SCHENECTADY – Saving lives through film might be a tall order. But it’s one that Schenectady filmmaker Prince Sprauve is working toward with “The Last Shot,” which premieres Friday at Proctors and vividly addresses gun violence through the loss of Schenectady’s own Eddie Stanley Jr.
Stanley was a 15-year-old Schenectady High School sophomore and a promising basketball player on the varsity team who was killed in 2011 after being shot five times at a Mont Pleasant house party. A Brooklyn man was subsequently convicted of killing him.
Sprauve, who runs Quiet on Set Productions, worked in collaboration with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady and Schenectady County Connects on the film, which has been funded by a New York State gun violence prevention grant.
It focuses on what Stanley did the day he died, including missing a basketball game in New York City, being dropped off at home, going to a house party on Bridge Street, the ensuing shooting and the fallout from it. Stanley’s father, who is also in the film, helped Sprauve develop the script.
Many of the actors featured are connected to Stanley and some were there the night he died. Jallah Tarver, who plays Stanley, was one of Stanley’s closest friends. Others who are involved, like Anthony Richardson, Abel Marrero and Kumar Araujo were Stanley’s teammates.
Coming together to film “The Last Shot,” meant revisiting that night.
“It was very emotional, it was tough. It was stressful at times but beautiful, all in the same note,” Sprauve said. “They were a tough crew and they really stuck to the mission. They really made it about Eddie.”
The 34-minute project was filmed in one intense week in February.
“We did this in the cold,” Sprauve said. “It was rough. It was by far my hardest set I’ve ever had to manage.”
The pivotal house party scene was filmed over three days at the same Bridge Street home Stanley was shot in.
“It felt very real. For some people, they haven’t even been to that house or that location since it happened. So for some people, they were walking in for the first time looking at the aesthetics of the apartment, which is crazy, because a lot of them said when they walked in it look exactly the same way it looked 11 years ago,” Sprauve said.
They also filmed in the former St. Clare’s Hospital as well as a courtroom to capture the legal fallout of that night. Adding to its authenticity, the film features one of the 911 calls placed that night during the party.
“We’re trying to capture the true essence of what the feeling is [and] what’s going on. And the movie is raw, it’s unfiltered,” Sprauve said.
It’s rated R and doesn’t shy away from obscenities or the brutal reality of what took place that night. Sprauve’s reasoning? “If we don’t know how it works or what it looks like, then how do we change it?”
And change is exactly what he’s hoping will come out of this film.
“This is more of a call to action to the community . . . Now that we know that it looks like this [and]feels like this, what are we going to do about it? Are you going to roll up your sleeves and go to work? Because we can’t depend on the city council, mayors, [or the] government to fix our community. It’s a joint effort between every party. Not one party is going to be able to fix what’s going on. It’s going to take all hands on deck,” Sprauve said.
As the film’s preview mentions, 7,957 children and teens are shot in the United States each year. According to New York State data, from 2012 to 2021, 26 people in the City of Schenectady have been killed by gun violence and nearly 200 have been injured in shooting incidents. Earlier this summer, one Schenectady man died after he was shot in the area of VibeZ Bar & Lounge. Earlier this month, a 21-year-old man was hospitalized after being shot in the city.
“A lot of my community members don’t even think they’re gonna make it past 21 . . . making it past 21 is the trophy,” Sprauve said.
“The Last Shot” reflects on that fear and reality.
“I really came to make you feel uncomfortable . . . because I’m so uncomfortable with this,” Sprauve said.
One of the main goals of the film is to connect with local teens, some of which were involved in the project. Through the Boys & Girls Clubs, of which Stanley was a member, a group of local teens worked with Sprauve as production assistants. Several young adults were also hired through Schenectady County Connects to assist with the film.
Shane Bardy, the executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady and one of the film’s executive producers, describes the film as extremely authentic and realistic.
“It does capture the behaviors that some in the general public might be turned off by. However, this film was not shot for anybody except for the teenagers who are just trying to survive, in some cases, the streets of today,” Bargy said. “It is our great hope that the film will connect and connect significantly with kids [and] teenagers especially, who are doing everything they can do to survive in a world sometimes that’s not very forgiving.”
Before “The Last Shot” is screened at 8 p.m. Friday at Proctors, there will be a red carpet-style event featuring the actors who performed in the film and others who were involved, starting at 6 p.m. Then, there will be a panel discussion on the film and gun violence. There will also be a performance by Shaun Janette, a local musician who wrote original music for the film’s soundtrack.
Though the film is heavy, Sprauve wants the premiere to be celebratory, not only of the film but also of Stanley’s life.
“I want people to see the impact that Eddie has had,” Sprauve said. “He was a young man who left his imprint on this community. And through his name, and his experience, he’s going to help save so many other young people from going down this path.”
“The Last Shot: The Story of Eddie Stanley”
- WHEN: Starting 6 p.m. Friday for the red carpet event. Film screening starts at 8 p.m.
- WHERE: Proctors
- TICKETS: $10 for the film screening. $100 for VIP tickets to red carpet event, panel discussion and performance
- MORE INFO: Proctors.org