the face of top down development and crony capitalism, is a universal story being played out all across the US,” said director Mike Galinsky. “The puffy articles and hoopla are a magician’s trick of misdirection to make the people look away from everything that’s wrong with how this project came to be.”
“The developer and the project’s proponents would like this history to disappear down the memory hole. Battle for Brooklyn and these screenings timed around the arena’s opening plug that hole.”
Battle for Brooklyn is an intensely intimate look at the very public and passionate fight waged by owners and residents facing eminent domain condemnation of their property to make way for the controversial Atlantic Yards project, a massive plan to build 16 skyscrapers and a basketball arena for the New Jersey Nets in the heart of Brooklyn. Shot over seven years and compiled from almost 500 hours of footage, Battle for Brooklyn is an epic tale of how far people will go to fight for what they believe in. This character-driven, vérité film addresses the broader social, economic, and political ramifications of the project through interactions with individuals from all sides of the issue. Featuring filmed speeches by Michael Bloomberg, Architect Frank Gehry, Jay Z, Developer Bruce Ratner, Steve Buscemi, activist Daniel Goldstein and others, Battle for Brooklyn is a riveting primer on the Atlantic Yards project, eminent domain and on grassroots activism that will inspire people to look deeper into the stories that affect their lives.
Sunday nights on ABC2 is the home of Sunday Best, an outstanding collection of game-changing and thought-provoking feature length documentaries. We’ve done the work to bring you the best must-see intelligent docos that are just too good to miss. Hosted by Kristy Best.
Battle For Brooklyn
Battle for Brooklyn follows the story of reluctant activist Daniel Goldstein as he struggles to save his home and community from being demolished to make way for the densest real estate development in US history.
Tim Sika, President of the San Francisco Film Critics Circle, and host of San Jose public radio’s (KSJS) “Celluloid Dreams" program interviewed Battle for Brooklyn director Michael Galinsky. The interview was broadcast on January 16 and runs just over 24 minutes. In the wide-ranging interview Michael and Tim discuss the origins and making of the film, the relevance of the film to the Occupy movement, local (San Jose and Santa Clara) stadium battles, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the meaning of Daniel Goldstein’s resistance to Atlantic Yards and beyond, and more. (Interview is also here, starting at 2:10, ending at 26:36.)
“In some ways “Battle For Brooklyn” resembles Frank Capra’s “It’s A Wonderful Life” but even more so his “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” in its look at a relentless couple who fearlessly keeps fighting City Hall and its powerful allies at the expense of a social life and time to breathe, as the couple awakens a community and galvanizes a fight against a corporate and government structure that puts political roadblocks and legal linguistic contrivances in front of the resident taxpayers at every turn.”—— Omar Moore, SF Indie Movie Examiner
Filmmaker Michael Galinsky and activist Daniel Goldstein talk private property, holding out, and standing ovations.
Killer Movie Reviews via PRX. by Andrea Chase Filmmaker Michael Galinsky used the synchronicity that brought him together with Daniel Goldstein when making BATTLE FOR BROOKLYN, the story of how a private developer invoked Eminent Domain to seize private property, including Goldstein’s. The resulting film has been shortlisted for an Oscar, and at the screening I attended in San Francisco, brought an audience to its feet. When I spoke with them, the conversation covered what it was like for Goldstein to be trapped in an elevator after everyone else had moved out, how a developer can circumvent local authorities, and how the Occupy Movement has helped get the film booked around the country.
'Battle for Brooklyn': It's not just a New York story
TBD Washington, DC. By Andrew Beaujon. (Screens in DC at Artisphere, Jan 13-15) Battle for Brooklyn is a documentary film about the Atlantic Yards project, which attempted to parachute a new neighborhood, including a basketball arena, into downtown Brooklyn. The only problem? There was already a neighborhood there.
So why should we care about it here? You can’t swing a Twitter client in Washington without hitting some nimrod who’ll tell you New York’s got better food, better coffee, and a better arts scene. Now we have to hear about how much more cinematic their civic problems are than ours?
Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley’s film begins with a press conference in 2003 where the famous architect Frank Gehry enthuses about the possibility to “build a whole neighborhood practically from scratch,” demonstrating a hubristic tenor that carries through the movie, as the developer Forest City Ratner steamrolls community opposition groups, city government, the courts, and not least the New York press.
