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Gotham Awards Nominees on Their Favorite New York Movies

Posted by administrator | November 29, 2010
Slide 1: Introduction

As part of Movie City New York, and to coincide with our coverage of the 2010 Gotham Indepedent Film Awards -- at which the Focus Features movies The Kids Are All Right and Greenberg are up for awards, and Focus CEO James Schamus is one of the honorees -- we asked an assortment of this year’s crop of Gotham nominees to pick their favorite movies set in New York City. Following are the choices from filmmakers Rachel Grady, Kevin Asch, Derek Cianfrance, Laurel Nakadate and Laura Poitras.

Slide 2: Rachel Grady

Rachel Grady
Co-Director/Producer, 12th & Delaware
Best Documentary nominee

“One of my all time favorite New York City movies is The Wanderers, based on the book by Richard Price. It's a great Bronx based story about teen gangs in the early 60's and stars a young and hot Ken Wahl. It also has a great closing scene that features a Bob Dylan cameo.”

Slide 3: Kevin Asch

Kevin Asch
Director, Holy Rollers
Breakthrough Director nominee

“Being a New Yorker, films set in the city may be the most personal of genres to me. It's hard to choose a favorite, so rather I will pick the most influential, Taxi Driver. I clearly recall watching the film on home video at eleven years old with my best friend and understanding from that day on what a director was and knowing a director is exactly what I want to be. The film brilliantly and honestly presents a city that no longer exists through the perspective of a character descending into madness. Now New York City is Disney-fied... talk about madness.”

Slide 4: Derek Cianfrance

Derek Cianfrance
Director, Blue Valentine
Best Feature nominee

Husbands by John Cassavetes. I love it because it doesn't try and control the energy of the city. Rather, it embraces it. the actors swim in it, amongst its faces, its sounds, its smells. My favorite scene has to be when Cassavetes, Peter Falk, and Ben Gazzara have the walking race during mid-morning Manhattan foot traffic. It is really a stolen moment in the city. We paid homage to it in Blue Valentine when Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling have a backwards race on the night time streets of Williamsburg.”

Slide 5: Laurel Nakadate

Laurel Nakadate
Director/producer, The Wolf Knife
Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You nominee

“I was eight the summer I saw Ghostbusters and it changed my life. I saw it at the mall, with my older brother and some of his friends. I remember the strange combination of terror, adventure, excitement, and dark humor that that film conjured up.

I suppose what I love the most about it is how it felt to be in that move theater, surrounded by strangers, all cheering and clapping as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man melted and rained down on Manhattan. I'd never been to New York; I was in a little mall theater in Iowa, but I knew then that I needed to make my way to the city. 

Over then next year, toy versions of the Stay Puft Man surfaced in stores and happy meals and every time I saw his image, I couldn't help but remember the total joy of believing so wholly in Ghostbusters and I came to associate him, not with marketing and sales, but with the power of everyone joining in and cheering in the dark.” 

Slide 6: Laura Poitras

Laura Poitras
Director, The Oath
Best Documentary nominee

“I saw Mean Streets in Boston before I had my driver’s license. It made me fall in love with cinema and want to be in New York.  It blew my mind then and continues to blow my mind today.”


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