About this project
“It’s not one of those films which is so easy to get money for because it might be an issue film, a political, a social issue but I think it’s even more important than that..As Margaret Mead has said, in one of her lectures which I attended, that we need more than anything, to find common ground with other people. And if there’s a purpose to the film, then that’s it.”- Albert Maysles
I felt compelled to start shooting this documentary over a year ago. After seeing so many beloved NYC businesses close, I wanted focus on one that is still very much alive.
Astor Place Hairstylists is brimming with energy from it's employees ,it's customers and the Vezza family that still owns and runs it.
We've been shooting for over a year and have accumulated some precious moments that I'm dyin' to share with you all.
I've learned a lot from making my last documentary,Begging Naked,and one of these lessons is that I need support early on in the process.
I put everything I have into my docs and I need help to take this to completion.
The modest goal I've set will be used for:
Tightening up the edit,sound mix,HD masters & dubs.
That's the bare bones of it. I'm chomping at the bit to bring you a new doc.Begging Naked did well after a long festival run,more than a few wins,finding a champion for the film in Roger Ebert ,inclusion in The Library of Congress motion picture division's permanent collection and even a blessing from my film hero Martin Scorsese. I promise to take Astor Barber even further...with your help!
THANK YOU !!!
Astor Barber All Stars: a documentary feature about the people that own, work at and go to Astor Place Hairstylists.
With so many NYC Institutions dropping like flies,due to skyrocketing rent ,one barber shop remains. Since 1939, Astor Barber has been cutting hair with pizzaz and is still one of NYC's most loved institutions. Get your hair cut from cradle to grave...literally! The Vezza family, their loyal customers and over 50 stylists working at Astor will show why this 3 generation family owned business attracts 'em all. It’s a story of endurance and a family ,it’s employees and customers that stuck together against the odds in NYC.
As a family run business since 1939,the owners have many stories to tell. A success story in itself, I want to explore their perspective on the daily workings of the place and the people that have walked through their doors. From the countless celebrity customers to the karaoke in the back with other 50 barbers,this barber shop is never dull.
I will ask them how things have changed and how some remain the same. Also, what they think makes it a place people gravitate to.
How stylists are chosen to work here and what they look for when hiring.They have the ability to keep loyal and long-time employees. How do they explain this?
Through interviews with the stylists, I’ll explore why they choose to work at Astor. Why have some worked at fancy upscale salons and prefer working at Astor?
I'll show the daily routine at Astor and how it’s different every day. You never know who will walk through the door. Their first appointment could be a cut & color, the next, a walk in for an updated Mohawk or hair tattoo. I want to show how Astor caters to anyone that walks through the door.
I will show the phenomenon of how many people have had their hair done at Astor at one time or another in their life. How it brings a smile to their faces and always a vivid memory. I want to show what’s going on right now at Astor and how many are returning even after many years. What keeps customers coming back, return or stop in for the very first time?
Ultimately, I’ll put a much deserved and long awaited spotlight on Astor Place Hairstylists. I love the place, want to see it flourish another 70 years and show the people that make it so loved and special.
*Thanks to Claudio Mercante & all the guys in the band Moo for the use of La Citta'e Pulecenella.
* Cover photo by Phil Penman. http://philpenman.com/
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