Check out Nutcracker Inc. in the NY Daily News
What is the Nutcracker? The answer to that question largely depends on whom you’re asking. While to many, Tchaikovsky and Sugar Plum Fairies are what come to mind. But to Uptown residents of Manhattan, thoughts of summer and refreshing alcoholic drinks spring up. So where did the Nutcracker come from and where can you get one? Well that, too, depends on who you’re talking to.
If there were an official beverage of Washington Heights, it would be the Nutcracker. But as ubiquitous as it is up in the ‘hood, you have to know where to go and how to get it. The Nutcracker is not a drink your favorite bartender knows, and you can’t buy a mix for it down at your corner store or bodega. It’s underground, clandestine and only available to those who are in-the-know. But its appeal is not just limited to Washington Heights and Inwood. Harlem, the Lower East Side, Brooklyn, the Bronx, even Miami has gotten into the act.
As the Nutcracker’s popularity has spread over the last decade, many variations and imitations have sprung up. Recipes change as ingredients get added and subtracted, and as is usually the case in a free market society, competition grows. Like Famous Ray’s Pizza, there seems to be no shortage of the ‘original’ Nutcrackers.
Nutcracker Inc. will explore the origins of this mysterious drink, not just where it came from but how it developed into the iconic summertime beverage of choice in Washington Heights and beyond. We will meet a diverse and fascinating cast of characters connected to the Nutcracker both past and present, as well as the people who oppose it, including the very lawmakers who have imposed crackdowns on its sales. The film will also take a look at the relationship between the Nutcracker and Washington Heights, delving into the recent history of the neighborhood and the hustle and drive of its residents.
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the Nutcracker Inc. t-shirt, $25; available in S, M, L, XL & XXL
What Will We Do With Your Donations?
The easy answer, of course, is make the movie! But movies are complicated, time consuming and costly to make. We are working with a very limited budget on this film, and as you can see the costs add up quickly. Your donations will go towards:
- Paying our crew! We have a very small but dedictated and tireless crew, and we want to make sure they get paid for all their hard work
- Equipment, both rentals and purchases for our summer shoot
- Media, storage drives and memory cards
- Legal fees, business expenses and production insurance
- Post-production, including editing, effects, music, sound mixing, color correction, titles and dubbing
- Publicity, promotional and marketing materials
- All these awesome t-shirts and other perks we're giving you for your support!
It adds up fast. Not to mention the little things, like office supplies, local transportation and food (a fed crew is a happy crew, and who wants to work with a bunch of grumps?). All in all, every dollar you give goes to the making of this film in one capacity or another.
Flor de Mayo's Nutcracker
What Happens If We Raise More Than Our Goal?
After the fees and expenses are deducted once we reach our goal, we will have just about enough left to make the film. And that's it. We still need more funds for after we lock picture, for things like festival submissions, marketing and publicity campaigns, shipping and supplies, final media output, website, it goes on and on. And as hard as Jon and Led are working to make this movie a success, they don't get paid until everyone and everything else is paid.
After that? Once the film is all paid for, we can start thinking about putting extra nice touches on the film by extending our post-production period, getting a little fancy with the titles, paying for some music rights we otherwise couldn't afford, bonuses to our terribly underpaid and overworked crew, and yes, more marketing and publicity (you can truly never have enough).
We're keeping this campaign open through the summer for a couple of reasons. One is to help bust past our initial fundraising goal. We'll have fresh redesigns for our t-shirts and we'll be adding a couple of additional perks as we go along. The other reason is that we want to keep this page open while we're shooting this summer so you can see how we're doing. We'll be posting videos from the shoot so you, our friends and supporters, can get a little taste of the film while we're in production.
So come back, check in on our progress, and pick up a second t-shirt or grab that bottle opener while you're here!
Other Ways You Can Help
About the Directors
Jonathan Ullman first learned about the Nutcracker while in pre-production for his debut feature film, GWB. A newer resident of Washington Heights, he was determined to portray the neighborhood in an authentic fashion when one night he was given a tour that included being served a Nutcracker in one of the more notorious barbershops in the area. He researched the drink further, and one of the first things he found was Led Black’s article on the Nutcracker for The Uptown Collective. A year after shooting Jon and Led met, a collaboration was born.
As a native of Washington Heights and the editor-in-chief of The Uptown Collective, Led Black’s relationship with the Nutcracker goes back to its very first introduction to the streets of Washington Heights in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Led’s story on the infamous libation has become the most popular post on the site and has garnered thousands of hits since it first appeared on the site on February 2010.
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