New Short Film Set on Upper West Side

  Last modified on May 18th, 2021

Filmmaker Hartley Abdekalimi recently finished filming “Empire,” much of which was filmed at and around Barzini’s on 91st and Broadway.

The approximately 11 minute short film is about a quirky, old-school New Yorker who designs coffee cups and struggles with his changing neighborhood.

Empire Short Film

Joe, the coffee cup artist, also struggles with modern coffee place vibes (like high prices and too many fancy options).

In one scene, Joe walks into Barzini’s, which once carried his cup design, only to find that they’ve limited their cup supply to basic models from large suppliers. Joe asks the store employee “are you new here?” and tells him things will be much better for his uncle (the owner) “and for his store if he bought the right cup.”

Several scenes also take place at various coffee spots in Astoria.

Hartley tells us that they recently hosted a Zoom screening for about a dozen Upper West Siders who felt it really captured a particular element and character of the Upper West Side.

Hartley is currently applying to participate in film festivals, while raising funds through Indiegogo; donations come with several perk options like branded coffee cups, framed coffee art and access to private screenings.

For updates and to learn more about the film, please visit and follow @EmpireShort on Instagram.

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