Dustin Cohen’s “The Shoemaker” – BTS on this awesome Canon EOS 5D Mark II short

by planetMitchLeave a Comment

Dustin Cohen sent us his video “The Shoemaker” and it is just fabulous storytelling and we wanted you to share it with everyone you know (so please tweet it or post it on your facebook page!).

This reminds me very much of the series we've shared before from Pablo Korona's Our City, Our Story which is just some really great stuff!


“Made In Brooklyn” is a video series I started about makers, craftspeople, and artisans who are based in the borough; almost an homage to Brooklyn. I've lived in Brooklyn for 8 years and I find it amazing how many people are creating/innovating/producing things here.

That said, these are narrative driven, human-interest pieces. I'm interested in the people, their story, what they have to say. I go and meet everyone beforehand, talk with them, see their work spaces, spend time with them, explain what I'm doing and why I think this project is important. There's no exploitation and I think that's an important part of it. And once people realize that, we're able to get in there and tell a intimate, truthful story. This is so important when all I have to offer in return is a DVD with the final video and the photographs.

The Shoemaker

Frank Catalfumo is a 91 year old shoemaker and repairer in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

Frank Catalfumo is a 91 year old shoemaker and repairer in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

I read about Mr. Catalfumo a few years ago in a local newspaper article and on paper I thought it would make for a story. He opened up F&C Shoes in 1945 and, to this day, works five days a week at the age of 91. I remember walking into the shop for the first time and it was like stepping back in time; and I immediately knew this was a story that needed to be told. The smell of leather and shoe polish, all the textures, the original machinery, it was really something special. I went back the next week with a filmmaker friend of mine, Michael Hurley, and we filmed and documented Frank and his son Michael working for the day.

Shoemaker image2

He first opened the doors to F&C Shoes in 1945 and continues to work five days a week alongside his son Michael.

He first opened the doors to F&C Shoes in 1945 and continues to work five days a week alongside his son Michael.

We were geared up with 5D Mark II's, a variety of Canon lenses, a small travel slider and some minimal audio equipment, doing our best to not be in the way while the Catalfumos worked just like any other day. The shop is not big and we needed to keep our impact very minimal. I went back a handful more times by myself to the Bensonhurst shop, some days focusing on stills and other days on interviews and B roll. Every story that came out of Mr. Catalfumo was so thoughtful and retrospective. He really has lived an amazing life, dedicating himself to his family, his community, his country (he is a World War 2 veteran) and his craft. The response thus far has been to the short film has been so incredibly positive, I'm humbled by it.

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


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