Peter Cooper filmmaker takes aim at gun violence

Jamie Kirkpatrick

Jamie Kirkpatrick

By Sabina Mollot

Jamie Kirkpatrick, a Peter Cooper Village dad and an editor and filmmaker, was a college student in Boston when he and a group of friends were held up at gunpoint.

The perps were a pair of teenagers who demanded cash from Kirkpatrick and his friends as they had walked down the street. Seeing the gun in the older teen’s hand, which looked more like a toy or, as Kirkpatrick put it “a fake Hollywood gun,” the students initially ignored the muggers’ demand and kept walking. That’s when they heard the deafening blast of a warning shot being fired into the air. The gun, Kirkpatrick would later learn, was a semi-automatic assault pistol, “not your typical street gun.”

But, he added, “Part of the problem is that it looked like such a toy.”

No one in the group was hit, but at that point, they stopped in their tracks and were subsequently robbed.

The teens were later caught, however. The younger one, who was 15, did some time in a juvenile detention center and was later transferred to an adult jail, while his partner, who was 17 and had a previous gun conviction, was tried as an adult and sentenced to eight years.

“It was really sad. They were just two young kids,” said Kirkpatrick, who, two decades later, plans on making a short film about the lax gun laws in many areas of the country as well as irresponsible gun use.

The film, titled “Squeeze,” isn’t a documentary but rather a fictional story on the consequences of the aforementioned issues. It focuses on how a gun that’s owned by a convicted felon and father winds up in the hands of all the different members of his family.

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ST ‘angel’ funds neighbor’s film

A scene from “But Not For Me,” produced by Stuyvesant Town resident Jason Stefaniak

A scene from “But Not For Me,” produced by Stuyvesant Town resident Jason Stefaniak

By Sabina Mollot

It was in October, 2013, when Jason Stefaniak, an NYU graduate and Stuyvesant Town resident made an appeal, through an article in this newspaper, to get neighbors interested in a musical film he was producing, or rather hoped to produce after raising the funds via Kickstarter.

The campaign for the film, titled “But Not for Me,” which was about the millennial experience of making the rent in New York while also pursuing happiness, wound up raising an impressive $30,000. However, since that amount was far short of Stefaniak and the film director Ryan Carmichael’s goal of $100,000, under Kickstarter’s policy, this meant they ended up with none of the cash.

Not long after the Kickstarter deadline ended, however, Stefaniak got an email from a neighbor, which, after skimming it, he saw mentioned that its author wanted to make a contribution. Since he was busy at the moment, he figured he’d get back to her later to let her know the deadline had passed.

Then, later, Stefaniak took a closer look at the email and what she was offering. The woman, who said she’d read about the project in Town & Village, “wanted to help us cross the finish line,” he said.

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