Brooklyn’s multicultural neighborhood of Bushwick is brought to life in Brooklyn Love Stories, an anthology film made up of six separate short films that center on the theme of unconditional love. One of these stories is directed and co-written by New York-based Afro-Latina filmmaker A. Sayeeda Moreno.
In Moreno’s segment of the film, Toy Tag Break, viewers meet 17-year-old Tyra (Kayla Gonzalez), a young, Puerto Rican graffiti artist who is enamored with the street art of Cesar (Caleb McDaniel), another artist in the neighborhood. Tyra’s chance to show Cesar her talent is put at risk when her little brother, Matteo (Angel Romero), refuses to walk home alone, so she can go tag.
“Little brothers can be such pests, huh?” a family friend tells Tyra late in the film. “Then you wake up one day and you realize they’re grown men and they don’t need you so much anymore.”
When Moreno was brought onto the project, the original script featured a male teenager in the main role. Moreno, however, thought it was important to make the protagonist a woman tagger. She and co-writer Susan Soon He Stanton (TV’s Succession) collaborated to construct a narrative from the perspective of a talented Boriqua.
“I love the idea of making a film about sibling love as opposed to romantic love,” Moreno told Remezcla during an interview last week. “As a mother, family is important to me. It feeds my soul as a creative person. I was happy to explore that relationship and what it means culturally.”
She’s also proud to be able to show audiences a pocket of New York City that people might not be familiar with and expand the Latinx voice across the moviemaking industry.
“I think Latinx filmmakers have a limited scope in terms of who has access to certain resources to the filmmaking machine,” Moreno said. “We should get to have our own stories. Telling these stories is a part of our humanity.”
Brooklyn Love Stories will be available on VOD platforms Feb. 2.