Hawley says this film, which deals with eminent domain abuse, is really a critique of media. Every piece about the project, she says, “followed the same format: You quote the developer, and it was five paragraphs about what the developer was going to do, and then they’d interview Dan for one line.”
"Dan" is Daniel Goldstein, a graphic designer who quickly becomes the heart of the film. His apartment on Pacific Street was in Forest City Ratner’s cross-hairs.
"I’m not much of a patriot, but it is un-American," Goldstein says at the beginning of the film. "Or maybe it is American. You know what? It is American. What [Ratner is] doing seems to be the American way."
"I knew when he said that that this guy was not going anywhere," Galinsky says. He and Hawley live in Clinton Hill, close to the proposed project, and had seen a flier opposing it. Patti Hagan answered the phone number on the flier and suggested Goldstein as an interview subject.
As the film covers the next seven years, Goldstein’s engagement crumbles, his hair turns gray, and he becomes the only tenant in his building. He meets, marries, and has a daughter with another protester, Shabnam Merchant. And he becomes very good at talking to the media.
"You see him throughout the film discovering the talents he didn’t know he had," says Hawley.
"He obsessed about" the project, Galinsky says of Goldstein. "For him it’s an intellectual puzzle and a conundrum."
Posed as neither a left nor a right issue (though George Will does drift into view at one improbable moment), Michael Galinsky’s powerful documentary does the exhaustive, long-haul work of charting the fight between residents and business owners in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights as they oppose the condemnation of their property — oh-so-inconveniently in the way of the proposed Atlantic Yards, a mammoth Frank Gehry-designed development involving a basketball arena for the New Jersey Nets and more than a dozen skyscrapers. The scrappy residents and activists, led in part by graphic designer Daniel Goldstein, face seemingly unbeatable forces: developer Forest City Ratner, which looks to Eminent Domain to seize a community’s land, whether it likes it or not; a complicit and corrupt state and city government; and other members of a diverse, divided community who are clamoring for the jobs that Ratner’s PR machine promises.
BATTLE FOR BROOKLYN, the Story of One Neighborhood's Battle to Fight Big Business from Taking Their Homes, Captures the Attention of Critics and Audiences in the Heat of the Occupy Wall Street Movement
Screening at the Maysles Center in Harlem and Brooklyn Heights Cinema in December
”…The pundits who continue to say they don’t understand what the protesters behind Occupy Wall Street want should look at Battle for Brooklyn, the award-winning documentary about the Atlantic Yards that was released this summer. The film was released before the Wall Street protests began, but the story it tells is a strong summary of the crony capitalism that sparked the OWS movement.” — Michael O’Keeffe, New York Daily News
Brooklyn, NY, November 21, 2011 – Battle for Brooklyn, co-directed by Suki Hawley and Michael Galinsky and produced by David Beilinson, is a documentary about the struggle of one man, Daniel Goldstein, and his community to save their homes from from being demolished to make way for a new basketball arena as part of the largest development plan in New York City history, currently under construction in downtown Brooklyn, NY.
This intimate, rigorous and infuriating investigation of the seven-year long fight between a small neighborhood in Brooklyn and one of the largest real estate developers in the country captures the cultural zeitgeist that has people revolting against big banks in the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Brooklyn filmmakers Hawley and Galinsky present an epic and universal tale of one man under pressure, and how far he will go to save his community and his home from private developers and their allies in government who want to build a basketball arena on top of it. Along the way, he loses a fiancée, falls in love again, gets married, and starts a family. Shot over the course of eight years and compiled from almost 500 hours of footage, Battle for Brooklyn is an intimate look at the very public and passionate fight waged by one Brooklyn community to save their neighborhood from destruction and exploitation by industry giants.
About a month ago we screened our film “Battle for Brooklyn” in Bellingham Washington. After the film I mentioned to people that they could support the film by writing reviews on the NY Times readers review section. At that point we had 12 powerfully positive reviews and a five star rating (based on 84 votes). A couple of days later I checked to see if anyone had written a review. There was a new review, but the site now said that the film had 29 ratings and a 1 star. Obviously something was wrong.
The film was released before the Wall Street protests began, but the story it tells is a strong summary of the crony capitalism that sparked the OWS movement.
