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Lost Bohemia

Synopsis

For over 100 years, the most significant 20th century artists and performers have lived and worked in the 165 landmark Studios atop Carnegie Hall, including Marilyn Monroe, Isadora Duncan, Barnett Newman, Norman Mailer, Marlon Brando and George Balanchine. In 2001, the Carnegie Hall Corporation began to systematically evict the artists (some in residence for over forty years), destroy the Studios and convert the spaces into offices.

Alarmed by the situation, photographer Josef Astor, a resident of the Carnegie Hall Studios for over twenty years, began to film his neighboring artists, the ballet school, drama classes, dancers, singing teachers, sculptors, painters and writers. Over a period of eight years, first-time director Astor filmed several hundred hours of the remaining artist tenants as they fought to preserve the Studios for future generations. LOST BOHEMIA is Astor’s intimate, affectionate portrait of these extraordinary people and chronicles the pleasures and struggles of working artists in New York City.

LOST BOHEMIA is the only film documentation of the Carnegie Studios, the artists and the Studio’s significant history. Vintage film, photographs, television footage, materials from the artist’s private collections and music complete the documentary’s story.

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The Filmmakers

Josef Astor

LOST BOHEMIA is Josef Astor's first film. In 1985, he opened his photography studio in Carnegie Hall, living and working there for over twenty years. Astor is acclaimed for his theatrically staged, historically informed portraits of individuals from the world of music, architecture, dance, theatre and art.

His photography regularly appears in Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Newsweek, GQ, Esquire, Rolling Stone, House and Garden, Dance Ink. Astor's advertising clients range from AT&T to Bergdorf Goodman, Absolut Vodka and Phillip Morris. He directed sequences in the documentary PARASOMNIA and was also Production Designer for the PBS documentary AARON COPLAND AT 100.

Astor's work has been widely collected and exhibited, including shows at The International Center of Photography, Julie Saul Gallery and Vanity Fair Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery in London. He received the Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography. Astor is currently on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Festivals & Awards

DOC NYC 2010

Official Selection

Reviews

Proud and fragile…It is staggering to contemplate how much of New York's cultural history is contained in the square feet Mr. Astor surveys. And it is infuriating, though not surprising, to witness how efficiently it is wiped away.”

-New York Times

An intimacy familiar from home movies, revealing eccentric neighbors at their most frank and endearing.”

-Time Out New York

“[A] fascinating, revealing tale. Anyone concerned with the role of art and artists in modern society should see it.”

-The Huffington Post