Still from My Brooklyn
Still from My Brooklyn

On Demand

My Brooklyn

by Kelly Anderson & Allison Lirish Dean
A look at the economic and political forces that push residents out of working class neighbourhoods in Brooklyn to make room for luxury condos.
2012  ·  1h16m  ·  United States
About the Film

MY BROOKLYN is a documentary about Director Kelly Anderson’s personal journey, as a Brooklyn “gentrifier,” to understand the forces reshaping her neighborhood along lines of race and class. The story begins when Anderson moves to Brooklyn in 1988, lured by cheap rents and bohemian culture. By Michael Bloomberg’s election as mayor in 2001, a massive speculative real estate boom is rapidly altering the neighborhoods she has come to call home. She watches as an explosion of luxury housing and chain store development spurs bitter conflict over who has a right to live in the city and to determine its future. While some people view these development patterns as ultimately revitalizing the city, to others, they are erasing the eclectic urban fabric, economic and racial diversity, creative alternative culture, and unique local economies that drew them to Brooklyn in the first place. It seems that no less than the city’s soul is at stake.

Meanwhile, development officials announce a controversial plan to tear down and remake the Fulton Mall, a popular and bustling African-American and Caribbean commercial district just blocks from Anderson’s apartment. She discovers that the Mall, despite its run-down image, is the third most profitable shopping area in New York City with a rich social and cultural history. As the local debate over the Mall’s future intensifies, deep racial divides in the way people view neighborhood change become apparent. All of this pushes Anderson to confront her own role in the process of gentrification, and to investigate the forces behind it more deeply.

She meets with government officials, urban planners, developers, advocates, academics, and others who both champion and criticize the plans for Fulton Mall. Only when Anderson meets Brooklyn-born and raised scholar Craig Wilder, though, who explains his family’s experiences of neighborhood change over generations, does Anderson come to understand that what is happening in her neighborhoods today is actually a new chapter in an old American story. The film’s ultimate questions become how to heal the deep racial wounds embedded in our urban development patterns, and how citizens can become active in restoring democracy to a broken planning process.

Upcoming Screenings

Stay tuned for upcoming screenings!

Festivals and Awards
Brooklyn Film Festival, Official Selection
International Architecture Film Festival, Lund, Official Selection
Red Hook Film Festival, Official Selection
Urban Uprising: A Right to the City Film Series, Official Selection
his Human World International Human Rights Film Festival, Vienna , Official Selection
Oxford Film Festival, Oxford, Mississippi, Official Selection
Martha's Vineyard Film Festival , Official Selection
Belfast Film Festival, Official Selection
DOXA Documentary Festival, Vancouver, Official Selection
Beat Film Festival, Moscow and St. Petersburg, Official Selection
In the Press
Kelly Anderson
Quenell Jones
Kelly Anderson, Allison Lirish Dean, Lisa Willis and Fivel Rothberg
Transmedia Producer
Laurie Sumiye
Allison Lirish Dean
Film Related
About the Director

Kelly Anderson

Kelly Anderson is an award-winning independent producer and director of documentary and narrative films. Her most recent production is NEVER ENOUGH, a documentary about American’s relationship with their material possessions, which is premiering at the 2010 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival. Other recent directing work includes SOMEPLACE LIKE HOME, a documentary about the redevelopment of Fulton Mall in Downtown Brooklyn, which she made for FUREE (Families United for Racial and Economic Equality). In 2004 Kelly produced and directed (with Tami Gold) and edited EVERY MOTHER’S SON, a documentary for ITVS about mothers whose children have been killed by police officers and who have become national spokespeople on the issue of police brutality. EVERY MOTHER’S SON premiered at Tribeca Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award, and had its broadcast premiere on PBS’s P.O.V. series. Kelly produced, directed and edited OVERCOMING THE ODDS, a short documentary that was distributed to more than 2,500 people internationally as part of a successful campaign to pass the groundbreaking Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which set global standards on the promotion and marketing of tobacco. This film was a follow-up to MAKING A KILLING, a half-hour documentary Kelly produced and directed (with Tami Gold) and edited that addresses the marketing practices of the tobacco industry in the developing world. MAKING A KILLING premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival, was screened for delegates at the World Health Organization and aired on television in Nigeria, Serbia, Lagos and Vietnam. In 2000 Kelly completed SHIFT, a one-hour drama for ITVS about the volatile relationship between a North Carolina waitress and a telemarketing prison inmate, which premiered at the Rotterdam International Film Festival and aired on many PBS stations. Kelly’s other documentaries include OUT AT WORK (with Tami Gold), which was screened at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival and was shown on HBO. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies at Hunter College in New York City.

Other films by Kelly Anderson

Allison Lirish Dean



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