Finally, A Film That Gives NYC Some Edge Back: Straight Outta Tompkins

November 7, 2014 | Bucky Turco

Its been a while since a New York drug-scene movie has been released, but filmmaker Zephyr Benson is about to change that — and it couldn’t have arrived at a better time. As the city continues to gentrify to the point that even Taylor Swift can play a role, Benson is reclaiming a much seedier version of the city for his upcoming film Straight Outta Tompkins. It’s about the drug trade in Manhattan and is based on a true story — Benson’s own. “Since I was 17 years old, heroin has been an unfortunate part of my life,” said Benson to The Wrap.

Four years later, he has a much clearer head and explains why the film is so important. “I’ve lost people I love to this drug. If you haven’t experienced it, it’s hard to imagine. But it’s a story I felt compelled to share,” he said.

From the sound of it, Benson harnessed that semi-dark past for this film. Here’s the synopsis, via The Wrap:

The now 21-year-old director/writer/producer plays Gene, a middle class teenager who befriends a Lower East Side drug dealer while he is battling addiction. The bold directorial debut parallels the young filmmaker’s real-life teenage years when he himself dabbled with heroin.‎

In the trailer, there’s lots of drugs, violence, and New York City. If it looks like a city you don’t recognize, there’s good reason. Benson explains in the opening narration: “Most people think that they know New York. Some people live out here for a few years and they think they know what it’s like to be a true New Yorker — nope!”

Straight Outta Tompkins opens March 6.

(Photo: Indican Pictures)