Expres run all the way to Sundance - ‘Tunnel’ film gaining buzz

The Brooklyn Paper

A documentary starring Brooklyn tunnel maven Bob Diamond is already attracting robust attention from top cable channels, the film’s co-producer told this paper this week.

Potential suitors include the Discovery Channel, Sundance Channel and the History Channel, according to Jerry Kolber, founder of the company Fenwick Arms.

The goal, Kolber said, is to attach one or several finance partners to the project, finish filming and premiere it at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009.

Filming is expected to resume in August, he said.

Diamond is the founder and president of the Brooklyn Historic Railway Association (BHRA) and rediscoverer of the tunnel, on Atlantic Avenue between Hicks and Court streets.

“It’s like a dream come true,” Diamond said of the film. “Words can’t describe how excited I am.”

Diamond said he is in the process of finalizing a contract with the production companies.

The tunnel, built in 1844 as a route between the New York Harbor and Boston, was sealed up and abandoned in 1861.

In 1980, lured by dusty recollections in books and guided by old maps, Diamond, a young engineering student at the time, rediscovered the tunnel.

He has a franchise agreement with the city’s Department of Transportation that allows him to install public entrances to the tunnel and lead tours, which have snowballed in popularity. The agreement is up for renewal at the end of the month.

Kolber, who is co-producing the film, called “The Tunnel,” with Hungry Man Productions, said there are also talks with the mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting to see if the agency might wish to become involved in some way.

“I love the story of just a regular guy who manages to discover something that experts and the government thought was a myth,” Kolber said.

Diamond’s belief is that an old steam locomotive is buried somewhere inside the tunnel. He said the hope is to raise $750,000, money which will go to the excavation, which will be filmed.

“The tunnel is kind of a metaphor for things hidden below the surface,” Kolber said. “Sometimes you have to dig a little to get to the truth.”

A trailer for the film can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7h4ugetCcw.

Diamond will lead his next public tour of the tunnel on Sunday, July 27, at 1:30 p.m. Call 718-941-3160 for reservations and information. Flashlights and comfortable shoes are recommended.

For more information about the BHRA, go to www.brooklynrail.net.


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