Tag Archives: Matthew Silva

NYS Pavilion documentary to premiere this May at Queens Theatre


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Matthew Silva

More than 50 years after the World’s Fair, the New York State Pavilion is ready for another premiere.

“Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion,” a documentary about the history of the iconic Flushing Meadows Corona Park structure and the efforts to save the neglected relic, will debut to the public at the Queens Theatre this May.

The films tells the story of the pavilion, designed by architect Philip Johnson, from its glory days at the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair, to its time as a ‘60s concert venue and ‘70s roller rink, to its abandonment and today’s efforts to save and repurpose the structure.

Written, directed and edited by Matthew Silva, with executive producers Jake Gorst and Tracey Rennie Gorst, the documentary tries to make a case for why the pavilion should be kept around and brings to life the story behind the structure.

“It’s been really great to see how much people care about the building and I’m really eager to share this project with people in May,” Silva said.

“I really hope that people watch this movie and learn about what the building is and recognize the cultural and historic significance, and see what me and a lot of other people see,” he added.

Photo courtesy of Christine Rafalke

Roller skaters at the pavilion in the 1970s. (Photo courtesy of Christine Rafalke)

Silva, a video production teacher for Jericho Middle School and High School, had no professional filmmaking experience before he started making the documentary in February 2013. It took him two years and almost $25,000 — raised through GoFundMe and Kickstarter — to complete the project.

When Silva set out to do the film he didn’t feel like many people were talking about the pavilion, but that started to change after he began his production and the structure’s 50th anniversary in the spring of 2014 approached.

In November 2013, the Parks Department released plans to restore the pavilion, with cost estimates starting at $43 million. An option to tear it down would cost about $14 million. Support from the public and Borough President Melinda Katz, however, leaned toward preserving it.

To mark the pavilion’s 50th anniversary in April 2014, the Parks Department opened the pavilion to the public for the first time in decades. It was also named a “National Treasure” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation for the anniversary.

world's fair 3

People line up to visit the pavilion during its anniversary last spring.

That June, Katz secured $5.8 million in funding to begin the restoration process. Part of that effort has included preliminary test runs of LED display lights for the pavilion’s observation decks on Feb. 27 and one scheduled for Tuesday night.

These increased efforts added to the narrative of the documentary, with Silva choosing to end the film with the opening of the pavilion on the anniversary.

“I could have never imagined that [the opening] could have been a part of the film when I set out to do the film,” he said.

Silva was also inspired to do more to help the pavilion’s preservation efforts while filming and co-founded the advocacy group People for the Pavilion in May 2013.

The efforts of individuals and groups like his own, such as the New York State Pavilion Paint Project, a volunteer organization dedicated to maintaining the structure through painting and other upkeep projects, are highlighted in his documentary.

Silva is hoping to incorporate some of those who contributed to its history and took part in the film at a Q&A with nonprofit documentation and conservation organization Docomomo US/New York Tri-State during the premiere — including Albert Fischer, a VIP guide at the ’64 fair; Charles Aybar, who worked as a pavilion skate guard; and Bill Cotter, an author and World’s Fair photo archivist.

world's fair 2

New York State Pavilion Paint Project at work.

The film will premiere at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 22, at the Queens Theatre, which was once part of the one of three structures, designed by Johnson along with the Tent of Tomorrow and observation towers, to comprise the pavilion. For now, the May screening is the only one scheduled, but Silva said more are in the works.

“I hope [the film] helps perpetuate understanding and get more people interested in the building that can bring more positive growth and renewal to the park and to Queens,” he said.

For tickets and more information about the premiere, visit https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe.c/9994545. To learn more about the film, visit www.aquarelapictures.com.

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NYS Pavilion to open to public on 50th anniversary


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

pavilion

The public will be able to get an up-close look at the  New York State Pavilion next month on the 50th anniversary of the structure’s opening.

New York State Pavilion Paint Project Crew, a group that has been painting and caring for the site since 2009, just announced that on April 22, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the north gate of the Pavilion will be opened to allow limited access for visitors to view and take photos of the inside of the structure.

The Paint Project Crew, which helped make the opening possible along with the Parks Department, will be around to answer questions and speak about the Pavilion’s past, present and future.

RSVPs are not required. Visitors will need to wear hard hats, which will be provided.

Along with the Pavilion Paint Project Crew, community leaders and elected officials have also been advocating for the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair figure’s restoration.

Located in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the Pavilion is in need of both external and internal repairs.

In November, the Parks Department released plans to restore it, with cost estimates starting at $43 million. An option to tear it down would cost about $14 million.

Last month, Borough President Melinda Katz declared her support for saving the structure and said she would form a task force, consisting of elected officials, community leaders and advocates, who will meet regularly at Queens Borough Hall to create a plan for the Pavilion’s future.

The first of those meetings was held on Friday, March 14, which resulted in attendees agreeing to continue working on a viable plan for the Pavilion.

Katz included the site as part of her approved package of expense and capital budget priorities for the city’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget.

It calls for $45 million in combined capital funds from state and city over four years for restoring the Pavilion, according to a spokesperson for Katz’s office.

Those funds will immediately go toward needs, such as upgrading the electrical system and installing a roof over the three towers to prevent further structural damage.

“We’re very excited to see that the borough president feels strongly enough about the project to take action and we’re just excited to see what comes of it,” said Matthew Silva, co-founder of People For the Pavilion, an advocacy group for the site’s restoration.

 

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