Stoop Chat with Jimmy & Shanaya

  • Director

    Marj Kleinman, Gabriella Canal

  • Country, Year, Length

    United States, 2023, 13:13

  • Category

    Short Documentary

  • Format


  • Festival Year


Film Screening & Ticket Information

When & Where to See this Film!

GOOD IN THE ’HOOD: 3 films about the cool stuff our neighbors are working on!

April 21, 2024 @ 12:00PM • Kaufman Astoria Studios – Zukor Theatre

View the Trailer


“Stoop Chat with Jimmy & Shanaya” follows the unlikely friendship of blind Brooklyn poet, “Harmonica Jimmy,” and his younger neighbor, Shanaya, as they forge an uplifting bond based on their love of poetry, music, and the things that make New York, New York.

Stoops have always brought New Yorkers together, but in recent years stoop life has eroded, particularly in gentrified neighborhoods. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, Americans are facing a public health crisis of loneliness, isolation, and disconnection, particularly youth and elders. “Stoop Chat with Jimmy & Shanaya” strives to increase connections across generations while celebrating cultural legacies and neighborhood pride. Through heartfelt conversations, Jimmy and Shanaya explore what it means to be part of their Brooklyn community.

This short is the first in a series of intergenerational “Stoop Chat” videos that celebrate stoop culture and preserve neighborhood stories. It builds on the Stoop Stories community project founded at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic to connect, support, and celebrate our NYC neighbors.

Funded by Brooklyn Arts Council and the Stoop Stories community, this series pilot was directed by Stoop Stories founder and Emmy-nominated producer Marj Kleinman, and Student Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Gabriella Canal, in collaboration with the Stoop Stories Collective of storytellers and artists.


Marj Kleinman, Director
Gabriella Canal, DirectorSeasons, No Man’s Land
Marj Kleinman, Producer
Jimmy Palmaro, Key Cast
Shanaya Perkins, Key Cast

Director Statement

As a proud native Brooklynite still living in my childhood brownstone, I am deeply committed to celebrating stoop culture, and using it to connect neighbors throughout Brooklyn and beyond.

With a background in children’s educational media, I have always been interested in multigenerational experiences and I carried this into my work with Stoop Stories. After attending a recent Generations United conference that shared findings on how “intergenerational programs improve health and bolster a sense of community, belonging and compassion,” I began participating in a NYC based cohort of intergenerational program leaders.

With “Stoop Chat with Jimmy & Shanaya,” my vision was to capture the authentic spirit of New York and the power of human connection through an intimate snapshot of an unlikely intergenerational friendship. When this pair first met at one of our Stoop Stories workshops, I saw a special dynamic between them. As they stayed in touch, their shared love of music, poetry, storytelling, and pride in their neighborhood sparked a beautiful bond. I wanted to bottle that magic and share it with audiences.

The film invites viewers to experience the world through Jimmy and Shanaya’s eyes and ears, as they wander the neighborhood and grow closer to one another. We feel the rhythms, sounds and flavors of a Brooklyn block party. The cinematography, music and sound design convey a sensitive, tender, yet joyful tone. Verite and interviews mix with photographic portraits and archival imagery to create a nostalgic, scrapbook style.

The goals of the project are to uplift and encourage more community connections in a time of significant loneliness and isolation, particularly for youth and elders. Following a live film screening at a senior center in November, 2023, 84% of attendees said they wanted to connect more with their neighbors.

Director Biography

Marj Kleinman is a producer, photographer, filmmaker, and the founder of the Stoop Stories documentary storytelling project. Since April 2020, Marj and the Stoop Stories Collective have profiled hundreds of families, essential workers, small business owners, activists, and artists throughout the five boroughs of New York City. Marj has more than 20 years of experience as a children’s content producer and writer, creating award-winning educational media with PBS KIDS, Sesame Workshop, Scholastic, and Noggin. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Time Out New York, PBS Parents and Scary Mommy. Marj holds an M.A. in Educational Psychology from New York University and a B.S. in Theater Management from Emerson College. She has taught theater to kids and photography to grown-ups. Marj is mom to a very feisty black cat named Blackberry.

Gabriella Canal is a documentary filmmaker and journalist living in Brooklyn. Inspired by her upbringing in a Colombian-American household, she produces character-driven stories rooted in identity and belonging, with a focus on women’s voices. She also loves highlighting the efforts of those working to improve human lives and protect the environment. As a producer, she has worked with The Atlantic, John Leguizamo’s NGL Studios, and Insignia Films. Her independent work as a director, DP, and editor has been featured by the Student Academy Awards, The New Yorker, The Video Consortium, New York Women in Film and Television, and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers. She is looking to grow as a director and DP, expanding on her work of sensitive, vérité-led documentaries. In 2022, she became a Pulitzer Center Fellow and an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.