The Ghetto Talks Response Project in East New York

Story by Omar Cyrille, Cinematographer, Ghetto Talks II

Cinematographer Omar Cyrille with his mother, Carmel Sanon

Early Sunday morning, May 23rd, the Ghetto Talks crew had a b-roll shoot at my home in East New York, Brooklyn.  This was a follow-up shoot to our interview with my mother, Carmel Sanon.  The two-part parent piece we’re working on also includes Anthony Windows 7 Clave Davis, the father of Ghetto Talks II Producer Joshua Davis.  The parent piece is important to the Ghetto Talks Response Project because each person’s family life creates a blueprint for the person he or she will become, in many ways shaping the person’s beliefs and logic.  Surroundings are influential,Windows 7 Professional Clave and one of the goals of this piece is to show how a family operates in an area some people would consider “the ghetto.”


Subway station in East New York
I went to sleep early the night before because I wanted to focus: this shoot was a working experience for me.  It was my first time operating the camera by myself, and I wanted to learn more in-depth how it works.   In the morning, my mom and I did a little cleaning before Teaching Artist Elizabeth Rodd arrived at the train station.  We had originally planned for it to be just my mom and me, but my brother and his son were also present.  The whole family was in one place at one time.


When Elizabeth arrived, I walked her to my home about three blocks away.  She met and greeted everyone and gave us an overview of how a b-roll shoot works and what we wanted to capture.  I set up the equipment and played with it a little to get a good feel.  I was really excited about a shot I set up in which my mom was holding the baby with my brother watching closely.  It was really touching, and I’m sure any parent can relate to how it feels at that moment.

Carmel Sanon with her son and grandson.


After about an hour in the house, we went out into the neighborhood.  The day was cloudy and foggy with a calm feeling outside, which was something I didn’t expect.  We came across a memorial of someone who had been killed in the area and decided to capture it.  We also shot around the train station to show the amount of people who come in and out every day.  It was pretty packed for a Sunday.  We shot police officers and graffiti as well as gardens and families.


This shoot was important to my growth as a cinematographer.  Now I’m less nervous behind the camera, and I’ve learned a lot from watching others use it, too.   I’m at a point now where I’ve grasped the basic skills and can add my own ideas to my work.  I hope I can use my skills in the future to become an inspiring filmmaker.