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Chicago Encore Engagement
BATTLE FOR BROOKYN
Best Film and Best Documentary Brooklyn Film Fest
"Feisty but fairly reported" -New York Daily News
Critics' Pick! "Battle for Brooklyn...will probably be dismissed by those it portrays unflatteringly. That's unfortunate, because this film should be discouraging and dismaying for people on all sides of the project, for what it says about oversize expectations and missed opportunities" -New York Times
"Nothing depicts the borough's backbone with more personality and urgency than Battle for Brooklyn" -Wall Street Journal
"Gripping and provocative" -Onion AV Club
Recommended! "An infuriating document" -NewCity Chicago
"Valuable for its cold-eyed look at how real estate interests work the levers of power in state and city government" -Chicago Reader
Battle for Brooklyn is an intimate look at the very public and passionate fight waged by residents and business owners of Brooklyn's historic Prospect Heights neighborhood facing condemnation of their property to make way for the polarizing Atlantic Yards project, a massive plan to build 16 skyscrapers and a basketball arena for the New Jersey Nets.
The film focuses on graphic designer Daniel Goldstein whose apartment sits at what would be center court of the new arena. A reluctant activist, Daniel is dragged into the fight because he cannot accept that the government should use the power of Eminent Domain to take his new apartment and hand it off to a private developer, Forest City Ratner. The effort to stop the project pits him and his neighbors against Ratner and an entourage of lawyers and public relations emissaries, the government, and other residents who want the construction jobs, the basketball team, and the additional housing that the project might produce.
Daniel and a host of Brooklynites form the group "Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn" to pursue alternate plans to Ratner's proposal and to expose misconceptions about the project. One by one, residents living in the footprint begin to sell their homes to the developer or move away, leaving Daniel as the last man standing in the footprint of the proposed sports arena. Along the way, he loses a fiancé, falls in love again, gets married and starts a family.
Battle for Brooklyn is a thoroughly engaging look at the infuriating erosion of individual rights in the interest of corporate concerns and political maneuvering. Shot over the course of eight years and compiled from almost 500 hours of footage, Battle for Brooklyn is is an epic and universal tale of one man under pressure, and how far he will go to fight for his home and what he believes in.
Directed by Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley, U.S.A., 2011, 93 mins.