Real Stories become REEL stories: Cop-turned-filmmaker Eliana Ujueta continues her cinematic journey


Article by Joan Lesly

Eliana Ujueta is a native New Yorker, born and raised in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. The Brooklyn College grad (film major) was a New York City Police Officer in the east village for years prior. One can only imagine what she saw during those years. Actually you don’t have to imagine, she’s writing those stories and commitment them to film.

In 2008, she began earning her MFA from the School of Visual Arts. Inspired by her thesis advisor to direct her first feature, Ujueta created the dark parable Beneath the Rock – serving as writer, director, and producer.

This is Ujueta’s dream, to create movies that enthrall and educate. Her stories from her years in blue are slowly becoming her stories in celluloid.  Maybe it was the allure of recording history or maybe it was more personal as she suffered family tragedy due to street crime.  “I saw it all growing up on the streets of Bushwick, and then again as a police officer in the East Village,” she told the Daily News prior to Rock’s opening at the SoHo International Film Festival.

The fictitious tale of murderous cops who run a gambling ring on Dekalb Ave. comes from Ujueta’s real life. The same can be said about her next film, The Airport Run.


Your ride to the Airport will never be the same!

The bible’s prophet, Elijah, was tested many times by dark forces. In The Airport Run, Elijah is a first-time offender newly released from prison. But his tests have only just begun. A chance to make some easy money comes along, but it involves going back to his old ways. Will he become involved in a sinister burglary scheme or will his instincts be his salvation.

Ujueta won a grant from the Jerome Foundation for the film. The grant was created by artist and philanthropist, the late Jerome Hill, seeking to contribute to a dynamic and evolving culture by supporting the creation, development, and production of new works by emerging artists. This has given Ujueta the energy – on all levels – to begin work on this next realistic tome.

It’s obvious that Eliana Ujueta’s star is on the rise. Her unique blend of gritty New Yorkishness and sophisticated film-making makes her a master storyteller with a long and fascinating future. The discerning Jerome Foundation sees it clearly. Soon that group will be legion.

Who knows, one day, students may use her works to study this particular slice of New York City history. And who better than an officer of the law to contribute such things?


There is currently an indiegogo campaign for further funding.  For more info, visit


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