The idea that New York is as much a character in films as it is a setting is nothing new, and filmmaker Alexander Hagani hopes to make Greenpoint into something similar.

For Hagani’s new short film, Top Shot, an accurate depiction of the city was essential, especially as a New York City native (and current Greenpoint resident).

“I’m from the city. I need a New Yorker when they watch it to be like, ‘That works geographically,'” Hagani explained. “As a director, I wanted to make sure that on paper, getting from point A to point B all logistically worked when you mapped it out. So no New Yorker could question the validity of the traveling around New York City when you watched the movie.”

Top Shot is inspired by Hagani’s own childhood experiences with divorce and follows an 11-year-old boy adjusting to living with his new stepfather while also daydreaming about playing on the basketball court with his favorite NBA player. The film manages to cover the nuances of blended families, prepubescent angst, love, acceptance, and, of course, basketball all in its 20-minute runtime.

The film was shot in Bay Ridge, Fort Greene, and Bed-Stuy, plus Forest Hills, Queens. However, Hagani is currently working on a feature-length script for Top Shot that he hopes to film in Greenpoint.


“Living in Greenpoint now has just been like, I don’t know, it’s been my second life. It’s been incredible,” Hagani remarked. “When we shot in Bay Ridge, we shot on the street for some of our stuff, too. And so many people walked by us and were just questioning what we were doing out of sheer excitement that someone was filming in Bay Ridge. And I think the smaller productions that aren’t Blue Bloods and The Equalizer that shoot around Greenpoint have that same excitement, too. And it would just be nice to have that here — that would really be the goal.”

And the neighborhood has played a large role in his career over the past year or so — his production company, North130, operates out of his McGolrick-adjacent apartment and he hosted a screening of Top Shot at Film Noir Cinema for the cast and crew.

And given the aforementioned abundance of network-TV police procedurals filming in Greenpoint on any given day, Hagani actually hopes to bring more independent narrative filmmaking and filmmakers together in the community

“I think starting out in New York, whether you’re from here, whether you’ve just moved here, it can be so overwhelming with who to get connected to and how to get connected to your next job,” Hagani noted. “I would love to see more people in our neighborhood be more open to finding ways to connect with local filmmakers. I think this industry can be so insular and that it should be so much more public.”

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