MING OF HARLEM-TWENTY ONE STOREYS IN THE AIR

By Phillip WARNELL

PICTURE PALACE PICTURES - as PROD

Documentary - Completed 2014

An only in NY story, a tale of animal/human communication and hi rise cohabitation. The true tale of Antoine Yates who lived with Ming, a 500 lb Bengal tiger and Al, a 7 foot alligator in an apartment in Harlem.

Festivals
& Awards

FID 2014
Intl CompetitionGrand Prix Georges Beauregard
NYFF 2014
Projections
Viennale 2014
Jihlava 2014
les recontres international 2014
Valdivia IFF 2014
Transcinema 2014
FICUNAM 2015
Intl Competition
    • Year of production
    • 2014
    • Genres
    • Documentary
    • Countries
    • UNITED KINGDOM, USA, BELGIUM
    • Languages
    • ENGLISH
    • Director(s)
    • Phillip WARNELL
    • Writer(s)
    • Jean-Luc NANCY
    • Producer(s)
    • Madeleine MOLYNEAUX (Picture Palace Pictures), Phillip WARNELL (Big Other Films)
    • Synopsis
    • MING OF HARLEM: TWENTY ONE STOREYS IN THE AIR is an ‘only in New York’ multi-layered account of Ming, Al and Antoine Yates, who co-habited in a high-rise apartment in the Drew Hamilton Houses in Harlem for several years until 2003, when news of their dwelling caused a public outcry and collective outpouring of disbelief. On the discovery that Ming was a five hundred pound Tiger and Al a seven-foot Alligator, their story took on an astonishing dimension.

      MING OF HARLEM: TWENTY ONE STOREYS IN THE AIR frames Yates' recollections with a poetic study of Ming and Al, the prodigious predators combined with a text by French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy elaborating and re-imagining the circumstances of the wild inside. Warnell’s debut feature film forays into the screening of displaced species as integral to a conceptual, cinematic and fractured narrative agenda, in the process advancing through strange living circumstances and outlandish territories...

      MING OF HARLEM: TWENTY ONE STOREYS IN THE AIR embraces the wonder of these circumstances, how they could even be conceived of and maintained. It explores animal attributes and predatory presence, with a consideration of Yates’ motivations and aims. It reflects in broader terms on human-animal relations and proximity between species, as well as elaborating the social context within which Antoine, Ming and Al developed their secret world.

      The film explores timeframes and recollections, a juxtaposition of news, archival, imagined, recollected and social elements; evocative of those who claim an ‘animal sense’ and special understanding and ability to communicate with wild animals it offers a poetic, thoughtful meditation on displaced animality and husbandry, listening, as it were, to the animals themselves. In New York’s melting pot of potential the roles and placement of predator, consumer and companion merge.
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