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Rooftop Films Announces Programming for Summer Series 2023

Bright pink and purple lights wash over a man and a woman dancing at what appears to be a prom.Cecilia Aldarondo and Sarah Enid Hagey’s You Were My First Boyfriend.

The New York City-based independent film non-profit Rooftop Films announces today the lineup for their annual Summer Series (presented by AMC Networks), the outdoor film festival that showcases new indie titles all summer long across all five boroughs. The 27th edition will kick off on Thursday, May 25th at Green-Wood Cemetery, and per tradition, will feature a night of live music and short film screenings.

Each subsequent screening during Summer Series 2023 will include filmmaker Q&As, live performances and/or free after parties. This year’s festival will run from May 25 through August 24 with a total of 45 events. Highlights include Savanah Leaf’s buzzy A24 film Earth Mama, a free community screening of Wong Kar-Wai’s Chungking Express in Fort Greene Park and films from 25 New Faces Laura Moss with birth/rebirth and Cecilia Aldarondo with You Were My First Boyfriend. 

“The Rooftop Films team is thrilled to be launching another year of spectacular outdoor film screenings, each film presented in a location specifically chosen to complement the subject matter of the film,” said Dan Nuxoll, President of Rooftop Films in a statement. “The world of independent film has changed quite a bit since Rooftop first launched, yet our 2022 Summer Series was the most-attended in our 27-year history, and the films that we are presenting this year are as exciting and varied as ever. It is clear to us that ecstatic, meaningful, communal, cinematic experiences are appreciated by audiences today as much as ever, and we look forward to experiencing our 2023 slate of new films and moments with tens of thousands of movie lovers all across New York City this summer.”

Find the full slate for the 2023 Summer Series below, and find more information through the Rooftop Films official website.

Feature Film Programs:

The Arc of Oblivion | Ian Cheney | US | 98 mins

Tuesday, August 1st @ Brooklyn Grange Sunset Park

The Arc of Oblivion explores a quirk of humankind: in a universe that erases its tracks, we humans are hellbent on leaving a trace.

Tickets Available Now

Biosphere | Mel Eslyn | US | 106 mins

Tuesday, June 13th @ Brooklyn Grange Sunset Park

Billy (Mark Duplass) and Ray (Sterling K. Brown) are lifelong best friends, brothers from another mother–and the last two men on earth. Courtesy of IFC Films and AMC Networks. Screening presented as part of the Alfred P. Sloan Science on Screen® series. New York Premiere.

Tickets Available Now

birth/rebirth | Laura Moss | US | 98 mins

Saturday, August 12th @ Industry City

A single mother and a childless morgue technician are bound together by their relationship to a little girl they have reanimated from the dead. Courtesy of IFC Films, Shudder, and AMC Networks. New York Premiere.

RSVPs Coming Soon

Bobi Wine: The People’s President | Moses Bwayo & Christopher Sharp | UK | 114 mins
Thursday, July 27th @ SummerStage Central Park

In Uganda’s 2021 presidential election, music star, activist and opposition leader Bobi Wine, together with his wife Barbie, rallies his people in a dangerous fight for freedom from President Museveni’s oppressive 35-year regime. Free screening co-presented with City Parks Foundation. Courtesy of National Geographic Documentary Films. New York Premiere.

More Details to Come

The Deepest Breath | Laura McGann | UK, Ireland | 108 mins

Friday, July 7th @ Brooklyn Army Terminal

A champion freediver and expert safety diver seemed destined for one another despite the

different paths they took to meet at the pinnacle of the freediving world. A look at the thrilling

rewards—and inescapable risks—of chasing dreams through the depths of the ocean. Courtesy of Netflix. Screening presented as part of the Alfred P. Sloan Science on Screen® series. New York Premiere.

