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20-Apr-2014 9:01am PDT  


Rooftop Films

18 Annual May 09, 2014 to August 16, 2014

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PMB 401
285 5th Ave
Brooklyn NY 11215
Phone: 718.417.7362

SPECIAL SUBMISSIONS ONLY • Final deadlines have passed. If you have a deadline waiver or special instructions from the event, select a Category of Entry to continue.

Rooftop Films accepts films of any length, format or genre. We are always in search of films that break down boundaries or feature innovative, personal, eccentric or hilariously innovative takes on old forms. We love animation of all forms, personal and political documentaries, satire, narrative comedies and drama, experimental and abstract films, found footage, detritus from the digital revolution and and every other form of film or video art and entertainment. We screen hundreds of short and feature length films each summer and work tirelessly year round to bring these films to new audiences via tours, television programming and various forms of alternative distribution.

At Rooftop Films, we don't screen in theaters, we screen in communities. From the graffiti covered roof atop a lower east side high school to the top of a a parking garage in Toronto, from atop an artist complex in Gowanus to the roof of an industrial complex overlooking all of Brooklyn, from a park alongside the Delaware River to the beach in Coney Island, Rooftop Films has always been about place. To us, open air cinema is more than a spectacle; it's an artistic opening. And this creative choice is reflected in our programming. We screen smart, entertaining yet personal new films.

Rooftop Films' Summer Series provides a forum and an audience for emerging and established filmmakers who make deeply personal cinema, films that offer intimate looks into individual lives, imaginations and distinct communities worldwide. Since 1997, Rooftop Films has become one of the premiere venues, in New York City and beyond, for new, underground and independent short films and underexposed feature films. Our films come from around the globe, and include both world premieres, festival award-winners and Academy Award nominees. The artists we present include first-time filmmakers, long-time outsider artists and seasoned film professionals.

Rooftop screens films of all lengths, formats and genres, including documentaries, animation, experimental works, political film and video and long and short narrative fiction. But the thread that connects all our films is that rather than focus on grandiose topics or artistic abstractions, Rooftop Films shows movies that explore single moments in time and place; personal films that show us where and how you live, and do so with intelligence and daring and in any genre, at any length and in ways and in settings most people would never imagine.

1997: The Beginning

Rooftop Films came into existence in July of 1997 atop a tenement apartment building on 14th Street in Manhattan. Filmmaker Mark Elijah Rosenberg had just graduated from Vassar College and moved back to his native New York and was looking for an innovative way to get people together for screenings of new short films. It's never been easy to get people's attention in New York and drawing crowds of Gothamites to a night of avant garde cinema can be difficult. So instead of trying to rent a small dingy theater, Rosenberg got out his 16MM projector, a cheap sound system and a big white sheet and invited everyone he could find up to the roof above his little apartment. Hundreds came out, many with their films in tow, and the movies were screened deep into the night amidst the water towers and pigeon coops of the East Village skyline.

1998-2001: Early Summers in East Williamsburg
Unfortunately, his landlord found out about the screening and evicted him soon thereafter. But Rooftop Films had been born, and the following summer, Rosenberg teamed with Joshua Breitbart to bring Rooftop to Northern Brooklyn. The two built a sturdy screen on the roof of an old warehouse space that was being converted to lofts on McKibbin Street in East Williamsburg/Bushwick by Breitbart and future Rooftop Program Director Dan Nuxoll. Rooftop did a single screening of shorts there in 1998, then 5 more in the summer of 1999 and 8 more in the summer of 2000. Rooftop was a vital part of the emergence of Bushwick as a home for young filmmakers, artists and musicians, but we also worked hard to help the nascent artistic community partner with the families and communities that had been living in Bushwick for years.

2001-2005: Expansion
Rooftop gradually became the organizing force at the center of a community of artists by having musicians and other artists perform before screenings, collaborating with dozens of other organizations to bring the visions of outside curators to the roof; and?most importantly?creating and maintaining an environment where filmmakers can come together, share their work and see amazing new films that aren't being screened anywhere else.

Slowly the word spread around Brooklyn and then around the rest of the city and the size of the crowds and the number of submissions we received steadily crept upwards. By 2001, the Rooftop Films Summer Series was a legitimate and popular underground festival with screenings running weekly throughout the summer and hundreds of people coming out each Friday to see some of the best new underground work being shown anywhere. Rooftop incorporated as a non-profit and put together a staff of hard working volunteers. Rosenberg stayed on as Artistic Director and Sarah Palmer and Dan Nuxoll joined on as Festival Director and Program Director, respectively. Rosenberg and Nuxoll are now full time year round employees of Rooftop Films, and they slave away year round to bring the most exciting new films to the roofs of the world. Genevieve DeLaurier came on as Managing Director, and Rooftop’s paid year round staff expanded to 7 in 2008. Dozens more part-time employees, interns and devoted volunteers contribute to the cause by helping to gather and choose films, secure venues, advertise the shows, move and set up equipment and otherwise keep the Summer Series running smoothly.

In 2004, Rooftop set up offices and a new rooftop venue in Gowanus/Park Slope at the Old American Can Factory. Partnering with XO Projects, we installed a huge 21' x 14' permanent screen on the roof and the Can Factory has since hosted dozens of Roofotp shows and we will continue screening there in on into the future. Rooftop has screened films for thousands of people each year in a number of incredible outdoor locations, including the amazing Open Road Rooftop at New Design High School in the Lower East Side, the Parade Grounds on the newly re-opened Governor's Island, along the East River on Roosevelt Island, in the beautiful garden of Automotive High School in Williamsburg, floating around Manhattan aboard the Rocks Off Temptress Cruise Ship, along the Hudson at the River Project in Tribeca, in the courtyard of Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center in the Lower East Side, in Montreal in the University of Quebec's rooftop garden and even atop a spacious garage in Downtown Brooklyn. Always looking for spectacular and novel new locations, we are now looking at even more great outdoor locations to screen films, both around New York City and all over the East Coast.

