IDTV Interview with 5 Blocks Producers/Directors Dan Goldes and Robert Cortlandt
EpicenterSF, August 30, 2016
Celebrating Robert Cortlandt And The Stories He Worked To Share
Within a city, streets connect buildings to make a neighborhood. Our stories are what connect us as humans.
In 2011, when there were significant rumbles from the tech community, the arts community and the City on how to align efforts to create a framework for economic revitalization in the Market Street area. Urbanstreet Films producers Robert Cortlandt and Dan Goldes were early pioneers, showing up and investing their time and film skills to capture the stories that were woven along Market Street.
Talking with…A man zooming in on Market Street
J.: You’re working on a documentary film, “5 Blocks,” about the redevelopment of San Francisco’s Mid-Market area. How did that area, roughly from Fifth Street to Van Ness Avenue, fall into such decline?
Dan Goldes: For the people who’ve been living there, they would say that it’s been a thriving neighborhood. That’s the lesson I had to learn: We were calling it a run-down place. They were saying, “It’s run down, yeah, but it’s our neighborhood.”
Most people trace the real change to the construction of BART in the late 1960s, early 1970s. It took a decade, and they tore up the length of Market Street from Embarcadero all the way up to Van Ness. A lot of the neighborhood businesses suddenly found that their customers had no way to get to them, and they began moving out. At the same time, there was a rush from cities to the suburbs. The result was landlords and building owners found that they had empty buildings and they had to lower the rents.
Gay SF filmmakers launch crowdfunding campaign for doc on mid-Market Street changes
Filmmakers Robert Cortlandt and Dan Goldes are asking for the public’s help in completing their documentary 5 Blocks that details the transformation taking place along San Francisco’s Mid-Market corridor.
This morning Goldes and Cortlandt announced they had launched a new crowdfunding campaign to help cover the cost of their last year of filming.
“We’re in the final year of shooting 5 Blocks and it’s vital that we get the footage that tells the story about the changes in the neighborhood,” they wrote in an email to supporters of their project. “While we will go into post-production following this phase, we still need to film interviews and ‘b-roll’ footage of what the area looks like now.”
Ninth Street Independent Film Center is pleased to announce the five independent filmmakers selected to participate in the Media Arts Incubator Program for one year beginning September 1st. They include:
Dan Goldes/5 Blocks
A documentary film about the transformational changes taking place on San Francisco’s Mid-Market Street. Once known as “The Great White Way of San Francisco” it has, over the last 40 years, become a blighted no man’s land. Now, a seemingly grass-roots coalition is attempting to do what the previous efforts could not: use the arts and technology to bring economic development to the area while lifting up the poor and marginalized who already live and work there. If successful, San Francisco will create a historic first – but given the stakes, the risk of failure is huge.
Ninth Street’s Media Arts Incubator Program offers access to workspace, knowledge sharing, outreach opportunities, networking events, meeting and exhibition space on an annual basis. In its fifth year, the Incubator Program nurtures groundbreaking independent media projects, sharing our unique collaboration with more of the independent film & media community. More info…
Urbanstreet Films tracks the myriad recent changes in San Francisco’s Market Street corridor.
At one time, the nexus of 6th, Taylor and Market streets in downtown San Francisco, the location of both the Golden Gate Theatre and the Warfield Theatre, was the hub for what was considered to be the city’s version of the Great White Way, say Dan Goldes and Robert Cortlandt.
The two filmmakers are having a Saturday brunch at their usual hangout, the busy sausage eatery Show Dogs on the northwest corner of 6th and Market. Amid a din of loud rock music, shrieking sirens from outside and the happy cacophony of customers, they’re discussing their documentary-in-progress, “5 Blocks.” “Rumor has it that there were tunnels going back and forth to speakeasies,” says Goldes. “It was the coolest place to be!”
Political Notebook: Mid-Market focus of film
Having met line dancing at a weekly gay country western party, friends Robert Cortlandt and Dan Goldes have now partnered up to film the transformation taking place along San Francisco’s Mid-Market corridor.
Since 2011, they have been documenting the changes along the once gruff and gritty thoroughfare into a new hub for arts groups, tech companies, and high-end housing. Their cameras are also capturing the stories of artists, low-income seniors, and residents of single-room-occupancy hotels who have long made the neighborhood their home.
Fellow Filmmakers Must Traverse ‘5 BLOCKS’
‘5 Blocks’, the film project about revitalizing the San Francisco central Market Street neighborhood, is a groundbreaking ‘Must Know’ for fellow Filmmakers. I got the chance to speak with Co-Producer Dan Goldes about the filmmakers’ use of cutting-edge mobile technology to tell a story long before the documentary footage is edited. Read on. This info may expand the way you imagine promoting your films. First, a bit about ‘5 Blocks’. This documentary captures the resurrection of the five blocks of San Francisco’s Fifth and Tenth Streets, with some attention to the streets between Market and Mission Streets, to one block north of Market. The documentary seeks to capture the revitalization, and document its impact on the changing neighborhood.
‘5 Blocks’: A Cinematic Look At The Transformation of Market Street
San Francisco’s mid-Market corridor is a neighborhood in perpetual flux.
Once a grand, theater-lined boulevard, the street experienced a gradual decline in the decades following the installation of BART lines in the 1960s. It’s only in recent years that the city has really made a proactive effort to turn the neighborhood around. Arts organizations are moving in, as are hip new restaurants and retail stores. Pioneering tech companies like Twitter and Dolby are buying up office space above mid-Market’s long-shuttered storefronts.
As this push toward gentrification happens, forces are also seeking, in many ways, to apply the brakes amid concerns about economic development pricing out long-time neighborhood residents.
What’s going on in mid-Market right now is among the most interesting dynamics of the entire Bay Area and a pair of local filmmakers are looking to turn this debate over the future of the iconic street into cinematic gold.
5 Blocks, The Revitalization of San Francisco’s Central Market Street
5 Blocks is an upcoming documentary about ongoing efforts to revitalize San Francisco’s beleaguered Central Market corridor (video). Once the site of San Francisco’s grandest theaters, the neighborhood has since suffered from 50 years of neglect and decline. An unusual coalition of artists, city officials, property owners and residents is now working to revitalize the neighborhood—the recent arrival of Twitter and other tech companies points to a turnaround, however some stakeholders fear gentrification will destroy the cultural fabric of Central Market. The film is directed by Dan Goldes and Robert Cortlandt of Urbanstreet Films. They recently concluded a successful Indiegogo fundraising campaign, but they are still accepting donations.