Here’s something to cheer about as the summer approaches. After an absence of several years, Rooftop Films is returning to the Lower East Side this season.
The rooftop of New Design High School was closed while an incredibly lengthy asbestos abatement project took place in the building formerly known as Seward Park High School. But that’s now completed, so the summer film series is adding the venue to its schedule once again this year.
The series kicks off in Brooklyn May 19 (full schedule). You can see the Lower East Side offerings below.
Saturday, May 27: The Genius and the Opera Singer (Vanessa Stockley) | A 92-year-old former opera singer and her volatile daughter have inhabited a rent-controlled Manhattan penthouse for the last fifty-five years – along with their obese chihuahua, Angelina Jolie. An unsettling portrait of a mother-daughter relationship, The Genius and the Opera Singer explores their intense emotional states and the knotted riddle of their past.
Saturday, June 3: Dark Toons: Animated Short Films | These toons are chocked full of furry animals and imaginative creatures but they are not for Sunday morning. The twisted and perverse landscapes of our annual Dark Toons program provide a unique backdrop for stories of life askew. From a true story of forced labor at communist-era prison that kept megastores in the West fully-stocked to a beautifully-animated and probably-alcoholic badger which has a run-in with the law and a woman who can’t stop growing fingers, these tales remind us that animation is the ideal medium to glimpse the darker side of life.
Friday, June 9: New York Nonfiction | You see them every day. They’re on the train with you. They’re in your bodega. They’re your neighbors. But after this program of short films, we guarantee you’ll see them in a new light. Ours is a city full of record-holding record holders, spousal adoptions, trash havens, civil rights pioneers, lapsed goth kids, sexting teens, rambles full of leathermen, and unending change; and we like it that way… for the most part.
Saturday, June 17: Mr. Roosevelt (Noël Wells) | Emily Martin (Noël Wells) is a struggling 20-something who moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in comedy after graduating college in Austin, Texas. When a loved one falls sick, she returns to Austin and runs into her ex-boyfriend, as well as his amazing and intimidating new girlfriend. Low on funds and stuck in Texas for the weekend, Emily stays with the two of them in her old, but miraculously remodeled house. She quickly finds her way into the circle of a local female badass who shows Emily a good time and tries to keep her from spinning out as she goes toe-to-toe with the new girlfriend, all the ways her ex has changed, and ultimately, her own choices and guilt about leaving the past behind.
Friday, June 30: Brigsby Bear (Dave McCary) | After 25 years of secluded existence with his protective parents in their isolated, off-the-grid home, James (Kyle Mooney) is tossed out into a new life in relatively daunting Cedar Hills, Utah. As his world upends, the most shocking revelation to James is that he’s the only person who has ever watched his favorite television program, Brigsby Bear Adventures. Struggling to adjust to the show’s abrupt end, he begins to see Brigsby’s lessons as his only way to make sense of a big, scary new world, and James decides to make a movie to end Brigsby’s story—and re-begin his own.
Friday, July 7: Whose Streets? (Sabaah Folayan, Damon Davis) | Told by the activists and leaders who live and breathe this movement for justice, Whose Streets? is an unflinching look at the Ferguson uprising. When unarmed teenager Michael Brown is killed by police and left lying in the street for hours, it marks a breaking point for the residents of St. Louis, Missouri. Grief, long-standing racial tensions and renewed anger bring residents together to hold vigil and protest this latest tragedy. Empowered parents, artists, and teachers from around the country come together as freedom fighters. As the National Guard descends on Ferguson with military grade weaponry, these young community members become the torchbearers of a new resistance.