Arts Watch: Rooftop Films Kicks Off Summer Season This Weekend

Frances Ha  Courtesy Rooftop Films

Frances Ha

Our favorite outdoor movies series, Rooftop Films, kicks off its 17th summer season this weekend right here on the LES with two signature programs: This is What We Mean by Short Films, and a sneak peek at writer and director Noah Baumbach’s feature, Frances Ha.  

Opening night’s This is What We Mean by Short Films features a line up that according to Rooftop, are “grand stories in little packages with some of the greatest new short films from all around the world.” Shorts to watch out for include Azul, about a small group of cruise-ship revelers who find themselves alone on a mysterious tropical island, and the documentary, Slomo, about “life-shifting, philosophy, and slow-motion rollerblading.”

On Saturday, Rooftop switches gears to present Noah Baumbach’s latest feature film, the neurotic coming-of-age tale Frances Ha. Set in a black & white New York City and starring co-writer Greta Gerwig in the title role.

The other star of the evening is the setting. The LES boasts one of the grandest rooftop locations for any film series — Open Road Rooftop, the one time “playground” of the former Seward Park High School. The building now houses several small charter schools, including Rooftop’s partner in design, New Design High School. If you haven’t made the trek up to the roof—sorry, no elevator to the 5th floor— it is well worth the climb.  Not only for the films, but for the dozens of amazing graffiti murals that line the walls—created in partnership with New Design students and street artist legends. This, plus the dazzling sunsets, makes this a truly unforgettable place to watch films.

The off-beat duo, Denitia and Sense, provide the pre-show music on Friday. On Saturday, Baumbach and Gerwig will be in attendance for a Q and A following the screening. (Saturday’s music is tbd as of this post). In keeping with the Rooftop tradition, there is an after party where you can mingle with  filmmakers and your fellow film buffs at Fontanta’s.

Rooftop Films / Opening Weekend, Friday, May 10 & Saturday, May 11 / Open Road Rooftop, 350 Grand Street/ Doors open 8:00pm, Live Music 8:30pm, Films begin 9:00pm, After Party 11:30pm / $13 / Rain or Shine.