Tales from the Neighborhood Café

Set in a bustling coffee shop that serves as the crossroads of a tight-knit community, the film follows an eclectic cast of characters as they come and go, sharing their stories of love, success, struggles, and everything in between.

  • Al Hallak
    The Paradigm
  • Al Hallak
  • Al Hallak
  • Bernard Q. Settles
    Key Cast
  • Richard Garifo
    Key Cast
  • Carey Bibb
    Key Cast
  • Milly Huff
    Key Cast
  • Suzanne Martin
    Key Cast
  • Daniela Pallares
    Key Cast
  • Nyrek Mason
    Key Cast
  • Emily Ligon
    Key Cast
  • Tianna Wang
    Key Cast
  • Austin Reeves
  • Valeria R. Caceres
    Assistant Producer
  • Jacob Grajales
    Assistant Director
  • Amber Champ
    Production Coordinator
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    41 minutes 17 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 31, 2023
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Al Hallak

Al Hallak, an accomplished expert in the industry, brings a wealth of experience to his diverse roles. With expertise as a producer, director, writer, and educator, he has spent over a decade collaborating with producers and film companies, contributing to the creation of numerous successful film projects.

In the field of education, Al Hallak has made a lasting impact. His passion for sharing knowledge and nurturing emerging talents has led him to teach at renowned film schools and esteemed institutions across the United States. Beyond the confines of the classroom, Al has also been privileged to serve as a judge and critic at some of the nation's most competitive film screening events.

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Director Statement

"Tales from the Neighborhood Café" is a film that explores the potential of filmmaking techniques that go beyond traditional coverage and editing. It embraces a unique approach to storytelling, utilizing elements both within and off-screen to create an immersive cinematic experience. It is the first narrative film to feature an extended long take with no hidden cuts or camera movement.

The film takes place in a vibrant coffee shop that serves as the central hub for a close-knit community. Within this bustling setting, we follow an eclectic cast of characters who come and go, each bringing their own stories of love, success, struggles, and everything in between.

Walter, a character in the film, is a writer working on his novel. In his mind, he envisions people coming together in times of crisis or celebration. As a conscious effort, Walter invites the characters from his novel to emerge and engage in dialogue, sharing their stories with one another. This decision unites them in a profound way, further enriching the narrative with a sense of a deeper exploration of the human condition.

The narrative defies storytelling conventions by abandoning traditional protagonist-antagonist dynamics, conflict, climax, and resolution. Instead of adhering to a traditional film script, the film utilized a detailed rundown sheet. This sheet served as a guide, orchestrating the actors' interactions with each other and their synchronization with on-screen and off-screen events.

"Mise-en-scène" takes on a new and distinctive meaning in this film, as it seamlessly combines elements from both on and off the screen to enhance the depth and complexity of the narrative. While the physical space of the coffee shop remains unchanged, it undergoes a profound transformation as it absorbs the joys, sorrows, and human experiences that the characters bring with them.

Both subjective and objective camera perspectives were used without moving the camera or changing the shot size. Instead, it relies solely on the actors' monologue and movement to transition between the character's perspective and an objective view. This approach adds a layer of depth and psychological insight to the narrative, blurring the lines between the characters' internal thoughts and the external world they inhabit.

The film aims to create an immersive experience for audiences, challenging the boundaries of traditional storytelling techniques. "Tales from the Neighborhood Café" offers a fresh perspective on the power of community and the stories that bind us together.