Since 2000, we have also been expanding our mission to provide diverse benefits and valuable assistance to our filmmakers. One eighth of the money received from each submission fee or ticket sold goes towards the Rooftop Filmmakers' fund which funds the future works of filmmakers whose work has shown at a Rooftop show. We have gotten sponsorship and institutional support for the Filmmakers Fund, and now more than $30,000 in grants and services are awarded to filmmakers who have screened at Rooftop Films. Rooftop also lends out cameras, editing facilities, screening equipment and professional services to our filmmakers and we are regularly adding new programs to facilitate the production and exhibition of new works.

2013: 17 Years on the Roof
Rooftop Films has grown larger and more influential every year of our existence and 2013 was undoubtedly our biggest year ever. We programmed 51 programs, bringing more than 250 films to more than 40,000 people over the course of the summer. As we prepare for 2014, we have even more exciting plans to expand, both within New York City and beyond.

Daniel Nuxoll (Program Director) ; Daniel Nuxoll (Program Director) ; Daniel Nuxoll (Program Director)


Phone: (718) 417-7362 or email *submit*at*rooftopfilms*dot*com*

I. Eligibility
• Rooftop Films accepts submissions of any length.

• Submissions can be of any genre or category.

• Submissions must be in English or have English subtitles and there must be a preview AND screening copy available in English or with English subtitles, excepting music videos and films without dialogue.

• If your film is accepted, Rooftop generally screens off of HD video files, HD Cam or Bluray, but we can often assist filmmakers in making transfers to the proper format.

II. Deadlines, Fees and Notification
• All filmmakers who submit a film to Rooftop will receive TWO free passes to any single regularly priced ($13) Rooftop Films show, a total value of $26. We couldn’t have our festival without filmmakers, and even though we can’t show all of your films, we hope you can participate in the festival even if your film isn’t accepted. The tickets are transferable (in case you don’t live in New York).

• Rooftop Films accepts submissions year-round, but to ensure that your film will be considered for the 2014 Summer Series your film must be postmarked on or before the applicable deadline. All films received late WILL be considered for the 2013 Summer Series. All on-time submissions for 2014 will be notified of their status in Spring of 2014 (all fees are in U.S. dollars ONLY, foreign currency cannot be accepted):

• You can apply for a fee or deadline waiver at any time by emailing Rooftop Films Program Director Dan Nuxoll at dan * at * rooftopfilms * dot * com.

• The recommended submission fee can be paid via cash, money order, a check made out to Rooftop Films, or online via Without A Box.

• The submission fee need only be paid once per filmmaker or curator. You may submit as many films as you like without paying an additional fee.

• No films will be turned away due to lack of funds.

• All submission fees must be paid in U.S. currency. If you are submitting a film from outside the U.S., please pay with a credit card online or with a U.S. money order to avoid the conversion costs.

• All filmmakers will receive notification, whether or not their film is chosen to screen as part of the summer series. Notifications will be sent out on or before May 11. Please DO NOT contact us to find out whether or not your film has been received. We do not have a large enough staff to respond to such inquiries.

III. Previews & Entry Form
• Rooftop accepts submissions on NTSC or PAL DVD (any region), via WAB online, or via an online link.

• Preview DVDs WILL NOT BE RETURNED. Please DO NOT send a self-addressed stamped envelope. DO NOT send a master tape as a preview copy.

• If your film is accepted, we will get a master tape from you, and will mail back masters at our expense.

• Please write or print your name, email, phone number, and the name of the film directly on the preview DVD.

IV. Screening Rights
• Should your work be selected to be part of the Rooftop Films Summer Series, Rooftop Films reserves the right to screen your film at any Rooftop screening throughout the summer, between the dates of May 9th and September 30th, 2014.

• After September 30th, 2014, Rooftop Films shall not screen any submitted films without the expressed consent of the filmmaker.

V. Attending the Festival
• Any filmmaker who submits a film for the 2014 Summer Series shall receive free admission for 2 to any single regular 2013 Summer Series screening, whether or not your film is accepted (some exceptions apply).

• Any filmmaker whose work is accepted as part of the 2014 Summer Series shall receive free admission for 2 to ALL of the regular 2014 Summer Series screenings (some exceptions apply).

• If your work is accepted as part of the 2014 Summer Series we would love for you to be able to attend the screening of your work. Rooftop Films is almost always able to provide travel assistance for one filmmaker for each FEATURE film that we accept. Unfortunately, Rooftop is not always able to provide transportation costs for short filmmakers whose work we screen, but we will make provide a place to stay in New York for a weekend.

VI. Rooftop Filmmakers' Fund
• No part of the Summer Series is competitive, as we hope to foster a mutually beneficial community of filmmakers, programmers and filmgoers. However, any artist whose work is selected to screen in any capacity becomes eligible to apply each year to the Rooftop Filmmakers' Fund which awards grants every year to be put toward future films and videos. To read more about our grants, visit


Screening Rights -Should your work be selected to be part of the Rooftop Films Summer Series, Rooftop Films reserves the right to screen your film at any Rooftop screening throughout the summer, between the dates of May 10th and September 30th, 2014. -After September 30th, 2014, Rooftop Films shall not screen any submitted films without the expressed consent of the filmmaker. Rooftop Films Summer Series is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition for promotional purposes. The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations. The filmmaker shall indemnify and hold harmless Rooftop Films Summer Series from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.