Director: Michael Blackwood
A provocative and visually impressive film about New York City with narration written by Pulitzer Prize winning author, Frances Fitzgerald, which focuses primarily on the Manhattan of today and contrasts this city with its "Golden Age" (1830).
"Empire City" was made with some of New York's leading political and cultural figures—including Mayor Ed Koch, financier David Rockefeller, builder and developer Donald Trump, financial adviser Felix Rohatyn, urban planner Jane Jacobs, architect Philip Johnson, theatre producer Joseph Papp, and author Norman Mailer. It is the story of two New Yorks—the midtown Manhattan of corporate headquarters and gleaming towers, and the peripheral New York of undereducated minorities living in ever-increasing alienation.
The film has been made at a time when the city is experiencing unprecedented real estate development, on the one hand, and unforeseen minority displacement and physical deterioration on the other. "Empire City" is one of nine Blackwood productions televised in USA and Europe since March, 1982. Others include, "We Were German Jews", "Pablo Picasso: The Legend of a Genius"' "The GermanAmericans; 300 Years in the New Land", "Beyond Utopia: Changing Patterns in American Architecture" (the last-named is also screening at this year's Festival).