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.
Maysles Center, 343 Lenox Ave., between 127 & 128 streets, New York, NY
Dec 1, 7:30pm: Q&A with filmmakers
Dec 6, 7:30pm: Q&A with Mindy Fullilove and local community
Dec 9, 7:30pm: Q&A with Dan Goldstein
Brooklyn Heights, 70 Henry Street, Brooklyn, NY
Nov 23, 6:00pm
Nov 30, 6:00pm
Indie Screen, 285 Kent Ave at S. 2 Street, Williamsburg Brooklyn
Nov 27, 5:00pm
National and Local Critical Recognition for Battle for Brooklyn
"Battle for Brooklyn" is…a movie for our times.
— Barbara Vancheri, Pittsburgh Post Gazette
"A thoroughly engaging look at the infuriating erosion of individual rights in the interest of corporate concerns and political maneuvering."
— Basil Tsiokos, Indiewire
"And for all the catcalling and flaring tempers, the claims and counterclaims of flyers, conferences, church meetings, and press releases, the film captures a valiant effort to take back ‘the American way’ and make it what it should be. Whatever side you’re on, whatever the outcome when the project is finally complete, it’s inspiring to see Americans put a lie to the suggestion that they are apathetic, self-obsessed, greedy, fat, and stupid. Watching Battle for Brooklyn, my only wish was that I could say the same thing about the politicians who run the place."
— Anne Thompson, Thompson on Hollywood
"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
"The movie proves a deft look at a reluctant crusader and how financial sway and political override can so effectively trump the power of the average citizen."
— Gary Goldstein, The Los Angeles Times
"…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
“‘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
"…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
"The film’s basic situation — local residents and community activists vs. the development schemes of major politicians and big business — is an archetypal element of urban life, one that can be found in almost any city, large or small, from Maine to California. What distinguished kazillionaire developer Bruce Ratner’s plan to remake the center of "America’s fourth-largest city" (to borrow the boosterish phrase of Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz) was primarily its size and audacity, along with the fact that the ensuing battle turned very ugly and inevitably attracted the attention of the national media, much of which is headquartered a few miles away across the East River."
— Andrew O’Hehir, Salon
"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
"…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 powerful movie about an important and little-reflected-upon topic, "Battle For Brooklyn" is a telling snapshot of political maneuvering, and the tossed-around wrecking-ball weight of corporate might as it relates to individual rights. Americans would be wise to heed movies like this one, when politicians talk about corporations being people or citizens, they’re certainly not referring to equal-footing status."
— Brent Simon (President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association), Shockya.com
"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
"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,