NYC Partners with Rooftop Films to Present Free Films Across All Five Boroughs

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Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the City of New York has partnered with Rooftop Films, a New York non-profit cultural institution, to present six free outdoor film and TV screenings during NYC Homecoming Week taking place August 14-22.

The screenings will be located across all five boroughs of New York City to celebrate New York City's comeback and will showcase exciting new films and series that capture the vitality and courageous resilience of New Yorkers. Dan Nuxoll, President of Rooftop Films, joined the mayor for today's announcement to reveal the programming lineup.

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Screenings will include: 

Monday, August 16: Walter Gladwin Park, Bronx: NEON presents Jamila Wignot's documentary Ailey, on the visionary New York dancer, director, choreographer, and activist Alvin Ailey;

Tuesday, August 17: Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island: A special Staten Island screening of the season two finale and an exclusive sneak peek at the season three premiere of FX's critically acclaimed Emmy®-nominated comedy series What We Do in the Shadows;

Wednesday, August 18: NYC Homecoming Week Film at Rockefeller Park, to be announced

Wednesday, August 18: Jackie Robinson Park in Harlem, Manhattan: The NYC premiere of Netflix and Marcus A. Clarke's upcoming documentary Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali; 

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Thursday, August 19: Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn: Hulu, Disney's Onyx Collective and Searchlight Pictures present Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson's critically acclaimed Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised); 

Friday, August 20: Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens: A presentation of New York Shorts, including HBO's How To with John Wilson: How To Cook the Perfect Risotto; and more. 

Gates will open for each screening at 6:30 p.m., and films will begin at 8:30 p.m. See the full schedule below for all dates, times and locations. Visit for more information and to RSVP for free tickets. 

Rooftop Films is at the heart of New York City's independent film scene. In June of 2021, the organization re-launched its popular Summer Series which, in its 25th season, is one of the longest running and largest outdoor showcases of independent films in the world. With Summer Series' in-person events running through mid-September, Rooftop Films continues to be a part of the revitalization of New York City by creating six unique, community screening events for Homecoming Week.

"Joining our mega-star lineup of NYC Homecoming Week concerts and cultural events, our partnership with Rooftop Films will offer even more ways for New Yorkers to celebrate our comeback," said Mayor de Blasio. "From documentaries to comedies and shorts by acclaimed directors, we're proud to bring these free outdoor screenings to all five boroughs this August."

"Rooftop Films is proud to have helped keep cinema alive in NYC over the past year and we could not have done it without the help of the people in City Hall," said Dan Nuxoll, President of Rooftop Films. "Bringing independent films to a multitude of audiences and their communities is central to what we do, and we're honored that the city has selected us to be a part of this historic moment that celebrates the resilience of our beautiful city."

NYC Homecoming Week screenings will be a part of the 2021 Rooftop Films Summer Series, presented by SundanceTV, and supported by Lay's Potato Chips.

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As part of NYC Homecoming Week, New Yorkers can experience screenings of the following films and series: 

Ailey (dir. Jamila Wignot | Documentary Feature | USA | 82 mins)

Date/Location: August 16, 2021 at Walter Gladwin Park, Bronx

Tickets: Free, RSVP HERE:

About: Alvin Ailey was a trailblazing pioneer who found salvation through dance. Ailey traces the contours of this brilliant and enigmatic man whose search for the truth in movement resulted in enduring choreography that centers on the Black American experience with grace, strength, and unparalleled beauty. Told through Ailey's own words and featuring evocative archival footage and interviews with those who intimately knew him, director Jamila Wignot weaves together an illuminating and inspiring documentary about the visionary choreographer and activist.

Courtesy of NEON

What We Do in the Shadows (Select episodes, Season 2 finale & Season 3 premiere) 

(Created by Jemaine Clement | Series | USA | 44 mins)

Date/Location: August 17, 2021 at Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island

Co-presented by Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden

Tickets: Free, RSVP HERE:

About: What We Do in the Shadows, based on the feature film by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, documents the nightly exploits of vampire roommates Nandor (Kayvan Novak), Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), Laszlo (Matt Berry) and Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) as they navigate the modern world of Staten Island with the help of their human familiar, Guillermo (Harvey Guillén). At the screening, audiences will be treated to the season two finale and an exclusive sneak peek at the season three premiere of FX's critically acclaimed Emmy®-nominated comedy series.

Courtesy of FX Networks

Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali

(dir. Marcus A. Clarke | Documentary Feature | USA | 95 mins)

Date/Location: August 18, 2021 at Jackie Robinson Park in Harlem, Manhattan

Co-presented by Historic Harlem Parks and Maysles Documentary Center

Tickets: Free, RSVP HERE:

About: Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali tells the extraordinary story behind the friendship of two of the most iconic figures of the 20th century: Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X. Few people understand the bond these men shared. The charismatic and outspoken Olympic champion who charmed the nation, and the excon-turned-intellectual revolutionary who railed against the evils of white oppression by speaking truth to power. The message they carry, still as potent and relevant today as ever before. Their bond was undoubtedly deep, their friendship real and their legacies inextricably bound.

