Seeing Social Globalization in Queens

This film series features three different programs each built around a different doc of mine about the present and past of immigration in Queens.  The screenings take place on 23, 24, and 30 of October at 6:30pm, outdoors at Terraza 7 near the 7 train in Elmhurst-Jackson Heights.

• October 23/Sat     The Actor in His Labyrinth 

• October 24/Sun    Between Neighborhoods

• October 30/Sat     Small Kitchens  +  2021 Epilogue

A short sample of Olmsted, Moses, Al, and Me – my new essay film about the intersection of public and personal histories – screens in each program, which includes filmmaker Q&A.  Admission is free. This series is made possible by a City Artist Corps Grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts, NYC's Department of Cultural Affairs, the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, and the Queens Theatre.

City Artist Corps Grant

It's great to have been awarded a City Artist Corps Grant, to stimulate NYC's "creative resurgence" this fall. Mine will fund a series of three public screenings + community conversations (October 23, 24, 30 @ 6:30 pm) of three docs of mine at Terraza 7, in Elmhurst-Jackson Heights, Queens, the pandemic's NYC epicenter. Terraza 7 has been the heart of the cultural resistance to that scourge by sustaining the arts in the center of thee city's most socially vulnerable and culturally diverse neighborhoods, across the Time of Covid.  Each event will feature one of my docs –– Between Neighborhoods, Small Kitchens, and The Actor in His Labyrinth (premiere) –– all of which contemplate this part of the world, focusing differently on immigration as the social context of this area's evident resilience and the city's reliance on its transnational diversity for its cultural as well as its economic sustainability. I will also preview short samples of Olmsted & Moses, Al & Me, a work-in-progress that maps intersections of personal and public histories across NYC.  I'm very excited to show and discuss this new video essay! 

Thanks to the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York Foundation for the Arts, NYC Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment (Made in NY) , as well as Freddy Castiblanco, owner and artistic director of Terraza 7.  Details about each screening to follow here and Terraza 7 in early October.

1245 Eastern Parkway, 1964, 1969, Today

Of course, you never know what will happen when documenting.  Consequently, it's super cool when something super compelling happens unexpectedly –– and you capture it. We had one of those magical moments in July, when SLF summer intern Rabei Javaid and I were out shooting observational footage/scouting future shoots for my new essay film project Olmsted, Moses, Al and Me. In front of the Crown Heights apartment building where I was born, an unanticipated, initially awkward, encounter became the source for this teaser that contemplates the place of place in connecting people across decades, in a place that connects Brooklyn across centuries. Thank you Joe Taylor for your generous contribution and Rabei for keeping the camera running, so well!

Our Neighborhood's new teaser

Check out this new teaser for Our Neighborhood, my documentary underway about Washington's secret and semisecret production of TV propaganda for Latin America across the 1960s. The film grows from my original research as well as my published scholarship. Amos Damroth worked with me on the teaser's editing and Gaspar González of Hammer and Nail Productions consulted on its form as well as on the entire doc. Amos also works at Pickerel Pie Entertainment where Dewey Thompson and Chris Torella supervised the shooting of interviews sampled above. If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to Our Neighborhood's completion, you can –– and please do! –– via the Center for Independent Documentary.

Small Kitchens postscreening conversation links here

Discussing Small Kitchens with friends, new as well as old –– from across Queens, NYC, the USA as well as across the Atlantic and the Río Bravo –– was very cool. (The above photo, e.g., was sent to me by Marcos and María Elena Aguila who watched in Cuernavaca, México.)  Here's most of the postscreening conversation, moderated by Jeran Halfap of the Queens Historical Society.

Viewing a film in person with other spectators on the kind of (large) screen the filmmaker intended to show their work is irreplaceable; yet, the expansion of streamed viewings and (more importantly postscreening Q&A's) necessitated by (and perfected during) Covid times, demands that this digital dimension continues postcovid as a supplement (not substitute) for onsite events, because it virtually enlarges interaction across space in real time.  We need to think about how to do this, better and better, going forward.

Small Kitchens screens January 10, 2021 at the Queens Historical Society, online

I'm excited to screen Small Kitchens –– my new doc that contemplates work and food between a Nepali restaurant and a Mexican food cart, a few blocks away from each other under the 7 train, on the Jackson Heights-Elmhurst border along Roosevelt Avenue, in Queens –– at the Queens Historical Society in January.  Completed just before this most global part of New York City became the epicenter of the the global pandemic, Small Kitchens' examination of labor and culture is now also a time-capsule of life just before Covid-19 changed everything here, and everywhere.  You can register to attend the even online at the QHS link, above. There will be a Q&A after the screening, to which I look forward.

Untapped New York on Between Neighborhoods

It's an opportune moment for Untapped New York to review Between Neighborhods, which contemplates the global and local histories of immigration and so-called modernization that orbit the Unisphere in Corona, Queens, interborough epicenter of the global coronavirus crisis.

