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Xaverian Athlete's Sandy Struggles Featured in Tribeca Film Festival Short

By Dylan Butler | April 25, 2013 3:14pm

NEW YORK — Luke Schreiner has no plans to be an actor, but the Breezy Point teenager will be on the big screen tonight in a student-made film about his experience during Hurricane Sandy that will be screened at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The short, entitled “Sandy,” will be shown at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center and is being featured in the Our City, My Story segment of the Tribeca Film Festival, which highlights outstanding student-made work.

Made by Raimi Fasula-Moore and Dylan Issing, juniors at Art & Design High School in Manhattan, “Sandy” tells Luke’s personal story about the devastation Hurricane Sandy wreaked on Breezy Point.

"I did it on Luke and Breezy Point because...I felt like it wasn't getting that much coverage for how severely damaged it was," said Issing, a 16-year-old from Stuyvesant Town. "I would talk to people at school and they wouldn't even know where Breezy Point is."

In the short film, Luke, a 15-year-old sophomore at Xaverian High School in Brooklyn, recalls the hours leading up to the superstorm and explains why his family didn’t evacuate immediately.

“My house didn’t even lose power during Hurricane Irene so [Sandy] was really going to be nothing,” he said in the film.

But the family became concerned when high winds started tearing off pieces of their house at 6 p.m. that evening. When water rushed into their home an hour later, Luke’s mother, a nurse, made the decision to evacuate.

Wading through chest-high water, they sought shelter up the block.

“We walked up to the stores back there and stayed in an office that night,” he said. “You could see everything else happening, the fires.”

Luke and his family sought shelter with his uncle in Gerritsen Beach before moving back to the Rockaways two weeks after Thanksgiving Day as they attempt to rebuild their home in Breezy.

Luke said he wasn’t sure about doing the film when Issing and Fasula-Moore, whom he’s known for a few years through mutual friends, approached him. Initially, he said, the film was for a class project.

“I was a little hesitant at first because I don’t really like to speak about it that much, but after a while I decided it was all right to tell what happened,” he said. “I knew the kids so I knew what they were doing and it was all right to do it.”

Soft-spoken, Luke said the attention he received from the film, which was shot in early February, was a little strange at first.

“A lot of people came up to me and said, 'I liked the video. It’s good that you told everyone what happened,'” he said. “It was weird at first because everyone was like, 'I saw you on YouTube.'”

Luke, a point guard on the Xaverian Junior Varsity basketball team, said Issing told him last week that the film was chosen to be shown at the Tribeca Film Festival. He didn’t share the filmmaker’s joy, at first.

“I didn’t know much about it,” he said. “But he told me what it is, that it’s a big thing, one of the biggest on the East Coast. That’s impressive.”

Issing said Richard Breenen of the Tribeca Film Institute, a teaching artist at Art & Design, tempered expectations at first. Issing said he forgot about the submission until he received a letter from Tribeca last month.

The film was among 11 chosen from among 100 submissions.

"I wasn't really expecting that," Issing said. "We were the first people in our school to get accepted to that competition. I'm pretty excited about that and so are my teachers and friends."

Issing, who credits Breenen as well as fellow teaching artist Musa Syeed and Art & Design teacher Hanan Harchol, said he'd like to continue to tell Luke's story as Breezy Point continues to rebuild.

"Dylan and Raimi really stepped up to the plate," Breenen said. "It was very well shot and it just showed some sensitivity. I think they do want to follow [Luke] and maybe show what's happened eight months later and so on, showing the process of rebuilding."