My Toxic Backyard

My Toxic BackyardKatie Damien, 2013, 60 min

Friday 9/19
Program I starts: 8:00pm

*Winner: Best Documentary Feature

Greenpoint Film Festival 2014 Buy Tickets

My Toxic Backyard chronicles one rural community’s struggle to get clean, safe water. When an old manufacturing plant closes and moves away, it leaves behind contamination from chemicals dumped directly onto the ground. Over the years, the toxic chemicals began to leak into the water table. Residents in the area drank high levels of contaminated water for years, not knowing what was making them sick.

Even after community members alerted the Environmental Protection Agency, the site was not deemed a threat and toxins continued to leak unchecked for years. When the site finally became designed a Superfund site and was ranked among the worst contaminated sites in the nation, the community expected a cleanup and safe water, but instead the site seemed to enter a perpetual state of tests and evaluation with little, to no action.

Unfortunately the problems of this community are not isolated. One out of every four Americans lives with in a four mile radius of a Superfund site. Do you know what’s in your water? Your air? In the ground around you? The struggles that this community is facing are just the examples being presented in a system that has failed them for decades.

Trailer
Film website
Director’s website

The Restoration of Newtown Creek

The Restoration of Newtown CreekKeith Rodan, 1998, 16 min

Friday 9/19
Program I starts: 8:00pm

Greenpoint Film Festival 2014 Buy Tickets

Keith Rodan, a documentary filmmaker and resident of Greenpoint for many years began the Greenpoint Video Project in 1997 when Greenpoint was at a crossroads, looking at its environmentally toxic past, aiming for a healthier future.   The Waterfront Development Plan was on the table, opening the doors to years-long issues (and future dreams):  The Newtown Creek Water Treatment Plant upgrade,  Newtown Creek water contamination and its possible restoration towards active usage, the ExxonMobil Oil Spill -to mention but a few of the topics of interest.   The voices of long-term residents as well as new residents rang loud, the meeting halls were packed.   Keith describes in his own words: “As narrated by John C. Muir, then Director of BCUE, the former Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment. The Restoration of Newtown Creek is a wake-up call to reexamine the neglected tidal estuary along Greenpoint’s northern border. Mr. Muir offers a history of the area, as well as a comparison with South Brooklyn’s similarly fated Gowanus Canal explaining the changing geography and waterways of the creek as industrial pollution accumulated throughout the years. The video blends striking images of waterways with images of remnant derelict canalside industries, capturing a glimpse of what was and, perhaps in a collaborative effort between man and nature, could one day become a cleaned-up and revitalized Newtown Creek.” -Keith Rodan

Article detailing the Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment
Article chronicling the Gowanus Canal discussed in the film

Greentank

GreentankKeith Rodan, 2000, 18 min

Friday 9/19
Program I starts: 8:00pm

Greenpoint Film Festival 2014 Buy Tickets

“Documenting an adaptive reuse proposal for the Newtown Creek Water Treatment Control Plant’s Greenpoint sludge storage facility, Greentank depicts the mission of architect Meta Brunzema, who envisioned converting the structure into an imaginative and much-needed community arts and recreation facility, with scientific waterfront views from its roof. Through a community outreach event, Ms. Brunzema engaged local citizens to tour the tank.
Although the proposal was endorsed by many North Brooklyn community organizations and individuals—as well as the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, which commissioned a feasibility study—the short-sightedness of the Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee (NCMC) prevailed, and due to its strenuous opposition to the concept, the obsolete tank was finally demolished in the spring of this year, having been “traded” to the developers for a lot-sized park.”  -Keith Rodan

Article in Greenpointers about the recent demolition of the Sludge Tank

North Brooklyn Boat Club Presents

North Brooklyn Boat ClubCurated by Dewey Thompson & Jens Rasmussen

Friday 9/19
Program I starts: 8:00pm

Greenpoint Film Festival 2014 Buy Tickets

“The North Brooklyn Boat Club is dedicated to getting people on the amazing waterways that virtually surround this neighborhood but it has also become a community of paddlers, environmentalists, artists, cooks, craftspeople… and filmmakers.  The waterways are, among many other things, a force of nature, a wilderness, a danger zone, a refuge, a time machine and a metaphor.  Like Ishmael, storytellers have always been drawn to the water and the NBBC (at the Broadway Stages Boatyard at the base of the Pulaski Bridge) is where they (and you, too) can get access to the training, boats and gear necessary to experience it firsthand.   Each of these films sees the waterways from a different perspective.  We look forward to seeing yours. ” –D. Thompson

North Brooklyn Boat Club, Wilderness Survival Skills, Lisette & Ryan Cheresson, 2014, 4 mins
English Kills Project II,  Henry Sanchez, 2014, 8 mins
The Rebuild (trailer for a short film), Okke Rutte, 2014, 2 mins
Bird’s Eye View of No Man’s Land,  Robert Di Maio,  2014, 5 mins