Public assets, according to the film, were given away to the wealthy and connected. Eminent domain was used, and abused, to benefit corporate interests. Fawning elected officials — Bloomberg, Schumer, Markowitz, take your pick — parroted the developer’s dubious claims of jobs and affordable housing. Millions of dollars in subsidies were provided for a project that bypassed local review. Competing proposals, which may have been more beneficial to taxpayers and the surrounding community, were ignored or dismissed…
> Seattle Times review: Some wins, some losses in ‘Battle for Brooklyn’ (3 of 4 Stars) "…Hawley and Galinsky, a longtime wife-and-husband documentary team, bring real suspense to the story, culled from many hundreds of hours of footage. Both opposing sides talk about "the soul of Brooklyn"; what’s also clear, from this movie, is a powerful sense of finding home."
> Seattle’s The Stranger review: Battle for Brooklyn presents a complex struggle between those at the top, those in the middle, and those at the bottom. Those at the top (Jay-Z, developers, the mayor) want to transform a section of Brooklyn into a profit-making machine. Those in the middle (mostly white) do not want to be displaced by this development. And those at the bottom (mostly black) have been bought by those at the top to politically promote the displacement of those in the middle. The documentary is fair and engaging from beginning to end. “
The media times are changing. Early on in discussing “Occupy Wall Street,” the media echo chamber repeated the idea that the protesters didn’t have real demands, implying that they were therefore irrelevant. It was the wrong note to hit because the people weren’t buying it. For the most part the comments section on the NY Times (as an example) was fast and furious in expressing outrage at the articles’ tone. The people are no longer buying what the media is selling on this issue.
The thinking, up to now, has been that everything needs to be about organization, fund raising, and clear messaging. “The movement has failed,” the media declared, ignoring the fact the the movement had different goals. However, the message that is coming from the movement is that THE PEOPLE are fed up with these false structures.
I stayed up late last night looking at footage from the occupy wall street protest. For the most part it’s pretty mild stuff. There are very few truncheons swinging. Yet the tone of dismissal and power is overwhelming. There’s a palpable anger among the officers even as the protesters remain non-violent. What’s even more disturbing is that the white shirts (the supervisors) are responsible for the most egregious acts of violence in both the mace video and the one of the orange shirted café worker who is trying to figure out what’s going on.
For the most part the protests have gone un-reported (up until the violence of this weekend). Slowly the media started to pick up on some of the more violent police actions. In reference to uncut footage of a supervisor macing 3 calm women, a police spokesperson claimed that the footage was “doctored”. It’s uncut footage. The supervisor walks up and sprays mace in their faces and walks away. The footage is clear. I take particular offense at these charges because as filmmakers we take great pains to be even handed, yet we get accused of creating “propaganda”. When those who are inside the tent, and used to controlling the message, are confronted with a counter narrative they often get very angry.
Today I went down to a tent on the plaza of the Atlantic Center mall to see Jay Z make a “surprise” announcement that he will do 8 shows at the arena and that the team will be called the Brooklyn Nets. It was a total bread and circus moment. While there are hundreds of people protesting on Wall Street there were hundreds of press people at this press event dutifully reporting the dominant narrative that they were led to. When I pointed this out to press people they didn’t see the irony.
When I first arrived (at the wrong location) I saw Marty Markowitz talking to an ABC news reporter.
I offered Marty a copy of the film. He refused to take it and told me that it was propaganda. I explained that I made the film and asked if he had seen it. “No, but I have had plenty of people tell me that it’s propaganda.” I told him that I took offense at that notion as I had taken great pains to make it even handed. I asked him again if he was sure that he didn’t want a copy. He did not. I didn’t film this exchange because I had no ill intent. I sincerely wanted him to have a chance to view the film. I offered one to the reporter as I had filmed him at the ground breaking. He didn’t want one either. Then Marty yelled at me that they didn’t have to take one. (UPDATE: As I thought about this later I thought it was pretty hypocritical of Mr. Markowitz to accuse me of being a propagandist while organizing a propaganda event)
One week after the Los Angeles City Council approved a new NFL stadium, Battle for Brooklyn opens in Los Angeles as a cautionary tale for Angelenos hearing the same overhyped pie-in-the-sky job and revenue promises we’ve seen broken here in Brooklyn.
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting’s CounterSpin radio program sat down for a discussion about the media’s role in the Atlantic Yards fight with the Battle for Brooklyn filmmakers. Listen below or here. (Interview starts at 12:48)