Downtown Alliance Seeks to Kickstart Hollywood on the Hudson
Pop quiz: What do classic films like “On the Town,” “The French Connection,” and “The Godfather” have in common? Answer: They all used Lower Manhattan as a filming location. More contemporary hits with the same pedigree include “Working Girl,” “Trading Places,” “Die Hard with a Vengeance,” “Splash,” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Who remembers the thrill of seeing the Batmobile parked in the Financial District in late 2011 during the filming of “The Dark Knight Rises”?
Seeking to leverage this lineage, the Downtown Alliance has kicked off a national talent hunt to recruit a Filmmaker in Chief. This new post will be filled by an emerging auteur whose work will showcase Lower Manhattan as an iconic filming destination. The winner will receive a $50,000 grant, two months of free luxury housing at 70 Pine Street, and a stipend of $2,000 per month to edit and shoot a film in Lower Manhattan. Also included are access to a professional editing suite and time for pre-production, filming and editing while residing in in the neighborhood.
Prospective candidates are invited to apply at filmdowntown.nyc, now through February 16. Applicants must upload a one-minute YouTube video describing why they should be selected, while also supplying a three-to-five page film treatment outlining their concept for a short film (between eight and 40 minutes in length), and links to past completed works. Formal film school training or SAG-AFTRA membership are not required.
The only dealbreaker for the proposed film is that it must feature Lower Manhattan in a starring role, and be set within the boundaries of the Hudson and East Rivers, south of Chambers Street. Possible formats include a documentary, an animated feature, a dramatic short that uses Downtown as a backdrop, or any narrative that features the streetscapes as a source of inspiration. After all submissions have been received, a jury of Lower Manhattan cultural leaders (including experts from the Tribeca Film Festival and the Perelman Performing Arts Center) will choose the winner from a group of five finalists.
“We are confident that the Filmmaker in Chief will capture the outsize kinetic energy found Downtown,” says Alliance president Jessica Lappin. “And the Downtown Alliance intends to use that creation to promote this extraordinary and iconic neighborhood.”