When I (Josh) first pitched the idea of The New Urbanism Film Festival. The first question everyone asked was “are there enough films about urban planning in need of a festival?” I was convinced there were! From my research I found no other film festival dedicated to urban planning. Except a film screening series in a public library in a little town in New Hampshire. But that’s a film screening series, not a festival. So I set out to start the very first new urbanism film festival. We found 35 films to screen in our first year! In our second year, we had over 100 film submissions and we screened 52 short and feature length films during the four day festival. Now, heading into our third year, we are discovering not just enough urbanism films for our own festival, but enough films for several urbanism film festivals.
Here’s our recap and shout to our friends, each making the world a better place, each with their own slant on cities in film.
Students of the World organizes a timed filmmaking challenge. The festival is sponsored by AIA. The event pairs filmmakers with leading architects in the San Francisco area and gives the filmmakers two weeks to complete a short doc about inspiring architecture in the city. The festival seeks to encourage people to “look up” and appreciate architecture at higher levels, seeing buildings as isolated works of art by master artists. Watch their first short doc and Chris Downey a blind Architect. Registration ends July 15th and films must be completed by July 29th. Winners will be announced in September. Register today to participate in this great filmmaking challenge. (The film you wind up making in this program would also make a great submission to NUFF2015!)
The ADFF has been in New York but came to LA in 2013. The focus is on big, world-changing architecture. You might see a documentary on Gehry or Corbusier. Or just plain futurism. Last year, we saw The Human Scale about Jan Gehl. The festival takes place in the heart of the downtown LA in the beautiful center Los Angeles Theater Center. Several screens show movies throughout the weekend. The LA version of the festival takes place in the spring.
The San Francisco Urbanism Film Festival takes place, obviously, in San Francisco. Last year it was held at SPUR, but this year will feature several different locations. The festival is organized by urban planners and does not accept submissions. They screen feature films and pair the films with discussions and activities. Last year they screened Urbanized and The Pruitt-Igoe Myth. (Both great flicks and available on netflix, watch today!) The festival takes place in November.
If you come to BaconFest, hoping for the animal flesh, you’ll be disappointed, if you come hoping for the actor Kevin Bacon, you’ll be slightly less disappointed. BaconFest is a film festival showcasing the films of Ed Bacon, who the fest argues was the pioneer of urbanism documentaries. He is also the father of the actor Kevin Bacon. The fest takes place in Halifax during the month of March.
Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space hosts a third annual backyard film series focusing on urban renewal and sustainability and bicycle activism and also Bio-terror, manufactured terror, state repression and world & rebellion. The screenings are hosted at various outdoor garden locations around the East Village. The screenings take place in August.