Midwood Movie 

  Work in Progress, 16mm Film  

“Midwood Movie,” is a is an exploration of the site of the first purpose-built modern film studio in the US (American Vitagraph Company) which operated from 1907 through the silent era, was repurposed into a yeshiva school for girls in the early 1980s, and has recently been purchased by commercial developers who demolished nearly all traces of the historic structure, save for a 70-foot smokestack.

The film includes interviews with film historians and descendants of the studio founders; re-photographed nitrate fragments of films that were produced at the Brooklyn studios over 100 years ago; and original footage shot inside the yeshiva school and of the building during and after demolition.

 

While unearthing the racist and anti-Semitic beliefs of one of the original studio’s co-founders, the film also explores both profound resistances and persistent echoes of national and local cultural histories, the archeology of the American film industry, local neighborhood demographics, gentrification, and politics.