HAPPY 1ST ANNIVERSARY FIREHOUSE CINEMA!
- By Mabel Pais
Happy 50th Birthday DCTV!
Happy 1st Birthday Firehouse Cinema!
The DCTV’s (Downtown Community Television Center) 50th anniversary coincides with the first birthday of the new Firehouse Cinema.
To celebrate these twin milestones, Firehouse Cinema is thrilled to present “DCTV @ 50,” which unearths its archives to connect past and present. Spanning five decades and traversing landscapes from Canal Street to Cuba, this series spotlights the work of DCTV’s co-founders: the pioneering video journalist Keiko Tsuno and Academy Award-nominee Jon Alpert.
Together and independently they have documented everything from addiction struggles to the casualties of war to the triumphs and tribulations of college basketball.
DCTV has produced countless award-winning documentaries and hosted community screenings that have brought about both local change here in New York and awareness of global issues. A lot has changed in 50 years, as Alpert remembers: “We used to show our documentaries on the corner of Canal Street from an oíd mail truck we bought for $5. It took 50 years to build the DCTV Firehouse Cinema, this beautiful palace for documentary films.”
Join Firehouse Cinema for screenings and conversations with special guests that honor DCTV’s storied history within the documentary film community and the extended family who have made its work possible.
THIRD AVENUE: ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE
Thu Sep 21, 6:00pm
Q&A with Jon Alpert and Keiko Tsuno, Moderated by Nathan Silver
Dir. Jon Alpert and Keiko Tsuno | 1980 | 58 min
This Emmy Award-winning documentary tells the stories of six “ordinary” people who live or work along New York City’s Third Avenue, which runs for sixteen miles through Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, cutting through the complex social strata of the city to reveal wildly different economic and ethnic subcultures.
Video Television Review: Downtown Community Television Center
VTR | 1975 | 29 min
As an introduction to the series, this interview is a window into the early days of DCTV. Produced as part of the Video Tape Review series of New York public television station WNET/Thirteen, it features interviews with Jon Alpert and Keiko Tsuno interspersed with excerpts from their extensive body of work documenting everyday life in Chinatown and Lower East Side of New York City, from vibrant performances by neighboring arts organizations to a rowdy school board meeting, into Cuba.
LIFE OF CRIME: 1985-2020
Fri Sep 22, 6:30pm
Q&A with Jon Alpert
Dir. Jon Alpert | 2021 | 121 min
Life of Crime: 1984-2020, is the culmination of 36 years of work from multiple Emmy Award-winning producer/director Jon Alpert. The third and final part of an epic documentary trilogy tells the full story of three friends from Newark, New Jersey whose lives have been defined by and torn apart by their addictions.
CANAL STREET: FIRST STOP IN AMERICA
Sat Sep 23, 1:00pm
Dir. Keiko Tsuno and Peter Kwong | 1998 | 50 min
Less than a mile long, Canal Street is the dirtiest and noisiest, but also the most vibrant and dynamic street in New York City. For over a century, new immigrants have expected Canal Street to furnish the American Dream, to provide an opportunity to work hard and build a future. Emmy award-winning producer Keiko Tsuno and Professor Peter Kwong take us on an insider’s tour of this bustling street, where immigrant businesspeople are caught between the forces of the Law and a street with a law of its own.
CUBA AND THE CAMERAMAN
Sat Sep 23, 2:30pm
Q&A with Jon Alpert
Dir. Jon Alpert | 2017 | 113 min
Emmy-winning filmmaker Jon Alpert chronicles the fortunes of three Cuban families over the course of four tumultuous decades in the nation’s history. This multigenerational portrait of Cuba earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Historical Documentary.
BAGHDAD ER and REDEMPTION
Sun Sep 24, 1:00pm
Q&A with Jon Alpert
Dir. Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill | 2006 | 64 min
The 86th Combat Support Hospital (CSH)–the U.S. Army’s premier medical facility in Iraq–is the setting for this unforgettable documentary. In addition to profiling the doctors and nurses at the 86th who fight to save wounded soldiers, the film provides vivid frontline rescue footage along with tension-filled scenes of soldiers patrolling one deadly stretch of highway. Winner of four Emmy Awards.
Dir. Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neil | 2013 | 35 min
Redemption is a documentary about New York City’s canners – the men and women who survive by redeeming bottles and cans they collect from curbs, garbage cans and apartment complexes. You’ve seen them combing through the trash, but never got to meet them. The film is an unexpected and intimate look at post-industrial gleaners, struggling at the edge of our society.
JAMES GANDOLFINI’S DOCUMENTARY LEGACY
Tue Sep 26, 7:00pm
Q&A with Jon Alpert, Michael Gandolfini, and Tom Richardson
Moderated by Steve Buscemi
While many knew James Gandolifini for his portrayal of Tony Soprano, DCTV knew James Gandolfini as a committed advocate for the rights and welfare of America’s war veterans. Firehouse cinema proudly worked with him on several documentaries, including ALIVE DAY MEMORIES: HOME FROM IRAQ and WARTORN: 1861-2010. He believed in documentary film as one of the best tools to shift cultural perspectives, and created some very powerful projects in the course of his lifetime.
This program will screen a selection of the following films:
ALIVE DAY MEMORIES: HOME FROM IRAQ
Dir. Jon Alpert and Ellen Goosenberg Kent | 2007
A new generation of veterans is returning from Iraq. For these survivors, two days will forever memorialize their lives: their birthday and their Alive Day–the day they narrowly escaped death. This HBO Documentary Films production presents the first-person stories of ten Alive Day heroes as told to Emmy(R)-winning actor James Gandolfini.
Dir. Jon Alpert, Ellen Goosenberg Kent, Matthew O’Neill | 2010
Executive produced by James Gandolfini (HBO’s Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq) and produced by award-winning filmmakers Jon Alpert, Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Matt O’Neill, this 75-minute HBO Documentary Films presentation explores combat stress and posttraumatic stress on military personnel and their families throughout recorded American military history.
THE LAST COWBOY
Wed Sep 27, 6:00pm
Dir. Jon Alpert | 2005 | 84 min
The Last Cowboy follows 23 years in the life of Vern Sager, a real American cowboy in one of the most isolated places in America – the Badlands of South Dakota. Out on the range with temperatures so extreme a herd can freeze overnight, Vern faces an army of adversaries: cattle rustlers, international agribusiness, old age, the weather, and the wanderlust of his own family.
A CINDERELLA SEASON: THE LADY VOLS FIGHT BACK
Wed Sep 27, 8:00pm
Dir. Jon Alpert | 1998 | 77 min
Winners of the 1996 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship, the University of Tennessee’s Lady Volunteers seemed poised to contend for the trophy again. But halfway through the 1997 season, the team was not living up to their promise. Could this team really win again?
THE REEL CHANGE: DCTV YOUTH MEDIA
Thu Sep 28, 7:00pm
Q&A with filmmakers
At the heart of DCTV is its Youth Media programs. The Reel Change features a selection of impactful youth-made films throughout the decades. Through the lens of our young filmmakers, witness the evolution of social consciousness and activism, and experience the collective voice of young people striving for a better world.
(Mabel Pais writes on The Arts and Entertainment, Social Issues, Spirituality, Education, Cuisine, Health & Wellness, and Business)