Snorri Bros Debut NY Photo Festival Doc

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Snorri Sturluson
Snorri Sturluson
As much of a surprise as it might be, given the city's strong photography community, this past May marked the first annual New York Photo Festival, held in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn. Founded by Frank Evers, former managing director of VII Photo Agency, and Daniel Power, founder of powerHouse Books, the festival's goal was to be the first truly international photo festival in the United States and to celebrate both contemporary photography and the creative artists behind it.

To document its first year, the festival enlisted the Snorri Bros and director David Weinstock to create a short film about the event. The Snorris worked with Power to publish their recent photography book Barflies: Reykjavik, and also put together a short promo film for the festival to shop to potential investors, sponsors and the photography community.

Eidur Snorri
Eidur Snorri
The new film, New York Photo Festival '08: The Future of Contemporary Photography, debuted on October 23rd in New York, with wider distribution in the works.

We spoke to the Snorri Bros' Snorri Sturluson about making the film and more.

How did you guys initially approach this project?

We just looked at the festival's structure and how it was set up and we realized that a strong way to approach it was through the four curators. They bring their unique vision of what photography is to the festival and pick the artists so that was where we started from a content standpoint.

David Weinstock
David Weinstock
Then it was about the physical location of the festival in DUMBO. The three key points of the film are the curators, DUMBO and the art itself. The whole thing was a bit of a shot in the dark and we just went out and started it.

Is this the first documentary-style Snorri project?

We've done a little bit of it before, but it's been a long time. It was definitely a new thing for us and it was a great experience to not be constrained by the 30-second spot. Spots are a great challenge but it's nice to get away from it from time to time. It's also a challenge from an editorial standpoint, a project like this becomes so different because you can just let things breathe without worrying about the seconds. Our editor Ruth Mamaril was such a big part of this project and did a fantastic job.

Overall, it was a very free-flowing process. We had our outline and framework of what we wanted to do and just crossed them off the list as they got done. We had the festival footage and the interviews but there were the more creative bits, the animation and stop-motion, which were like the project within the project. It was just about using DUMBO as the back drop and part of the experience. I think a lot of people came to the festival who weren't familiar with the neighborhood and left incredibly impressed with the location. They thought it was quite refreshing for this type of event.

What makes this festival an important addition to the New York arts calendar?

The festival was very pure in its essence. The curators were free to show whatever they wanted, without boundaries and it was just such a good expression of what's going on in photography.
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