RUDY’S RISTORANTE & PIZZERIA IN CLOSTER, NJ, AN INSTITUTION IN THE COMMUNITY FOR OVER 50 YEARS, IS THE SUBJECT OF FILMMAKER ANTONY OSSO’S LATEST PROJECT: “INSIDE RUDY’S,” SIX SHORT FILMS CELEBRATING THE BELOVED RESTAURANT
The first piece, “Pizza Confidential,” launched Sunday on the Rudy’s Facebook page, website, and new YouTube Channel and features the secrets behind their award-winning pizza. A full-length documentary will follow in the fall.
March 21, 2016, New York. Filmmaker Antony Osso is launching six short films celebrating Rudy’s, the popular pizzeria run by his father Charlie and uncle Fred since 1977, as they prepare to move into their brand new home in the remodeled Closter Plaza in Closter, New Jersey. Every Sunday through April 24th, a different short film will premiere online to take a closer look at the restaurant’s food, its customers, and the community. The first piece, “Pizza Confidential,” features co-owner Charlie Osso sharing the secrets behind the award-winning pizza Rudy’s has been serving for over 50 years. Other subjects include co-owner Fred Osso cooking his favorite pasta dish, a look at the Friday night dinner rush, and a portrait of Matthew Jamieson, the “face of Rudy’s,” who’s been making pizza and serving customers since 1978.
“My father was always working when I was a kid, and I was fascinated by the pull of the restaurant. He was fifteen years old when he came to New Jersey from Italy, with only a rudimentary education. His immigrant experience gave him an incredible work ethic and he succeeded in providing for his family and living the American dream,” Antony Osso explained.
“Now, as an adult, I see the incredible community he’s created for Closter and the surrounding towns, and the value of his determination. As a filmmaker, I wanted to capture both his and Fred’s enduring partnership and the inner workings of what feels like a rarity, a still-standing ‘Mom and Pop shop.’”
Rudy Coniglio opened Rudy’s Pizza in Closter in 1963, and in September 1970, Charlie Osso began working there as a pizza man. On October 17, 1977, Charlie, along with his brother Fred, took over the restaurant, retaining the name. Slowly but surely, they expanded the dining room to its 135-seat capacity and added seafood and imported Italian products as well as a full menu of beer, wine and cocktails. Charlie and Fred have managed the restaurant in a hands-on manner, with one of them always present to oversee lunch and dinner service, seven days a week for over 38 years. They were one of the only businesses open in the area during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which is a testament to their devotion to their customers. Their employees and customers are an important part of the Rudy’s family, with many staff members remaining for decades and generations of customers staying loyal to the restaurant.
The full-length documentary, which explores in depth the immigrant work ethic, the bond between the restaurant and the community, and the inner workings that lead to all that delicious food, will be completed this summer and premiere on the festival circuit before launching online early next year.
Antony Osso’s previous film series, The Devotion Project, was comprised of six 10-minute documentary portraits of loving, successful LGBTQ couples and families. It was a three-year labor of love for Mr. Osso, and made an international impact online and at film festivals, with over 800,000 YouTube views, screenings at over 55 film festivals worldwide, and 15 festival awards. Mr. Osso partnered with Freedom to Marry, was featured in OUT Magazine’s OUT100, wrote essays for The Huffington Post, and had his first film air on Rosie O’Donnell’s OWN Network show.
“Sharing a personal story that illuminates something universal is always my goal; through the lens of my family’s restaurant, we can discuss so many aspects of our culture and how it’s changing,” Osso said. “These short pieces have been great fun to make – I look forward to introducing this world to Rudy’s regular customers as well as new audiences interested in food, family, and culture.”
INSIDE RUDY’S: SIX SHORT FILMS
“Pizza Confidential” premieres 3/20
“Favorite Dish” premieres 3/27
“The Face of Rudy’s” premieres 4/3
“Rudy’s Special Salad” premieres 4/10
“Friday Night” premieres 4/17
“24 Burners” premieres 4/24
Directed by Antony Osso
Produced by Laura Nespola, Antony Osso
Executive Producers Charlie Osso, Fred Osso, Rick Osso
Director of Photography Martina Radwan
Editor Todd Sandler
Original Music by Eric Hachikian
Sound Recordist Libero Colimberti
Additional Camera Steven Pedulla
Sound Mix by Paul Hsu, c5 Sound
Colorist Will Cox, Final Frame Post
Rudy’s will move from its temporary location into its new home at 55 Ver Valen Street, in the newly renovated section of Closter Plaza, in late April. Rudy’s is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Rudy’s of Garwood, run by Charlie’s son Rick Osso, brings the same great Italian dining experience Rick grew up with to central New Jersey.
It’s located at 300 South Avenue in Garwood.
Rudy’s official website:
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