RSVPs Coming Soon

Dreamin’ Wild | Bill Pohlad | US | 110 mins

Date and Venue To Be Announced

What if a childhood dream suddenly came true – but thirty years later? That’s what happened to singer/songwriter Donnie Emerson. His dream of success suddenly – and unexpectedly – came true, but only as he approached 50 years old. And while it brought hopes of second chances, it also brought ghosts of the past and long-buried emotions as Donnie, his brother Joe and their entire family came to terms with their newly found fame. Dreamin’ Wild is an incredible true story of love, hope, family, guilt and responsibility. Courtesy of Roadside Attractions.

Earth Mama | Savanah Leaf | US, UK | 97 mins

Wednesday, June 28th @ The Old American Can Factory

With two children in foster care, Gia, a pregnant single mother pitted against the system, fights to reclaim her family. In her close-knit Bay Area community, she works to make a life for herself and her kids, in this singular debut feature from filmmaker Savanah Leaf. A glowing breakout at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival starring Tia Nomore, Erika Alexander, Doechii, and Dominic Fike. Courtesy of A24.

RSVPs Coming Soon

Flamin’ Hot | Eva Longoria | US | 98 mins

Saturday, June 3 @ Brooklyn Army Terminal

Flamin’ Hot is the inspiring true story of Richard Montañez (Jesse Garcia) who as a Frito-Lay janitor disrupted the food industry by channeling his Mexican-American heritage to turn Flamin’ Hot Cheetos from a snack into an iconic global pop culture phenomenon. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. Presented in Partnership with Brooklyn Army Terminal and NYCEDC. New York Premiere.

RSVPs Available Now

Going Varsity in Mariachi | Alejandra Vasquez & Sam Osborn | US | 104 mins

Saturday, August 5th @ Brooklyn Army Terminal

In the competitive world of high school mariachi, the musicians from the South Texas borderlands reign supreme. Under the guidance of Coach Abel Acuña, the teenage captains of Edinburg North High School’s acclaimed team must turn a shoestring budget and diverse crew of inexperienced musicians into state champions. Presented in Partnership with NYCEDC. New York Premiere.

RSVPs Coming Soon

Joonam | Sierra Urich | US | 100 mins

Thursday, July 27th @ Brooklyn Commons

Spurred by a provocative family memory and a lifetime of separation from the country her mother left behind, a young filmmaker delves into her mother and grandmother’s complicated pasts, and her own fractured Iranian identity. Presented in Partnership with ArteEast’s Unpacking the Archive.  New York Premiere.

RSVPs Coming Soon

Kite Zo A: Leave the Bones | Kaveh Nabatian | Canada, Haiti | 70 mins

Saturday, August 19th @ Brower Park

Kite Zo A: Leave the Bones is a sensorial journey into the rituals of Haiti, channeled through dancers, musicians, fishermen, daredevil rollerbladers, and Vodou priests. A celebration of the fiery, heady, and devastatingly beautiful spirit of the island. Presented in Partnership with Council Member Chi Ossé. New York Premiere.

RSVPs Coming Soon

Kokomo City | D. Smith | US | 73 mins

Tuesday, July 25th @ Fort Greene Park

A raw depiction of the lives of four black trans sex workers as they confront the dichotomy between the black community and themselves. Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures. New York Premiere.

RSVPs Coming Soon

The Last Year of Darkness | Ben Mullinkosson | China, US | 95 mins

Saturday, July 29th @ The Old American Can Factory

In this unassuming corner bar hidden by Chengdu’s construction cranes, five locals escape their stress, even if it’s only for the night. New York Premiere.

Tickets Available Now

Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues | 2023 | Sacha Jenkins | US | 106 mins

Tuesday, May 30th @ Louis Armstrong House

Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues offers an intimate and revealing look at the world-changing musician, presented through a lens of archival footage and never-before-heard home recordings and personal conversations. This definitive documentary, directed by Sacha Jenkins, honors Armstrong’s legacy as a founding father of jazz, one of the first internationally known and beloved stars, and a cultural ambassador of the United States. The film shows how Armstrong’s own life spans the shift from the Civil War to the Civil Rights movement, and how he became a lightning rod figure in that turbulent era. Courtesy of Apple Original Films. Presented in Partnership with New York City Council Member Francisco Moya.

