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August 2, 2011

For A Film-making Couple, A Battle to Make “The Battle”

Hawley and Galinsky spent nearly a decade on their acclaimed documentary about the Atlantic Yards development

The Brooklyn Ink
by Andie Pak

In the cold of December 2003, Michael Galinsky fetched his camera and raced out of his Brooklyn home. He had just returned from the grocery store, and there, on a bulletin board, a flier announced community opposition to a proposal to build the largest development in borough history.

What Galinsky started filming that day became “Battle for Brooklyn,” a documentary about the community fight, still raging, against the Atlantic Yards development. The film specifically focuses on the fight of one resident, Daniel Goldstein, to keep from losing his home through eminent domain.

“Every time we make a film, the subject matter could be describing us,” said Suki Hawley, 42, who is both Galinsky’s co-director and wife.

“It’s about what’s right,” Galinsky, 42, said of making the film. “It’s that this is wrong, and I don’t agree with it.”

Galinsky filmed for six and half years, a Canon XL1 mounted on his shoulder. Then Hawley edited for a year, with her younger daughter often on her lap. All along, David Beilinson produced, doing everything from conceptualizing, graphics, posters, tracking down old footage to making arrangements to add the helicopter shots that became the opening sequence of the film. The three are partners of Rumur, Inc., a multimedia company based in Brooklyn.

Reviews have called the film a “must-see,” “a 21st century addendum to the troubling modern history of eminent domain use,” and praised its “heart, soul and chutzpah” and the filmmakers’ years of dedication to telling the story fairly and deftly. The film has received acclaim from the Wall Street Journal, New York Daily News, New York Times, Rooftop Films, Filmmaker Magazine, and NPR, among others.


Posted by eric at August 2, 2011 1:13 PM