17 Apr Outsiders
At Rumur we tend to make films that focus on people who go against the grain of the system. As we have matured, our characters have matured, but they are still outsiders who have difficulty going with the flow when the flow is going in a different direction than they think it should.
Our very first film, “Half-Cocked” (1993), isn’t a documentary. However, for the most part the people in the film are playing roles in a world not unlike their own. The idea was to create a “document” of the indie rock music scene at the time. The main character Tara is played by … Tara. She steals a van full of her brother’s band’s music gear. She then grabs her friends and they hit the road. This did not happen. However, this dramatic conceit allowed us to try to capture what life was like for touring bands. Their tour was not unlike the first tour my band went on. Our next film was similar in many ways, but a little bit more focused narratively. “Radiation” focused on a tour manager in Spain who ran a company called “Radiation Records”. The company’s tag line was “working to make you sick”. It starred Unai as Unai. He was an outsider.
A few years later we made our first documentary, “Horns and Halos”, which follows an underground publisher as he attempted to re-publish a discredited bio of GW Bush before the 2000 election. It didn’t feel very different from our earlier films. The point of all this is that as filmmakers, we are drawn towards stories of outsiders who try to have some impact on others. Battle for Brooklyn follows in the direct footsteps of these other films. A few days after we started following Patti Hagen around the Atlantic Yards site (Patti started the fight against the project) she suggested that we meet Daniel Goldstein because she thought he was one of the only people who wouldn’t easily be bought out by the developer or scared of eminent domain. Not only did we know Daniel but he had designed the artwork for “Radiation”. She was of course right.
While some filmmakers might have followed this story with a “newsy” fact finding eye we chose to see our character as a way into a deeper emotional understanding of the impacts. Now it’s our job to get people to understand that so they don’t think we’ve failed as filmmakers because we haven’t exclusively focused on the facts.