October 4, 2017
For Immediate Release
New Urbanism Film Festival Celebrates Creative Urban Solutions
The 5th Annual Festival’s Short Films Showcase Fresh Approaches to Life in Urban Environments
LOS ANGELES—The power of placemaking is brought into the spotlight at the New Urbanism Film Festival, where short and feature-length films showcase people and projects that are making their neighborhoods better places to live. Running from October 19-22, the 5th Annual New Urbanism Film Festival includes a selection of more than two dozen shorts exploring the ways in which communities can rise to the growing challenges of city life as more and more people find themselves living in urban environments.
“It is about making the world a better place by making your neighborhood a better place. said Festival Director Josh Paget. “Small projects and changes can have drastic influence for creating a better place.”
This year’s short films cover a range of themes including cycling, transportation, urban design, street art, architecture, and tactical and global urbanism.
Seven of these short films focus in on small-scale actions taking place at a neighborhood level. Such projects intended to serve larger purposes beyond their simple premises are rooted in tactical urbanism—the philosophy that short-term actions can lead to long-term change. While The Hang Out—Urban Conga tells the story of strengthening a communal space in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans in just three minutes, other films in the lineup explore ways in which the urban landscape can help physically connect communities through small changes in basic infrastructure, create better economic opportunities, and enhance the safety and cultural richness of urban landscapes, such as in the 42-minute Instrument of Change: Street Piano directed by Maureen Ni Fiann. The tactical urbanism shorts will be screened on Thursday, October 19 at 7:30p.m.
On Friday, October 20, ten short films ranging from two to 15 minutes in length will take viewers on a trip across a dynamic transportation landscape while illustrating many of the intersectional issues that people face in the course of their day-to-day trips across town. These films on transportation speak to to the experiences of drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and public transit users, and bring to light gender disparities in Women Just Want to Be Safe, as well as economic and racial divides, public safety, and the effects of autocentric urban design in Cycologic.
Traditionally the tools of artists, paint, paper and cardboard are brought into the fold of urban transformation within the six short films selected to be a part of this year’s Street Art screening at 9:30p.m. on Friday, October 20. Filmmakers will take audiences the streets and walls of North and South American cities where graffiti and art installations are able to beautify and establish cultural identity on. Prevalent among these films are the complexities of street art as vandalism, which is beautifully illustrated in director Dan Perez’s Grafstract: The Bronx Street Art Renaissance.
While bicycles easily fall under the umbrella of transportation, there’s so much more to be said about how transformative cycling can be for a community. Reflecting on the transformative power of bikes are three short films that screen on Saturday, October 21 at 2p.m. The longest film among them is Bicycle Revolution. Co-directed by Professor Paul Steinberg of Harvey Mudd College and Kevin Foxe (whose credits include the original Blair Witch Project), the 45-minute documentary takes viewers on a journey in Los Angeles to find out what it takes to create meaningful social change.
Urban design is more than simply how and where buildings are built, and its impacts are manifold. Ten short films make up the collection of works selected to educate and inspire attendees to view urban landscapes differently. Among the films to be screened Saturday, October 21 at 7:30p.m. is Blight, which explores the efforts of one community organization in Cleveland working to help people transform their neighborhood in the aftermath of the foreclosure crisis; while many of the other films, including the poetic experimental film Urban Lament, illuminate the connections between physical and social landscapes.
Architecture can be beautiful, strange, fantastic and hideous. It can evoke emotion, be intuitive, and define a cityscape. What’s more, it can be inviting or hostile. This year’s collection of nine short films explores how and why architecture affects not only the look, but the feel and function of an urban landscape, and what that means to the people who live among these structures. Through these shorts viewers take a visual trip in Adventures in Buffaloland (Ep. 4) to Starship Chicago, and into Seattle, Hollywood and Haiti to discover the ways in which architecture can include, heal and astound. Screening on Sunday, October 22 at 4p.m.
Four powerful short films centered on global urbanism will be screened on Sunday, October 22 at 6p.m. All visually stunning and thought-provoking works, individually the films explore a varied urban landscape in which human-scale design has been embraced, overlooked, and envisioned. See Melbourne through the eyes of urban planners in John Moody’s Cerebral City, and venture to an urban center on the brink of embracing car-free living in Oslo: A Journey to Car-Free from director Clarence Eckerson. Collectively these films offer a comprehensive perspective of urbanism on a global scale.
New Urbanism Film Festival has screened over 100 films since 2013, and tours in cities across North America year-round. The board of the film festival is made up of filmmakers, community organizers, and urban designers. The event is hosted at the ACME Comedy Theatre, the casual and fun venue makes the discussions relaxed and welcoming.
The 2017 New Urbanism Film Festival runs October 19-22 at the ACME Theater:
135 N La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
For more information, interviews and media requests, please contact:
Josh Paget – Festival Director, Co-founder, Producer