Local filmmaker’s short film takes home three awards

Three’s the charm!

Brooklyn filmmaker Jason Cusato has additional awards to add to his resume. His latest work, a short comedy “A Box Came to Brooklyn” which was inspired by a famous episode from the classic show “The Twilight Zone” received three awards at various film festivals throughout the tristate area.

Cusato’s films have received awards in the past. However, this short that is inspired bA Box Came to Brooklyny both gentrification and the classic “Twilight Zone” episode, ““The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street” has generated more buzz than his other work.

“It’s been really great,” said the director who said he was blown away that short won the same award at a pair of festivals on Sunday, August 16. “We won Best Ensemble Cast in a Short at both the Brightside Tavern Film Festival in Jersey City and the NYC Film Festival in Long Island City,” he said. “It speaks volumes about the actors in the film. They all stand out. There are about 13 main characters and around 17 in the entire production. It was crazy because we won both around the same time.”

In addition to the film’s two most recent awards, the short also won the Best Comedic Short award at its world premiere at the Manhattan Film Festival in June, a two-week event which shows dozens of movies.

“It means the world to us. All of our hard work and everything we put into the project paid off. To be recognized like that in the industry is nice,” said Cusato, who has always been pleased with the audience reception. “People have been coming out. The reaction has been great for the film and it’s been playing extremely well. Every screening has sold out. The audience has been telling us how great it is and how they want to see it again and will recommend it to their friends.”

Although there could be many reasons why this short has resonated with crowds, Cusato believes there are two main factors, including “’The Twilight Zone’ connection. It feels like an episode,” he noted, “and it’s a great show that people still love and watch to this day. That automatically creates intrigue.”

Cusato also believes that the show’s message of gentrification is relevant. “It’s such a hot button issue in Brooklyn and everywhere in New York City,” he explained. “I think that issue creates interest right away.”

Although it’s tough to choose a favorite award, getting Best Comedic Short honors will be high on his list of accomplishments, said Cusato. “It meant a lot because my background is in comedy and makes people laugh,” he said.

The film was shot in Bay Ridge and for the long-time Brooklynite, sticking to his roots was important. “It means the world to me,” he said. “We shot entirely in Brooklyn. I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from this area as a filmmaker.”


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