This year’s Rooftop Films—an ode to film and the New York skyline in its 14th year—kicked off with “This is Short Film,” a compilation of short films at New Design High School in the Lower East Side. Culled from over 3,000 submissions, the shorts were played after a set from Twin Sister, whose garage-band style, low-fi sounds under rainbow lights brought a glimpse of laid-back summer evenings.
The set list included “Drunk History: Tesla and Edison,” the latest from the YouTube hit serial where a drunk storyteller recounts an historical event without the aid of sobriety. In “Tesla and Edison,” Nikolai (played by John C. Reily with questionable wigs) discovers alternating current much to the consternation of Crispin Glover’s Thomas Edison.
“Star Wars: Retold (by someone who hasn’t seen it)” takes a similarly punch drunk approach to history. The filmmaker Joe Nicolosi asked his friend Amanda to retell the original Star Wars trilogy based on her spotty exposure to the franchise. Another short short, “Git Gob,” follows a brief animated conversation between two alien blob-like bear creatures about hats.
Other films included “Voice On The Line,” a film directed by Kelly Sears, and selected for the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, that uses archival footage to recreate soviet-era horror. “Logorama“‘s condemnation of corporate culture figures Ronald McDonald as a hitman up against Michelin Men cops. The film won the Academy Award this year for Best Animated Short.
The second show of the season debuted with great aplomb. “Holy Rollers” is the Indie drama about Hasidic Jewish drug dealers, with cult fave Jesse Eisenberg adding star power.
Upcoming on 21 May 2010, Romantic Shorts “Hopelessly Devoted” will highlight the best of the oft-cliche’d niche with fresh perspective. The films include “Obvious Child,” an unconventional love story with Jenny Slate of newfound SNL fame. The center of the evening will be new Spike Jonz robot short “I’m Here,” in addition to seven other films redefining romance.
The following Saturday, 22 May 2010, “Engkwentro” recounts and exposes government-sponsored murders and kidnappings in this debut documentary.
Other notable screenings include Floodtide, the documentary about artist Swoon and friends’ ramshackle sailing trip down the Hudson river on 7 July 2010 at Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, and the famed Animation Block Party on 30 July 2010 at Automotive High School in Williamsburg.
Venues range across Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, as well as the Hot Docs documentary film festival in Toronto. All shows are $10 in advance or at the door and include a live music pre-show as well as free drinks following the screening. View the full schedule from their site. The summer season of Rooftop Films runs through 20 September 2010.