By Richard Eric Weigle
Millions of people from around the world have heard about Greenwich Village. They have seen it in movies and tv shows, read about it in stories by O’Henry, Jack Kerouac, and Henry James, and in poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay, e.e. cummings, Allen Ginsberg, T.S. Eliot and many more. Some know it as one of the most famous gay neighborhoods of the 1960s and 70’s with its Stonewall Bar considered to be where the Gay Civil Rights movement started. Others have seen photos of Bob Dylan, Peter Paul and Mary, Richie Havens and countless other musicians performing in Washington Square Park or walking along its picturesque and quaint tree-lined streets. For others, dreams of living in Greenwich Village have been replaced by all the gentrification with its rising rents and high real estate prices. The days of struggling artists, dancers or actors being able to afford a tiny studio apartment, are sadly long gone.
Because of all these changes, there are those, myself included, who are trying to ensure that Greenwich Village will always be a center of culture in New York City providing a safe haven for Bohemians, individualists and free thinkers, continuing to be one of the most tolerant, welcoming and liberal places in America.
Seven years ago two filmmakers from Italy who had recently moved here, Alessia Gatti and Antonio Padovan started The Greenwich Village Film Festival. Having lived in Greenwich Village for over 40 years and also working in film, I was shocked and a little miffed that I had never thought of the idea myself. So my husband, Michael Anastasio, who is also a film producer and our director friend, the late Rick McKay, and I submitted a short film entitled Greenwich Village: A World Apart to the festival. To our great delight, we won. The festival was only one night at The Players Theater on McDougal St., and I decided at that moment that we could get local restaurants and block Associations to get involved and help the founders take the festival to the next level. So thanks to restaurants such as The Little Owl, Via Carota, I Sodi, Buvette, Oscars, Emmett’s and organizations such as The Grove Street Block Association, The Bedford Barrow Commerce Block Association and The Cherry Lane Theater, and with a grant from The City of New York, the festival, now in its 7th Year, is three nights and has films submitted from all over the world.
This year we are proud to announce that the festival will be held at the iconic Quad Cinema at 34 W.13th St. on November 9, 10 and 11th from 7-9:30pm. We accept and screen only short films that are 20 minutes or less, in four categories, Short Narrative Films, Documentaries, Animated Films and Greenwich Village Portraits. Any night you choose to attend, you will see a variety of wonderful films from talented filmmakers representing countries around the globe. Please support The Greenwich Village Film Festival and help keep this historic neighborhood a center for arts and culture while enjoyng some great films at the same time.
Tickets will go on sale at the end of the month at https://www.greenwichvillagefilmfestival.com and are only $15. Hope to see you there.