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Cannes do! Two film festivals this weekend show that Brooklyn is ready for a close up

The Brooklyn Paper
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We might not have the stars of Sundance or the clout of Cannes, but for a few days each fall, Brooklyn becomes the cinematic capital of the world.

Two acclaimed film festivals will take place on different ends of the borough this weekend, and both will pay homage to the neighborhoods — and the county — they call home.

The ninth annual Coney Island Film Festival has earned its reputation as a festival that, like many Coney Island beachgoers, lets it all hang out.

“We are a no-holds-barred film festival,” said festival director Rob Leddy. “We will play anything from family films to films that would probably make a porn star blush.”

Cinephiles can expect a wide range of movies including pictures that mesh with Coney’s campy history and its and garish sideshow, such as the sci-fi romp “ATTACKAZOI­DS, DEPLOY!!” or the randy burlesque-themed noir “Slim and Lena.”

Locals can also look forward to movies that honor the people and places that make Coney Island tick, like “The Prince of Mermaid Avenue” — a documentary on a legendary butcher at Major Meats — or “The Poor Man’s Follies” — a cinema verite-style study of neighborhood characters including the community’s unofficial mayor Dick Zigun and major landowner Joe Sitt.

But the most anticipated event at the festival — which was once named one of the nation’s 25 coolest by MovieMaker Magazine — is the annual screening of “The Warriors.”

When the Coney Island gangland masterpiece comes on the screen, the theater becomes Brooklyn’s own “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” said Leddy.

“It’s like a rock concert — the audience really is totally into it,” he said. “They clang the bottles during the ‘Warriors — come out to play’ scene.”

Meanwhile in Red Hook, the Red Hook International Film and Video Festival will screen movies about, filmed in, or related to South Brooklyn.

“The films are essentially Brooklyn-centered art pieces this year,” said festival founder Daniel Durning. “There is a real focus around anything having to do with the Gowanus Canal or Red Hook.”

At the festival, which is entirely free, movie lovers can enjoy a medley of Red Hook-focused films like “Mr. Brooklyn,” a 14-minute short that juxtaposes an “On the Waterfront”-era dockworker against the backdrop of modern day Red Hook; and “Moment,” which depicts three Red Hookers sharing a life-altering encounter in Valentino Park.

There’s also a screening of films detailing the nearby Gowanus Canal, including a tribute to Robert Guskind, the late blogger behind the legendary Gowanus Lounge Web site, and a rare showing of the seminal documentary “Lavender Lake: Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal.”

Despite the festival’s the hyperlocal angle, organizers told The Brooklyn Paper that some non-Brooklyn films — including pictures about industry in Los Angeles, lesbian relationships in the Bronx, and the closing of a San Francisco nut store — were selected because they address issues that relate to Red Hookers and Brooklynites in some way.

Fittingly, the festival will end with a screening of “Brooklyn Boondoggle,” a documentary about the controversial Atlantic Yards development.

Coney Island Film Festival at Sideshows by the Seashore [1208 Surf Ave. at W. 12th Street, (718) 372 5159]. Oct. 2–4. Prices vary. For schedule and details, visit www.coneyislandfilmfestival.com; Red Hook International Film Festival at the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Screening Room [499 Van Brunt St. south of Reed Street, (718) 596-2506]. Oct. 3–4. For full schedule, visit www.redhookfilmfest.com.

Updated 5:14 pm, July 9, 2018
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