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What neighborhood do you live in?
Martha: I live in Prospect Heights, and I love it! I ended up here entirely by accident—I was looking for a place to live, and my current roommates were looking for a new roommate. The neighborhood is changing a lot, and I occasionally feel a bit of Brooklyn wanderlust, but being so close to the park, BAM, and so many great watering holes can't be beat.
Lana: I’ve mostly lived in Ditmas Park or Kensington since I moved to New York eight years ago, and I’m still in Ditmas now. I’m obsessed with it—it’s the most diverse neighborhood in Brooklyn, there’s incredible food and bars, and it only takes me five minutes to run to visit the swans in the Prospect Park lake! I also love how it’s one of those New York neighborhoods where you feel like you’ve stepped into another world—19th-century Milwaukee, maybe. I could talk about it for hours, and am sometimes mistaken for a realtor. You know how people in LA are always begging and pleading for New Yorkers to move out there, just so they can have more friends to have intellectual conversations with? I’m exactly like that for Ditmas Park—I have no shame and will stop at nothing to convince you to move there. Watch out.
Does living in Brooklyn affect the work you make?
Martha: Definitely! My current project, The Mystery of Marie Jocelyne, is a real New York City tale. The subject of the film, an alleged con artist who ran film festivals in New York for years, is someone who my codirector encountered in the course of running his own Rooftop Films festival in Brooklyn. It's the kind of story that just couldn't happen anywhere else.
Lana: Yes. I grew up in Seattle, which is a great city, but the energy level is about 10 percent what it is in Brooklyn. I remember going to my first rock concert in New York and being shocked that people were dancing instead of somberly bobbing their heads. I love the ambition and mania and relentlessness of so many people who live in Brooklyn, and I think feeding off of that electric group energy is a big part of what motivates me to make work in the first place.
What's the "film community" like in Brooklyn right now?
Martha: The film community in Brooklyn is producing so much great work right now. I'm constantly talking to other filmmakers at festivals and discovering that they live three blocks from me. It's exciting because it feels like there's so much great potential for collaboration right here in the neighborhood.
Lana: I’m new to the Brooklyn “film community”—before this I was working in the art world—but what I have noticed so far is that Brooklyn filmmakers are unbelievably generous and nice. There’s a feeling of “we’re all in this together,” rather than any sense of competitiveness, which is very different from the art world. Also, they all love karaoke. I don’t know why.
What film that's not your own are you most excited about at the festival?
Martha: I can't wait to see These Birds Walk, after hearing such amazing things about it, and I'm definitely going to be seeing Eliza Hittman's brilliant It Felt Like Love for a second time.
Lana: These Birds Walk. I already saw it once and cannot wait to see it again. Watching that film is one of the most moving and powerful experiences I have ever had in a movie theater, and I am in absolute awe of how the directors captured such extraordinary material, and then managed to put it together in such a lyrical and immersive way.
What's your favorite movie theater in Brooklyn?
Martha: BAM: it's a 10-minute walk from my house, and I love the repertory programming. For big-budget Hollywood stuff, though, Court Street on a Friday night is tops.
Lana: The Kent, on Coney Island Avenue in Midwood. It’s an incredible mix of the worst elements of both mom-and-pop movie theaters and multiplexes. Which means it has a lot of character! It also has the cheapest matinee screenings in all of New York City ($6.50!), and is where Woody Allen saw movies growing up—he even shot the exteriors for The Purple Rose of Cairo there, so I think that’s reason enough to visit it.