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The groundbreaking neo-realist film LA CIUDAD (THE CITY) is being remastered for new audiences. And for the future.
The groundbreaking neo-realist film LA CIUDAD (THE CITY) is being remastered for new audiences. And for the future.
116 backers pledged $15,253 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$15,253

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Dear Backers, I am overwhelmed by your incredible support! Thanks to you we hit our initial goal in the first 10 days -- and LA CIUDAD will be preserved! To all of you who are finding out about our campaign for the first time, we welcome your support. Every new backer makes a difference! 

Our hope now is to raise funds to make the film available internationally. For those of you who have written from outside the US, we are offering a brand new reward of a digital download anywhere in the world -- the Walter Salles!

For more updates about this project please follow us on facebook.com

Join us to help save this film!  

All funds from this campaign will go towards the costs of remastering LA CIUDAD and ensuring that it is available for new audiences -- on DVD and BLU-RAY, at community and educational screenings, and for the first time ever on digital platforms. Every contribution counts. Please help us spread the word!

What is LA CIUDAD about?

I’m David Riker, the writer and director of LA CIUDAD. 

LA CIUDAD  tells four stories about the lives of newly uprooted Latin American immigrants in New York City: a group of day laborers hired to clean bricks find themselves abandoned when tragedy strikes; a young man newly arrived from Mexico falls in love with a girl from his home village, only to lose her in the new and alien urban wilderness;  a puppeteer, living with his daughter in a station wagon, dreams that she'll one day learn to read; and a seamstress, desperate to send money home to her sick daughter, is forced to finally confront the injustice in the sweatshop where she labors. 

What inspired me to make this film?

I wanted to explore what it means to be an immigrant today -- uprooted, often alone, and largely invisible -- forced to live in the shadows of an alien world. I had long been inspired by the Italian neo-realist films, whose socially committed stories were rooted in everyday reality, but expressed in a lyrical visual language. 

LA CIUDAD was filmed over the course of six years, and was created through a unique and profound collaboration between the filmmakers and the immigrant community. All of the stories were developed in workshops with the immigrants later acting in the very roles they helped to create. 

Still image from the story "Bricks"
Still image from the story "Bricks"
Developing the story for 'Seamstress' with garment workers
Developing the story for 'Seamstress' with garment workers

Making the film was a transformative experience for me, as well as for many of the immigrants involved, most of them undocumented, who chose to step out of the shadows of their lives and stand in front of the camera for the first time. Their reasons for participating were many, but all of them were determined that their stories should be heard.

Working with garment workers during the filming of 'Seamstress'
Working with garment workers during the filming of 'Seamstress'

Because of the special way the film was made, it has a rare authenticity, expressing the essence of what it feels like to be an immigrant today. Above all, LA CIUDAD made the immigrant worker visible.

 What has happened with the film thus far?

LA CIUDAD was released in theaters fifteen years ago to critical acclaim.  Roger Ebert called the film 'A movie to treasure,' reminiscent of 'The Bicycle Thief.' Variety claimed, 'it can take its place beside such postwar neo-realist classics as Rossellini's 'Paisan' and Buñuel's 'Los Olvidados,' while The Washington Post wrote: 'It is very simply a great film.' 

Mariachis play at community premiere of film in New York City
Mariachis play at community premiere of film in New York City

The film premiered at Toronto and won numerous international awards including the Open Palm Award from the Independent Feature Project,  Best Narrative Feature at SXSW, the Nestor Alemendros Prize from the Human Rights Watch Festival, and Best Film by a Non-Latin American Director at the Havana Film Festival.

Silvia Goiz, a garment worker, in the lead role in 'Seamstress'
Silvia Goiz, a garment worker, in the lead role in 'Seamstress'

Why are we on Kickstarter?

Today LA CIUDAD is virtually impossible to see. The DVD is out of print and the company that released it -- New Yorker Films -- has sadly closed. The few 35mm prints that still exist are old and battered, and there are fewer and fewer venues that are equipped to project film today. Most critically, the film was never mastered for digital platforms, and until now has not been available for online audiences.

We are determined to ensure that the film remains available and can reach new audiences today and in the future. Cinema Conservancy, the Princess Grace Foundation, and the Sundance Collection at UCLA have already joined the effort, but we need your help.

Thanks for visiting our Kickstarter page -- we can’t wait to share LA CIUDAD with all of you!

Please watch our Kickstarter video above to learn more!

