9 NUFF Talks videos

Did you miss out on attending the NUFF Talks event held last Thursday at the Helms Design Center?  Well now you can watch videos of the 9 presentations given that night.  And be sure not to miss out on the premiere of the films that are being made inspired by these presentations!  Sunday October 9th at 7pm at the Helms Design Center, 8745 Washington Blvd, Culver City, 90232

Purchase Your Tickets Online Today!



This week, filmmakers are turning these presentations into 3-5 minute documentaries. See the premiere of these mini-docs at our closing night awards ceremony.  Sunday October 9th at 7pm at the Helms Design Center.

Purchase Your Tickets Online Today!




A New Season

The 4th Annual New Urbanism Film Festival kicked off with a special screening at Laemmle Theatres in Santa Monica showcasing all of the winning films from last year’s festival.  And now it is time to announce our

2016 Call For Entries. 

Submissions are open March 1st – June 30th

The festival will be held in Los Angeles October 6th-9th.

For more information about how to submit, our rules and regulations, visit our submissions page. 


I’m excited for a new year of films.  Each year the festival is shaped by the types of films we receive.  Last year we received a lot of films about the human side of urban planning.  The films dealt with equity and social justice, and they observed how transportation policy and planning effect different groups like kids, elderly, disabled, and different family structures.  We created an entire screening category for those films called “urbanism sociology.” They were some of my favorite films. And I think a lot of other people liked them too because four short films from that category ended up receiving awards at the closing night ceremony.

The year before we had lots of films about street art so we added that category to the festival. We also had several films on the economic impact of urbanism and we made that a category.  Cities are alive, they grow and evolve, and our festival reflects that–growing and evolving to include new topics, new themes, new brands of filmmakers.

I am also excited about submissions this year because we have some prize packages for filmmakers from BetaBrand, Icarus FilmsInkTip, Black Dog Coffee, CNU, and a few other media sponsors.

And I am excited to have a broader panel of judges this year.  We’ve added Tamika Butler, from the advocacy world, Lisa Hasko, director of Filmmaker Resources at the International Documentary Association, Neal Payton, west coast director for Torti Gallas Partners, and Melissa Bruntlett, co-founder of Modacity. See the full list of judges and their photos and bios here.

We’re using the online submissions platform filmfreeway again this year, which makes things incredibly easy for all of us, our production team, and our judges, and for you. They have impeccable customer service so don’t be afraid to ask them for help.  Since we’ve started using filmfreeway, they’ve surpassed the industry leader withoutabox in both the number of festivals they serve, the number of filmmakers who use them and the number of films uploaded.  I’m not surprised because like I said they have great customer service and have been receptive to feedback from customers (me).

In June we get to bring last year’s winning films to Detroit to screen at the 24th Congress of the New Urbanism. Joel and I will both be on hand at two screenings during this international convention that attracts thousands of designers, architects, planners, civic officials, activists, engineers, etc. (This year’s winners will be screened at the 25th Congress of the New Urbanism in Seattle, in June of 2017.)

Thank you to our 2016 sponsors and media partners


Black Dog Coffee


California Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism

Exposure Magazine

Icarus Films


Laemmle Theatres

Momentum Magazine

Muse on 8th

Production Hub

web banner SPONSORS

Official Announcement: 2015 NUFF Winners

2015 Winners

The 2015 New Urbanism Film Festival, the third annual edition here in Los Angeles, was bigger than ever.  The festival began with a sold out screening of East LA Interchange on opening night, followed by a Q&A with Councilmember Jose Huizar. Over the four day weekend event, hundreds of attendees saw films about cities all over the world, toured different areas of the immediate neighborhood around the festival, and got to hear about the future of Los Angeles from the very people responsible for all the cool stuff you hear about happening in Los Angeles.

This year the festival received over 250 film submissions and the festival screen 55 films across 14 screenings during the weekend. Some were features, but mostly short films grouped by theme.  All are in equal consideration for awards.  “It was a treat to screen each of the films that we did screen,” said Paget. “But the winning films moved audiences in unique ways. If a film about urban planning makes someone cry, it’s a good film. If it can get someone to reconsider urban planning and to imagine themselves getting involved, that’s what earns the film an award.”

Complete list of winners below.  The winning films will be screened at the 24th Annual Congress for the New Urbanism in Detroit Michigan on June 8-11. A local screening of the Award winners is TBA.  Join our mailing list to stay up to date on New Urbanism Film Festival screenings and events.

Best of Fest:

I’d Rather Stay

Bulls_IRSA compassionate and eye-opening look at how the urban design of communities impact the health and quality of life of senior citizens.  The dense community and walkability will allow them to live more healthy and independent lifestyles for a longer period of time.  The interviews are a powerfully honest and vulnerable case for creating better places. The need for short blocks, transit, mixed uses, is not just an ideal for planners, or desirable status for millenials, it is a very real need for this demographic–one we all hope to join one day. This charming, compelling film was given the Best of Fest unanimously.

