Class Notes & Profiles

Skyline Screenings

By Corinne Militello '98

“I believe [short films] are a different media than feature films, that they have different rules and different aesthetics, and that they deserve their own forum,” said Mark Rosenberg ’97, founding director of Rooftop Films, a non-profit organization that hosts a summer screening series on a rooftop in Bushwick, Brooklyn. “Part of starting it came out of a slight frustration with the way that short films were treated in the film world,” said Rosenberg, who was a film major at Vassar, and also currently works as a producer and editor at Downtown Community Television in N.Y.C.

Last summer Rooftop Films screened 156 films, 154 of which were shorts. But all of the films screened, Rosenberg said, “get across independent, personal ways of thinking that can be innovative and show us something about the world that we wouldn’t see in mainstream media.”

Rosenberg and other Rooftop Films staff members (who include Sarah Palmer ’99 and Dan Nuxoll ’97) establish a new theme for each week’s screenings. The goal is “to have a coherent whole but mix things within that,” Rosenberg said. On one night, Rooftop Films may screen documentaries about widely differing subjects, alongside animations, and other experimental films.

A typical night brings upwards of 150 curious film buffs, who can expect to see something out of the ordinary. Surprising the audience, Rosenberg said, is often what brings people back week after week. He views Rooftop Films’ screening series as a “communal festival,” where filmmakers are part of the organization and continue to help it grow. One sixth of ticket revenues go towards a filmmakers’ fund, which co-produced 11 films in 2002. Rooftop Films’ summer screenings begin in June, and take place every Friday night throughout the summer. For information visit