Shoot Me: Lost And Found
Shoot Me will take place at the Binckhorst this year, a forgotten area of The Hague, where it is currently up to the creative sector to revitalize the neighborhood. Who else, some might say...
Similar to the Binckhorst, there are plenty of areas in the rest of the world that are going through the same cultural and social changes; Kreuzberg in Berlin, parts of Budapest, but also Williamsburg, Brooklyn (USA). Compared to the Binckhorst, Williamsburg seems to be a few steps ahead in the process of rising up from urban ashes, which gave us a good reason to pay the area a quick visit and to experience this enormous neighborhood firsthand. We were curious to see how New York treats such neighborhoods.
No Sleep till Brooklyn!
Brooklyn is one of five New York boroughs, and is home to about 2.5 million people. It was founded in 1646 by the Dutch West India Company, and in some places you see snippets of the Dutch heritage. The name 'Brooklyn' comes from the Dutch town 'Breukelen', Brooklyn's official motto is 'Eendraght Maeckt Maght' ('Unity provides power'), streets have been named after Dutch cities (Flushing Street/Avenue, named after Vlissingen), and the last visible piece of Dutch heritage is the 'Wyckoff House', the oldest house in New York state, built in 1652. On the inside, it seems to have modeled exactly after a typical painting by Vermeer.
Brooklyn is "huge, f*cking huge!" In order to get a decent impression of the neighborhood, a typical Dutch mode of transport turned out to be the best: the bicycle! We stayed in Williamsburg, the hipster part of Brooklyn. We were based in an old factory that had been converted into simple student housing (hint, hint, hint). The perfect headquarters for BKNY's journey of exploration.
Williamsburg in a nutshell: bagel shops, smoothie shops, recycling, innovation, friendliness, street art, flea markets, hipster glasses, beards, street music, people in NASA outfits, skateboards; it is almost like a movie set! It seems to regulate itself; old factory buildings become accommodation and creative offices. From biological chocolate to jewelry made from recycled vinyl, from beer breweries to small museums; people here really have room to develop! Yes, develop, a word which Shoot Me hopes - given the current Dutch political climate - will still have some sort of meaning in the Netherlands in ten years time.
Brooklyn is the creative back garden of the economically oriented Manhattan. From our roof we could see the impressive skyline, which sort of reminded us of the view from Bink36, five stories up. But this is for real! Two skyscrapers were obviously missing, but people are hard at work to change that! Whatever you feel about Americans, they are living their dream and working damn hard for it!
The immediate reason for our visit were the negotiations with possible festival partners, such as the Brooklyn International Film Festival, Pitchfork.tv (an international platform for music, music videos, and documentaries) and the Brooklyn Brewery. One of America's most headstrong filmmakers, Spike Lee, drew much of his inspiration from this borough. So this will be the perfect year to organize a retrospective of mister Lee's work.
In essence, Williamsburg is a continuous festival. If you provide people with enough space and trust their ideas, festivals will become obsolete. That is exactly what is happening in Williamsburg. Well done guys!