‘Battle For Brooklyn’ – Oscar Candidate Eminent Domain Doc Coming To Honolulu

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BY ROBERT THOMAS – Mark your calendars: on Tuesday, January 3, and Wednesday, January 4, 2012, at 7:30pm and 9:30pm, the docfilm Battle for Brooklyn will make its exclusive Hawaii screening at the Doris Duke Theater at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. There will be Q & A sessions after the showings.

This is an especially timely film for Hawaii audiences — it chronicles one homeowner’s years-long fight to save his condo from being taken by eminent domain so the land could be used for a new arena for the NBA’s New Jersey Nets, and Honolulu is in the opening phases of the $5 billion rail project, the most expensive public works project in its history. The rail project will require the taking of hundreds of homes and businesses, and Battle For Brooklyn‘s inside look at the politics of eminent domain is an eye-opener about how the process of taking private property really works.

We reviewed Battle for Brooklyn after it made its public debut a few months ago (the filmmakers presented a rough cut preview at the annual ALI-ABA eminent domain program), and we recommended it. We even sat down for a few minutes with director Michael Galinsky for a short interview. Recently, it made the short list of documentaries being considered for the Academy Award.

Battle For Brooklyn made its premiere in Brooklyn, naturally, and it has been showing in the New York area on an extended run. Unfortunately, there’s only one print of the final film because prints are very expensive, about $7,500 apiece, so it has not been more widely released. But luckily, the filmmakers have graciously agreed to bring it to our fair shores for a (very) limited run.

The film has received excellent reviews. Our colleagues at the California Eminent Domain Report agree (“If you’re in the right of way industry, this is a must see. Or, if you simply like tales of David versus Goliath, go get yourself a movie ticket.”), as does the LA Times (“a deft look at a reluctant crusader and how financial sway and political override can so effectively trump the power of the average citizen”), the indieWIRE blog (“it’s inspiring to see Americans put a lie to the suggestion that they are apathetic, self-obsessed, greedy, fat, and stupid”), an LA blogger (“This weekend a movie opens in Los Angeles that everyone who cares about neighborhoods should see … We may be on opposite sides of America, but the battle for Brooklyn is our fight in Los Angeles, too.”), and Yahoo Movies (“The timing is exceedingly relevant to Los Angelenos as they listen to the on-going discussion about building a NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles.”). Here are reader reviews from the NY Times.

More here (a recent interview with Mr. Galinsky).

Stay tuned for more information as the date draws near.