Courtesy of Netflix

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Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

(dir. Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson | Documentary Feature | USA | 117 mins)

Date/Location: August 19, 2021 at Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn

Co-presented by Fort Greene Park Conservancy, The Lay Out 

Tickets: Free, RSVP HERE:

About: In his acclaimed debut as a filmmaker, Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson presents a powerful and transporting documentary—part music film, part historical record created around an epic event that celebrated Black history, culture and fashion. Over the course of six weeks in the summer of 1969, just one hundred miles south of Woodstock, The Harlem Cultural Festival was filmed in Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park). The footage was largely forgotten–until now. Summer of Soul shines a light on the importance of history to our spiritual well-being and stands as a testament to the healing power of music during times of unrest, both past and present.  The feature includes concert performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Mahalia Jackson, B.B. King, The 5th Dimension and more.

Courtesy of Disney General Entertainment's Onyx Collective, Hulu and Searchlight Pictures

New York Shorts

Date/Location: August 20, 2021, Outdoors at the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens

Co-presented by New York Hall of Science and Museum of the Moving Image

Tickets: Free, RSVP HERE:

About: New York City isn't the easiest place to live, even in the most gentle of times. And the last few years haven't been gentle. But New York has always been a town that attracts the tough and cultivates the dogged, and it will always be a place that reminds us that none of us can do it on our own. In celebration of the city's collective perseverance, Rooftop Films has gathered a selection of short films that embody the collective fighting spirit of New York's everyday heroes and showcases our communal courage and comradery. We'll witness a young woman wrestling an impossibly stubborn mattress into a walk-up apartment; one family adapting to the unexpected darkness of a sudden blackout and another family maintaining solidarity across great a great divide; and people across the five boroughs coming together to share food and comfort, defiantly resisting the alienating solitude of the pandemic. In times of crisis, these New Yorkers, like so many of you, found ways to make the greatest city on Earth into an even better place.

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Featured Short Films:

How To with John Wilson: How To Cook the Perfect Risotto (dir. John Wilson | USA | 30 mins)

I Know What Pandemic Means (Sé Lo Que Es Pandemia) [dir. Frisly Soberanis | USA | 15 mins]

In Sudden Darkness (dir. Tayler Montague | USA | 13 mins) 

Last Stop For Lost Property (dir. Vicente Cueto | USA | 13 mins)

MOVING (dir. Adinah Dancyger | USA | 8 mins) 

3,000 Miles (三千哩) [dir. Sean Wang & Breton Vivian | USA | 5 mins]

For all attendees, proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for entry. 

Proof of vaccination includes at least one dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine, such as Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, or AstraZeneca/Oxford.  Attendees can present proof of vaccination by showing their: CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Card; A photo (digital or printout) of their CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card; New York City COVID SAFE App; or New York State Excelsior Pass. (Note: You do not have to be a New York State resident to obtain an Excelsior Pass, however, you must be fully vaccinated to use the pass. Examples: Second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.)

An attendee who is not able to get vaccinated because of a disability will be required to: Sign an attestation to that effect to enter the event; Present proof of a negative COVID PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test taken within 72 hours prior to the event; and If medically able to tolerate a face-covering, wear a mask for the entire duration of the event.

RSVP is required for all events. Please RSVP at


Rooftop Films is a non-profit organization whose mission is to engage and inspire the diverse communities of New York City by showcasing the work of emerging filmmakers and musicians. In addition to their annual Summer Series – which takes place in unique outdoor venues every weekend throughout the summer – Rooftop provides grants to filmmakers, rents equipment at low-cost to artists and fellow non-profits, and supports screenings citywide with the Rooftop Films Community Fund. At Rooftop Films, we bring underground movies outdoors. For more information and updates, please visit

About our community partners: 

Fort Greene Park Conservancy

The Fort Greene Park Conservancy provides programming, maintenance, and advocacy to preserve and nourish Fort Greene Park as a community resource and public space for all New Yorkers for generations to come.

The Lay Out

The Lay Out is a group of Brooklyn-based activists and organizers who are helping the Black community reclaim space, time, energy and, most importantly, each other.

Maysles Documentary Center

Maysles Documentary Center (MDC) is a Harlem-based nonprofit organization committed to community, education, and documentary film.

Museum of the Moving Image

The Museum of Moving Image's mission is to advance the understanding, enjoyment, and appreciation of the art, history, technique, and technology of film, television, and digital media.

New York Hall of Science

Located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the mission of the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) is to nurture generations of passionate learners, critical thinkers and active citizens through an approach called Design, Make, Play. Design, Make, Play emphasizes open-ended exploration, imaginative learning and personal relevance, resulting in deep engagement and delight in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Snug Harbor Cultural Center 

Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden is an 83-acre campus offering dynamic programming for diverse communities of all ages in the arts, horticulture, and agriculture on enchanting grounds which include 26 historic structures, 14 botanical gardens, a 2.5-acre urban farm, wetlands, forests and park land. Learn more at


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