The few groups who tried to make films Saturday evening at the crowded opening found working amid curious onlookers challenging.
"If people are in your shot, you kind of got to roll with it," said Crosby, aka Clockwork Cros, one of the brave filmmakers who improvised scenes in front of the huge crowd. "It was pretty intense to put yourself out on the limb in front of everybody."
An experimental film student at the State University of New York at Purchase, who asked that she be identified only as Laura, said she was inspired by the way her group came together.
"It was interesting, because we didn't know the other people we had to make the video with, so it was sort of collaboration on the fly," she said.
Deitch said he believes the exhibition will encourage people from different fields to work together.
"One of the philosophies behind what we do in the gallery is to create a platform for community," he said. "I think we'll make a lot of interesting connections."
Gondry sees the exhibition as a starting point. He said he would like to transform the project into an outreach program to build community in disenfranchised neighborhoods. He believes it's a model that could work around the world.
"I want to do it out of a gallery, do it in a suburb," he said. "I started in Passaic and I will probably finish there, but I would like to go into difficult neighborhoods in France. I'd like to prove to myself that it's a system that can work and inspire other people."
"Be Kind Rewind," the exhibition, is open until March 22. The Deitch Web site (www.Deitch.com) gives details on how to schedule an appointment and what to expect once you're there.