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A Word With Peter Saraf, Producer of ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ and Now ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’

Just a handful of blocks from where “Safety Not Guaranteed” is playing at AMC Loews Village 7 are the offices of Big Beach, the company that produced the endearing indie comedy about a wannabe time-traveler, played by Mark Duplass, and his adoring sidekick, played by Aubrey Plaza of “Parks and Recreation.” Since Big Beach was founded in 2004 by Marc Turtletaub and Peter Saraf, it has produced “Sunshine Cleaning,” starring Amy Adams and Emily Blunt, as well as the Sam Mendes film “Away We Go,” written by Dave Eggers and his wife Vendela Vida and starring Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski. Both followed the runaway success, in 2006, of “Little Miss Sunshine.”

The Local recently spoke to Mr. Saraf, who got his start working with director Jonathan Demme on Broadway and Bond Street, under the skylight of his office on Great Jones Street. As clouds shifted above, he spoke about his past, present, and upcoming projects and, of course, his chosen neighborhood. “It’s gone through a lot of changes over the eight years we’ve been here and over the 25 years I’ve lived in New York,” the producer said of the East Village, “but it remains still a very vibrant and exciting place where there’s a real history of great experimentation and great artistry going on. And yet it’s not all in the past. That present energy is still here.”

Interview | State Sen. Daniel Squadron

Senator Daniel SquadronCourtesy of Daniel L. Squadron State Senator Daniel L. Squadron, with constituents last fall, said that he favors expanding the East Village’s “bike network so that it’s a viable way for folks to get around to commute and recreate.”

A new year brings a new legislative agenda for State Senator Daniel L. Squadron, who – entering his second term – says that he wants to bring issues that are important to neighborhood residents to the forefront in Albany. In an interview with The Local, Senator Squadron, whose 25th District includes the East Village, the Lower East Side and parts of Brooklyn, discussed the importance of bike lanes, renewing housing laws, cracking down on careless drivers and noisy bars, and expanding East Village parks.


Bike lanes are a hot topic right now. But there are battles still brewing. What will you do this year to help smooth out the sometimes rocky relationship between bikers, businesses, the community and the Department of Transportation?


There’s an overall increase in the bike lanes use, and I think that is great. We are continuing to develop the bike network so that it’s a viable way for folks to get around to commute and recreate.

I like the idea of a bike share program. As we have more bicyclists and more access, which is a great thing, we need to increase compliance with laws. And we need to expand our bike networks for more people out there.

My frustration at bike lanes comes from two places: failure, in some cases, to be fully collaborative with communities and think through the consequences as we expand the network, and secondly, from those few who don’t follow the rules. Too often, the DOT implements lanes without preparing businesses to understand what the rules are. They’ve done it in ways that are not responsive to the community. DOT has gotten better at this; my job is to keep the pressure on. We need clarity about rules for bicyclists and members of the community, and work with community boards, businesses and residents before implementing them. We need opportunities for folks in bicycling communities and other groups to weigh in.
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