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FILM GUIDE ARCHIVE FEATURE DOCUMENTARY

CROPSEY

TFF 2009 Directed by Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio
FILM GUIDE ARCHIVE CROPSEY [TFF 2009]
Growing up on Staten Island, filmmakers Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio had often heard the urban legend of "Cropsey." It was a cautionary tale invented to keep them out of the abandoned buildings that remained of the Willowbrook Mental Institution. Cropsey was supposedly an escaped patient who would come out late at night and snatch children off the streets—sometimes with a hook for a hand, other times with a bloody ax. But in 1987, Jennifer Schweiger, a 13-year-old with Down syndrome, disappeared from their community. For Zeman, Brancaccio, and the other kids of Staten Island, their urban legend became real.

Even as adults, this real-life boogeyman hasn't escaped the minds of the filmmakers. The eeriness of the mystery pulsates through the film as they journey into the underbelly of their borough to investigate not just Schweiger's disappearance but four other missing children linked to a shadowy drifter named Andre Rand. As more information and clues unravel, Zeman and Brancaccio become more immersed in shocking surprises and revelations. The reality they uncover in this uniquely hair-raising documentary is more terrifying than any urban legend.
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Interests
Female Director(s), Documentary
Growing up on Staten Island, filmmakers Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio had often heard the urban legend of "Cropsey." It was a cautionary tale invented to keep them out of the abandoned buildings that remained of the Willowbrook Mental Institution. Cropsey was supposedly an escaped patient who would come out late at night and snatch children off the streets—sometimes with a hook for a hand, other times with a bloody ax. But in 1987, Jennifer Schweiger, a 13-year-old with Down syndrome, disappeared from their community. For Zeman, Brancaccio, and the other kids of Staten Island, their urban legend became real.

Even as adults, this real-life boogeyman hasn't escaped the minds of the filmmakers. The eeriness of the mystery pulsates through the film as they journey into the underbelly of their borough to investigate not just Schweiger's disappearance but four other missing children linked to a shadowy drifter named Andre Rand. As more information and clues unravel, Zeman and Brancaccio become more immersed in shocking surprises and revelations. The reality they uncover in this uniquely hair-raising documentary is more terrifying than any urban legend.
Film Information
Year: 2008
Length: 84 minutes
Language: English
Country: USA
Premiere: World
Cast & Credits
Directors: Joshua Zeman, Barbara Brancaccio
Screenwriter: Joshua Zeman
Producers: Joshua Zeman, Barbara Brancaccio, Zachary Mortensen
Executive Producer: Jeffrey Levy-Hinte
Director of Photography: Chad Davidson
Editors: Tom Patterson, Anita Gabrosek
Music: Alexander Lasarenko
Associate Producer: Corbin Day, Todd Tiberi
Contacts

Print Source
Joshua Zeman
Ghost Robot
25 Howard Street, 3rd Floor New York, NY 10013
Phone: 212 343 0900
josh.zeman@verizon.net

Director
Barbara Brancaccio
1 West Street #3003 New York, NY 10004
Phone: 212 331 6199
barbarabrancaccio@earthlink.net

Print Source
Joshua Zeman
Ghost Robot
25 Howard Street, 3rd Floor New York, NY 10013
Phone: 212 343 0900
josh.zeman@verizon.net

Director
Barbara Brancaccio
1 West Street #3003 New York, NY 10004
Phone: 212 331 6199
barbarabrancaccio@earthlink.net

About the Director(s)
Joshua Zeman is a partner in the production company Ghost Robot and a fellow at the Sundance Institute's Creative Producing Initiative. His films include Forest Grove and Against the Current. Some of Zeman's past coproducer/producer credits include The Station Agent and Choking Man (TFF '06), which went on to win an IFP Gotham Award. In 2002, he penned and produced Members Only, a documentary on the history of organized crime in New York.

Barbara Brancaccio is New York City's executive deputy commissioner for public information. She previously curated the film festival at the 10th National Roundtable for Women in Prison and produced Surviving Justice: The Women in Prison Film Showcase, held in 2001 at Anthology Film Archives in New York City.

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