Private Project


In the diverse and divided neighborhood of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, with mom and pop shops closing all around them, several small business owners work tirelessly and creatively to keep their doors open during the Covid-19 PAUSE order, experiencing understandable fear, interminable hope, radical generosity, and even miraculous visions.

  • Gillian Fritzsche
    Bronx 'ish, LSL Life, Jerry & Diane, Sonny
  • Gillian Fritzsche
    Bronx 'ish, LSL Life, Carrol Lynn, Jerry & Diane, Sonny
  • Steven Carmona
    Carrol Lynn, Louie's Brother Peter, The Redemption Project
  • Glenn Rowe
    Sonny, Bronx 'ish
  • Steven Carmona
    Brutal Season, Powerless, Carrol Lynn, America Adrift
  • Sravani Kallepalli
    An Ember Within Ashes
  • Gillian Fritzsche
    The Sonnet Project, Manger Things, Kids' History: Christmas Edition
  • Amanda Hanna-McLeer
    High Maintenance, Broad City, The Americans
  • Lee Salevan
    Supervising Sound Editor
    Harlem, Little Women, 21 Bridges
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    20 minutes 50 seconds
  • Production Budget:
    2,750 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Gillian Fritzsche

Gillian Fritzsche is an award-winning director and producer with 15+ years of experience in narrative films, documentaries, and theatre across Canada and the US. Now based in NYC, she is known for producing the award-winning feature “The Rock ’n’ Roll Dreams of Duncan Christopher,” starring Marshall Bell which played at 19 festivals and won jury and audience awards at seven of them, including Best Feature Film and Best Score. Recent credits include producing and co-directing the second season of the web-series “Bronx ‘ish,” written and created by actress-writer-director Danielle Alonzo, about an Afro-Latina woman growing up and chasing her dreams in the Bronx.

In the documentary space, Gillian’s recent projects include producing and directing a 12-episode doc-series called “LSL Life” for the national non-profit Hearing First, a series about families of children with hearing loss and story consulting on the award-winning documentary "Holy Frit" which premiered at Slamdance in 2021.

Gillian enjoyed living in Brooklyn for 10 years, but she now lives just across the river from NYC, in Northern NJ, with her husband, two children, and a sweet rescue kitty.

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Director Statement

Back in January 2020, I was attached to a feature film as a director. My first feature! However, I am a mother, and the two producers on that project are mothers; and so when the pandemic took over in March of 2020, we all had to stop and home school our children, until the schools were ready to take over with remote learning. It took us a few months to realize this wasn’t just postponement. We had to completely pivot because we realized our original financing plan was no longer valid. All of this placed me in a very dry creative moment in June 2020.

I needed to create something.

I was listening to a podcast and learned about Agnes Varda’s film “Deguerreotypes,” in which she turned her camera on the business owners on the street where she lived in Paris. At the time I was living in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. We were living through the worst that covid had to offer. Sirens all day long. 7 pm cheers for the healthcare workers. Washing our groceries. We were in the middle of the PAUSE mandate and all non-essential businesses were closed.

Inspired by Varda, I wondered what the small business owners in my neighborhood would say about their struggle to stay open. I asked a friend of mine, Puerto Rican cinematographer Steven Carmona who at the time also lived in Bay Ridge, to walk around the neighborhood with me and interview shop owners about their struggles.

What stories might we find?

The number of small business owners willing to speak with us was surprising. Even more surprising was the myriad of ways that each of these businesses had survived. What came out of this project was a clear sense of hope, community, perseverance, and passion.

Welcome to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Here you’ll find a community full of passion and hope. I hope you enjoy your visit.