RSVPs Available Now

Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes | 2023 | Sam Pollard, Ben Shapiro | US | 82 mins
Saturday, June 17th @ Von King Park

Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes explores the life and music of the legendary drummer, composer, bandleader, and social activist through a remarkable series of creative peaks, struggles, and personal reinventions—from the Jim Crow era to the Civil Rights years, surveying the heady days of post-war modern jazz to hip hop and beyond. Part of a centennial year of celebrations of the legendary Jazz drummer.  Presented in Partnership with Council Member Chi Ossé. New York Premiere.

RSVPs Available Now

Natalia I 2023 I Elizabeth Mirzaei I US I 86 mins

Date and Venue To Be Announced

29-year-old Natalia is about to make her Life Profession in the orders of the Byzantine Catholic Church, having left behind her exciting life as a young student to devote herself to God.

Natalia is a film about returning to the world or walking away from it, and just how far a person would go for who they love. New York Premiere.

Ramona | Andrea Bagney | Spain | 80 mins
Friday, June 30th @ The Old American Can Factory
Ramona has just moved to Madrid with her boyfriend Nico, and wants to start from scratch: she wants to be an actress, she wants to be a mother, she wants to live in Lavapiés. The day before her first audition, she meets an older man, Bruno, with whom she has an instant and strong connection. Ramona runs off, scared of her own feelings, but the next day she discovers that Bruno is the director she was supposed to meet! The opportunity is too big to pass and, encouraged by Nico, Ramona decides to go for it. Presented in Partnership with RIZOMA Festival in Madrid. US Premiere.

Tickets Available Now

Rotting in the Sun | Sebastián Silva | Mexico, US | 109 mins

Date and Venue To Be Announced

Frustrated, Ketamine-addled artist Sebastian Silva crosses paths with ingratiating comedian-influencer Jordan Firstman on a nude beach in Mexico. When Firstman goes to visit him in Mexico City, he finds his new collaborator has mysteriously disappeared. New York Premiere.

Scrapper | Charlotte Regan | UK | 84 mins

Friday, August 4th @ Old American Can Factory

Georgie, a dreamy 12-year-old girl, lives happily alone in her London flat, filling it with magic. Suddenly, her estranged father turns up and forces her to confront reality. Winner of the World Cinema Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Kino Lorber.

Tickets Available Now

Story Ave | Aristotle Torres | US | 94 mins

Date To Be Announced @ Van Cortlandt Park

After running away from home, a teenage graffiti artist holds up an unsuspecting MTA worker in a robbery gone right that changes their lives forever. Presented in Partnership with the Van Cortlandt Park Alliance. New York Premiere.

The Stroll | Kristen Lovell & Zackary Drucker | US | 84 mins

Monday, June 5th @ Gansevoort Plaza, Meatpacking District

The Stroll tells the history of New York City’s Meatpacking District from the point of

view of transgender sex workers who lived and worked there. Director Kristen Lovell

worked “The Stroll” for a decade, and reunited her sisters to recount the violence,

policing, homelessness, and gentrification they overcame to build a movement. Courtesy of HBO Documentary Films. Free screening presented in partnership with the Meatpacking District and NewFest. New York Premiere.

RSVPs Coming Soon

WHAM! | Chris Smith | US | 90 mins

Thursday, June 29th @ Industry City

In 1982, the best of friends and still teenagers – George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley as Wham! set out to conquer the world. By June of 1986 they played their very last gig at Wembley Stadium having done exactly that. Now for the very first time, told in their own words, the amazing story of how, in four years, they dominated the charts around the world with timeless and classic pop songs. Courtesy of Netflix. Free screening presented in partnership with Industry City. New York Premiere.

