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Photograph: Courtesy of Rooftop Films

Rooftop Films unveils its summer screening slate for NYC

It includes live music, immersive performances and filmmaker Q&As at 40 outdoor events!

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

NYC's beloved summer film series finally returns this month with live music, immersive performances, and filmmaker Q&As at 40 outdoor events!

Rooftop Films announced on Monday that its Summer Series season kicks off on May 20 and has an exciting collection of movies heading to outdoor locations throughout NYC, including at Green-Wood Cemetery, Fort Greene Park, the Old American Can Factory in Gowanus, the pier at The Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park, City Parks Foundation’s SummerStage in Central Park and Industry City in Sunset Park.

RECOMMENDED: The Tribeca Film Festival 2022 guide

The Summer Series, running through the end of August, will see New York premieres of festival hits, including Adrien Murray’s Retrograde, Andrew Semans’ Resurrection, John Patton Ford’s Emily the Criminal, James Morosini’s SXSW Winner I Love My Dad, Chloe Okuno’s Watcher, Sierra Pettengill’s Riotsville, USA, and Slamdance winner Hannah Ha Ha, which will be preceded by a live musical performance by lead actress Hannah Lee Thompson, and more. Filmgoers will also be able to see the first feature films from emerging indy filmmakers such as Ely Dagher’s The Sea Ahead, Juan Pablo Gonzalez’s Dos Estaciones, Max Walker-Silverman’s A Love Song, Rebecca Huntt’s Beba, Joe Hunting’s We Met in Virtual Reality, Reid Davenport’s I Didn’t See You There, Chema García Ibarra’s The Sacred Spirit (Espíritu sagrado), and more.

There will also be live performances at every show, including Freedom Dabka Group performing at Rooftop’s annual New York Non-Fiction screening, pre-screening performances by J. Hoard, Hannah Thompson, Low Roller, Aviva Jaye, Hannah Sumner, Molly Joyce, beccs and Madam West.

"Inspired by the resilience of our fellow New Yorkers as well as the independent filmmaking community, Rooftop Films has persevered, presenting hundreds of outdoor screenings of all types over the last two years," said Dan Nuxoll, the president of Rooftop Films. "This summer, Rooftop Films is excited to return to its roots: championing the amazing work of emerging filmmakers at immersive in-person screenings in unforgettable locations, presenting vibrant Q&As and panel discussions, pairing thrilling live performances with the movies, and throwing festive film parties in communities all across NYC."

Below is the current line-up of films, performances and events this summer:

Feature Film Programs:

May 9 - Special Pre-Summer Sneak Preview Event: Hold Your Fire at Von King Park Amphitheatre 

Brooklyn 1973. When Shu’aib Raheem and friends attempted to steal guns for self-defense, sparking the longest hostage siege in NYPD history. The screening will take place in Von King Park in Bed-Stuy, just blocks from the location of the historic events depicted in the film. Following the screening, there will be a conversation with filmmaker Stefan Forbes, producer Fab 5 Freddy and special guests.

May 25: Watcher New York Premiere at Industry City

A woman moves into an apartment with her fiancé and is tormented by the feeling that she is being stalked by someone in an adjacent building. Starring Maika Monroe, Karl Glusman, Burn Gorman. 

May 27: Neptune Frost on The Roof of the Old American Can Factory

Multi-hyphenate, multidisciplinary artist Saul Williams brings his unique dynamism to this Afrofuturist vision, a sci-fi punk musical that’s a visually wondrous amalgamation of themes, ideas, and songs that Williams has explored in his work, notably his 2016 album MartyrLoserKing. Co-directed with his partner, the Rwandan-born artist and cinematographer Anisia Uzeyman, the film takes place in the hilltops of Burundi, where a group of escaped coltan miners form an anti-colonialist computer hacker collective. From their camp in an otherworldly e-waste dump, they attempt a takeover of the authoritarian regime exploiting the region's natural resources – and its people. When an intersex runaway and an escaped coltan miner find each other through cosmic forces, their connection sparks glitches within the greater divine circuitry. 

June 3: The Janes on The Roof of the Old American Can Factory

In the spring of 1972, police raided an apartment on the South Side of Chicago. Seven women were arrested and charged. Using code names, blindfolds, and safe houses to protect their identities and their work, they built an underground service for women seeking safe, affordable, illegal abortions. They called themselves Jane. Facing off against the mafia, the church, and the state, the Janes exhibited unparalleled bravery and compassion for those most in need.

June 18: Beba on The Roof of New Design High School

Beba is a poetic and raw coming-of-age tale, in which a young NYC-born and bred Afro-Latina stares down trauma with unflinching courage.

June 24: The Sacred Spirit (Espíritu sagrado) on The Roof of the Old American Can Factory

The uncanny and the unexpected combine to devastating effect in The Sacred Spirit, the extraordinary debut feature from Chema Garcia Ibarra.

June 25: Let the Little Light Shine (New York Premiere) at The Pier at Brooklyn Army Terminal

A high-achieving elementary school in Chicago’s expanding neighborhood is a lifeline for Black children until gentrification threatens its closure.

June 29: Dos Estaciones in Fort Greene Park

In the bucolic hills of the Jalisco Highlands, iron-willed businesswoman María García fights the impending collapse of her tequila factory. 

July 15: The Sea Ahead (U.S. premiere) on The Roof of the Old American Can Factory

Jana suddenly returns to Beirut after a long absence. She finds herself reconnecting with the familiar yet strange life she had once left. 

July 21: We Met in Virtual Reality on The Roof of the Old American Can Factory

Filmed entirely inside the world of VR, this verité documentary captures the excitement and surprising intimacy of a burgeoning cultural movement, demonstrating the power of online connection in an isolated world.

July 22: Memoria in Green-Wood Cemetery

After hearing a loud ‘bang’ at daybreak, a Scottish woman begins experiencing a mysterious sensory syndrome while traversing the jungles of Colombia.

July 23: A Love Song in Green-Wood Cemetery

At a campground in the rural West, a woman waits alone for an old flame from her past to arrive, uncertain of his intentions while bashful about her own. 

July 30: I Didn’t See You There (New York premiere) at The Pier at Brooklyn Army Terminal

A disabled filmmaker launches into an unflinching meditation on spectacle, (in)visibility, and the corrosive legacy of the Freak Show.

July 30: I Love My Dad (New York premiere) on The Roof of New Design High School

A hopelessly estranged father catfishes his son in an attempt to reconnect. Inspired by a true story.

August 3: Mija (New York premiere) at Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage

An ambitious young music manager, Doris Muñoz, discovers singer Jacks and launches her career while bonding over having an undocumented family. Preceded by live musical performances by Silvana Estrada, Doris Muñoz, Jacks Haupt and special guests to be announced.

August 11: Hannah Ha Ha (New York premiere) at Brooklyn Commons

A kindhearted townie living with her father is pulled in different directions by her brother who returns and imposes his lifestyle on the family.

August 18: Retrograde (New York premiere) at Brooklyn Commons

A minor traffic citation spirals into an all-consuming obsession for a neurotic young woman.

Rooftop Films
Photograph: courtesy of Rooftop Films

Short Film Programs Now On Sale:

Tickets for select upcoming screenings are on sale now on the Rooftop Films website, with more dates and tickets coming soon. Four Rooftop Film screenings will be free to members, which you can sign up for here.

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