In 1989 in Woody Allen’s film Crimes and Misdemeanors, Cliff Stern (Allen) takes his niece Jenny to the Bleecker Street Cinema, a legendary landmark of Greenwich Village, opened in 1960.
With its foreign and independent film programs, the Bleecker Street Cinema helped inspire future filmmakers and contributed to the cinematic education of film historians, critics and academics.
The theater is today a Duane Reade.
The village has undoubtedly changed over the last decades. Millions of words have been spent about how Bleecker Street became a surrogate of Madison Avenue. Bookstores and cafes have been turned into boutiques and restaurants. Hospitals into condos.
Yet, some things never change.
The village artistic legacy and small-scale architecture still attracts those that seek beauty and a charming place to explore.
Today, Greenwich Village is the neighborhood that every year hosts the highest number of film productions/shootings in New York City. Buses full of movie and TV-series aficionados stop daily at each corner. Some of the most important post-production facilities in the world are based here, as well as film equipment rental houses, some of the most prolific film schools in the States and an infinity of art communities, like Westbeth, call this neighborhood their home.
This close relationship between the village and movies is behind the idea of Greenwich Film Festival.
A few years ago, when I first moved here, I used to stand for hours staring at charming corners, spending each free moment I had thinking about scenes that could take place in these blocks.
A couple of short films that I shot in the village back then, like “Perry St” and “Jack Attack” have been selected by more than hundred film festivals, winning collectively more than forty of them. I am convinced that a great part of the success that these little movies encountered came from having such a beloved neighborhood as backdrop for their stories.
Today I am honored to be part of the group of people that is making G.V.F.F. possible. Among others, people like the father of American avant-garde cinema Jonas Mekas, filmmaker/producer Alessia Gatti, the voice of WestView George Capsis, and film critic Jim Fouratt.
The Greenwich Film Festival celebrates Greenwich Village as a physical place, as one of the most photogenic neighborhoods of New York City. But, more importantly, it celebrates a creative state of mind born in a specific location that gathered like-minded people together to stimulate individual and collaborative artistic expression.
Its mission is to honor and keep alive this sense of community and creative environment by discovering and bringing together new independent artists and their work—to give visibility to new films and new filmmakers and, at the same time, to honor the village cinematic legacy.
The festival will take place in fall, featuring both American and International films. Besides the main program, the festival will include a special section dedicated to iconic films that have been shot in Greenwich Village.
Submission will be open from April through the official website. For more information and inquires: http://www.greenwichvillagefilmfestival.com .