Brooklyn filmmaker showcases his community

In his zone: Filmmaker Tony Lindsay stands in front of El and John’s barbershop wtih his camera in East New York, a location where he filmed a flashback scene for his film “Where the Heart Lies.”
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

Let us think deeper beyond the surface.

That is what one Jamaican-American filmmaker wants people to do before watching his film that tackles life’s tribulations in a relatable way.

“When you watch the movie you’ll be seeing a lot of yourself,” said Tony Lindsay, director and executive producer of his debut film “Where Hearts Lie,” that is premiering this month.

The film follows main character, the young and ambitious Brave Williams, as he tries to climb the success ladder, but finds the multiple hurdles of life preventing him from getting there. Lindsay says the character is based on himself, and promises that the film covers everything from relationships, heartbreak, decisions, abuse, to mental illness.

“There’s a lot of sub-stories in the film. I even want to spread awareness about Alzheimer’s,” said Lindsay. “Another issue is child abuse — that’s something not spoken enough about I believe, and you’ll see a lot of that in the film.”

Lindsay entered filming when a friend convinced him to scrap his manuscript and transform it into a screenplay. And growing frustrated and impatient with Hollywood’s portrayals of black men was encouraging for Lindsay to pick up a camera. Within a year he was directing his first film.

“I got tired of seeing depictions of black men in movies. It doesn’t represent me or the type of people in my circle and in my family,” said Lindsay.

“Where Hearts Lie” was filmed on location in the East New York, Brooklyn, and shot over the course of three weeks. And New York City natives were majority of the cast. Casting was a strategic choice by Lindsay who says it was important to shoot the film in the area he calls home for authenticity, and to also show everyone his oft-demonized neighborhood in a different light.

“There’s a lot of talent in East New York,” said Lindsay. “I wasn’t interested in the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and I wanted the story to be real. Being in my community — it’s as real it gets.”

Also being an active member of his community he wanted to hire the local young men for his film. Even using his own property for filming, after ditching a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the film, and going for his own pockets.

Lindsay is not done — he is just getting started. Looking up to filmmakers such as Spike Lee and Ryan Coogler, director of Rocky sequel “Creed,” Lindsay foresees a similar box office future.

“Ryan Coogler — his first project was a feature film,” said Lindsay. “I look forward to reaching that — I expect my second project to be that big as well.”

Lindsay is currently working on his second film that hopes to highlight the relationship between the police force and black communities. Lindsay says the film will focus on the incidents that do not make headlines and hopes he gets to the root of the problem.

“Where Hearts Lie” premieres at AMC theater in Times Square June 7.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]
In the seat of the moment: Tony Lindsay sits in a chair at El and John’s barbershop, where he shot a flashback scene for his debut film, “Where the Heart Lies.”
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

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