For the past few years film curator, scholar and archivist, Jon Gartenberg has presented Native New Yorker at many exciting film festivals such as the 50th Pesaro International Film Festival in Italy and the Athens Avant-Garde Film Festival in Greece in programs entitled A Panorama of American Experimental Narratives in the New Millennium. In May 2015, Jon curated a screening at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. called “AMERICAN EXPERIMENTS IN NARRATIVE: 2000-2015”
Original DVD box cover for the award-winning film Native New Yorker, Best Documentary Short, Tribeca Film Festival.
Jon recently published the essay NY, NY: A Century of City Symphony Films, Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media, Fall 2014. Here is an excerpt:
“…Photographed during both day and night, through distorting mirrors and prisms, as well as by more direct photographic methods, the films include scenes filmed from atop skyscrapers, under bridges, through parks, down Broadway, and in Coney Island. Such motion pictures have come to be identified as “city symphony” films.
In cinematic terms, such works represent the articulation of both a defined time frame (most often from morning until evening) as well as a carefully articulated geographic space (e.g., a loft apartment, a city block, the length of the island of Manhattan)…
…The tragedy of 9/11 is woven into other filmmakers’ works…
In Native New Yorker (US, 2005), filmmaker Steve Bilich employs a hand-cranked 1924 Cine-Kodak camera to shoot a geographical city symphony, extending from the northern reaches of Manhattan to the island’s southern tip. The Native American protagonist first identifies with soaring birds, clusters of trees, and rocky outcroppings, and then is confronted with the effects of modern urbanization. As the protagonist encounters the smoldering World Trade Center towers, the filmmaker challenges in apocalyptic fashion the conflict between who can be considered the American native as opposed to the foreign intruder.”
Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media
Vol. 55, No. 2 (Fall 2014), pp. 248-276