SPOTLIGHT July 2023: Jennifer Esposito, Actress, Baker, Teacher, Director of FRESH KILLS

Fresh Kills isn’t at all autobiographical, yet it’s all me, says first time writer/director Jennifer Esposito. “I did take pieces of people I grew up around and I used the essence of where I grew up to inform the characters’ world, but every character has some part of me in them. Staten Island, where I grew up and where the film takes place, felt very repressed and claustrophobic to me so that really influenced me when writing. The essence of the film is simple – it’s finding a voice in a world that tells you not to have one and I’ve felt that way my entire life.”

Read more

FRESH KILLS (Tribeca 2023) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Named after the Staten Island landfill of the same name, Fresh Kills is a satisfying up-close-and-personal twist on the traditional New York mob movie by actress-turned-filmmaker Jennifer Esposito. Seen through the eyes of quiet, watchful Rose (Emily Bader), this primarily 1990s set family crime drama focuses on her intense and sometimes fraught relationship with her mother Francine (Esposito) and older sister Connie (Odessa A’zion) as their lives are thrown into disarray in the aftermath of her father’s involvement in organized crime.

Read more

CROPSEY – Retroview by Jennifer Merin

‘Cropsey’ is an urban legend that haunted Barbara Brancaccio and Joshua Zeman while they were growing up in Staten Island, NY. In this 2009 documentary, the filmmakers return to their childhood environs to investigate the myth about the elusive boogeyman, wacko and supposed satanist who allegedly lived in the abandoned ruins of the notorious Willowbrook Mental Institution, which he used as a base for abducting and killing local children. Ultimately, the discovery of the body of a missing girl proved the legend to be true.

Read more