FAQ’s and REWARDS INFORMATION

I’m excited about LA CIUDAD -- aside from donating, how can I help?

There are so many ways you can help!  The most direct way to help is for individuals and organizations to help us spread the word to audiences far and wide.  Like our video at the top of the page and tweet it out to your friends; follow us on Facebook and invite your friends to as well; make an announcement at your school, community group or church; or forward our email flyer to all your friends and family with your own personal message.  

When do you plan to release the new DVD? 

The new special edition DVD and BLU-RAY are planned in early 2015, and the film will become available on digital platforms at the start of the year. 

What do donors receive for giving? 

Rewards range from a digital download of the movie for $15 to a variety of special gifts. For more information, just look to the right!

When will I receive my rewards?

We will be shipping all rewards as soon as they are available. Please see the details beside each reward.  

The poster will be a limited edition fine art Giclee print, 12 x 18 inches. The poster for 'The Girl' (below left) is from the Director's personal collection, and the poster for 'La Ciudad' is the new, 2014 design.  

The black and white photograph will be an 8 x 10 inch custom fiber print,  and is part of a collection of casting photographs taken by director David Riker and still photographer Victor Sira during production.

How much is shipping?

Shipping is included on any reward that requires shipment.

What is your Kickstarter goal? What will the money go to? 

Our goal is to raise $14,000. The funds will be used to help cover the costs of digitally remastering the film, creating a new DVD and BLU-RAY, and supporting our efforts to bring the film to new audiences across the country. 

Can you exceed the goal?

Yes we can! The more funds we raise, the more successful we will be at raising awareness about the film and reaching new audiences. 

Can donors increase pledges once they have been made? 

Absolutely! If you have already donated, and are signed in to your account, then instead of a green “Back This Project” button on our page, there should be a blue “Manage Your Donation” button. Click that, and you can enter a new amount or choose a new incentive! 

What happens if the goal isn’t reached in time?

If we don’t reach our goal, LA CIUDAD receives no funding for its marketing and distribution. Let’s not let that happen! 

I want more information…

Please visit our Facebook page - LA CIUDAD AT FIFTEEN - for the most up to date information about the film: 

https://www.facebook.com/LaCiudadatFifteen 

Risks and challenges

The greatest risk in remastering any film is the quality of the original elements. LA CIUDAD was shot on 16mm and blown up to 35mm before its original theatrical release in 1998. These elements have all been stored at DuArt Film Laboratory in New York until last year, and have now been transferred to Technicolor New York where the remastering will be done. The elements have already been scanned at 2K resolution and are in pristine quality.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    The Chaplin: You will have our deepest thanks and access to all updates.

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    5 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    The Visconti: You will get a digital download of the newly remastered 'LA CIUDAD' and the satisfaction of helping to make the film available to new audiences in the future.

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    Ships to Only United States
    24 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    The Walter Salles: You will get an international digital download of the newly remastered 'LA CIUDAD', and the satisfaction of helping to make the film available to new audiences in the future.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    The Buñuel: You will get a digital download of the newly remastered 'LA CIUDAD' as well as a digital download of my 2011 film 'THE GIRL' starring Abbie Cornish and Will Patton.

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    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 7 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    The Rossellini: You will get the new special edition DVD or BLU-RAY of the newly remastered 'LA CIUDAD' signed by director David Riker, before it's available anywhere.

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    Ships to Only United States
    33 backers
    $
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    The Satyajit Ray: You will get a DVD of David Riker's 2011 film 'THE GIRL' + a DVD or BLU-RAY of the new special edition of the newly remastered 'LA CIUDAD', both signed by the director.

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    15 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    The Kurosawa: You will get the trilogy of films written and/or directed by David Riker exploring the theme of uprootedness: a DVD or BLU-RAY of the 2008 sci-fi classic 'SLEEP DEALER' + a DVD of 'THE GIRL' + a DVD or BLU RAY of the new special edition of the newly remastered 'LA CIUDAD'.

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    3 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    The Fellini: You will get a signed copy of a limited edition 2014 Giclée print of the new poster for 'LA CIUDAD' or 'THE GIRL' or a black and white casting photograph (see images in main text) + the trilogy of films written and/or directed by David Riker exploring the theme of uprootedness: a DVD or BLU-RAY of the 2008 sci-fi classic 'SLEEP DEALER' + a DVD of 'THE GIRL' + a DVD or BLU RAY of the special edition of the newly remastered 'LA CIUDAD'.

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    10 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)