2011-03-25 / Community

Breslin And Sarnoff - Rockaway 'Dynamic Duo' Of Film

By Susan Hartenstein Special to The Wave

Suggesting that Rockaway may have to change its name to “Culver City East,” Robert Sarnoff, with tongue firmly in cheek, asks, “What are the odds that two ‘Super Filmmakers’ from our area … Two! … are in the same film festival?” But seriously, what are the odds that documentaries by two local award-winning filmmakers, who live less than a mile from each other in Rockaway, would be chosen as official selections of the prestigious 2011 Palm Beach International Film Festival (PBIFF) in Florida?

Kevin Breslin, primarily known for his documentaries, commercials and public service announcements (PSAs) that include “Women of Rockaway,” winner of the 2003 Gracie Allen Award for Best TV documentary, will have his widely acclaimed film “Living for 32” screened at the festival on Saturday, March 26 at 4:45 p.m. in West Palm Beach. “Living for 32” is described by the PBIFF as, “An inspirational story of Colin Goddard, a survivor of the tragic [April 16, 2007] gun shooting massacre at Virginia Tech [that left 32 dead and 17 injured]. The winning combination of Colin’s passion, charisma and optimism has commanded the attention of the American public. Colin shares an intimate account of terror.” The documentary has been chosen for the Sundance Film Festival.

Robert Sarnoff’s “THE ROMEOWS (Retired Older Men Eating Out Wednesdays),” which has had much attention recently in the press and at various international film festivals (most recently honored with The Spirit of Queens Filmmakers Award at the First Queens World Film Festival), will be screened Friday, March 25 at 2 p.m. in Boca Raton and on Monday, March 28 at 2 p.m. in West Palm Beach. “THE ROMEOWS” has been described as “Brooklyn on a plate! …a moveable feast about friendship, continuity, longevity and brotherhood.” A poignant, intimate story full of humor, wisdom and wit, “THE ROMEOWS” reveals itself as a highly personal autobiographical documentary about the enduring friendship of several septuagenarians and their five decade-long friendship. It is a feast for the soul, the mind …and the stomach (the latter, vicariously).

Breslin has said, “I care about the person on the other side of the lens and never underestimate their importance.” He met Goddard while shooting a PSA about gun control and resolved to tell his story to a wider audience. Goddard, a former ROTC member who has been speaking out nationally for stricter gun control, is not against guns, Breslin says, but for better control of who can obtain them. The survivor of the bullets from a mentally troubled fellow student is quoted as saying, “I want to see an America where people know that they can change what’s going on in their communities.” “I directed ‘Living for 32’ because it is a personal story that reaches every corner of America,” says Breslin. “From Colin being shot at Virginia Tech to a Harlem mother losing two sons to handguns to the halls of government.”

Seen at film festivals around the world, on Oxygen Network and many other showcases, Breslin’s extensive body of work includes “The Other Side of the Street,” about the life of Jimmy Breslin. Currently in pre-production is “The Teddy Bear Habit,” a feature film based on the award-winning children’s book and “The Unconquered,” a feature length documentary about the journey of the Seminole Indians.

Showcased at a variety of festivals and museums in the US and winner of awards and accolades, Sarnoff’s films include “The Irish Ropes,” which aired on MSG, about a Far Rockaway boxing gym that tells of the struggles and aspirations of inner city kids. His latest film, “GREEN,” is a close-up view of those otherwise faceless, identityless people we see collecting bottles and cans and chasing the “AmeriCan Dream.” All the lonely people, living on the fringe. As in his other works, Sarnoff allows audiences access to a world they never knew existed.

For more information: www.robertsarnoffilms.com, www.breslinfilms.com, LivingFor32.com, www.pbifilmfest.org

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