The Brooklyn has experienced an upswing in film activity over the last few years. Several independent filmmakers have used the property as a location for their projects, and Demings hopes the name change will spur even greater interest in the independent film market in Rhode Island. “It’s a stepping stone,” Demings said. “People have to know that this is a film house.”
Casting calls, auditions and workshops are held at the Brooklyn, and the first Thursday of every month is Rhodywood, when filmmakers screen their short films and have the opportunity to network and discuss their work with their colleagues. The four-story brick building on Douglas Ave, which was built in 1873, also houses a conference room, office space, a sound and editing space for actors, and a voice-over room, and hosted the SENE Film Festival, produced by the Southeast New England Film, Music and Arts, a non-profit 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization.
In 2007, Demings, who wrote and starred in a movie based on his life, Children of the Asylum, stopped running the Brooklyn as a coffee house and transformed the space into a venue for arts and entertainment. He created Rhodywood to recognize independent filmmakers and provide a place for them to exhibit their work. Demings wants Rhodywood to become a powerful force for independent films and to give Hollywood what he sees as some much needed competition.
There are now several Rhodywood groups on Facebook. Each New England state has its own group, along with New York City and Los Angeles. Demings hopes to launch more groups in the next few months, which will include Toronto, Canada, England, and Germany. The groups allow filmmakers to interact with each other and to seek assistance with their projects.
The Brooklyn Coffee and Tea House is at 209 Douglas Ave, PVD. Its website can be found at brooklyncoffeeteahouse.com. For more information about Rhodywood, go to rhodywood.com. On Sat, April 18, there will be a Meet and Greet workshop for actors, directors and crew members at Rhodywood at 5pm.