NYC Premiere of Last Call: The Shutdown of NYC Bars at Queens World Film Festival
What happens when an entire industry is laid off in a single day?
Last Call: The Shutdown of NYC Bars, presented by hsc.tv, directed by Johnny Sweet and produced by Bryan TwZ Brousseau will have its NYC Premiere on July 3rd at Queens World Film Festival, with a live screening at Queens Theater at 1:00pm and a virtual screening beginning at 8:00pm.
Filmed during the height of the pandemic, film interviews were conducted in an empty studio, cameras were remotely operated, and all film subjects were fully masked. Last Call: The Shutdown of NYC Bars explores the social and economic impact of COVID-19 on the NYC hospitality industry.
The bar and restaurant industry are an essential part of the social and economic fabric of New York City. Bars and restaurants are the lifeblood of every New York City neighborhood, bringing in over $46 billion to the city’s economy. These bars and restaurants are often staffed with artists and other creatives who come to New York City to work as hospitality workers while pursuing their dreams and creative endeavors.
On Sunday, March 15th, New York City, Mayor Bill DeBlasio made the unprecedented announcement that in order to stem the spread of COVID-19, New York City and State bars and restaurants will have to shutdown. On March 17th, Governor Mario Cuomo expedited the shutdown and ordered all restaurants and bars to close at 8pm. The closures represent the largest disruption to the hospitality industry since September 11th and Hurricane Sandy.
Business-as-usual comes to a grinding halt as COVID-19 sweeps through New York, quickly establishing Queens as the epicenter of the pandemic in not only the state of New York, but throughout the entire country. Bars and restaurants are ordered to close, leaving thousands of hospitality workers stranded without work and an uncertain future. Jena Ellenwood and her friends; hospitality workers and bar owners, vent their frustrations and anxieties, not only surrounding the seemingly hopeless economic uncertainty, but also the deadly virus that threatens their very lives.
Jena and her friends learn to adapt and cope with the reality of life during COVID-19, finding new sources of income and seizing the opportunity to pursue creative endeavors that might normally be sidelined. Throughout the process of finding a foothold in this “new normal”, the anxiety and uncertainty of New York’s hospitality industry looms, as 2020 ends with COVID hospitalizations in New York continuing to rise once again.
Director Johnny Sweet says: The first industry to get hit during the pandemic was the hospitality industry. I worked at a bar throughout my college days at Syracuse. Arguably the best professional morale I ever experienced was working at Konrad’s. I imagined thousands of those small professional families having their lives ruined at the same time over something they couldn’t control. These businesses and their employees needed a voice, a platform to speak about the sacrifices they made for us to help turn the tide against Covid-19.
Last Call: The Shutdown of NYC Bars will have its New York City premiere at Queens World Film Festival during the Hard Hit block on the following date/times:
Saturday, July 3rd at 1:00pm – In Person at Queens Theater
Director Johnny Sweet and subjects from the film will be in attendance for the Q&A, directly after the screening.
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