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Why We're Asking You to Make a Film with Your Neighbors Why We're Asking You to Make a Film with Your Neighbors

Why We're Asking You to Make a Film with Your Neighbors

by Mary Crosse

October 21, 2013

Getting to know your neighbors can be a whole lot easier and way more entertaining if you’re doing a project together. With On My Block Films, we challenge filmmakers to create a film on their block using only their neighbors as the cast and crew. Last year’s participants walked away with great films and, most importantly, relationships with their neighbors.

When OMB’s Founder, Ryan O’Hara Theisen, made his film last year, he became close to 20 new friends. “While making our film we had to problem-solve constantly and pull in all the resources amongst our neighbors. That dependency on one another and the collaborative problem-solving was the magic glue that brought us all together," said O’Hara Theisen. "Knowing we could depend on one another also had a way of speeding up the get-to-know-you process, and I guess that’s why we all continue to stay so friendly with one another.” .

Friendships formed on set with neighbors led to future neighborhood hangouts and even some amazing invitations. Two days after the wrap of his film, O’Hara Theisen was invited to meet President Obama by his neighbor Jennifer Samawat, who, as it turned out, worked as an Advance Associate for the The White House. “You never know the amazing people living behind the doors along your block,” he says. “My favorite part of this experience is that a year later, we’re all still close friends and we brag to other friends how “going out” is so much more convenient. I just pop over to the neighbors house for a pint and walk two doors down to hit the sack.”

Andrew Thomas, a freelance photographer from Brooklyn, decided to make a neighbor the subject of his film. “My friends had talked about this BMX biker, Quentin, on our block who was supposed to be pretty good. And the day I got the OMB flyer, I saw him whiz by and figured I’d approach him about making a film together.” By working together, Thomas and the BMX biker, Quentin, created a close trust, which evolved into a mutual appreciation for one another’s creative crafts. “Before we would have said the occasional hello. But now after the film, we’re welcome at one another’s home, we collaborate on other film and music projects together and we bounce creative ideas for solo projects we’re doing off one another—we have this creative trust.”

Marie Bromberg, who works in IT at a tech startup, had recently moved into a new high-rise condo in downtown Brooklyn when she decided to make her film. “We didn’t really talk to our neighbors as much before because we had all moved into the building at different times. Unless our schedules overlapped, we really had no reasons to meet up.” Marie said that her fellow residents all learned they could work together incredibly well—even though they had been strangers just days before. “The relationships we created on set grew on. In fact, two folks from our our film worked so well together that they ran for the building board and work closely together in that capacity.” 

OMB truly creates an amazing opportunity to meet your neighbors and potential new best friends. The deadline for submitting entries to us is October 31. And this year’s top scoring Vimeo films will be judged by a prestigious panel of creative and community judges: Yasha Wallin from GOOD Magazine, Justin Gingsburgh from NYC Bike Share, Gloria S. Alvarez from Ghetto Film School, Christopher Wisniewski from Museum of the Moving Image, and Willy Wong from NYC & Company.

What types of stories do you want to share with your neighbors? Submit yours here.

This project is part of GOOD's series Push for Good—our guide to crowdsourcing creative progress.

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