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Bizarre Love Triangle: A Man, His Toddler, the Babysitter in ‘Harry Grows Up’

Mark Nickelsburg, a longtime East Village resident, will debut “Harry Grows Up” tonight at the inaugural New York International Short Film Festival at Sunshine Cinema. The 12-minute film is about a toddler, Harry (played by Mr. Nickelsburg’s son Lucas) who loses his babysitter (Elizabeth Elkins) when she heads off to college. The tot sinks into the kind of deep depression that results in empty baby bottles strewn about the house, leading narrator Josh Hamilton to quip, “I’m not the first heartbroken New Yorker to turn to the bottle.” But then along comes Zoey, a love interest closer to Harry’s age. Mr. Nickelsburg, 41, described the short as a “romantic comedy for adults, starring babies.” The Local spoke with him about filming his own son in the streets of the East Village.


One of the major characters in your film is the East Village. Was that intentional?


Yes. The experiences that Harry is going through and some of the locations that he’s going to I drew from my own experiences. Like the storefront that figures prominently in the movie, that was around the corner from where I used to live. Moonstruck is the diner on Fifth and Second where Harry drowns his sorrows. I went there all the time. Read more…

Ukrainian Film Festival, Kinofest NYC, Plumbs the Post-Soviet Era

The Other Chelsea- an old soviet monumentCourtesy of Kinofest NYC A still from “The Other Cheslea.”

Maryna Vroda, whose film “Cross Country” won the Palme d’Or for best short film at the Cannes Film Festival last year, will make her stateside debut at the Ukrainian Museum this Thursday. She’s one of four Ukrainian filmmakers – plus one from Berlin and another from Brooklyn – who will kick off this year’s Ukrainian and Post-Soviet Film Fest, dubbed Kinofest NYC.

The festival is sponsored by neighborhood institutions such as the Self Reliance Federal Credit Union and Veselka, which will cater a reception following Thursday’s screening. Andrew Kotliar, its director, said he created it three years ago with the goal of “celebrating creativity, not an ethnicity,” though he also hoped to bring together some divided groups. Read more…

Film Turns Mary Help of Christians School Into After-Hours Club

photo(97)Daniel Maurer

Last night, Mary Help of Christians Church was ethereally illuminated as writer-director Larry Brand filmed scenes from “Girl on the Train,” a neo-noir thriller starring Henry Ian Cusick as a documentary filmmaker, Stephen Lang as a detective, and Nicki Aycox as the titular femme fatale.

Rebecca Reynolds, a producer, said that the corner of East 12th Street and Avenue A will feature prominently in the indie flick: scenes were shot at Table 12, the deli across the street, and inside of the vacant school building behind Mary Help of Christians, as well as in Brooklyn, Queens, Riverdale, and on the Metro-North train. “This location can just be so many things,” she said, nodding toward the church’s rectory. “We were able to use it as Lexi’s childhood-home kitchen, we did an after-hours club in here, we did an abandoned tenement room, plus they have a dining hall where we fed and catered the crew.” Read more…

Watch the First Five Minutes of Jonas Mekas’s Mars Bar Movie, Opening Friday

With its former home at First Street and Second Avenue now a hole in the ground, a couple of Mars Bar’s neighbors are paying tribute to it in the next days.

Tonight from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (to the dismay of some bloggers) upscale boutique Blue & Cream will launch an exhibition of photos that Debby Hymowitz took at the old dive in 2010 (you can see some of them online). And tomorrow, Jonas Mekas’s love letter to the watering hole, “My Mars Bar Movie,” opens at Anthology Film Archives. It’ll be its first screening since an underattended premiere at the Greenpoint Film Festival in October.

From the film’s first five minutes (excerpted exclusively above), it’s clear this isn’t a traditional documentary. The director said as much yesterday afternoon, nursing a beer and a double shot of vodka at Anyway Café. Read more…