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Tribeca Hosts First Annual Architecture & Design Film Festival

You could say it’s in the air: Uptown, the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum is hosting its fifth annual National Design Week and honoring National Design Award recipients. In Greenwich Village last week, the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects New York (AIA) celebrated Architecure Week at its base in the Center for Architecture. And downtown, Thursday night at Tribeca Cinemas, the red carpet will be rolled out for the first-ever Architecture & Design Film Festival.

The goal of the four-day event, which will screen 41 films, is not so much to show works that feature exciting architecture like “Blade Runner” or “Metropolis”, but rather to highlight films that touch on some aspect of how architects and designers work and create.

"The focus of the festival is to talk about the creative spirit of architecture and design," says festival founder Kyle Bergman, an architect, devoted film fan, and principal of Bergman Design Team in Warren, Vermont. "It's a great opportunity for the professional community and those interested in it to come together in a fun and educational way." Bergman, who also produced the play "The Glass House," about two famous glass houses by architects Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson, notes that making architecture is not unlike making a film. "We balance artistic vision as well as make sure things technically work."

The films – features, documentaries, and shorts dating from 1967 (“Monument to a Dream”) to present – are divided into 13 themed programs of two to four films. Most of the programs will run twice during the festival at around 90 minutes each, and some conclude with Q&A’s. The program Graphically Speaking, for example, includes the 2005 short “Sagmeister 05,” about graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister, and “Milton Glaser: To Inform & Delight,” a 73-minute film from 2008 about the man probably best known for his “I (heart) NY” logo. Some films are debuting in the United States, and a few, like “The Visual Language of Herbert Matter” in the Design Matters program, are debuting in New York.

Bergman directs the festival with design publishing expert Laura Cardello. An advisory board of eight architecture or design experts includes Paola Antonelli, a curator in the architecture and design division at the Museum of Modern Art; Paul Goldberger, The New Yorker's architecture critic and recipient of a Pulitzer Prize; architect Richard Meier; and Robert A.M. Stern, the dean of Yale's architecture school.

Tickets are sold by program and cost $12; $10 for AIA, ASID and IILD members. Five panel discussions held in the lounge are free and open to the public. For more, head to the festival's Web site. Or, click below to watch the trailer for "Casa Bronfman," a short about the Manhattan townhouse of Edgar Bronfman, designed by architect Peter Rose.