Now Coming To The Silver Screen: Joe “373 Scam Avenue” Loiacono

URnotalone

That’s right folks: a mere six months have passed since this fellow was charged with a litany of downright nasty criminal acts and now two brave documentarians have not only decided his is a story worth telling but the Kickstarter community concurred! Follows is Ashley and Arielle’s “pitch”. I have bold-faced my favorite passages and added commentary as I have seen fit. Enjoy!

Set in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Joe’s trinket shop symbolizes a fusion of two worlds: where traditional American-Italian ideals meet a new wave of hipsters. (Ed. Note: I am going to go out on a limb here and say if the “Italian Community” thereabouts learned that this fellow apparently represents them they would not happy.) U R Not Alone depicts the evolution of an unlikely friendship between this controversial man and two young women and continues with their dilemma once he is arrested. As they delve deeper into investigating Joe’s crimes and past, they bring audiences on their moral roller coaster ride – questioning the intrinsic societal predicaments he stands for. (Ed. Note: Here’s a “powerful moral dilemma”; you glorifying someone who repeatedly stole security deposits from people, attempted to assault his neighbor with a chainsaw (and as such was hit with a restraining order which he immediately violated) and has an extensive record of domestic violence and sexual assault.*) At a time when cultural and moral values are being re-assessed, Joe’s compelling character demands all who engage with him to challenge what is good, who is bad, what fits in, and what does not. How are those who do not quite fit the mold treated, and is it just?

A LITTLE MORE: In the fall of 2011 we met Joe: an overweight, generally shirtless man – adorned with eclectic jewelry, a fake guitar, and a very large mouth. U R Not Alone follows one man’s struggle with the law and society at large. His story has continuously challenged us with provocative questions and powerful moral dilemmas that will surely stir audiences and confront them in the same right. The film not only has the potential to demonstrate ambiguities, injustices, and manipulations of the American law system, but also highlights and challenges the roles of documentary filmmakers, their subjects, and the responsibility they have to one another as people.

Over the last year, we have followed this man on his path to self-destruction through alcohol, drugs, and false hopes. As we became better acquainted with Joe, we saw a side of him that nobody else seemed to. We watched as an entire neighborhood dismissed, and put away a man that they simply did not understand. (Ed. Note: “not understand” = objecting to being chased down the street with a chainsaw.)

The film depicts the evolution of an unlikely friendship between this controversial character and two young girls trying to capture his story, and continues with our dilemma once he is arrested. How much do we trust this man, and how far do we go for him? What do we see in Joe that the rest of the world does not? Are we being conned?

At a time when cultural and moral values are being re-assessed, Joe’s compelling character demands all who engage with him to challenge what is good, who is bad, what fits in, and what does not. How are those who do not quite fit the mold treated, and is it just?

Follows are a few of yours truly favorite “teasers.” What I found particularly interesting is how this documentary seems to be more about its makers than its “subject”. I love a steaming cup of narcissism in the morning!

Ride to Rikers from Ashley Benzwie on Vimeo.

Kiss the Girl – U R Not Alone from Ashley Benzwie on Vimeo.

casedetails

Any and all interested in learning more about this sterling endeavor can do so by clicking here. WARNING/CAVEAT: Some eye and/or mind bleach might be required afterward— so do not say I did not warn you!

*Special thanks goes out to one of Joe’s neighbors and 373 Scam Avenue for the “moral focus” here.

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