You can watch the short film here

Best Bicycle Film:

Arlington Passages: Natalie

Arlington Passages is a series of short films produced by Bike Arlington and directed by Modacity, the husband-wife team from Vancouver. “Natalie” features a real estate agent who gives tours to home owners by bicycle.  She believes it gives the buyer a better feel of the community and connects them to their new neighborhood in a faster, friendly way.  The film is beautifully shot with innovative techniques for filming by bicycle.  The Bruntletts also won the 2013 NUFF award for Best Bicycle Film.  The films continue to improve every year and we look forward to more of the films and their tremendous advocacy work that is not only re-shaping their hometown of Vancouver, but cities around the world like Arlington and Los Angeles.

You can watch the short film online here.

Best Street Art Film:


P1110725A_SMBy enlisting the help of some of the world’s top street artists, J. “SinXero” Beltran has made it his mission to legally beautify the Bronx, the birthplace of graffiti, through his TAG Public Arts Project (The Art of Grafstract). Grafstact shows street art as uplifting public art that promotes a sense of place, ownership and equity in a neighborhood.

You can only see Grafstract at other great events like New Urbanism Film Festival. Follow Grafstract on Facebook for news on future screenings.

Best Urban Design Film:

Cerebral City

Screen_Shot_2015-02-02_at_7.06.40_PMA young Australian woman rediscovers her city’s public spaces through the narration of one of Melbourne’s urban designers who helped transform it from an dying wasteland into a vibrant place for people.  Cerebral City was such a beautiful film audiences fell in love not just with the city of Melbourne, but with cities in general.

You can watch Cerebral City online here.  Follow them on Facebook for updates on other festival screenings.

Best Urban Economies Film:

The Edge of Memphis

The Edge of Memphis tracks the trials and triumphs of MemFix, an incubator program for start up businesses planting roots at the edge of downtown Memphis. Abandoned warehouses, parking lots, and streets are being transformed and revived in the midst of a new boom of start up businesses putting a stake in the neighborhood.  The program is inspiring and repeatable.

You Can Watch it online here. 

Best Architecture Film:


Lutah Marie Rigss was a trailblazer in the architectural world of the 1920s and 30s.  She played a pivotal role in developing the signature style of Spanish Revival in Southern California. The documentary provides new insight, new drawings, and new interviews that reveal a higher level of profundity in Rigg’s work.  A must see for any fan of architecture.

Buy the feature length documentary on DVD here.

Best Healthy Cities Film:

Can You Dig This?

CYDT_Ron_FinleyRon Finley, the gangsta gardener of South Los Angeles, is famous for fighting city hall for the right to plant vegetables in the parkway in front of his house.  He beat city hall, and he’s now raising a new crop of fellow gardeners, who are planting seeds, but harvesting hope for their community and theirselves.  The movie proves that one person can make a difference, but that we don’t have to limit it to one person.

Find a screening (or request one) in a city near you, by using Gathr. Click here for more information.

Best Feature Film:

East LA Interchange

'East LA Interchange' directed by Betsy KalinPhoto by Chris Chew

East LA Interchange chronicles the cultural shifts of the historic LA neighborhood Boyle Heights.  The director, Betsy Kalin, presents a meticulously researched history of the community and handles current tensions with grace and compassion.  Historic ties to Boyle Heights often seem threatened by development, this is a movie that Boyle Heights can be proud of and use it to boost awareness of the historic value, not just for Boyle Heights, but for all of Los Angeles.

Check the film’s website for information on local screenings. Click here.

Best Urbanism Sociology Film:

Every Speed

EverySpeed_PosterEvery Speed is an experimental short documentary that explores how the disabled experience transportation networks. It pairs narration from disabled transportation users with POV shots and animation, in a way that leaves the audience experiencing the isolation, loneliness and disregard that are often felt by the narrators.  It’s a powerful film that is frankly convicting at times when it exposes the way our design has a health bias.

License the film for educational use here.  VOD coming soon!

Honorable Mentions:

Landfill: From Guppies to Yuppies

poster2Landfill is a hilarious narrative exploring the social dynamics of “the innovation district” vs “the artists co-op.” Audiences loved this refreshing take on the gentrification.  And ultimately, the narrator points out that the district was originally part of the bay and the original victims of gentrification were the guppies.

Landfill can only be seen at great events such as New Urbanism Film Festival.

Road to School

road to schoolThis short, 1 minute, parodies video games challenges contestants to… walk to school.  It is a fun, light-hearted, comedy makes a solid case for better designed neighborhoods where kids could have a less challenging time walking to school.

