Events & Attractions, Movies

Nosferatu Re-imagined as an Animated Tale About the Modern Immigrant

This month, More Art will premiere NYsferatu: Symphony of a Century, an animated reimagining of the 1922 film Nosferatu, itself an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  The hand animated silent film by Andrea Mastrovito recreates the black and white classic but sets the film in modern day New York City to make a statement about the horrors of the unknown and the inspiring search for liberty.  More Art, a local nonprofit that fosters collaborations between professional artists and communities, will host a series of free screenings of the film in public parks, cultural
institutions, and venues across New York City this summer and fall.

In NYsferatu, each background scene of the 1922 classic has been entirely redrawn to reflect the new modern New York setting.  Mastrovito and a team of 12 artists drew each background three times to replicate the beautifully eerie flickering shutter effect of early cinema.  In all, the artist has made over 35,000 original drawings to create this feature length animation.

The film is accompanied by an original music score composed by Simone Giuliani and at select screenings, the film’s soundtrack will be performed live and reinterpreted by professional musicians.

Turning the original film on its head, NYsferatu questions the classical interpretation of the vampire, seen here as the prototypical outsider, while it addresses the many obstacles encountered by immigrants who often escape war and hardships at home only to face challenges such as economic exploitation, discrimination, and xenophobia in their new country. Viewers of all ages should expect to see many familiar images in the film including iconic New York City landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and the Freedom Tower as well as countless visual references to our current economic and political climate, rewarding multiple viewings.

The reimagined storyline of NYsferatu was informed by contributions from recent immigrants and English as new language learners who engaged with Mastrovito and More Art throughout the production of the film. During a series of writing and film studies workshops, new multi-lingual title cards were written in many languages including Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, and English by fellow foreign-born New Yorkers whose stories and perspectives are usually left out of mainstream narratives. The meaning and content of the film fundamentally changed based on feedback from the workshops.

NYsferatu triggered different parts of the imagination and curiosity of our participants. The workshops asked us how this historical interpretation of the film might be counterposed with our current reality,” said Guido Garaycochea, the Manager of the New New Yorkers Program at the Queens Museum where a month-long workshop was held for Queens residents.  “Working on the project, seeing the film, writing, drawing, engaging in critical thinking, particularly exploring the question, ‘what is the vampire in my life?,’ allowed the students of the Turning Point Education Center advanced class to make many connections between their personal experiences as immigrants and current events in the US and in their countries,” said Maritza Arrastia, an ESOL Educator
based in Brooklyn.

“We’re excited to expand the dialogue about NYsferatu with the greater public,” said Micaela Martegani, Executive Director of More Art. “We think it will resonate with diverse audiences and can’t wait to see how New Yorkers respond.”

The first screening of NYsferatu is tonight at Pier 63 at Hudson River Park.   For the complete list of screenings or more information about the film visit NYsferatu‘s website.

Send this to a friend