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Non-Print Indie Film Series: Billy Sternberg

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Judge Joseph CraterJudge Joseph Crater

On January 24 at 6pm, the Jefferson Market Libray will hold its third presentation in the Indie Film Series.  Billy Sternberg will be on hand to show his documentary film work on one of the most notorious New York City mysteries, the disappearance in 1930 of Judge Joseph Crater.  Here's our interview with Mr. Sternberg:

What films/directors inspire you?

One film that sticks out in my mind is a short that I saw  at the City Cinema on 2nd Avenue over 15 years ago.  I believe it was by Chuck Workman, who directed Andy Warhol Superstar.  He played bits and pieces of all of the Academy Award winning movies up to that point to Mason Williams' Classical Gas.  It may be called Precious ImagesIt was pre-MTV for me, my first experience with such familiar data rearranged and presented in such short, abstract bursts.

What is it like being a film maker in New York?

I feel that it is somewhat my birthright:  I discovered my grandfather, a New York politician in the 1920s, had a serious connection to one of the most famous missing persons cases of the time.  I felt it was then on me to research this connection and the case and make it come back to life.

Any advice/tips for aspiring film makers—especially with regard to funding?
 
Tough question since I am not trained in the business. Video and video editing is so available and now there are unlimited outlets.  But if one wants to make studio or so-called independent movies, they HAVE TO live in LA.  Making documentary movies is hard work and expensive but may be more rewarding intellectually and emotionally.  I'm lucky that I have been able to fund this project myself but I've done so by learning the editing programs.

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