April 12th, 2016 — By — In News & Events

Eminent Domain Film, Battle For Brooklyn, to be Screened at Jacksonville Documentary Film Festival

“Nobody’s gonna remember how long it took. They’re only gonna look and see that it was done.”

– New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, on the use of eminent domain to build the Barclays Center sports arena and mixed-use development in Brooklyn

While attending an eminent domain CLE In 2011, we previewed a “rough cut” of a documentary film chronicling the story of Brooklyn property owner, Daniel Goldstein, and his neighbors as they struggled to save their homes, businesses and community in the heart of Brooklyn from being taken by eminent domain for the Atlantic Yards Project, a massive real estate development project including 16 skyscrapers and a basketball arena for the New Jersey Nets.  This award winning film, Battle for Brooklyn, made the Academy Awards Shortlist for Best Documentary in 2012 and will be screened at the Jacksonville Documentary Film Festival, Sunday, April 17, 2016 at 1:00 PM at Sun-Ray Cinema.

About the Film BATTLE for BROOKLYN

“Battle for Brooklyn” is a close-range look at a community’s seven-year fight to stop the use of eminent domain to take their homes and businesses for the construction of a mixed-use development including a basketball arena for the New Jersey Nets and commercial towers. The film is a compelling story about the abuse of eminent domain and how this awesome power intended for the public good can destroy a community

The film follows Daniel Goldstein, a property owner turned activist, whose apartment sits at what would be center court of the new arena. He is dragged into the fight because he simply can not believe that the government should use the power of eminent domain to take his property and hand it off to a private developer. He and others form a community activist group to develop alternative plans to the proposal and to expose misconceptions about the project in the media. Going up against the largest publicly traded real estate developer in the U.S., a mayor, and Russian oligarch, he wages an all out battle to stop the project and takes his case to the State’s highest court of law.

OCA Hawaii Attorney-Member, Robert Thomas summed up the film well in his review of the film excerpted below:

But until Battle For Brooklyn, there’s never been an attempt to chronicle the massive scope of an eminent domain story — the film takes place over seven years, itself an accomplishment — and with such intimacy. For although the film is framed by the opposition to the Atlantic Yards project, its heart is a character study of Daniel Goldstein, the property owner who became the opposition leader, and who by the film’s end remains the sole “holdout” among his 130 neighbors.

And that’s where Battle For Brooklyn excels. It allows us to witness Mr. Goldstein’s evolution from a bewildered property owner to sophisticated spokesman and property rights activist. In the era of reality television we have become accustomed to often-too-revealing and all-too-polished looks into the personal lives of others. Yet, Battle For Brooklyn feels different.

Michael Rikon, OCA New York Attorney-Member, represented Mr. Goldstein in the eminent domain and just compensation proceedings.   Rikon shared his thoughts about the film with us in 2011.  “The Battle for Brooklyn is a very important film because it graphically shows how disenfranchised property owners are when confronted with condemnation…This is the best narrative of eminent domain abuse ever made. It is a must for any one seriously interested in Urban Planning.”

If you are in the Jacksonville area this Sunday, we highly recommend getting tickets to the screening and Q&A to follow with “Battle for Brooklyn” film makers, Michael Gallinsky and Suki Hawley.  Check out the other great films that will be screened during the Festival here.

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