Rooftop Films 2016 Announces Opening Weekend Lineup and Feature Film Programming

Rooftop Films is proud and excited to announce the Opening Weekend lineup and the first batch of feature film programming for Order the 20th Annual Summer Series. This year’s series will feature more than 50 outdoor screenings in more than 13 spectacular venues, with live music, special enhancements and the best new, independent films from around the world.

The vicennial edition kicks off on Wednesday, May 18th with a special sneak preview screening of 2016 Sundance U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize Winner Weiner Cheap on the rooftops of Industry City. The official opening night will follow on Friday, May 20th, with “This is What We Mean By Short Films,” a collection of some of the most innovative, new shorts from around the world. The screening will take place at Bushwick Generator, two blocks away from the McKibbin Lofts where the Summer Series took off in the late 1990’s. Both shows will include live-music before the screenings, filmmaker Q&As and complementary after-parties, sponsored by Stella Artois.

The 20th annual Rooftop Films Summer Series continues through August, with screenings of some of the best independent films of the past year in a variety of exciting and engaging outdoor locations across all five boroughs. It is Rooftop Films’ goal with each event to re-imagine the festival, reinvigorate communities across the city, and remind audiences why they fell in love with New York in the first place. With live performances, audience interaction and enhanced events at amazing venues, Rooftop turns each film screening into an unforgettable event, and they’re going bigger than ever for their 20th Anniversary.

“19 summers ago, our founder Mark Elijah Rosenberg gathered together a batch of short films that he loved, handed out a thousand fliers and lugged some gear up onto a roof,” said Dan Nuxoll, Program Director of Rooftop Films. “There was no plan to launch an organization, he just wanted to bring thoughtful people together in a fun location and show them a batch of films that he found meaningful. He hoped that doing so might create an event that might change the way they thought about their culture and their neighbors. The roofs, crowds and films have all gotten bigger, but as we embark upon our 20th summer of Rooftop Films the formula remains the same: show people brilliant new films that and create an environment that is more expansive than a movie theater, more thought-provoking than a concert, more fun than a party, and as affirming as a night out with friends. We’re proud of what our community has accomplished and hopeful about what is to come, and for the next three months we hope to bridge the past and the future by presenting some of our favorite films of this year and a few from years gone by, all shown outdoors all across the five boroughs of our beloved hometown.”

Rooftop’s feature film programming includes a slate of powerful, innovative and invigorating documentaries. This year’s slate includes phenomenal works of non-fiction such as Jerzy Sladokowski’s thoughtful and intimate IDFA winner Don Juan, Roger Ross Williams’ critically acclaimed Life, Animated; Kirsten Johnson’s form-challenging and deeply poetic buy abana sungusia Cameraperson; Jesse Moss’ Burt Reynolds and Hal Needham doc, The Bandit, David Farrier’s stranger than fiction film, Tickled, Joe Berlinger’s Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru, and many more.

Rooftop Films has live music prior to every outdoor screening, and this year they will also have more music onscreen than ever before, with multiple screenings of new music documentaries. Rooftop and House of Vans in Greenpoint are teaming up for multiple shows featuring music docs followed by live musical performances, including a first look at Andrew Cohn’s new Danny Brown concert doc, featuring a live performance by Danny Brown, and the NY premiere of Los Punks: We Are All We Have, followed by live punk show. Rooftop will also present Matt Conboy’s Purchase Goodnight Brooklyn: The Death By Audio Story, with performances by bands that frequented the beloved but recently shuttered underground Brooklyn performance space. Cincinnati’s Q-Kidz Dance Team figure prominently Anna Rose Holmer’s Sundance hit, The Fits, and the Q-Kidz will be performing live prior to the screening.

Of course, the 20th Summer Series also includes exceptional fiction films, such as Elizabeth Wood’s self-reflective and provocative White Girl; Bernardo Britto’s timely surveillance culture satire, Order Jacqueline, Argentine; Taika Waititi’s off-kilter comedy Hunt for the Wilderpeople; Matthew Brown’s understated and intimate teen drama In the Treetops; among others.

In addition to feature and short film programming, this year’s series will include a number of unique events and partnerships, including: the return of the Rooftop Films Storm King Art Center Cinema Ramble featuring multiple film installations, and specialty programming with International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), The Sundance Film Institute, and SXSW Film. To celebrate their 20th anniversary Rooftop Films will also present a number of repertory programs, including short film programs featuring the early works of some of Rooftop’s most successful alumni filmmakers, as well as “Best of New York Non-Fiction” and “Best of New York Shorts,” which will trace the changes that New York has undergone over the past two decades.

