From Brooklyn to Bennington

"The Boys of 2nd Street Park" screening at Oldcastle Theatre

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BENNINGTON — A story about love, loss and family, with a local connection, is being shown at Oldcastle Theatre for one night only.

A 2003 Sundance Film Festival selection, "The Boys of 2nd Street Park," shows the childhood of five boys in the 1960s living in Brooklyn, N.Y. With a tight thread of the sport of basketball stringing them together, Bernie Bandman, Frankie Bass, Larry Brown, Bobby Feld, Brian Newmark, Madelyne Ryterband and Steve Satin survive a working class society with teen camaraderie in light of war, drug use and rebellion of the 60s and 70s.

Proceeds from the screening will benefit the Center for Communication in Medicine's (CCM) SpeakSooner Community Education Programs. CCM was founded by Bandman and his wife Celia Engel after a series of conversations with doctors when their daughter was ill — something that's talked about in the documentary.

Those featured in the documentary will be present for a discussion following the screening, Bandman said.

Showtime purchased the film after it was released, but now that the license is expired, Bandman thought it would be good to share with the community. He's been a Bennington resident for roughly 40 years and said he feels the stories in the film could influence anyone.

"It will stir up a lot of memories for people," he said. "It's truly a story about life. People (in Bennington) will be able to relate. It will be an unforgettable event."

He explained that there's an overarching theme that touches on the time's political climate and evolving culture while also telling the story of each character as they play basketball in the park on 2nd Street.

"It was a city game," Bandman said. "It was the game where we all connected. You can learn about other people and how they play the game. Are they a ball hogger? Or, do they share the ball? Basketball brings (those things) out. It's not the focus (of the film) but it's threaded through it."

"The Boys of 2nd Street Park" was directed by Ron Berger and Dan Klores. Bandman said Klores called him up one day about 15 years ago asking him to be a part of the project. It was the first film Klores ever made and it won several awards.

Klores created six films in the last 13 years including "Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story" (2005), "Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks" (2010), "Crazy Love" (2007), which took home the Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary and "Black Magic" (2008), which won the Peabody Award and was accepted into the Library of Congress for the audio soundtrack.

Tickets to the screening cost $25 and can be purchased at brownpapertickets.com/2871734. It starts at 7 p.m. on March 24 at the Oldcastle Theatre in Bennington.

Reach staff writer Makayla-Courtney McGeeney at 802-490-6471 or @MC_McGeeney.


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