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Screening: Ordinary Miracles by Nina Rosenblum

Join us for a screening of Ordinary Miracles: The Photo League’s New York, a feature-length documentary that tells the story of the rise and politically motivated fall of the Photo League (1936-1951), which for 15 years served as the center of the documentary movement in American photography at a time when the camera was held to be, in James Agee’s words, “the central instrument of our time.”

Produced and directed by Daniel Allentuck and Nina Rosenblum, Ordinary Miracles is built around a handpicked selection culled from the hundreds of images made by approximately 60 individual League photographers, fashioned into sequences designed around various subjects of League focus (Harlem, the Lower East Side, children at play, Coney Island, WWII). The previously under-reported contribution of Photo League–trained war correspondents and combat cameramen who served in all branches of the armed services during WWII is rectified in an exciting sequence devoted to the Photo League’s war.

The rich and evocative soundtrack is a blend of contemporary and vintage music from The Mills Brothers, The Ink Spots, Django Reinhardt, The Andrews Sisters, Fats Waller, Coleman Hawkins and Philip Glass.

Ordinary Miracles—distributed by The Orchard, a pioneering independent music and video distribution company operating in more than 20 global markets—is available on iTunes. The film is written by Daniel Allentuck and narrated by Campbell Scott. Mary Engel is the contributing producer.

Daniel v. Allentuck is a writer, producer and a co-founder of Daedalus Productions, Inc. His films include America and Lewis Hine (NY Film Festival premiere, PBS broadcast, IDA award), narrated by Jason Robards, Jr. and John Crowley; A History of Women Photographers, narrated by Maureen Stapleton; and Walter Rosenblum: In Search of Pitt Street. He wrote the script for the Academy Award-nominated feature documentary Liberators: Fighting on Two Fronts in WWII, narrated by Denzel Washington, which was broadcast on PBS’ American Experience series. He has a Distinguished Achievement Award from the International Documentary Association, among other honors.

Nina Rosenblum is an Academy Award-nominated producer, director and writer of documentaries, shorts and segments. President of Daedalus Productions, she has produced and directed for TBS, HBO, PBS, NY Times TV, Showtime, ABC and NBC. She's a member of the DGA, NYWIFT, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Independent Feature Project and the International Documentary Association. Her films include America and Lewis Hine, Through the Wire, Lock-Up: The Prisoners of Rikers Island, Walter Rosenblum: In Search of Pitt Street, Twin Lenses, Code Yellow: Hospital at Ground Zero, Zahira’s Peace and In the Name of Democracy.

Mary Engel is an award-winning filmmaker and the director of the Orkin/Engel Film and Photo Archive. Her first film, Ruth Orkin: Frames of Life, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1996 and was selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as one of the Outstanding Documentaries of 1996. Her second film, Morris Engel: The Independent, premiered on Turner Classic Movies in 2009. She co-produced a remake of her parent’s classic 1953 feature film Little Fugitive. She recently formed a 501c3 nonprofit called Photo Legacy Foundation, which will help support APAG.


NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.