‘3-D in the 21st Century’ at BAM Rose Cinemas

Off the wall! BAM holds 3-D film fest

The Brooklyn Paper
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Talk about being out of your depth!

A Gowanus filmmaker will show off the first three-dimensional movie he ever made on May 16 as a part of an upcoming 3-D movie series at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The director said he had no idea what he was doing when he made the short back in 2002 — but somehow it all came together.

“I made it on a lark without any training,” said Ben Coonley, who now teaches a course on 3-D film at Bard College. “I showed it to a couple dozen people in a parking lot, and now it will play for hundreds.”

Coonley made his movie, “3-D Trick Pony,” as part of a series of films where he used a talking mechanical hobby horse as a sort of ventriloquist dummy. In the film, Coonley and his talking horse discuss Russian filmmaker Lev Vladimirovich Kuleshov and his “Kuleshov Effect,” an editing technique that is often taught in film school, he said.

“I was into films that gave some kind of workshop-style lesson on an esoteric topic,” Coonley said.

Filmmakers traditionally created three-dimensional films by layering two images on top of each other. The viewer then dons a pair of glasses with one red lens and one blue lens, so that each eye catches the light from the moving image differently, making it seem like the picture is coming out of the screen. Coonley said he managed to fudge this effect by using two standard definition video cameras side by side.

But modern Hollywood 3-D films use more sophisticated technology, which is too fancy for old-school cardboard glasses made with blue and red cellophane, so the theater will have two different styles of specs on hand for different films. Major films in the festival, which runs May 1–17, will include “Avatar,” “Gravity,” and “Coraline.”

Coonley’s film will play right before a screening of “Jackass 3D.”

“Thus will be the only time in my life that I will get to show a movie right before ‘Jackass,’ which is a wonderful honor and also totally terrifying,” said Coonley.

“3-D Trick Pony” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, BAM Rose Cinemas [30 Lafayette Ave. at Ashland Place in Fort Greene, (718) 636–4100,]. May 16 at 2 pm and 7 pm. $14 ($10 students, seniors, and veterans). The “3–D in the 21st Century” series runs May 1–May 17 at various times.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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