The annual Rooftop Films summer series, which started with a single screening in 1997, is well on its way to becoming a New York institution à la the Yankees or Coney Island.
The 15th edition of the independent-film fest, which kicks off Friday, showcases 23 feature-length movies and 183 shorts — with live music, Q&As and other parties — unfolding on 15 Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Bronx rooftop venues every weekend through Aug. 20.
A unique festival
“What makes Rooftop Films a really great experience is the community feeling,” said founder and artistic director Mark Elijah Rosenberg. “There’s a band beforehand. You also get more of a chance to hang out in the crowd, maybe talk to your friends [and] talk to some strangers.”
Though its films have a global focus, Rooftop unsurprisingly offers many New York-themed documentaries and narrative productions.
One of the traditions for which the fest is best-known is its “New York Non-Fiction” roster, said program director Dan Nuxoll.
A one-night collection of shorts set for June 10 includes “Found: Lost Pictures of New York Blizzard”; “A Man Named Magick,” about a midtown magic-shop owner; and “All City (Take It to the Bridge),” about Bushwick’s Nine 11 Thesaurus.
Rooftop offers plenty of New York-set fiction films as well. Among them: Saturday’s premiere of “Freeloader,” about a curmudgeon named Frank; “Heartpocalypse,” a short about a subway doomsayer; “The Hunter and the Swan Discuss Their Meeting,” which blends a mythical world with a Brooklyn dinner party; and “Two’s a Crowd,” an economically themed romance.
If you go
Rooftop Films begins Fri. at 8 p.m. and runs on weekends through Aug. 20. Open Road Rooftop, 350 Grand St., 718-417-7362, and other venues throughout the city.
For more information visit rooftopfilms.com