TAKE THE L: CoLAB Preview In the Park
Short Docs Lost on NYC Transit
We are beyond excited to share a sneak peek of short documentaries made by artists in the 2019 UnionDocs Collaborative Studio at our annual “Preview in the Park.” Join us under open skies, down by the riverside and with the expanse of the Williamsburg Bridge as a backdrop, to experience a new collaborative project, cheekily called TAKE THE L.
Frustrations are peaking with the aging infrastructure that we rely on everyday. As systems lag and wait times climb, as climate change threatens further damage and forces decisive action, as corporate interests move to privatize transit and open lanes exclusive to the elite, it is obvious that major public investments are urgently required to preserve and improve. In the great rebuild to come, who will be asked to sacrifice and what priorities will be privileged? Will there be winners and losers? Or will we all gain?
The short documentaries in this program were developed by ten film and audio makers over ten months in response to this shared context. Starting in the throes of an impending shutdown, and now amidst an epic slowdown, the L train drama offered a jumping off point for the artists in this year’s UnionDocs Collaborative Studio to seek important stories, hidden poetics, and critical experiences.The works they produced challenge us to recognize fragilities, gaps and cracking within the dizzied and constant churn of civic circulation; to see transit as both a race to get ahead and a coordinated movement in unison, an expression of personal rhythms, routines and rituals as well as of social patterns of neglect and injustice; to notice the psychological and spiritual labor of public service and those who can be lost in the shuffle; to ask how intimate underground space acts on the subconscious and if we can rebuild from ruin to find connections.
Free and open to the public, we’ll be set up at Domino Park all evening with freshly popped popcorn and new short docs that are sure to move you. The screening will start at sundown and we’ll host a celebratory party at UnionDocs to follow from midnight ‘til late. Ricky will be DJing and spinning from 12:30-2:30 for late night dancing. Our backyard will be open and we’ll have drinks on hand to keep the party going.TAKE THE L: Short Docs Lost on NYC Trans
Hope You See This
Written, Produced and Directed by: Benjamin Stillerman and Rachel Winton
Edited by Lindsey Phillips
Based off of the occurrences on the NYC subway that lead to ‘missed connections’ postings on Craigslist, Hope You See This is an immersive audio piece that interrogates common fantasies and narratives around chance-romance, desire in public space, and happy endings.
By Way of Canarsie
Lesley Steele Director, Director of Photographer, Editor
Emily Packer Director, Director of Photographer, Editor
Shirin Ghaffary Producer
After years of neglect by the City of New York and the devastation of Hurricane Sandy – the coastal community of Canarsie, Brooklyn wants more. This film explores Canarsie’s unique relationship to the water through recreation, resiliency, and the community’s imagination for the future.
Lost and Found
Vicente Cueto, Director
Benjamin Stillerman, Editor
Emma Yi, Cinematographer
Rachel Winton, Art Director
Audio Producer, Elyse Blennerhassett
As New Yorkers rush through the subway tunnels, hundreds of items are lost every day. Sonny Drayton, lost item expert, guides us with a mix of humor and poetic reflections through the process of recovering objects from the MTA’s Lost Property Unit. Through the stories of loss that these objects reveal, Lost and Found (working title) questions the value we place on the artifacts of our lives, big and small, cherished and dismissed, tangible and existential.
Spiritual First Aid
Jordan Elizabeth Vesey, Director and Principal Director of Photography
Vicente Cueto, Senior Producer and Assistant Camera
Emily Packer, Editor and Story Producer
‘Spiritual First Aid’ [working title] is a cinematic portrait of loss, faith, and the ways we seek guidance in times of death. It follows the stories of the MTA Work Life Services and The Office of the Chaplains’, a group of interfaith volunteers for the MTA that serve as First Responders to traumatic subway and bus accidents. These Chaplains, together with the help of a forensic psychologist from Work Life Services, help Train Operators, Conductors and Bus Operators process what they see when a subway or bus rider turns their train or bus into a means for suicide.
Rhythm's Gonna Get Ya
Lindsey Phillips, Director, Director of Photography, Additional Editor, Additional Sound Designer
Shirin Ghaffrey, Producer, Director, Assistant Camera
Jordan Elizabeth Vesey, Editor
Elyse Blennerhassett, Sound Designer and Audio Recording
We each have routines, habits, and techniques that help us most efficiently and pleasantly navigate our daily commute(s). This hybrid documentary is a performance of recreated scenes that capture the lifestyle of New York subways riders and how they respond to commuting obstacles.
Emma Yi, Director
Lesley Steele, Editor
Crystal Wong, Cinematographer
‘Imagined Ruins’ is an experimental short film that dives into the psychological and ritualistic experience of transit and commute in New York City’s subway canal. The film incorporates various perspectives of the subway experience and transcends the traditions of non-fiction and the physicality of the subway space.