A film by Eric Wang Schwager
Bishop, a local panhandler, is the neighborhood showman. He strikes up a conversation with Jeff, who is also an artist but may not quite have the charisma or the know-how.
Bishop has never met a stage he does not like and seizes an opportunity to show Jeff a thing or two. But does the tune change when it is Jeff's home turf?
Written & Directed by Eric Wang Schwager
Produced by Eric Wang Schwager & Austin Chang
Cinematography by James Daly
Editing by Mohamed Elsafty
Featuring Frantzdy Alexandre, Aaron Kitchin, and Lee Garr
Music by Jose Gonzalez Parma
My 8 years as an Assistant Cameraman and now 3 years as a Director have been unique and eye-opening. I am privileged to see and explore buildings, neighborhoods, and areas from the Bronx to Long Island that I never would have otherwise. However, I am constantly aware of our presence as an invasion. Film crews are giant circuses that disrupt and impede. Perhaps that is also how I view my presence in a neighborhood that 20 years ago I would never have spent time. It has been 8 years and I am still concerned about who should be here in my stead or that I am an invader. But after this much time, I too now see change.
Neighbors and families that I’ve gotten morning coffees with and become close to are moving. Building facades are replaced by scaffolding and construction cones. Through it all, the local empanada spot remains a center of neighborhood activity. Contractors, children, and homeless people all congregate and catch up on the day’s happenings. The owner is not a friendly man, but he is a good man with a great laugh. In his store, everyone gets great cheap food and is treated with respect. As cafés and expensive restaurants continue to open all around us, I was inspired to think about how a group like this or even an individual from this group would be received. Would they be welcomed? Would they find commonality?
This film is so important to me because it deals with relevant themes such as diversity, appropriation, and humanity while still being character-driven. Being half-asian, I have never easily found a place to fit in. I am both Chinese and Eastern European Jewish, neither, and something wholly different unto itself. I believe that this has not only shaped me as an individual and a director, but the theme of otherness seen in Jingle.
I worked hard to write, re-write, get feedback, and re-write this script more because I wanted to tell this story as perfectly as I could. I believe that this film can reach all audiences and do more than make people self-reflect, but also examine the effects of their actions and thoughts on those around them. In the end, I believe that this film is most about dignity. Dignity in community, dignity in solace, dignity in prosperity, and dignity in struggle. Thank you and I hope you enjoy.