On My Block Films Captures Neighbors, Neighborhoods

Built out of co-founders Ryan O’Hara Theisen's (of DUMBO's Lucky Branded Entertainment) and Mary Crosse's desire to make New York City's blocks a bit more neighborly, On My Block Films is now in its second year! Starting July 1, New York City residents from all five boroughs are invited to create and submit a one- to three-and-a-half-minute length short narrative or documentary film to On My Block (via Vimeo).

How are these films building NYC's communities? The cast and crew of each film must be made up of neighbors on one block, and film must be shot on said block. Crosse emphasizes that all levels of filmmakers are welcome to enter the competition, "Directors can make films on an iPhone or smartphone...They can even use a famous actress. Anything goes. They just have to be made on the filmmaker’s block.”

For Theisen, making his own film in his neighborhood of Carroll Gardens, has had On My Block's intended effect, saying he feels like  "Sam from Cheers" when he walks down his block.

Behind the scenes of Theisen's film "Free Camera"

Submissions will be accepted through October 31, throughout which the films will be posted on Vimeo and open to public voting; then on November 6, On My Block's panel of judges will vote on the public's top forty picks. November 11, the top twenty films will be screened at the SVA Theater as part of the On My Block awards ceremony. Some awards will carry over from last year (Best Narrative Film, Best Documentary Film and Best In Show) and this year, a new category for films made outside New York City’s five boroughs has been introduced as part of On My Block's effort to expand to other cities. Last year's winners included:  BIKES & BEATS (made on Snyder Avenue between 31st and 32nd streets in Flatbush) and Le Petit Fairytale (made on Union Street between Henry and Clinton Streets in Carroll Gardens).

On My Block is currently in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to raise $10,000 to fund its current season (updated website, festival venue fees, promotional material and last, but certainly not least prizes, for filmmakers), any additional funding will be allocated towards the expansion of On My Block to other cities. Donations accepted through July 19. “Backers” of the project will receive premium items for their contributions ranging from T-shirts to free festival tickets to Founding Member Status of On My Block. Check out their cute Kickstarter plea on Vimeo!

To learn more about On My Block and how to participate in this year's festival, click here.