RSVPs Coming Soon

You Were My First Boyfriend | Cecilia Aldarondo & Sarah Enid Hagey | US | 97 mins

Wednesday, July 12th @ Gansevoort Plaza, Meatpacking District

In this high school reunion movie turned inside out, filmmaker Cecilia Aldarondo relives her tortured adolescence, wondering if she remembered it all wrong. Presented in partnership with the Meatpacking District. New York Premiere.

RSVPs Coming Soon


Short Film Programs:

This is What We Mean by Short Films: Opening Night 2023

Thursday, May 25th @ Green-Wood Cemetery

Start the season off right with our annual evening of spectacular new short films, live music, and a party under the stars in Green-Wood Cemetery!

Tickets Available Now

Cemetery Shorts

Friday, June 16th @ Green-Wood Cemetery.

Sometimes loss brings clarity. Other times, fog descends. Explore the mysteries, epiphanies, and surprises that can accompany tragedy. Screening presented as part of the Alfred P. Sloan Science on Screen® series.

Tickets Available Now

Dangerous Docs

Date and Venue To Be Announced

Venture along the boundary between danger and adventure, through abnormal nonfiction borderlands too unusual to be invented.

Dark Toons

Date to be announced @ Brooklyn Commons

A deliciously fiendish night of short toons with bad vibes, dark twists, big feelings. Free screening presented in partnership with Brookfield Properties.

Queerly Beloved: Pride Shorts in the Park

Wednesday, June 21st @ Fort Greene Park

Celebrate NYC Pride with an illuminating showcase of LGBTQIA+ stories from around the world. Presented in partnership with Fort Greene Park Conservancy.

Tickets Available Now

New York Non-Fiction

Saturday, July 22nd @ Green-Wood Cemetery

Eight million stories, six short films, one night.

Tickets Available Now

Love is Strange: Romance Shorts

Friday, June 23rd @ Green-Wood Cemetery

Experience the depths of love and lust with this collection of audacious, heart wrenching, and occasionally filthy short films about l’amour.

Tickets Available Now 

Vidas Vibrantes: Shorts en Español (Vibrant Lives: Spanish-Language Shorts)

Wednesday, June 14th @ Fort Greene Park

Experience vibrant and wistful stories of home, longing, and belonging in this transportive collection of Spanish language shorts. Presented in partnership with Fort Greene Park Conservancy.

Tickets Available Now 

Trapped: Uncanny Thrillers

Date to be announced @ Brooklyn Commons

Prepare for the peculiar with this batch of eerie mind-benders, surreal comedies, and demented dispatches from parallel dimensions. Presented in partnership with Brookfield Properties.

Rooftop Shots: Closing Night 2023

Thursday, August 24th @ Green-Wood Cemetery

One last night of summer breezes, bittersweet tales of closings and commencements, and a final fête in the graveyard.

Tickets Available Now


Free Community Screenings:

Beat Street | 1984 | Stan Lathan | US | 105 mins

Saturday, May 13 @ Restoration Plaza

An aspiring DJ, from the South Bronx, and his best friend, a promoter, try to get into show business by exposing people to hip-hop music and culture. Presented in partnership with New York City Council Member Chi Ossé.

RSVPs Now Available

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever | 2022 | Ryan Coogler | US | 161 mins

Tuesday, June 20th @ Helen Marshall Playground

Queen Ramonda, Shuri, M’Baku, Okoye and the Dora Milaje fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia and Everett Ross and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda. Presented in partnership with New York City Council Member Francisco Moya.

RSVPs Now Available

Chungking Express | 1994 | Wong Kar Wai | Hong Kong | 98 mins

Wednesday, May 17th @ Fort Greene Park

The whiplash, double-pronged Chungking Express is one of the defining works of nineties cinema and the film that made Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar Wai an instant icon. Two heartsick Hong Kong cops (Takeshi Kaneshiro and Tony Leung), both jilted by ex-lovers, cross paths at the Midnight Express take-out restaurant stand, where the ethereal pixie waitress Faye (Faye Wong) works. Anything goes in Wong’s gloriously shot and utterly unexpected charmer, which cemented the sex appeal of its gorgeous stars and forever turned canned pineapple and the Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreamin’” into tokens of romantic longing. Free screening presented in partnership with Fort Greene Park Conservancy.

