Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion tells the story of one of the last forgotten remnants of the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York. The documentary film, conceptualized and created by Matt Silva ’07, about the remains of renowned architect Philip Johnson’s World’s Fair Pavilion, came to campus for a pre-screening on Oct. 30, 2014.
The Long Island teacher first became interested in the World’s Fair Pavilion after driving by the landmark on his daily commute. After researching the iconic structure on the web and in local libraries, Silva realized that there were very few resources documenting its history.
“At first I was going to write a book,” Silva said. “I started gathering photos and stories and I wanted to compile a complete body of work for others to reference.” Silva soon realized that others, many of whom had fond memories of the 1964-65 World’s Fair, were making efforts to preserve and even restore the pavilion.
As Silva became immersed in the community of pavilion supporters, he realized that a documentary film had the potential to reach a larger audience than a book. So, with no funding or formal filmmaking experience, Silva formed Aquarela Pictures, an independent production company, and set out to create Modern Ruin.
Silva reached out to several companies in search of corporate sponsorship for the film. When he did not hear back, he decided to try crowdsourcing the funding with websites like gofundme.com and kickstarter.com. It was a huge success. The online campaign raised nearly $20,000, which helped Silva upgrade his equipment and pay for costly licensing fees.
The unfinished film, in its final stages of editing, was shown in the Marano Campus Center followed by a Q-and-A session open to the campus community.
Amy Shore, assistant professor and director of the cinema and screen studies program at SUNY Oswego, hosted the prescreening of Modern Ruin. The filmmaking program was founded around the same time Silva graduated with a degree in technology education. “We’ve adopted him as one of our own,” Shore said.
Silva is also co-founder of People for the Pavilion, a collection of pavilion supporters who hope to raise public awareness, preserve and someday revitalize the historic structure.
For more information about Silva, the World’s Fair Pavilion and the premiere date of Modern Ruin, visit aquarelapictures.com.
—Tyler Edic ’13