The Most Promising Young Filmmakers in Brooklyn

Josephine Decker, director of Thou Wast Mild and Lovely
©Robin Holland/

Josephine Decker, Thou Wast Mild and Lovely
(screening on Monday, June 23)

Which neighborhood do you live in?
After eight years in Prospect Heights, I decided to “head west.”  I sold all my furniture, packed up everything else to storage, took a cross-country road trip with my best friend, and landed in Washington State by car and Amtrak only to find out, the day I got there, that “Butter on the Latch” would be going to Maryland Film Festival and I needed to head back to New York to finish the sound mix. I bounced around NYC for eight months insisting that I wasn’t actually moving back to Brooklyn, and then moved back to Brooklyn. I’m in Clinton Hill now, sharing a house with six people, all of whom inspire me. With all the travel I’m doing now, it’s wonderful to come home to a bunch of best friends every month. But—I’m still planning to head west… some… day…

Do you think living in Brooklyn affects your work?
Yes. Not always in a good way. There are a lot of incredible people in New York City, and seeing all those people is time not spent reading, researching, drinking tea and contemplating, watching movies, working on scripts, discovering new secrets to the universe. I really let my inner extrovert get the best of me when I’m in New York, and solitude is a vital part of the creative process. I see many more films and have many more deep ideas when I am not in NYC.

Is there a “Brooklyn film scene”?
Definitely. Filled with great people who inspire me, thrill me, ride bicycles and walk barefoot through parks with me, and distract me from getting anything done. But, I will admit: it’s incredible to be in a place where so many people are not just filmmakers but filmmakers pursuing passion projects—simply for the love of cinema. It keeps us all creating and exploring and on our toes. I don’t know if I would have the same fire under my ass to get movies made if I lived anywhere else… though Joe Swanberg lives in Chicago and makes a movie every six minutes, so… maybe we should all move there?

What film that’s not your own are you most excited about at the festival?
Is there any film playing that I don’t want to see?! I’m so curious about Evolution of a Criminal. I love a good personal memoir doc (Sherman’s March: what an explosion…), and, after being held-up at gunpoint by a very, very nervous 19-year-old a few years ago, am very interested in what drives a young man or woman towards a criminal act.  

What’s your favorite movie theater in Brooklyn?
I love the Cobble Hill Cinema. It is so… DARK. Just so so dark. You sit down in there and if you want to get up to use the bathroom, be prepared to step on 13 people’s feet and fall twice on your way.  I love it: total immersion in blackness. I also saw Pan’s Labyrinth there, and my inner golden chrysalis was awakened. So, a grazie for that.


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