Having a good shoe repairman in New York City is like having a good mechanic in LA. You just can't negotiate life on the streets without one.
Lorenzo Powell first learned his trade working in his father's shoe repair shop in Harlem in the late 70's and 80's. Back then, Harlem was acutely economically depressed. People wore their shoes until their feet touched the sidewalk—and they brought them right to Lorenzo's family shop. In hearing that history, it connected so many dots for me as a client of 15 years and now as co-director of this film.
Lorenzo has been a longtime fixture in the midtown Manhattan community for almost 20 years. People who have moved to other neighborhoods travel far and wide to have him fix their beloved soles. He services many of the major theaters on Broadway. He is a true artisan and master of his craft—not to mention a small business owner, surviving in a time when the mom-and-pop shops are dropping like flies in a rapidly changing metropolis.
Why we need your help
We are nearing the end of production and then heading into post production. We already have some great stories from Lorenzo and some of his customers. We are looking to raise a small budget to help cover the costs of shooting some more interviews and post-production work on the movie (editing, color, sound design, and score). We have some great things on the horizon, including a score composed by the rising star, Kris Bowers and vignettes featuring our man on the street, Renauld White. It's going to be a fun ride. We hope you'll join us.
Meet the Filmmakers
Duane Harper Grant is a musician, photographer, and filmmaker based in New York City. He has produced video projects for bands in and around NYC including for the art rock band Changing Modes. He has worked as a music copy contractor, project manager, and producer for studio recordings, live concerts, and Broadway shows.
Aaron Cassara is a Brooklyn-based, Chicago-born filmmaker and photographer. He’s worked in television, documentary, music video, and narrative, including the feature film King Kelly produced by SeeThink Films. He’s currently finishing a short fiction film (funded by Kickstarter!) called Barista, about how the costs of health care and education affect young people.
The filmmakers would like to thank: Dwania Kyles for helping with shoot logistics and being a great PA. Nona Willis Aronowitz for help editing the Kickstarter script, Jason C. Grant IV for producing and playing guitar on the soundtrack, Dean Cassara for playing percussion on the Kickstarter score, Yuzuru Sadashige for designing the Kickstarter project postcard, Jimmy for the great shoeshines and Lorenzo Powell - The Man.
Tamara Tunie and Gregory Generet talk shoes, hard work and hint at what New York used to be.
We interviewed Tamara and Gregory in their Harlem home a couple weeks ago for "The Hardest Working Man... in Shoe Business."
Risks and challenges
Not too many: we've already shot a good portion of the film. We have some more interviews to shoot and to spend some time with Lorenzo outside of his shop life. We are essentially a self-contained unit occasionally hiring a PA or a sound recordist at times. Editing can always take longer than expected. Other than that, our main setbacks are mostly scheduling conflicts that might arise with Lorenzo and people we still want to interview.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)