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14 September 2020

Local Love

by Syd Briscoe

Facebook: “Survive” - 3 mins 32s

This poignant Facebook ad highlights the plight of small businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic. Focusing on Coogan's Restaurant - a beloved local spot in Washington Heights which was finally forced to close in April - the film turns a spotlight on just how much local culture is being lost to lockdown.

While the McDonalds and Pizza Huts of the world have enough infrastructure and the sheer size to weather pretty much any storm, independent bars and restaurants face a much faster decline as patrons shelter at home. With more than sixty percent of New York eateries facing closure by the end of the year, the future looks bleak.

These cold, hard facts make this film all the more touching, as it serves as a love letter to everything about Coogan's that the local community has lost. Camaraderie, memories, and decades of history - all gone in the face of a mismanaged public health crisis.

Co-owner Peter Walsh makes for an especially moving narrator, as he discusses his refusal to go down fighting despite Coogan's closing its doors for good. The establishment of a community fund with the aim of preventing any other local businesses succumbing to the same fate offers a grain of hope at the film's close, though the effort sadly comes too late for many.

Film Production: Smuggler Ⓟ Ⓦ
Director: Miles Jay Ⓟ Ⓦ
Producer: Erin Wile
Executive Producer: Patrick Milling-Smith / Allison Kunzman
Cinematographer: Bradford Young / Kelly Jeffrey
Production Designer: Akin McKenzie
Editor: Ben Jordan Ⓦ @ Work Ⓟ Ⓦ
Music: I WIll Survive - Lykke Li

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