Architecture & Design Film Festival a Major Success!

By guest


Last Friday, we had the great pleasure of spending the evening at Tribeca Cinemas for the Architecture and Design Film Festival! The film festival, which is now in its fourth year and will travel to Los Angeles and Chicago next spring, offers an enticing selection of feature-length films, documentaries, and shorts. Best of all, every screening is an opportunity to mix and mingle with architects, designers, and industry leaders at pre-screening cocktail events, and to engage in lively discussions and Q&A sessions with the filmmakers themselves!

Our double-feature included Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Reimagining Lincoln Center and the High Line, The Standard New York,  and 16 Acres (make that triple-feature!), which was ballot-voted Best Film by festival attendees—I know I gave it a 5!

The film about DS+R was an intriguing mix of the history of the prominent architecture firm and a commentary on the design of public spaces. It traces the theoretical and stylistic basis of the firm’s architectural development from the time its founding partners, Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, were more involved in provocative art exhibitions than “real” architecture up through their Blur Building (Switzerland, 2002) and to the projects that put the firm at the forefront of design, the Lincoln Center and the High Line. After the screening, the Directors Muffie Dunn and Tom Piper were joined by Managing Editor of Architectural Record Suzanne Stephens, who acted as the architectural advisor on the film, for an engaging Q&A with the audience.

Then it was a quick popcorn break and a lead-in with The Standard New York before the most anticipated film at the festival, 16 Acres, which traces the architectural, political, financial, and emotional forces at odds in one of the most complex urban renewal projects in American history: the rebuilding of ground zero. The film was truly the most insightful one that I had seen in a very long time, and did an excellent job at explaining the inside story of the last ten years at the site. I myself had little idea what had been going on with the project, and it was refreshing to get the story as a first-person narrative from the key players involved in the project rather than from the media. Director / Editor  Richard Hankin revealed that the storyline (which is something closer to a choose-you-own-adventure book than a “line” per say) is so complex that his original cut was over three hours long!


These photos are from the opening night of the festival at the Time Warner Center. Present at the opening were Massimo and Lella Vignelli, designer of the 9/11 Memorial Michael Arad, amongst many others.

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