Apostles of Park Slope (USA, 1 hr 25 min)

Directed by: Jason Cusato

Written by: Jason Cusato, Jennifer Kalison

Cast:

Anthony DeVito, Artie Brennan, Brian McMullan, Chris LaPanta, Chris Harcum, Chris Hayes, Edward Heegan, Joe Corrao, Nik Freni

When Mike Callahan loses his mother Mary, the old crew from his neighborhood rallies the troops and takes Mike out to a local restaurant in an attempt to cheer him up. Father Paul, a priest returning to Brooklyn after spending several years in South America rebuilding churches, is invited to join dinner. After some thought Father agrees in the hopes of convincing Mike and the gang to turn to the Lord during their time of loss. What ensues is an unlikely reunion of friends where Father comes to see the true meaning of friendship and where sometimes the word of the Lord has four letters.

Review:

It may be possible that no one loves Brooklyn more than Jason Cusato, a 35-year old Park Slope movie maker, who makes films about his borough to capture its ever-changing charm. "I try to make films about the Brooklyn that practically doesn't exist anymore," Cusato says. "The borough has changed so much and I want people to remember what it used to be." Jason Cusato got his start at the School of Visual Arts when he helped to shoot a documentary The Aid to Church in Need about a lower Manhattan congregation. After the shoot, he bought a video camera and began writing scripts, directing and editing films. Cusato's latest movie, Apostles of Park Slope, which had won an award at the Manhattan Film Festival this summer and was featured in Huffington Post and Daily News, will now be screened at the Astoria/LIC International Film Festival on Oct 23. The film unfolds the philosophy of a Brooklyn friendship through a guys' night out and a priest trying to save his dying parish – similarly to how Queens Logic deciphered its own borough's psyche. After losing his mother, Mike Callahan falls into a depression to the point he stops talking to people and starts losing weight. His old neighborhood crew decides to take him out to dinner to lighten up his spirits. Accidently, they invite father Paul, a priest who had just returned to Brooklyn after spending several years rebuilding churches in Peru, and who is striving to restore the dwindling neighborhood congregation. Father Paul sees a blessed opportunity. He thinks he can bring a dozen lost souls back to Lord and Sunday mass; his mind pictures a twelve apostles scene from the Bible, and he makes his decision. He is up for a surprise: the gang, which calls each other by the names of Magoo, Tiny, Shorty, King-Filth, Wop and Moe, can’t be further away from god as they party with a beer in one hand and a scotch in the other at Two Toms, the legendary Third Avenue pork chop house. They insult and pick on each other mercilessly, curse like sailors and show no respect for Father Paul. Yet, their method is working – Mike begins to turn around amongst this apparent madness: he starts talking, responding to jokes and finally even smiles. The night’s outcome is not as good for Father Paul– he wakes up with a splitting headache minutes before his Sunday mass, realizing he had gambled while drunk last night – and even won. But, in Brooklyn things work in mysterious ways: the twelve unlikely saints show up at the church. Father Paul has been grandfathered in: now the gang would do anything for him, including going to his church on Sunday morning. "We never went home last night," one of the dudes explains when the priest thanks them for coming so early after such a late night. "We came directly from the restaurant." As Brooklyn as it gets, the film depicts the best (and maybe a bit of the worst) of the good ol' borough which practically doesn't exist anymore. There’s a special charm to Brooklyn, the kind of charm hidden under the roughness, toughness and fake meanness, under which hides a very humane Brooklyn soul of a person who will never leave a friend in need. Jason brings to us the true Brooklyn where the word of God can have four letters. Enjoy the ride – but beware of cussing and pissing!