After School Filmmaking Project at PAL’s Wynn Center in Brooklyn: Funded through Seized Narcotics Proceeds

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at 3 p.m. today

Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, Frederick J. Watts, Executive Director of New York City’s Police Athletic League (PAL), New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill and Robert Cordero, Executive Director of Grand St. Settlement, announced today the launch of a PAL After School Filmmaking Project at the PAL Wynn Center in Brooklyn. Working in conjunction with LPZ Cinetech, the Filmmaking Project offers a hands-on approach to learning the art and craft of filmmaking to middle school students.

A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for today at 3 p.m. at the PAL Wynn Center, located at 495 Gates Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Through the Filmmaking Project, students will learn about a wide range of topics related to filmmaking, including the fundamentals of film and video and the steps of narrative filmmaking from pre-production to post-production. The Filmmaking Project will culminate in an “Exploring Your World Through Cinema” student film festival.

The Filmmaking Project will run for 32 weeks on Mondays and Wednesday from 4:00-6:00 p.m. at the Wynn Center. Fifteen middle school students will participate, including seven from the Roosevelt Houses, a New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residential development in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn.

The Filmmaking Project is the result of collaboration between the Office the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, PAL, the NYPD, NYCHA and Grand St. Settlement, a nonprofit organization that helps administer the Roosevelt Houses Community Center. Funding is derived from forfeited narcotics proceeds as a result of criminal investigations.

In March 2017, a long-term investigation into drug trafficking in the vicinity of the Roosevelt Houses resulted in the indictment and arrests of 11 different individuals. In addition to drug trafficking, the defendants were charged in connection with four firearms and with plotting a home-invasion robbery in Rochester, NY.

The PAL Wynn Center aims to significantly, enthusiastically and passionately create opportunities for the children of the Bedford-Stuyvesant community to put their education into practice, thereby developing their self-worth and community. New York City’s Police Athletic League is the first, finest and largest civilian-run PAL in the country. Founded in 1914, PAL provides recreational, educational, cultural and social activities to nearly 40,000 boys and girls annually. It is also the city’s largest, independent, nonprofit youth organization.

Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, said, “I look forward to seeing the films that the talented middle schoolers involved in this project will produce. I thank all of our partners who have helped to provide young people with this filmmaking opportunity, including the Kings County District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, the Police Athletic League, NYPD, NYCHA, Grand Street Settlement and LPZ Cinetech.”

“This is a great way to use seized criminal assets – to help our children learn new skills and open their eyes to all the opportunities before them. I’m proud to work with the Office of Special Narcotics, the Police Athletic League and all of our partners on this inspiring project and look forward to watching the special stories to be shown at the student film festival at the culmination of this program,” said Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.

“This filmmaking program for young students – funded by forfeited narcotics proceeds – is an example of the deep commitment law enforcement has to the communities it serves,” said NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “These Bed-Stuy middle-schoolers will learn the fundamentals of filmmaking and storytelling, and they’ll be doing it after school, making good use of that time between dismissal and homework. I’m looking forward to viewing some good work on the screen and I’m looking forward to seeing where investment, technology and instruction can take these young minds.”

Frederick J. Watts, Executive Director of New York City’s Police Athletic League, said, “PAL’s century- long partnership with the law enforcement community continues to this day thanks to the leadership of Bridget Brennan, and our other law enforcement and community partners. With their help, and the inspiring work of LPZ Cinetech, we are able to provide a wonderful, creative learning experience for young people.”

Robert Cordero, Executive Director of Grand St. Settlement, said, “As an organization dedicated to strengthening communities in Brooklyn, Grand St. Settlement is proud to be a partner on this innovative program. This is an enriching opportunity for the young people in our Roosevelt Community Center to build their confidence and develop valuable skills."

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Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office Kati Cornell
(212) 815-0525

Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office
Helen Peterson
(718) 250-2300

Police Athletic League
Frederick J. Watts
(212) 477-9450

New York City Police Department
Stephen Davis
(646) 610-6700