Exclusive: ‘The Originals’ Debuts on The New Yorker Screening Room Dec. 7

The award-winning animated short documentary film The Originals, directed by Alfie Koetter and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Cristina Costantini and produced by XTR and Muck Media, will début on The New Yorker’s digital channels on Wednesday, December 7 as part of the magazine’s award-winning Screening Room series. The film’s trailer was released today, which you can watch below.

The Originals is narrated by their former landlord Matty “Square” Ruggiero and his childhood gang, the Union Street Boys. The five friends tell their story of what it was like to grow up in an Italian-American neighborhood in South Brooklyn, where money was tight but friendships were tighter.

“This animated documentary is a love letter to our old neighborhood, to our former landlord Matty ‘Square,’ and to the vibrant enclaves that immigrants built and continue to build in this country,” said Costantini and Koetter, both children of immigrants themselves. “We could not be more thrilled that this little movie we made while holed up during the pandemic found a home with The New Yorker. Being associated with such an esteemed publication will surely make us seem much smarter than we are.”

The Originals
The Originals

The Originals won Best Documentary Short at Miami Film Festival, Grand Jury Award for Best Animated Short at Edmonton International Film Festival, Best Animation at NYC Indie Film Awards, Best Animation at Salute Your Shorts Film Festival, Best Documentary Short at Sidewalk Film Festival, and the Honorable Mention for Best Animated Short at Palm Springs International ShortFest. It also screened at Tribeca Film Festival, Mountainfilm and SFFILM DocStories.

The film is the first collaboration and first animated film for Koetter and Costantini, who are married. Koetter built miniature sets inspired by Union Street in Carroll Gardens in the couple’s home during the pandemic. In collaboration with Canadian creative collective shy kids, he animated hand-drawn figures on top of the live-action footage of the sets. Costantini, a documentarian who previously directed the Sundance Award-winning Science Fair (Disney+/National Geographic) and the Emmy-nominated Mucho Mucho Amor (Netflix), crafted the story.

The Originals
The Originals recalls memories of a close-knit Italian-American neighborhood in a bygone Brooklyn.

The Originals is presented by The New Yorker Studios. It joins the magazine’s award-winning Screening Room series: a collection of “fictional films that will make you laugh, cry and challenge your view of the mundane and the extraordinary.”

The Originals captures the charm and beauty of a neighborhood lost in this fast-changing world — but with the hope to find a better path forward and embrace the change,” said Soo-Jeong Kang, The New Yorker’s Executive Director of Programming.

The film was produced by Two Beans and presented by XTR, produced in association with the shy kids, Test Pattern Media and Muck Media, of which Costantini is a partner. Muck Media is the production company behind critically acclaimed docu-series and documentaries American Pain (CNN Films/HBO Max), Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller (National Geographic) and Menudo: Forever Young (HBO Max).

The Originals is executive produced by Bryn Mooser and Kathryn Everett for XTR and Walter Woodman for shy kids.

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