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.

Recent Stories

How to Snitch on Building Owners for Not Shoveling the Snow

After snowstorms, many building owners are guilty of neglecting the sidewalk cleanup. Some are late to it, and others just ignore altogether. Some are even chronic offenders; you know who they are if you’ve walked the Lower East Side streets enough. Here are the rules for snow or ice cleanup. Landlords basically have a four-hour […]

Vacate Order Partially Lifted After 85 Bowery Staircase Replaced

Rehabilitation of 85 Bowery hit a snag this week after workers discovered asbestos while replacing the unstable staircase. Presence of the carcinogen on the third and fourth floors means that the timetable to completion is now delayed. But the staircase is now complete, and the Department of Buildings acted in kind. The full vacate order […]

Gino Sorbillo Ditches Mulberry Street After One Year in Little Italy

Gino Sorbillo’s flagship pizzeria on the Bowery basks in the glow of the limelight – Mayor de Blasio was there for the opening – but it was actually predated several months by his Zia Esterina concept in Little Italy. Named for Sorbillo’s aunt, this location featured pizza fritta and fried calzone, and seemed like a […]

Breaking: Person Struck by Subway at East Broadway [Updated]

Shortly after 12pm, a man walking through the tunnel at the East Broadway station was struck by a northbound train. Emergency personnel responded, and quickly shut off electricity to the station to extricate the 31-year-old victim from the tracks. The man was carted away on a stretcher and taken to Bellevue Hospital with a deep cut […]

Clayton’s Corner: Of Generations and Gentrification [PHOTOS]

As the unrelenting winds of the international corporate gentrification keeps eroding away the deep, rich, soil of our culture, it also disposes of “neighborhood” and “community.” It affects both collective memory and history. For example: changing the name of PS 122 into Performance Space New York obliterates the connection to the previous 30-year history. Another […]