Watch Road to School online here.


poster_729x1080_Andy_Boenau_indie_filmmaking_urban_planning_advocacyThis fantastic “expose” from the folks, okay folk, behind WalkLobbyTV shows how planners developed an auto oriented bias in city and regional planning.  It is charming and incendiary.  And for walking such a fine line, we gave it an honorable mention.

Watch Streetsploitation online here. 

Do Season

Do SeasonGracen Johnson started a business incubator for small businesses in Fredericton, Canada.  The business plans are not for people who want to sell off the business. It’s for people building equity in the neighborhoods.  This unique model of placemaking is truly inspiring and eye-opening and we wanted to award it an honorable mention.

Watch Do Season online here. 

What is the Urbanism Filmmaking Challenge?

This year the New Urbanism Film Festival introduces a fun new aspect of the festival: a filmmaking competition!  We figured we have these filmmakers, we have these leading urban thinkers shaping Los Angeles. Let’s connect them to each other so we can capture this dynamic moment of growth for Los Angeles.

What is the Urbanism Filmmaking Challenge?

It’s a chance for Urbanists and Filmmakers to get together to make a mini-documentary about the small, but dynamic change happening in the city of Los Angeles.  The Urbanists make a little presentation about their project.  It’s like a TED talk event.  In the audiences are the filmmakers.  After all the presentations, the filmmakers choose their projects and work out a production schedule. They make the movie during the week. The top ten films are screened on the last night of the festival.

What was the motivation for the urbanism filmmaking challenge?

There are so many projects happening in Los Angeles right now.  It is so inspiring!  But I think people don’t know what’s going on.  Some projects get press or

Who Can Be Considered “Urbanists”?

Anyone shaping Los Angeles.  Planting street trees, building mini parks, native drought tolerant landscaping, building bike lanes, explaining new bus routes, showing off new bus features, treating homelessness, planning a road diet for a neighborhood,

It could even be someone explaining key concepts shaping Los Angeles.  What is Transit Oriented Development? What is a Transect?  What are the four types of Bike Lanes? What is a road diet?

Is there a Prize?

Yes! The First place winner gets $300 cash prize.  Plus the TOP THREE filmmakers get gear from Betabrand.  (The top filmmaker gets a storrists bag, 2nd and 3rd place get a cornacopia bag)

Any love for the urbanists?

If you present on a project you will get a mini-movie produced about your project!  It is an incredible asset in your advocacy. It also helps establish your voice to help get the project completed or to replicate your project in other neighborhoods.  Plus, you get to be the star!

Who judges the films?

We are honored to have Craig Detweiler and Caroline Cicero to judge the films for this event.

Craig Detweiler

Craig_DetweilerCraig Detweiler, Ph.D., is Professor of Communication and director of the Center for Entertainment, Media and Culture at Pepperdine University.  He’s written comedies for the Disney Channel and directed documentaries featured on ABC.  Foreword honored iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Livesas the 2013 Silver winner for best books about Popular Culture.  His additional books include Into the Dark a study of the top ranked films on the Internet Movie Database and Halos and Avatars about the influence of gaming on the emerging generation. A longtime Angeleno, Craig has lived in Pasadena, Duarte, Chinatown, Culver City, and Malibu.

Caroline Cicero

Caroline headshotGrowing up in Chicago, architecture, neighborhoods, and demographic change intrigued Caroline Cicero from a young age.  In her 25 years as a gerontologist, urban planner, and social worker in Los Angeles, Caroline has worked to make communities and housing better for people across their lifespan.  Caroline teaches classes on aging, social policy, and design and environment at the University of Southern California, Davis School of Gerontology.  One of her favorite research interests is how older people and their housing issues are represented on film.

When is this “TED Talk Like” Event?

The urbanists make their presentations on October 4th. Register as a presenter by Sept 30th.

Can I just come to watch the Urbanists’ presentations?

Yes, of course!  And tickets are selling fast. So, buy yours today.  It really helps support the fest, the projects, and the filmmakers!

Register as a Filmmaker

Register as an Urbanist

Buy ticket to watch the presentations.

Submissions closed.

We have officially closed submissions on the 2015 edition of the New Urbanism Film Festival.  This year we received a total of 241 films.

We’ll spend the next month reviewing the films and announcing the participating films in this year’s fest.  We’d like to thank all of the filmmakers. The films we’ve reviewed so far are great pieces and we are looking forward to watching the rest.

In the mean time there are a few ways you can help the fest.

