Wed, 02 Nov 2022 11:47:39 GMT
New York-based production company Residency Content has teamed up with agency EP+Co to help launch ‘Back The Bodega’, a trio of short films that pay tribute to the many ways in which bodegas serve the local NY community. A collaboration with three local production companies and directors, the initiative spotlights the cultural importance of the 14,000 bodegas that populate New York’s streets and serve communities - and offers all creatives involved the chance to give back to this essential part of the city’s neighbourhoods.
Working pro bono, Residency produced and provided creative oversight for one of the three films, entitled ‘The Match’. A light hearted feel-good film geared towards first-generation Americans, it was directed by Chinese-American director and Brooklyn resident Waley Wang, whose award-winning work highlights the ever-elusive and uncultivated experiences of being Asian American as well as a young millennial.
Emphasising the need to support small businesses, the heart warming 60 second spot is a narrative comedy about a teenage girl trying to get approval for her non-Chinese boyfriend from the Matchmaker, Mrs. Yuan, who is based in the back of Broadway Food Mart bodega in Queens. With a cameo from the real-life owner of the bodega, Jimmy, who plays himself at the start of the film, the film playfully satirises superstitions of Chinese culture. Whilst the Matchmaker and boyfriend don’t get along initially due to her conservative Chinese beliefs, it’s revealed he can in fact speak fluent Mandarin - gaining him instant family status.
With an initial brief from EP+Co to highlight a unique bodega from each New York borough, Waley chose to spotlight Broadway Food Mart in Queens and embraced the open creative nature of the brief, using comedy as a way to help audiences connect with the campaign’s social message. Influenced by Waley’s own fantasies and the idea of Asian immigrants and older generations meshing more with Black American communities, the comedic punchline of the boyfriend speaking fluent Mandarin is more profound than just surprising.
Waley Wang, director, comments, “I really wanted to emphasise inclusivity and bring my own experience into the campaign as a first-generation Chinese-American filmmaker, inspired by the diversity of life and communities in NY, and to bring attention to Chinese-owned bodegas. There’s very little awareness that they exist in the public consciousness. But we’re here too! A giant thanks and love to EP+Co for the creative freedom in the brief and for supporting and getting behind the vision and its place within their campaign. Equally to Residency Content’s support and excitement for this film and getting it made.”
Gaetan Rousseau, executive producer, adds, Residency was contacted by EP+Co. As an immigrant myself and New Yorker for 20 years, we felt strongly about being a part of this project to help the local community. What made the challenge so interesting was we were only given two parameters to use a real bodega and feature the real owner and the rest of the creative was completely up to us. Waley and I collaborated on the creative. It was a great creative exercise for us and a really great way to be able to feature the importance of Bodegas in NYC culture who were really suffering during covid and give back to our community.