Filmmaker Michael Galinsky used the synchronicity that brought him together with Daniel Goldstein when makingBATTLE FOR BROOKLYN, the story of how a private developer invoked Eminent Domain to seize private property, including Goldstein’s. The resulting film has been shortlisted for an Oscar, and at the screening I attended in San Francisco, brought an audience to its feet. When I spoke with them, the conversation covered what it was like for Goldstein to be trapped in an elevator after everyone else had moved out, how a developer can circumvent local authorities, and how the Occupy Movement has helped get the film booked around the country.
BATTLE FOR BROOKLYN chronicles how, during a seven-year battle, Goldstein went from mild-mannered graphic artist to committed activist when his newly purchased apartment became part of the target of an eminent domain case that favored the development of the Atlantic Yards commercial development over an established neighborhood and its residents up to an including excluding the residents from having any say in it. Galinsky was there almost from day one, capturing on film the attempts by Goldstein and his neighbors that spanned five years to halt a project that would cost taxpayers millions of dollars while bringing little or no benefit to the residents of the neighborhood that would be affected. Galinsky also uses the issue of eminent domain abuse to examine a host of other issues that allow such things to happens, including a press that underreports the sweetheart deals between government and corporations.