This Documentary Tells the Story of Ray’s Candy Store on Avenue A

Posted on: June 11th, 2018 at 5:11 am by

Ray’s Candy Store, April 2013

It’s the age-old tale of resilience in the face of adversity; this one in particular hits close to home. That of Ray’s Candy Store.

Friend and filmmaker Arya Ghavamian is hoping to take his kinship with shopkeep Ray Alvarez and share it on the silver screen. Over the past four years, he’s been recording the history, conversations, and interactions between Ray and the community at large, to capture the unique individual running a beloved East Village institution. The film promises plenty of gems, too.  For example, not everyone knows that Ray came to the United States by way of the Royal Iranian Navy. When they left, Ray abandoned ship and swam back to Virginia.

More on the film, from the Kickstarter page:

Arya, a young Iranian filmmaker worried about deportation, walks into a New York candy store late at night seeking a milkshake. He chats up the owner, a kind-spirited, wild-hearted old Puerto Rican named Ray Alvarez – and in a strange twist of fate, Ray turns out to also be an Iranian refugee, living in disguise. So begins Arya’s new American dream, of making soft-serve for wayfaring drunks and 5am misfits – and a most unlikely friendship is born.

Though Ray’s Candy Store has been a 24/7 institution since 1973, it’s not impervious to the relentless waves of gentrification. One of the undertones of the film will be the importance of keeping these soulful small businesses afloat in today’s rent-driven economy.

So far, more than $5,100 has been raised of its $50,000 goal; all fees collected will be directed towards completion, including “hiring an award-winning editor, renowned composer, as well as paying for a sound mix, E&O insurance, color correcting, and licensing.” The campaign has a month left.

There’s also incentive to hurry up and hit the target. When reached, Ghavamian pledges to buy Ray a much needed new ice cream machine. With summer nearly here, the clock is ticking…

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