A lot of television series and films are already tackling the COVID-19-era, but one new project in particular is adding a fresh spin and unique take that sets it apart from everything else we’ve seen.
Campsight Studios (the production outfit behind Payroll and Clout), recently premiered A Balcony in Brooklyn, which gives a dystopian look at an underground party during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in NYC. From co-directors Dennis Williams II and Gladimir Gelin, the social commentary piece “is told through the eyes of an unsuspecting tenant who wakes up from a party to a cast of characters and a missing roommate.” From co-directors Dennis Williams II and Gladimir Gelin
The short stars David Makes Man actors Ade Chike Torbert and Nick Creegan alongside Renny, Nore Davis and Kara Young.
Williams and producer Jesse S. Martin spoke about the process of creating the film in a recent chat with S&A.
S&A: What inspired you to create a film during the pandemic?
DW & JM: We felt it is truly important to document this time for us and I knew how I wanted to address 2020 and the different shared experiences we’ve endured through this kind of narrative. Filmmaking is undoubtedly tougher during this time but the idea of documenting this time period through this conversational, dystopian word was a challenge worth accepting. Our goal is to further the conversation of the black quarantine experience, the Black Lives Matter movement, identity and more. What better way to share that story than with some of the funniest folks in New York City?
What was the experience like filming during this time and what time of precautions did you have to take?
With COVID there are a new set of rules on location, from temperature checks to the safety regulations across the entire production team. I believe the COVID-19 production mandates will undoubtedly benefit indie filmmakers because we’re already making movies with limited personnel. We had to take many more precautions in terms of our call sheet, making sure our block shooting groups didn’t overlap.
What makes this project special and how does it differ from other projects that have come out of the COVID-era?
Honestly, this project is an ode to Hiro Murai and Donald Glover’s Clapping for the Wrong Reasons, which makes it very special to me. A Balcony in Brooklyn also captures the weight of 2020’s life-changing events and how our perspectives surface in everyday conversation. It’s an odd feeling knowing that what you’re living through will always be mentioned in history so I felt it was important to create a relatable narrative that documented the black experience through this time.
What was the importance of setting the film in Brooklyn?
Brooklyn is just a special place because it’s home to so many different walks of life and Brooklyn is simply unapologetic. The social issues are on front street here so everyone could offer a new perspective on the social issues that this film explores.
How do you think the pandemic will change/is changing things for the better in Hollywood?
The pandemic has allowed for new creative voices to rise up from other pockets of the industry where you can create remotely and be seen. Hollywood will have to begin to approach productions with an indie film mindset to produce good work with less resources or smaller crews.
You can watch A Balcony in Brooklyn below:
Photo: CampSight Studios