the bushwick diaries

Welcome to Bushwick. Where working families live side-by-side with artists and the streets have blossomed into outdoor museums. Where die-hard entrepreneurs line the sidewalks of Wyckoff, Myrtle and Knickerbocker and local churches preach below the JMZ, drowned out by the weekend bustle and overhead trains. Where Maria Hernandez lives on in the eyes of the children she died for, even though they don’t know it. You wouldn’t know about the spirit of the people that brought it up from the ashes or about the energy that reverberates through it’s streets, coffee shops, artists, and sacred places—unless you were lucky enough to live here.




Writer and Director

Kweighbaye Kotee I Writer & Director

Director's Statement

It's clear to everyone that knows me that I love independent film and my community. Since founding The Bushwick Film Festival (BFF) in 2007, I've committed nearly nine years of my life to not only providing a platform for filmmakers to exhibit their work, but I’ve used the power of storytelling to bridge communities from all walks of life. That said, after being inspired by all the directors that fought through many obstacles to share their stories with audiences at the BFF, I gained the courage to start my own journey as a filmmaker. 

The Bushwick Diaries is an intimate look into the lives, beliefs, and stories of 20 people, from different walks of life, who call this neighborhood home. It is an insider’s perspective of one of America’s most vibrant and culturally rich cities (within a city) in the midst of rapid change. The idea to listen to and share the story of the neighborhood and it’s residents came to me organically in the summer of 2012. I wanted to find a way to authentically represent and lovingly capture the magic of the neighborhood and the people whom I encountered from all walks of life, including those that were often overlooked or marginalized. 

I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to work with a stellar crew and listen to many wonderful stories in the process. As a first-time female director who values people, community, and arts, I regard this breakout film as a love story about Bushwick written by multiple authors. I hope these stories are a testament to all the things we have in common as human beings and positively impacts the way you view culture, community and change.