Nominated for an Emmy Award – Best Documentary
“Brilliant. Viewers will gain a greater understanding of community, the variation that exists in communities, and will be motivated to work toward building a society that actively integrates all its members.” – Simi Linton, Author, Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity
“3 out of 4 Stars. Captures some wonderfully telling moments. An interesting portrait of family dynamics in the face of disability. Recommended.” -Video Librarian
“A remarkable documentary. Through the director’s intimate access to his subjects and unflinching lens, viewers are introduced to the most intimate and poignant moments. The pressing political, religious and social issues that emerge are seamlessly woven to create a provocative family drama that will speak to a very broad audience.” -Garrison Botts, Executive Producer, Thirteen/WNET
“An extraordinarily compelling and deeply engaging human story.” -Ric Burns, Filmmaker
Sad and inspiring in equal measure, MAYOR OF THE WEST SIDE is a remarkable portrait of an unforgettable character.” -S. Schwartzberg, Boxoffice Magazine
MAYOR OF THE WEST SIDE tells the complex coming-of-age story of Mark Puddington, a teenager with multiple disabilities and local celebrity in his NYC neighborhood. As Mark prepares for his religious rite-of-passage, a family and community must begin to consider his life away from home and the West Side. With an original score by Gary Lucas, Grammy-nominated “guitarist with 1,000 ideas” (New York Times).
Judd Ehrlich, a native New Yorker, worked for nearly ten years with YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities as a caregiver to Mark Puddington, the inspiration for his first film. A graduate of Vassar College, Ehrlich spent several years as a caseworker with New York City’s homeless population at Project Renewal and Homes for the Homeless while in graduate school for counseling at Teachers College, Columbia University. After beginning production on MAYOR OF THE WEST SIDE, Ehrlich left casework and graduate studies to pursue a passion for documentary. He collaborated on the editing of Ric Burns’ epic PBS series, NEW YORK, and Macky Alston’s Sundance Film Festival award-winner and national PBS broadcast, FAMILY NAME. He also worked for the acclaimed PBS independent documentary series POV and edited for CBS News. Ehrlich is founder and director of the nonprofit Brooklyn Film Networks, and curates film programs for the Brooklyn Academy of Music, JCC in Manhattan and Brooklyn Museum of Art. He is a forth-generation resident of Flatbush, Brooklyn, where he lives with his wife and son.