Late Summer Scene: A ‘Shooting’ in Bushwick

A movie crew shoots a short film near Myrtle Ave, in Bushwick, Brooklyn. (Kevin Townsend / NY City Lens)

A movie crew shoots a short film near Myrtle Avenue, in Bushwick. (Kevin Townsend / NY City Lens)

Over and over, the gun rose and snapped out. Over and over, the detective fell. The sun set behind the shooter in a short alley off Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn. A young couple in wayfarer sunglasses and an elderly Dominican woman with a grocery trolley stopped to watch. And as a small crowd gathered, an officer with NYPD’s film division kept the locals back. Crowd control was important, but the officer’s main role was to ensure no one mistook the movie scene for an actual shooting and decided to involve themselves.

The shot was tough. The M train rattling thirty feet over Myrtle and kids running behind the alley interrupted takes. According to Jeanine Rudy, one of the film’s producers, today was the final shooting day and the film’s final scene. A detective, haunted by his mistaken shooting of a young boy, follows two gunmen into the alley. He drops one, but hesitates when he sees the other shooter’s age.

As the second gunshot rings out and fells the detective, the camera lowers to the ground with him. Blue shipping crates, a yellow dead end sign, and the short figure in a grey tee—all blur behind a close-up of his blank expression. Jeanine describes the moment, calling it the film’s crescendo. To shoot the scene, the actor portraying the detective had a camera harnessed to his torso, pointed right at his face. With each gunshot, two producers lowered him to a mat on the ground.

Bushwick’s crime rate has declined in recent years. Violent crime, however, has seen a slight increase, as this neighborhood, once known mostly for empty warehouses, has grown. The Williamsburg-based film crew chose Bushwick because, according to the director, it offered a “more real” setting and “this is the kind of thing that happens here.” They begin editing the short film tomorrow.

Today though, they had to get the shot while the sun was out, so the actor hoisted himself off the mat and repositioned himself in front of the orange-red sky for the gun to go off again.