New Amsterdam

Shot on a single cartridge of Super 8mm film, "New Amsterdam" is both the story of a hungover young man in Battery Park contemplating a fresh start and a meditation on the end of civilization.

The film was the collaborative effort of a trio of filmmakers - Rebecca (the director), Gabe (the writer), and Jesse (the cinematographer) - who met and became friends through the Film at Lincoln Center New Wave group for young film enthusiasts.

The short was adapted from the final scene of a feature that Gabe is working on, in which a young man's existential crisis and resulting downward spiral happens in parallel to the 2016 defeat of the Bernie Sanders movement. It takes place over the course of seven days, and each day is metaphorically paralleled with an era of New York's history, going back in time as the main character's life unravels.

This is the final section, so it's matched with the arrival of the Dutch in New York, this sense of a strange, wild new place, an unknown future. Thus the title, which was the original Dutch name for New York, and the location at the Battery, which was where the Dutch first arrived.

As a standalone film, it is essentially about the feeling of the kind of moment of clarity that comes at a pivot point in one's life -- where you wake up (in this case, literally), everything looks a little strange and different, and you have the dizzying feeling that you've made a clean break with your past and now have to figure out what your future is going to be.

  • Rebecca Shoptaw
    Girl, Sweetvoiced, Middlemarch: The Series
  • Gabriel Ice
  • Jesse Feldberg
  • David Ladwig
    Key Cast
  • Molly Bremer
    Key Cast
  • Rebecca Shoptaw
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    4 minutes 3 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 10, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    200 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Super 8mm
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Rebecca Shoptaw

Rebecca Shoptaw is the director behind a number of award-winning short films, along with the critically-acclaimed web series "Middlemarch: The Series."

Her work has been featured in The New Yorker, Le Monde, and i-D magazine, and screened at festivals internationally such as BFI Flare, NewFest, and the Pilot Light TV Festival.

She has an abiding interest in adaptation, and is always experimenting, trying to figure out new ways to use cinematic language to take what seems untranslatable in writing and get it onscreen.

She is based in NYC.

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