Film Builds Neighborhoods -- Or Is It The Other Way Around?

New York City’s First Neighborhood Filmmaking Challenge Premieres Inaugural Screening This Month

by Rachel Farnham

In the wake of Sandy, a lot of us have had to rely on neighbors and reach out to the strangers across the hall for the first time. We've experienced or read about such amazing stories of positive community collaboration in our city. On My Block Films understands the importance of community and focuses on building stronger micro-neighborhoods through collaborative filmmaking and storytelling. 

OMB films is a filmmaking challenge founded by filmmaker Ryan O’Hara Theisen and executive producer Mary Crosse, kicked off earlier this year, calling participants to cast and crew only people and locations off their personal block to create a 5 minute short film. Time has come for the first screening of 16 films selected and handcrafted by citizens registered through all 5 boroughs.

For the many New Yorkers who are hard at work rebuilding their communities, here’s a chance to get out as our subway trains come back to life, and listen to both the behind-the-scenes and amazing bonding stories each film has brought to each block, as we head towards a newer year.

From 7:00 pm onwards, guests will enjoy beer and wine, a theater-themed concessions menu and the main event, the screening and awards. Located in DUMBO, Brooklyn, WHITE WAVE John Ryan Theater will have a large screen set up for an optimal viewing experience of the films.

Date:                      Wednesday, November 14
Time:                     7:00 pm Open Reception
                            7:45 pm Screening and Awards presentation

WHITE WAVE John Ryan Theater
25 Jay Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Seating is limited, discount tickets and info can be found at or at the door for $9. The top films will be screened November 14. Awards will be presented for Best Narrative Film, Best Documentary Film and Best In Show.

On My Block aims to create an opportunity for neighbors to meet each other, work together and develop trusting relationships through the collaborative filmmaking process. At its heart, the challenge serves as an opportunity for neighbors to get to know one another better through the collaborative process of filmmaking. The finished films will live on past the festival end date as a source of community pride, and as a living map of the world’s most creative city.

Rachel Farnham is the Press Director at On My Block Films. With non-profit, agency, international and luxury public relations roles, Rachel's dynamic background lends itself to projects like On My Block Films where she brings energized awareness to audiences while maintaining a personalized focus. Rachel lives in New York.

"How Would You Really Enjoy Spending Your Life?"

"If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You will go on doing things you like doing in order to go on living; that is to go on doing things that you don't like doing -- which is STUPID.  Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing, that a long life spent in a miserable way."

Thank you Alan Watts.  Hat tip to Joseph White.


How is this for a policy?

In the event that an employee does not have sufficient time outside of working hours to vote in a state or nationwide election, the employee may take off enough working time to enable him or her to vote. Such time off shall be taken at the beginning or the end of the regular working shift, whichever allows for more free time, and the time taken off shall be combined with the voting time available outside of working hours. Under these circumstances an employee will be allowed a maximum of two (2) hours on the election day without loss of pay. Deductions will not be made from the salary of an exempt employee for time taken off for voting. Where possible, the employee shall give his or her manager at least two (2) days notice that time off to vote is needed.

Of course it is hard to do with call times and film shoots, but...

Let's Convert All Rooftop Parking Garages Into Drive-In Movie Theaters

The La Times reported:
A new drive-in movie theater is opening atop downtown Los Angeles.

On Oct. 28, Electric Dusk Drive-In will debut on the rooftop of a parking garage at the corner of 4th Street and Broadway.

The drive-in will project a wide selection of classic films, cult favorites and contemporary blockbusters on a 24 foot by 18 foot screen, complete with carhops taking orders from a snack bar.

Ah, imagine a world where each city had more than one such drive-in. Now I have never been a smoker, but I do remember with some fondness when different pleasures had more options to mix with cinematic projection. Somehow I don't think SLAPSHOT or THE KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE would have been so enjoyable if I hadn't seen them at the drive-in as a teenager.

Read the full article here.

Animation Is Inexpensive, at least right NOW.

This won't be the only time I don't know what I am blogging about.

Still though, this looked like something some of you would want to know about.  Chip Roughton of Rough Pictures wrote in and hipped me to this deal.  For what I can tell it looks like an opportunity to get a $500 studio level animation software set up for $10.00.   My quick scan for reviews also makes it look like a good deal.  So if enough people sign up, you can get Messiah 2.o for $10.

Regardless, I found this a good idea on how to get notice and traction for something. Who doesn't like the idea of buying something for 2% of the list price? It will encourage others to spread it.

And let us know, is this good animation software? Is it good value at $10? Is it still good value at $500?

Where Do Good Ideas Come From?

I have linked to Steven Johnson before. I find how his observation that "chance favors the connected" all that I need to justify the energy I spend trying to unite our indie film community. I still haven't read his book yet, but luckily I do have his lectures.

I love how the environment suggested for good idea generation is chaotic. I long had a piece of calligraphy in my office with the symbols of chaos and creativity. Further his dominant "slow hunch" process helps me from getting too restless about how long it is taking to get us out of the current swamp. I may have to read the book -- if I can find the time that is.

Free Gift! Great New Translator App

Happy Holidays.  If you aren't in the millions that have already heard of this, add WordLens to the list of must-have apps (InstaPaper still being my fave).  No longer worry when they hand you the foreign language menu...

12/27 Update:  Okay, I was wrong.  The presentation only made it look free. It costs $4.95.  I agree with all the comments that this is deceptive and they should offer a true initial platform gratis and then have the add-ons cost.  I bummed.  Kind of like the toy that looks really great but breaks right off the bat.  Dang.


Dowload it for your iPhone here.

What To Be Thankful For: 10 Good Things About Health Care Reform

Gotta like this list.  Universal health care has always been a good idea, just like equal opportunity and justice for all.  You have to be thankful that we made some progress this year. 1. Insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime coverage limits on your insurance. Never again will you face the risk of getting really sick and then, a few months in, having your insurer tell you "sorry, you've 'run out' of coverage." Almost everyone I've met knows someone who had insurance but got really, really sick (or had a kid get really sick) and ran into a lifetime cap.

Read the full list on the link above.

Student Microloans

The LA Times recently ran this story on Vittana

"a nonprofit tapping the microcredit market to fund loans for low-income college students in developing nations — a need that has been largely unmet by traditional banks.

Vittana, named after a Telugu word for "seed," pools funds from Internet users all over the world and then partners with local microfinance banks in countries such as Nicaragua and Vietnam to provide loans to students when typical banks won't.

Vittana is started by 27-year-old Southern California native Kushal Chakrabarti.  They are "building a world where everyone can go to college".