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SOLO NYC: A Film About Freelancers in New York

I came across a pretty cool project about freelancers in New York, and I thought I'd share it with you. AND CO partnered with Soares to explore the freedom and entrepreneurialism that is frequently overlooked in the context of the so-called gig economy. The resulting piece, “SOLO NYC,” follows the triumphs and trials of four independent workers whose talents have led them to pursue their own career paths across a broad range of professional callings.


In the alleyways, back kitchens and matchbox studios tucked away in countless of bustling, yet remarkably unglamorous, neighborhoods wedged within the most vibrant city in the world, there’s magic is happening. Every damn day.

New York’s professional style understated yet relentless. Showing up, doing your best—and doing things a little differently—is the mantra of millions of people who rise with the sun to chase their dreams. With a little luck, and a lot of sweat, millions of men and women are making their career ambitions happen, and doing so outside of the traditional career path.

AND CO’s film “SOLO NYC” is an intimate look at the trials and triumphs of New York’s rising class of creative freelancers. Featuring Helen Levi, Alex Trochut, Adriana Urbina and Zipeng Zhu — Directed by Daniel Soares.

You can watch the film right there:

“New York has always been about grit and relentless self-reliance—and this dynamic takes on a new meaning when applied to the city’s freelance workforce,” said Martin Strutz, co-founder of AND CO. “We made ‘SOLO NYC’ for the thousands, if not millions, of people wake up each day to chase their self-motivated career ambitions. They are thinkers, writers, creators and entrepreneurs, but most distinctively, they are independents.”

“The thread across all of my projects is a chance to feel something and then extend that feeling with the audience,” director Daniel Soares said. “This project was especially near and dear to my heart as it involved bringing to life the unique stories and perspectives of fellow freelancers who, like myself, call New York home.”

About The Cast



Helen Levi: Helen Levi is owner of Helen Levi Ceramics, and a freelance potter and photographer whose studio is based in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Born and raised in New York’s East Village, she has been profiled in Businessweek, GLAMOUR, ELLE, Vogue, Saveur and Bon Apetit, among other lifestyle and design publications. Levi began taking pottery classes in elementary school and continued through college, where she taught peers the craft despite studying photography. Today, a search for Levi and her work on Pinterest yields thousands of shares.

Alex Trochut: Alex Trochut is an award-winning designer, illustrator and typography artist based in New York City. A native of Barcelona, Spain, his talents have been tapped by clients like Nike, Adidas, The Rolling Stones, Katy Perry, BBC, British Airways, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and The New York Times. Influenced by pop culture, street culture, fashion and music, Trochut’s unique style has made him an icon in his space, garnering accolades from the Grammy Awards (nominated for best packaging in 2016), Art Directors Club, the Type Directors Club, the Creative Review, and more. He has more than 50K followers and 1M views on Behance. In 2011, he published the compilation book, “MORE IS MORE.”

Adriana Urbana: Adriana Urbina is an independent chef and owner of Tepuy Dining, a Venezuelan inspired pop-up dining company based in Brooklyn. Urbina has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, and Eater and was recently named winner of the Food Network competition “Chopped.” Born in Caracas, Venezuela, she began cooking at age 12 and attained a double culinary degree from Le École of Alain Ducasse in France and Sumito Esteves in Venezuela. Since then, her pedigree has taken her to various Michelin Star restaurants before launching her own business in New York.

Zipeng Zhu: A former senior designer for esteemed design studios Sagmeister & Walsh and Pentagram, Zipeng Zhu runs an independently owned and operated creative studio, DAZZLE, from his Brooklyn home. His exuberant and colorful design, illustration and animation work has made him an icon and source of inspiration in the design community, with his projects garnering more than 400,000 views on Behance alone. Zhu grew up in China and moved to New York in 2009 to pursue his passion for design after abandoning his prior career path as a biochemist.

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