LAST CALL: The Shutdown of NYC Bars
The hospitality industry is the artistic heartbeat of New York. Nowhere is that more prevalent than in Queens. Thousands of artists, musicians, and actors flock to the city’s most diverse borough to work in the service industry to supplement their dreams. In March of 2020, these dreamers put their lives on hold, self-isolating and sacrificing their income as Queens became the global epicenter of covid-19. As the weeks go by, we follow two local bars fight off the virus, financial ruin, and the deaths of loved ones while the frontline workers battle to slow down the death toll engulfing the borough. Under strict and safe filming guidelines, we witnessed how both industries needed each other to bend the curve. It’s a tale of two sacrifices that saved not only the lives of thousands but the future of New York.
Johnny Sweet – Director, Writer, Producer
It was important to tell this story because the first industry to get hit during the pandemic was the hospitality industry. I worked at a bar throughout my college days at Syracuse. Arguably the best professional morale I ever experienced was working at Konrad’s. So, imagine thousands of those types of mini-professional families having their lives ruined at the same time over something they couldn’t control. These businesses and their employees should be recognized.
Born and raised in NYC, Johnny Sweet graduated from Syracuse University in 2003. He was recently nominated for an Emmy for Best Long Sports Documentary for “Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story.”
Sweet was an Emmy Award-winning feature producer at ESPN for 10 years, primarily covering the NBA and the NFL. In 2016 Sweet directed his first long film, “Vick,” which won the Associated Press Sports Editor Award for journalism, his second APSE award.
His second film, “Quiet Storm,” a documentary about the life of Ron Artest, was released in 2019 on Showtime. The film won the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and Cleveland International Films Festival for Best Documentary and was selected by the Hot Docs and Big Sky Film Festivals.