Sickboy

Every day that passes in New York City, Jeff finds a way to get through it. Maybe he’s driven to find love. Maybe he’s driven to find a connection. Or maybe he’s just driven to do what he has to do to survive, however erratic or unforgivable it might be.

Director’s Statement

According to the Bowery Mission, nearly 1 in every 121 New Yorkers is currently homeless, but only 1 out of every 17 of these individuals is “visible to the eye.” And according to a report by the Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development, more than half of all New Yorkers are one paycheck away from homelessness. This forced the realization that we all walk a fine line between being able to support ourselves and having to face the cruel realities of the systems and structures in place that allow poverty and homelessness to continue to thrive in NYC. Everyone has a picture in their head of what it looks like to be homeless, and we made “Sickboy” to challenge those images.

Based on a true story, our film explores how easy it is for us to judge the actions of another when we haven’t walked a mile in their shoes. The protagonist is human, and although he is fallible, I hope the viewer could come to empathize with him after having been through a day in his life. I wanted to humanize those around us who may be struggling with forms of trauma that cause destructive patterns of behavior.

Influenced by the films of John Cassavetes, Frederick Wiseman’s observational documentaries, and modern voices like Sean Baker and Josh and Benny Safdie, “Sickboy” embraces the realism of documentary while creating a fictionalized portrait of an individual in distress. I chose to shoot “Sickboy” on 16mm film to capture the grittiness of life in NYC, and to fully immerse the viewer in that experience in a way that could only be done with film. Shooting on film provided its own set of logistical challenges, but ultimately the cast and crew rallied around the story and brought it to life in a way that far surpassed our expectations. I am so grateful to them for their generosity and patience throughout this process, and I look forward to sharing this film with the world.