As you know, for the past 6 years we've been shooting our film, "Battle of Brooklyn," a documentary which chronicles the efforts of local community activists to stop a massive development that threatens to decimate their neighborhood. Our main character, Daniel Goldstein, refused to sell to the developer and now New York State is attempting to seize his home via the power of eminent domain -- a hot button issue that has made headlines across the country. (Dan and his family are not the only ones whose homes is threatened. However, in order to tell the most compelling story the film increasingly focuses on him and his family.).
After she recently viewed a rough cut, Mindy Fullilove, professor of clinical psychiatry and public health at Columbia University, wrote us: I keep reflecting on your movie. It's so superb that you have documented the nitty gritty reality of fighting City Hall so that all of us will know it's possible.
Filmmakers Michael Galinsky, Suki Hawley and David Beilinson continue:
Now we're approaching the end of this incredible story: If the developer doesn't get shovels in the ground by Dec 31, it's unlikely he'll be able to proceed. If he does, Dan, his family, many other owners and renters, and the lareger community outside the project footprint that have come together, will have lost their fight...and their homes. After shooting 300 hours of footage over six years, we have a character driven film that shines a bright light on the world of New York politics, billion dollar real estate, urban renewal, and the power of grass roots community activism.Timing issues
Now we need your help to finish it. Our plan is to pre-sell 1000 copies of the DVD for $25. If we reach our goal of $25,000 by December 1, then we'll get a matching grant which will provide the finishing funds.
The audience is the key to the success of any film - and we're asking you to pre-buy a digital download and signed DVD of "The Battle of Brooklyn" for $25.
Eminent Domain is an issue that matters regardless of your beliefs. One of the reasons that we were so drawn to the story is that we think it's a great way to get people to think more deeply about their own relationship to partisan politics. As with Horns and Halos we know that people will leave the theater with a lot of questions. We think that's a good thing.
They will believe in the power people have to stand up and fight for what they believe in - even when it seems all hope is lost and there's no way that they can win.
Every day we'll be posting a new piece of media from the film. It could be raw footage or a scene. We encourage your feedback and comments as we continue to shape the final cut.
Galinsky tells me, "Our goal at this point is to get the film ready for the Tribeca Film Festival. (The festival begins April 21, with final cuts due in March.)
And while Galinsky says, "I tend to favor films that are shorter--like 90 minutes--but I think this one will clock in at two hours."
Well, with 300 hours to pick from, even a two-hour documentary will have to compress a lot.
I also should point out that, while the producers presume a resolution of Atlantic Yards by December 31, I wouldn't put big money on it. Atlantic Yards is a "never say never" project.