RSVPs Available Now

Encanto | 2021 | Jared Bush & Byron Howard | US | 102 mins

Wednesday, May 31st @ Louis Armstrong House

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Encanto, featuring all-new songs by award-winning songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda, tells the tale of the Madrigals, an extraordinary family living in a magical house in the Colombian mountains. But when Mirabel, the only ordinary family member, discovers the magic surrounding their home is in danger, she may be her family’s last hope. Presented in partnership with New York City Council Member Francisco Moya.

RSVPs Available Now

In The Heights | 2021 | Jon M. Chu | US | 143 mins

Tuesday, June 13th @ Hinton Park

Lights up on Washington Heights…The scent of a cafecito caliente hangs in the air just outside of the 181st Street subway stop, where a kaleidoscope of dreams rallies this vibrant and tight-knit community. At the intersection of it all is the likeable, magnetic bodega owner Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), who saves every penny from his daily grind as he hopes, imagines and sings about a better life. In The Heights fuses Lin-Manuel Miranda’s kinetic music and lyrics with director Jon M. Chu’s lively and authentic eye for storytelling to capture a world very much of its place, but universal in its experience. Presented in Partnership with New York City Council Member Francisco Moya.

RSVPs Available Now

Love Jones | 1997 | Theodore Witcher | US | 108 mins

Saturday, July 15th @ Restoration Plaza

Say hello to Darious Lovehall (Larenz Tate) and Nina Mosley (Nia Long), two confused lovebirds who discover that you can never underestimate the power of a love jones. Presented in partnership with New York City Council Member Chi Ossé.

RSVPs Coming Soon

Minions: Rise of Gru | 2022 | Kyle Balda | US | 87 mins

Wednesday, June 7th @ Helen Marshall Playground

From the biggest global animated franchise in history, comes the origin story of how the world’s greatest supervillain first met his iconic Minions, forged cinema’s most despicable crew and faced off against the most unstoppable criminal force ever assembled in Minions: The Rise of Gru. Presented in partnership with New York City Council Member Francisco Moya.

RSVPs Available Now

Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado | 2020 | Cristina Costantini & Kareem Tabsch | US | 96 mins

Thursday, June 8th @ Fort Greene Park

Dazzling and tender-hearted, legendary astrologer Walter Mercado vanished at the peak of his fame. This documentary poignantly explains what happened. Presented in partnership with Fort Greene Park Conservancy.

RSVPs Now Available

Police Story 3: Supercop | 1992 | Stanley Tong | Hong Kong | 91 mins

Thursday, June 1st @ Fort Greene Park

To infiltrate a drug cartel, police Inspector Chan Ka Kui (Jackie Chan, Rush HourRumble in the Bronx) goes undercover in a Chinese prison. There, he earns the trust of Panther (Yuen Wah, Kung Fu Hustle), a cartel member, by breaking him out of prison. With the help of another undercover agent (Michelle Yeoh, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), they travel to Hong Kong and join up with Panther’s gang. Ka Kui is accepted by the gang’s leader (Ken Tsang), but his operation is jeopardized when Ka Kui’s girlfriend (Maggie Cheung, Hero) accidentally reveals his true identity. Presented in partnership with Fort Greene Park Conservancy.

RSVPs Available Now

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish | 2022 | Joel Crawford | US | 102 mins

Tuesday, May 23rd @ Park of Americas

After burning through eight lives, Puss in Boots sets out on an epic journey to find the mythical Last Wish and restore all nine. Presented in partnership with New York City Council Member Francisco Moya.

RSVPs Available Now

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