Tickets for opening weekend are now available via pre-sale for Rooftop Films Members. Dates, short film programming, tickets will be announced in the coming weeks. Memberships are available at

Rooftop Films 20th Annual Summer Series Opening Weekend

Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Industry City, Sunset Park, Brooklyn

(Elyse Steinberg & Josh Kriegman | USA | 100’)
Sexts, lies, and Carlos Danger: watch the wildest political meltdown in recent history.
Presented in Partnership with: Sundance Selects

Friday, May 20, 2016
The Bushwick Generator, Bushwick, Brooklyn

This is What We Mean by Short Films

Celebrate our 20th anniversary with short films chock-full of the stuff of summer: dancing, swimming, and hanging with old friends.
THE FILMS: Stations (Roddy Hyduk); The Position (Black Eye Symphony pt. 1) (Steve Collins); METUBE 2 — August Sings Carmina Burana (Daniel Moshel); Avant Garde (Black Eye Symphony pt. 3) (Steve Collins);Temporary Color Cheap (John Wilson); Thunder P. (Black Eye Symphony pt. 4) (Steve Collins); The Hanging (Geoffrey Feinberg); Bad at Dancing (Joanna Arnow); Dr. Meertz (Black Eye Symphony pt. 4) (Steve Collins).

Feature Documentaries (more films, dates and venues to be announced soon)

The Bandit
(Jesse Moss | USA | 82′)
Burt Reynolds and Hal Needham recount the strange, wild making of Smokey and the Bandit.
Presented in Partnership with: CMT

(Kirsten Johnson | USA | 102′)
Cinematographer Kirsten Johnson’s deeply poetic memoir, culled from footage shot for other films.
Presented in Partnership with: The Film Collaborative

Danny Brown Concert Documentary (Title TBA)
(Andrew Cohn | USA)
An intimate, behind-the-scenes adventure with Detroit-rapper Danny Brown during a hometown show.
Presented in partnership with: House of Vans

Don Juan
(Jerzy Sladkowski | Sweden/Finland | 92′)
A 4-sided love triangle, complete with autism & neuroses in the Russian city Nizhny Novgorod
Presented in Partnership with: IDFA and Swedish Film Institute

Goodnight Brooklyn – The Story of Death by Audio
(Matthew Conboy | USA | 82′)
The origins, influence and ultimate closure of one of Brooklyn’s best DIY music venues.

In Pursuit of Silence
(Patrick Shen | USA | 81’)
A contemplative meditation that explores our relationship with silence, sound, and the impact of noise on our lives. The film will be presented as a special silent screening, with the audience listening to the film on headphones.

Life, Animated
(Roger Ross Williams | USA | 91′)
A young man with autism discovers a way to make sense of world via classic Disney animated films.
Presented in Partnership with: The Orchard, in theaters July 8

Los Punks: We Are All We Have
(Angela Boatwright | USA | 79′)
All thrash, noise, and pits; meet the fans and bands of the thriving backyard punk scene in LA.
Presented in partnership with: House of Vans

The Music of Strangers: Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble
(Morgan Neville | USA | 96′)
The extraordinary story of the renowned international musical collective which was created by famed cellist, Yo-Yo Ma.
Presented in Partnership with The Orchard, in theaters June 10

(David Farrier & Dylan Reeve | New Zealand | 92′)
The shadowy world of competitive tickling is exposed in this stranger than fiction tale.
Presented in Partnership with: Magnolia Pictures

Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru
(Joe Berlinger | USA | 115′)
Go behind the scenes of renowned life and business strategist Tony Robbins in a revelatory cinema verite by renowned director Joe Berlinger.
Presented in Partnership with: Netflix

Fiction Feature Films

Donald Cried
(Kris Avedisian | USA | 85′)
Stranded in his hometown, a favor from Peter’s old friend becomes a long van ride into the past.

The Fits
(Anna Rose Holmer | USA | 72′)
A tomboy’s desire for a dance team’s acceptance warps when its members fall prey to mysterious spasms.
Presented in Partnership with: Oscilloscope Laboratories, in theaters June 3rd

Hunt For the Wilder People
(Taika Waititi | New Zealand | 101′)
Raised on hip-hop and foster care, a defiant city kid starts new in the New Zealand countryside.
Presented in Partnership with: The Orchard, in theaters June 24

Hunter Gatherer
(Josh Locy | USA | 85′)
A darkly comic tale of unlikely friendship with an indelible central performance by Andre Royo.

In the Treetops
(Matthew Brown | USA | 78′)
Driving all night, packed in a car, 5 high school friends avoid their final destination: home.

Jacqueline, Argentine
(Bernardo Britto | USA | 87′)
A playfully mysterious whistle-blower comedy from Film Fund Grantee Bernardo Britto.

White Girl
(Elizabeth Wood | USA | 88′)
A NYC college girl goes to wild extremes to get back her drug dealer boyfriend.
Presented in Partnership with: FilmRise and Netflix, in theaters this September

For more details: