LES-Based ‘Off Track Betty’ Premieres at Brooklyn Film Festival Next Month

Posted on: May 25th, 2016 at 5:16 am by
OTB ghost signage on Delancey St., April 2010

OTB ghost signage on Delancey St., April 2010

Off Track Betty, the low-budget short shot exclusively on 16mm film, will see its world debut next month. It’s slated to appear twice during the Brooklyn Film Festival, on June 5 and June 10.

Shot exclusively on 16mm film, Off Track Betty is a twenty-minute narrative short about a longtime resident who realizes she no longer recognizes, nor belongs in her home. A theme that many can certainly relate.

Director Clayton Smith has, as previously reported, lived on the Lower East Side for more than fifteen years. His inspiration for the story was the faded OTB ghost signage on the facade of 101 Delancey. Smith apparently saw a face in the window below the “T” and wondered what it would be like living behind the letters, so to speak. After shooting the film, he took the idea to Kickstarter last year, and was able to score an additional $17,000 in funding to “navigate post-production to exacting standards in the service of the project.”

What makes Off Track Betty unique was the changing landscape of its subject matter. During filming, chosen locations were disappearing at quite the clip. According to Smith, demolition for the Essex Crossing mega-project commenced on his second day of production. So, in essence, the film documents a place and time that is rapidly disappearing. Much like the medium on which it’s recorded; Off Track Betty was one of the last film projects on 16mm processed in New York City. Ever.

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