Architecture & Design Film Festival (ADFF:NY) Announces Film Highlights for 10th Season

The Nation’s Largest Film Festival Devoted to Architecture & Design Will Present a Compelling Lineup of Films including the World Premiere of ‘Leaning Out’ about Twin Towers Engineer Leslie E Robertson

October 16-21, 2018
Cinépolis Chelsea & SVA Theater
West 23rd Street, NYC

The Architecture & Design Film Festival (ADFF), the nation’s largest film festival devoted to the creative spirit that drives architecture and design, is celebrating a historic milestone this year. From October 16-21, ADFF will launch its tenth season during Archtober – New York City’s Architecture and Design Month. The festival’s marquee event, ADFF:NY, will kick off on October 16 at SVA Theater with the World Premiere of Leaning Out, a moving documentary about the life and work of Leslie E Robertson, the lead structural engineer of the World Trade Center. Following Opening Night, a curated selection of 30+ feature-length and short films will screen at the centrally located Cinépolis Chelsea theater. The lineup also includes films that touch upon important social and political issues – from redesigning prisons to ways that design can improve quality of life – and others that celebrate the long-lasting impact of figures like Dieter Rams, Mies van der Rohe and Renzo Piano. In addition to a robust film program, ADFF:NY will present installations and activations in the festival lounge from partners such as Vitra, Sony, and Rizzoli as well as panel discussions and Q&As that offer intimate access to the filmmakers and architects involved in the films.

According to ADFF Founder and Director Kyle Bergman, “The tenth season of ADFF is an important milestone in the festival’s history. What started as a small event in Vermont, has since grown to an international platform for filmmakers, architects and designers to share their finest work. With a range of beautiful, powerful and socially relevant films, this year’s line-up is sure to entertain and excite both A&D professionals and anyone who is passionate about design.”

A few of the film highlights for this year’s ADFF:NY include:

Leaning Out. Young Les with WTC sketch. Photo courtesy Leslie E Robertson.

Leaning Out (Opening Night Film & World Premiere)

Leaning Out is a documentary that tells the neglected story of the lead structural engineer of the World Trade Center, Leslie E Robertson. The film follows Leslie’s journey as a young engineer who oversaw the construction of the tallest building on the planet, haunted by its collapse and the events of 9/11 ever since. This bond with humanity solidifies his place in American history. Capturing a story about innovation, wind engineering and visionary collaborations with references to landmark structures around the world, Directors Basia and Leonard Myszynski share a rare glimpse into the private and professional life of this important man. A pacifist and activist, it is Robertson’s fight for human rights that drives him and a woman engineer who expands his worldview and ultimately saves him. Trailer.

Film still from Mies On Scene. Barcelona in two acts, directed by Xavi Campreciós and Pep Martín.

Mies On Scene. Barcelona in two acts (New York Premiere)

Created by Spanish directors Xavi Campreciós and Pep Martín, Mies On Scene tells the story of one of the most famous architectural works of the 20th century, which had disappeared for more than 50 years. The German Pavilion for the Barcelona International Exhibition of 1929 was controversially disassembled only 8 months after its opening. Architects did not forget this iconic structure and in 1986, after years of perseverance, it was reconstructed exactly in the same place. Surrounded by myths and speculation, statements and questions, the documentary tell the story of the pavilion and its creators, beginning with the pivotal moment when Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich would design the mise-en-scène that would change the course of history. Trailer.

Film still from Enough White Teacups, directed by Michelle Bauer Carpenter and co-presented by the Danish Consulate.

Enough White Teacups (New York Premiere)

Directed by Michelle Bauer Carpenter, Enough White Teacups documents the Danish non-profit, INDEX: Design to Improve Life ® (INDEX) in a thought provoking film that explores their history as an international design competition and highlights the most innovative INDEX award winners. The film showcases how design can be used to plan and build affordable housing, to prevent of blindness, destroy landmines, deliver vaccines and blood in remote areas, clean up the oceans and help prevent infant and mother mortality, among many others. Co-presented by the Danish Consulate, Enough White Teacups examines sustainable designs/inventions that embrace the principles of social, economic and ecological sustainability. Trailer.

Film still from Building Justice, produced and directed by Ultan Guilfoyle.

Building Justice (World Premiere)

Produced and directed by Ultan Guilfoyle, Building Justice tells the story of architect Frank Gehry’s investigation into prison design as a subject for the best architecture students in the United States. The film follows Gehry as he arranges two ‘master’ studios, at the invitation of George Soros and his Open Society Foundations, one in SCI-Arc in Los Angeles, the other at the Yale School of Architecture for this unique project. Partnering with Susan Burton of the New Way of Life Resettlement Project in Compton, California, Gehry and his students explore all aspects of prison design, learning first hand the design flaws of prison living from women who have been incarcerated in the worst American prisons. Building Justice documents the full extent of the project and follows the group on a trip to Norway to visit what are considered to be the world’s most successful prisons.

Film still from Renzo Piano: Architect of Light, directed by Carlos Saura.

Renzo Piano: The Architect of Light (Closing Night Film & US Premiere)

Celebrated Spanish director Carlos Saura captures the genius of one of the most famous Italian architects in the world, Renzo Piano. The brilliant designer behind structures including the Center Pompidou in Paris, the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome and The New York Times building in Midtown Manhattan, Saura follows Piano during the design of the Botín Center in Santander, Spain. The story becomes a reflection on this creative process.

Partners of ADFF:NY will add to the exciting energy in the Chelsea-based Cinépolis Cinema with activations throughout the theater’s public spaces. These pop-ups will include: a Rizzoli pop-up bookstore where attendees of the festival will be able to browse a selection of art, design and related books; a luxurious, in-home theater installation from Sony where attendees can watch additional films; and a selection of vignettes from Vitra’s international roadshow exhibition sharing classic and contemporary products and the “power of good design”.

Additionally, ADFF is thrilled to announce that two weeks leading up to the anchor festival, the Short Films Walk (SFW:NY) will take place on October 3. A favorite every year, the fifth annual SFW:NY brings crowds of ADFF fans to SoHo’s Design District, where attendees move from showroom to showroom while sipping drinks and viewing site-specific short films curated by ADFF.

The full film lineup for ADFF:NY will be announced soon and tickets will go on sale September 17.


The Architecture & Design Film Festival is grateful for the generous support of its Gold Sponsors: Sony, Boffi, Suite NY, Lasvit, Vitra, Ceramics of Italy, The American Institute of Architects (AIA), and Cosentino Group; Supporting Firms: Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Kevin Kennon Architects, KPF, and Rockwell Group; Media Sponsors: Architectural Record, Curbed, Dezeen, Interior Design, New York Magazine, Rizzoli Bookstore, Surface, and The Real Deal; Industry Partners: AIA New York Chapter, The American Institute of Architect I Look Up Film Challenge, Archtober, Consulate General of Denmark, Consulate General of Switzerland in New York, and Novità Communications.


Founded in 2009, the Architecture & Design Film Festival celebrates the creative spirit that drives architecture and design. Through a curated selection of films, events, and panel discussions, ADFF creates an opportunity to educate, entertain, and engage all types of people who are excited about architecture and design. It has grown into the nation’s largest film festival devoted to the subject with an annual festival in New York and satellite events around the world. For more information, visit or @ADFILMFEST on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.