Low Budget Film Receives High Praise
Prince of Broadway
Monday, September 27th, 2010
“Prince of Broadway” is a heart-warming and surprising portrayal of the seedy side of Midtown’s wholesale clothing district. The independent film, directed by Sean Baker (“Take Out,” “Greg the Bunny”), follows Lucky (Prince Adu), an illegal immigrant from Ghana, who stands on a Broadway street corner sweet-talking passersby to the hidden back room of his Armenian boss’ clothing store, which contains knock-offs and stolen designer goods.
Charismatic and street-smart, Lucky at first seems like a typical young hustler: he lives from one payday to the next and parties hard. Lucky’s life is turned upside-down when an ex-girlfriend shows up and drops an 18-month-old child into his hands, insisting that the boy is his son. Unable to go to the police because of his illegal status, Lucky begins to care for the child as his own.
The partially-improvised script falls flat at times, yet the strength of the overall narrative more than compensates for any stutter. Fueled by the handheld camerawork of Baker, the film poignantly hangs in that nebulous land between drama and comedy, while subtly commenting on numerous social issues (not least of which is immigration), yet it avoids sliding into saccharine territory.
“Prince of Broadway’s” quick-footed story has received numerous awards from film festivals around the world. This is an impressive feat considering the film was completed for less than $100,000 -- a meager budget for a film made in New York City, a place that even one of its most famous advocates, Woody Allen, has said is too expensive to make movies.
“Prince of Broadway’s” budget went towards filming and production costs, with very little left over for promotion. When I visited the Angelika Theater on Houston St., where “Prince” enjoyed a successful two-week run, Baker was standing outside the box office handing out fliers and, much like Lucky, trying to entice people to go see the film.
“We don’t have a VOD or DVD deal,” Baker said. “We’re hoping a successful run theatrically will lead to a DVD deal.” The challenge is to continue to promote the film through word-of-mouth and hope that it continues to attract attention. For right now, it is up to the continued patronage of theater-goers to determine the fate of the film.
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