SEVEN-PART “PIZZAMENTARY” THAT TRACES THE END OF NEW YORK AND PONDERS FAULT LINES OF FRIENDSHIP AND MEMORY
February 3, 2021— Untitled Pizza Movie, the newest project by Independent Spirit Award winner David Shapiro (Missing People, Keep the River on your Right), tells the story of friendship set in a pre-gentrified New York, through the prism of pizza. The seven-part docu-series will make its New York debut with a limited online run at Metrograph from February 26 to March 14, viewable with the purchase of a Metrograph Digital Membership ($5/month or $50/year). Produced with C41 Media, the series was named “The best DocuSeries” by IndieWire at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and is—at its core—a valentine to New York, filmmaking and pizza.
In the early 90s under the guise of producing a TV series titled Eat to Win, David and his best friend, Leeds Atkinson, set out to find New York City’s perfect slice—and to eat for free. As the two filmed at pizzerias across all five boroughs, they captured a changing city, and preserved it on video tape.
At the fabled Lombardi’s Pizzeria, they discovered Andrew Bellucci, a passionate pie man whose expertise landed him an unlikely role as a darling of the New York food world. But shortly after they film with him, he’s arrested, with his former life as a Wall Street criminal catching up to him. David and Leeds film him in prison, but eventually the two friends drift apart and abandon the project.
Twenty years later, David receives an email: Leeds is dead. Now an established filmmaker in his own right, he pieces together their lost footage and sets out on a road trip of memory, to discover what happened to Andrew Bellucci and Leeds. Shot on three continents across 30 years, that road trip ends right back in New York in the present day, at the opening of Bellucci Pizza in Queens.
Untitled Pizza Movie asks: how do you remember someone in a disposable world?
“You would think the grid of New York would be a good place to map a memory,” David muses in the first installment of the series. “In retrospect, it’s hard to pin something down in a city that easily buries its past.”
Pushing the boundaries of documentary, David weaves a triple character portrait through a tapestry of form – thousands of objects filmed as touchstones, Hi8 footage of a pre-gentrified city, and interviews with characters as varied as New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov, NOBU’s Drew Nieporent and Wall Street lawyers.
David Shapiro is an award-winning filmmaker based in New York. His films include the feature documentary Missing People (Altavod, 2016), winner of the Jury Award at The Hamptons International Film Festival, and Keep the River on Your Right (IFC, 2000), winner of an Independent Spirit Award, Jury Award at IDFA, and on the Academy Award shortlist. David also wrote and produced Finishing Heaven (HBO, 2009), for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award
. His visual art has been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including shows at MoMA and the Brooklyn Museum.