You Can Now Watch LES-Based ‘Off Track Betty’ Online
If you missed the showing of Clayton Dean Smith’s Off Track Betty at the Friends of the Elizabeth Street Garden Film Festival, you have another chance yet. Pulling down accolades from the 2016 Brooklyn Film Festival, the nineteen-minute short is now available for your online viewing pleasure, free of charge.
The film tells the story of a longtime resident of the Lower East Side, who comes to the realization that she no longer recognizes her neighborhood. It’s packed with bittersweet, close-to-home observations, like grass growing through a chain link fence, or plaster crumbling from a hallway corner. The storyline is complex in its simplicity; it masterfully balances coming to grips with an ever-gentrifying city, while never letting go of the hopeful heartstrings that twist New York into the magical place it can be.
During the filming of Off Track Betty, chosen locations were disappearing at quite the clip, and continue to do so since the release. According to Smith, demolition for the Essex Crossing mega-project commenced on his second day of production. There’s also a shot of the front entrance and steps of the Beth Hamedrash Hagadol synagogue in the film, years before it was burned down. It’s also worth mentioning that award-winning cinematographer Giacomo Belletti shot Off Track Betty, and it proved to be one of the last film projects on 16mm processed in New York City. Ever.
Be sure to check it out here. Trailer below.