PRAISE for Last Summer:
“I can’t say enough about Last Summer At Coney Island. This is a very special piece of work; one that captures the legend at its best and worst, as well as its characters, whose time, love and colossal personalities, make Coney Island more than just another amusement park.”
—Sal Nunziato, HuffingtonPost.com
“An intimate portrait of an iconic New York landmark in transition, Last Summer at Coney Island takes the vibrant elements of the history of Coney Island and sets them against the backdrop of a community searching for a rebirth. The result is a truly authentic and moving piece of storytelling.”
—Ric Burns, director of New York: A Documentary Film and Coney Island
“JL Aronson’s look at the battle over New York’s playground lets both sides—Thor Equities reps and Astroland-lovers alike—speak, raising questions about commercial interests and social responsibility, the benefits and drawbacks of nostalgia and sentimentality, and the supposed inevitability of urban renewal.”
—New York Magazine
“Director JL Aronson’s ambitious documentary, Last Summer at Coney Island, exquisitely portrays the ongoing push over the past few years to revive the gritty seaside amusement district as the bumpy roller coaster ride its been.”
—Rich Calder, New York Post
“A timely analysis of the redevelopment of Coney Island that delineates fact from rumor in the future of this American landmark, while documenting the relationships and culture that have influenced it.”
Last Summer at Coney Island – the DVD – officially goes on sale this week. And to celebrate, Luna Park is opening a second location in Coney Island called THE SCREAM ZONE. I got to attend the grand opening the other day and it was nothing short of surreal. First, you have a space in a familiar area that has been utterly transformed, second you add dignitaries like Michael Bloomberg and Marty Markowitz (doing a banter routine that I always feel like I’ve seen before), thirdly there are futuristic looking contraptions shooting people 200 feet into the air, and then you’ve got a lot of Italians walking around, thanks to Zamperla, which operates Luna Park and designs many of the rides. I defy anyone to NOT feel like they’re in a Fellini movie!
Check out NY 1′s coverage HERE.
Just in time for Spring, we’ve gotten confirmation that Last Summer at Coney Island will soon be available on DVD, courtesy of IndiePix Films. They’ll also offer the film as a download from their site. At the same time, WNET/Thirteen and WLIW/21–New York’s PBS stations–will be broadcasting the film this summer! So, whether you missed it in past screenings or whether you want to see it again and savor every frame, you’ll soon have more ways to enjoy Last Summer than you know what to do with.
The digital download release is schedule for April 15, with the DVD to follow 2-3 weeks after that. But we’ll let you know when we have exact dates.
Last Summer at Coney Island has won two festival awards! Best Documentary in the Ace Film Festival and “Best Use of Coney Island as a setting” in the Coney Island Film Festival. (Natch.)
Thanks to everyone who attended these and the other screenings. Stay tuned for more news.
Nice preview in this week’s Village Voice. They made “Last Summer” their movie pick for Monday!
Coney Island’s not-so-endless summer
So we all more or less know the dilemma: The Cyclone, Wonder Wheel, magnificently greasy fries from Nathan’s, and all at once kitschy yet compelling sideshow curiosities (a rabbit-pigeon? No way!) were what made Coney Island like nothing you’ve ever seen before. But now, in an epic act of contracting that could potentially revive Brooklyn’s favorite beach, luxury hotel and condo developers are pushing to redesign the island to look like, well, pretty much everything you’ve ever seen before. Director J.L. Aronson documents the ongoing debacle between the developers, preservationists, and the surrounding community in his documentary Last Summer at Coney Island. The film premieres tonight as part of the Brooklyn Close-Up film series, with Aronson appearing for a Q&A after the 6:50 showing. After hearing all sides of the debate, you can decide for yourself what should become of America’s iconic playground and the 150-year-old legend on the line.
Mon., Aug. 9, 4:30, 6:50 & 9:30 p.m., 2010
Last Summer at Coney Island will have its official world premiere on August 9 at BAM! Three screenings throughout the day –> 4:30pm, 6:50pm and 9:30pm. A Q&A discussion featuring director JL Aronson and special guests will follow the 6:50pm screening. Fun!
Subscribe to this blog or join the mailing list at www.LastSummerAtConeyIsland.com for an announcement of when tickets go on sale, and for info on other upcoming screenings.
BAM is located at 30 Lafayette Avenue, more or less between Flatbush and Fulton in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Take the 2,3,4,5,N,R,B,Q or D trains or LIRR to Atlantic Avenue station.
Went to the 22nd annual Mermaid Parade last weekend and played it mellow. Watched the proceedings from a safe distance, shot a little super8, went for a ride on the Wonder Wheel, collapsed on the beach with my associate producer Jen and our friend Miss Cyclone (aka Angie Pontani), and called it a day.
My only question, what’s with the Any Warhol costume, people?
It’s the Mermaid Parade. Perhaps they were celebrating the Brooklyn Museum’s current show on Uncle Andy’s late years. I got to check it out opening night with my fried Muire. As Andy would have said, it was…really…great.