NYC OVERCOMING, a documentary hour of five short films about NYC's resiliency, is set to premiere. "We are pleased to present the NYC Overcoming documentary on NYC Life, the flagship channel of the city's broadcast network NYC Media," said the Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, Anne del Castillo. "This program demonstrates the diversity and resiliency of the city's small businesses that help to make NYC a global capital."
The documentary is from Harlem-based production company Firelight Films, helmed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson. The premiere is December 17 at 7p.m. The film aims to celebrate the efforts of nightlife, hospitality and entertainment communities in all five boroughs as they recover from the pandemic.
"I could not be more proud to present these five short films, which showcase the resilience of my home city of New York, from the Bronx to Staten Island, during an extraordinarily challenging time," said Firelight Films Founder Stanley Nelson. "I hope these stories inspire all New Yorkers to see that everyday people are capable of incredible feats."
Synopses of each short film:
Enoteca Maria; Bringing Back Grandma's Cooking details the efforts of the Staten Island restaurant to keep its kitchen staff safe, give back to the community and find new ways to support the business. Chefs from the restaurant, lovingly referred to as "nonnas," are local grandmothers whose high-risk status meant the restaurant had to shut down. But that didn’t stop them from handing out soup to essential workers, selling homemade sauces online and fostering togetherness through the power of food.
Women's World of Boxing; Fight like a girl! tells the story of the first women's boxing gym in Harlem, which provides a safe, comfortable, and uplifting space for women and girls in a male-dominated sport. Throughout the toughest times of the pandemic, owner Reese Scott never gave up hope, transitioning to Zoom and outdoor lessons until she was once again able to open the doors and connect with the community through after-school programs and partnerships with local precincts.
Eyes on the NYC Marathon brings awareness to the iconic New York City Marathon and the void it left behind when the pandemic halted a 50-year tradition in 2020. Sara Zutter, a special education teacher at Brooklyn's PS 172 and coach for the Rising New York Road Runners, is training for the marathon's return so she can make her students proud and raise awareness about heart diseases and reproductive system disorders, drawing from her own personal battles with these health issues.
Boogie Down Grind Cafe, located in Hunts Point and founded in 2016 as the first Hip Hop Cafe in the Bronx, pays homage to the vibrant and historic Hip Hop scene of the area and is a staple of the South Bronx community. The shop had to suffer through multiple pandemic closures but, with the help of small business loans and a donation from Beyonce's #beygood fund, the shop has reopened brighter and busier, much to the delight of owner and Bronx-native Majora Carter.
Anoria's Boutique is a new business in Astoria, Queens owned by Vanessa Gonzales who, like so many New Yorkers, lost her retail job during the pandemic. With money made from making and selling face masks, she began buying handmade traditional Oaxacan embroidery pieces from friends and family in her native Mexico. Her store now sells traditional pieces that celebrate Mexican culture and is among several businesses in her neighborhood that were created despite all odds.