As we gear up for the 10th anniversary Oxford Film Festival, we wanted to introduce you to the filmmakers and their films you will experience on Feb. 21-24, 2013. Meet Kelly Anderson, director of "My Brooklyn."
#1: In 140 characters or less, describe your movie and why someone should see it.
My Brooklyn explores the makeover of Brooklyn’s hippest strip, the Fulton Mall, exposing the hidden forces behind seemingly “normal” change.
#2: Biggest lesson learned in getting the film made? Best part in getting the film made?
I learned that following your gut instincts, and not trying to bend the the film to make it more "marketable," gives it a truer voice that will resonate better and ultimately make it more successful. I discovered that putting yourself in your film is risky and makes you vulnerable, but that sometimes it's more honest and that people appreciate that. The best part has been the amazing discussions that the film generates -- about cities, neighborhood change, race, history, politics and just what it means to be a good citizen of a community.
#3: Tell us about you. What is your movie making background?
I have made 6 or 7 docs and one narrative feature. They all deal with the intersection of big social issues and individual lives. They address issues ranging from police brutality to LGBT workplace rights to gentrification. A big range! My films have been on the PBS series POV, and also at festivals like Sundance and Tribeca. I most enjoy meeting the people who become characters in the film, and when people who see the film tell me it has opened their eyes to a new way of understanding the built environment and changed the way they see the cit around them.
#4: What's your dream distribution plan for the film?
That thousands of people in cities across the world see My Brooklyn, and that it helps empower the people who actually build cities, and maintain them, and live in them, to fight against the corporatization and privatization of urban spaces. I hope it gets many people to ask, "Who has a right to live in cities and determine their future?" and to lift up the voices of the regular citizens whose voices should be determining what the city looks like and who it caters to.
#5: What does the future hold in store for your film and for you?
This film is building from the buttom up, in a very grassroots way. It premiered at the Brooklyn Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award. Since then more than 2000 people here in NYC have seen it in churches, community spaces, even projected in a vacant lot! Now it's starting to catch on in other cities. Tonight it's playing in Oakland as part of a series about gentrification and development that explores the connections between Brooklyn and Oakland. New Day Films, my amazing cooperative distributor, is handling the educational sales. We are in the middle of a week-long theatrical run at reRun Theater in Dumbo, Brooklyn, and every single screening has been sold out so far. The film seems to be tapping into a serious popular sentiment about the way cities are transforming -- the sky's the limit for the film I think!