Join our thunderclap campaign. 

thunderclapThunderclap is a way to amplify our message about the festival.  It sets up a scheduled tweet or facebook post from each of our supporters. The message is scheduled to go out on Aug 4th at 1pm.  We need to get at least 100 people to sign up. Currently we have 80 supporters on thunderclap. With those 80 supporters, over 600,000 other people will read about the new urbanism film festival.  When you sign up to support us, all you are doing is giving thunderclap to post to your account, the post will read “City Stories take to the Silver Screen at the #NewUrbanism Film Festival! Support the fest! Buy Tickets! #nuff2015″  Imagine all 100 people tweeting that at once, that is what thunderclap does.
Buy a ticket to the Group Hike Fundraiser with the Founder of Hikespeak.com.

group hikeWe’re hosting a group hike with Seth Smigelski, founder of Hikespeak.com and hiking writer for Huffington Post, Examiner.com, and Weekend Sherpa.  Hikespeak.com is an interactive database of hikes around the world, but mostly in Los Angeles.  You can search for a hike by difficulty level, length, distance from your house, or by things you want to see or do on the hike (e.g. hikes with bridges, hikes with waterfalls, hikes with ruins, etc.) The hike includes a picnic lunch from Twist Eatery LA at the Old LA Zoo.  Meet at the Griffith Park Carousel, we’ll hike to Beacon Hill and to Bee Rock, then down to the Old Zoo for Lunch.

Register for the Urbanism Filmmaking Challenge.

UFCWe are registering folks now for the urbanism filmmaking challenge.  This event pairs Urbanists with Filmmakers in an effort to make a short documentary (2-5 minutes) during the week prior to the festival.  Prizes include $300 cash and gift certificates to local fest sponsors.  Urbanists, register yourself as an expert on a local project or development.  You’ll give a short presentation with photos and documents to all of the filmmakers in the audience. Afterward the filmmakers will find you to seek out working with you on making a short doc about the project.  Filmmakers, you watch urbanists present on various aspects of urbanism happening in L.A. Afterward you’ll get to choose who you want to work with to their project to the big screen.

Special Screening in Austin Tx.

AUSTINIf you live in the central Texas region, you may want to join us for a special screening of last year’s winners!  August 31st at the Alamo Brewhouse Cinema in South Lamar. The event is hosted by the Central Texas Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism.

Other Urbanism Film Festivals (they do exist)

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.

I Look Up Film Challenge 

i look upStudents 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!)

Architecture & Design Film Festival

adff 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.

San Francisco Urbanism Film Festival

Web 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.


I Heart NRCHY Film Festival.

morusMuseum 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.


Do you know of yet another film festival about urbanism?

Early Reviews of Submissions

From an unpublished interview on another blog.

Last year, the New Urbanism Film Festival screened over 50 short films and feature length documentaries.  Each had an emphasis on improving the built environment for the future.  In 2015, the festival will be in October and submissions are still open.  If you have a film you’d like to enter, there’s still time to submit it.  I caught up with Josh Paget, the director of the festival, to ask him a bit more about film submissions to the festival.

What kinds of films do you look to include in the festival?

Well we have about 8 different categories from architecture to urban farming.  But all of them, no matter the category, help us discover how the built environment relates to us as people.  What’s attractive to me about the New Urbanism is that it takes on a role of advocate.  Narrowing streets is not just an aesthetic preference, but a moral value: it makes it safer for kids, increases physical health, boosts local economy, etc.  Whereas before things like small blocks, walkable neighborhoods were built out of necessity, we’ve gone beyond that capability and now that we have built a range of options for the living conditions of humans, we can look at this method and say this was the right one.

What kind of people have been submitting films?

We get videos from a wide range of filmmakers. From academy-award winning documentary producers to the college kid with a phone camera making a video about why his street needs a road diet.  It’s not about the films, it’s about the ideas.

Are they all documentaries?

For the most part, yes.  But we’ve had a few parodies, short narratives, and animations.

So, it’s not just videos of talks we’ve seen at CNU?

No. If you want to see that, you should go to CNU! (June 8-11 in Detroit)

Are the films available online?

Some of them are, yes. But that is up to the producer of each film.  What the festival offers is a pairing of film and local urban thinkers.  After a film about Bus Rapid Transit in Bogota, we’ll have the project director for the BRT here in Los Angeles.  We can get into the specifics of bringing the project to reality for L.A.  That intermingling is something you can’t get online.

Are you looking for anything in specific?

We are trying to breed a video of the best explanation of New Urbanism and why it matters.  We’ve seen some good ones, but I enjoy seeing better and better ones each year.  Lately there has been a lot, A LOT, of videos about urban gardening.  People taking over rooftops, or abandoned lots, or parkways, and planting food.  Those are inspiring.  I hope that same DIY attitude towards gardening will spread into other areas of urbanism.  I’d like to see that mentality applied to road diets, parklets, cross walks, energy efficiency, and the economics of infrastructure.

FB BANNER SUBMISSIONSClick here to submit a film to the new urbanism film festical

Click here to purchase a pass to the new urbanism film festival.