The Eight Million Audience

Modern street performing traces back to 1960s folk and blues. Examples include B.B. King playing in towns along The Mississippi River, Tracy Chapman playing in Harvard Square in Boston and Jewel traveling all across America with just a guitar and a knife. On the other hand, artists that have already reached fame like Bruce Springsteen or Bono still enjoy playing in the streets, sometimes for a cause and sometimes for the fun of it.
New York has a love/hate relationship with street performers. For more than a hundred years, since the opening of the first subway line in 1904, various administrations have tried to regulate or prohibit underground performances as well as on the streets, while artists and activists have reclaimed spaces and rights through court actions and by performing.
The subway network of New York is the beating heart of the city. Millions of people ride the trains everyday, in a routine made of chrome, cement and noise. The prowess of these musicians can knock the passersby from their routine, make them stomp their feet and miss the train, an electric pulse for the sleeping souls of commuters.
This short documentary portrays the talent and background of three musicians during brief encounters in the underground subway network of New York City in 2016.

  • Francesco Chiot
  • Francesco Chiot
  • Francesco Chiot
  • Michael Davidson
    Key Cast
  • Thalys Peterson Quaresma
    Key Cast
  • Ryan Albert
    Key Cast
  • Elisa Biagi
    Location Sound Capture
  • Erin Shaffer
    Location Sound Capture
  • Leda Costa
    Location Sound Capture
  • Francesco Chiot
    Location Sound Capture
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    Music, Art, Contemporary
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes 8 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 1, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    0 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Francesco Chiot

Francesco Chiot is an independent photographer and videomaker.
During his ten year activity as a photographer he collaborated with visual artists, musicians and performers to explore the connections between identity, perception and expression using mediums ranging from film photography to digital infrared photography and from traditional to 360 video. His work has been exhibited in festivals and happenings revolving around the issues of mental health (ElsewhereART festival, Trieste 2012 and LUMEN festival, Salerno 2011) , cultural and personal identity (Another Kind of Paradise - New York 2018, Marigram - New York 2018 and Inside/Out - Trieste 2012).
After joining the International Center of Photography of New York as a Video Producer and Teaching Assistant for the Photojournalism seminar, he is currently working as an independent video maker and producer in Trieste.

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Director Statement

Someone once told me the perception can be divided in windows and mirrors. When we look, we either see through into reality, or we see ourselves reflected back.

Truth also says that no matter how clean a window can be, it will always have a bit of our reflection in it.

It has always intrigued me and I constantly asked myself what am I looking at, what am I listening to, what am I thinking about, what am I feeling. Am I really seeing through the window, or is it just my blurry reflection I am seeing.

Through time, I became more interested in the world outside the window, but kept asking the same questions. What is he seeing, what is she hearing, what are they thinking, how are you feeling. I practice in seeing the mirrors, keeping my window clean and my reflection familiar.

These questions and this practice make me interested in the perspective of identity, belonging, culture, heritage, history, pride. Who am I, who is my family, what do I believe in , what do I stand for, what do I need, what am I bringing with me.