Thanks Global Doc Media @Columbia

It's become a Summer ritual, visiting Josh Glick's Global Documentary Media course at Columbia. This year it was via zoom. But I've never learned more about my own work than I did from these superb students' discussion of Between Neighborhoods and Small Kitchens. Current events, between Covid-19 and the protests George Floyd's killing generated, enhanced our conversation about documentary art, Queens, and the world, from across which these students beamed in. It was all very cool and very rewarding. (And thanks for the picture.)

Between Neighborhoods via VOD

My documentary about the interborough and international histories that orbit Robert Moses's Unisphere in Queens, can now be streamed VOD for either individual or institutional (e.g., classroom) rental or purchase. It seemed like a good time to do this, while cooped up during this Corona Crisis, which provokes thinking about immigration in Queens and the limits of modernization as Covid-19 ravages and Trump threatens the globally diverse neighborhoods around Unisphere and around Seven Local Film.

The Actor in His Labyrinth

At work on a new doc that chronicles the passion of Sebastián Ospina, as the Colombia-born actor promotes and performs in NYC the one-man play he wrote about Simón Bolîvar, the Great Liberator of South America's north. The Actor in His Labyrinth expresses how Ospina's life journey –– which has traveled from Cali to NYC, from Colombian TV star to itinerant theater actor –– viscerally manifests itself in his identification with Bolívar's peripatetic life, intense loves, and inspirational aura. Stay tuned for teasers.

Small Kitchens Community Screening

We had a great rough-cut screening and conversation about Small Kitchens at Terraza 7 on December 14th; the film's first phase was supported, in part, by a New Work Grant from the Queens Council on the Arts, funded by NYC's Dept. of Cultural Affairs.

Democracy in America Film Series @ Yale

Good Night and Good Luck, Director George Clooney (USA, 2005) 93 min. Followed by a talk back with Seth Fein

When: Thursday, December 5, 2019, 7:00 PM
Where:  Whitney Humanities CentermapAuditorium
53 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511

Description: Democracy in America Film Series Humanities and Films at the Whitney, supported by the Barbakow Fund for Innovative Film Programs at Yale)

Open To: Yale Staff, General Public
Admission: Free
Small Kitchens Previews at Terraza 7 • Dec 14

We preview a first-cut of our new artdoc about restaurant work on Roosevelt Avenue at Terraza 7 next month, in the neighborhood where we shot it. Check out some clips here.

Windows, new teaser for Small Kitchens
Small Kitchens, about food work in Queens, screens at Terraza 7 on December 14, 2019 at 7pm.
Small Kitchens coming

Small Kitchens, about food work in Queens, screens at Terraza 7 on December 14, 2019 at 7pm.

Brooklyn College Hound/WBCR on Small Kitchens

It was fun to talk about Small Kitchens with WBCR for the Hound.

"Closing Time" new teaser

Check out this taste of Small Kitchens, the artdoc that we're currently cooking in Queens.

Small Kitchens, now cooking

This teaser is from footage we recently shot at Mi México Lindo in Elmhurst for Small Kitchens.

Screening and Discussing Between Neighborhoods @ Columbia University

Terrific time talking doc with students in Josh Glick's Global Documentary Media seminar at Columbia, 10 June 2019.

Bill Morrison @ Brooklyn College • May 10, 2019

Very excited to welcome Bill Morrison to speak to my Film History course this Semester after we screen his amazing Dawson City: Frozen Time. It's open to all.

Doc event @ the CUNY Graduate Center • May 6, 2019
Small Kitchens wins NYC New Work Grant
Excited to get started on Small Kitchens, a new artdoc composed to the rhythms of work within confined cooking spaces in two, socially distinct restaurants, in Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, Queens.
The Interbay Cinema Society awards Our Neighborhood a 2019 LightPress Grant

Very appreciative for the Interbay Cinema Society's LightPress Grant for digital scanning of archival film footage for our production of Our Neighborhood, about Washington's TV cold war against the Cuban Revolution in Latin America across the 1960s.

CUNY TV Interview: Documenting History
Between Neighborhoods at the Queens Historical Society
Between Neighborhoods on CUNY TV
Discussing Between Neighborhoods on CUNY TV

Filmed an interview this week for CUNY TV's Short Docs web series about Between Neighborhoods and other Seven Local Film projects.  It's scheduled for release on November 26, 2018. 

Between Neighborhoods screens @ Queens Historical Society • 17 November • 2:30
Queens Museum • Between Neighborhoods Q&A
Best Documentary Nominee • Between Neighborhoods  
Queens Ledger-Brooklyn Star
Our Neighborhood Fundraiser
"Between Neighborhoods: documentary art, audiovisual scholarship, and public humanities," JUMP CUT 58 
REVIEW FIX: "Seth Fein Talks 'Between Neighborhoods'"
Founders Choice Award for Documentary • Between Neighborhoods 
Queens Chronicle