Former Stuy Town resident presents screenings of his hip-hop musical film

Jason Stefaniak and Ryan Carmichael

Jason Stefaniak and Ryan Carmichael

Previously, Town & Village reported on how a film being produced by Stuyvesant Town resident Jason Stefaniak was funded by a neighbor after she read about his crowd-sourcing effort for the project, “But Not for Me,” in this newspaper.

Since then the film, a hip-hop musical directed by his friend and fellow Tisch alum Ryan Carmicahel, has been gone to festivals where it’s won multiple awards.

“But Not for Me,” which focuses on the New York millennial struggle of making ends meet in the city while also trying to live a meaningful life and pursue creative ambitions, had its world premiere at the 2015 Brooklyn Film Festival in June. There it won both the Audience Choice and Best Score Awards. AM New York called the film a “must-see.” It went on to screen in Austin, TX, Bangor, ME, Sedona, AZ, and the prestigious Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville, VA.

The film will next be screened at the Queens World Film Festival on Saturday, March 19 at 3 p.m. and New Filmmakers New York on Wednesday March 23 at 8:45 p.m. Both screenings will be followed by Q&A with cast and filmmakers.

As producer, Stefaniak secured financing, hired crew and cast, found set locations, and kept everything running on schedule and on budget, while also offering creative insights and guidance to Carmichael.

With this foundation, Carmichael went to work channeling the various elements that influence and excite his creativity (hip hop, cinema history, literature, and philosophy) into the project. In addition to the screenplay, Carmichael also composed lyrics for the six original hip-hop songs that help shape the film’s story.  The unique music (a combination of hip-hop and classical violin) has played a major role in setting the film apart in the eyes of audiences and festival programmers.

The Queens World Film Festival will take place at Secret Theater (4402 23rd Street, Long Island City, NY 11101. For tickets, visit

New Filmmakers New York takes place at Anthology Film Archives (32 Second Ave. New York, NY 10003). Tickets will be on sale the day of event ($7).

For more information, visit The trailer can be viewed on YouTube.

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