A Family Business Hand-Rolls Cigars in the Heart of New York City

"When you see any product being made, you appreciate it all that much [more], especially in this time where machines just keep replacing hands," Jesus Martinez explains. Opened in 1974, Martinez Cigar Factory doubles as a neighborhood destination for a smoke and some conversation. This documentary portrait by Keith "keef"  Ehrlich has the easy vibe of being there, kicking back, making friends, and watching expert craftsmen at work. It's the fourth episode in Made by Hand, a series focusing on independent and artisanal businesses in New York and Brooklyn.

Ehrlich describes how he discovered the shop and decided to include it in his series:

I was on my way to my editor's office and just strolled by the place. I noticed the neon sign that read "hand made cigars." So I took a look into the shop window and noticed three guys rolling cigars while other people were just hanging out shooting the shit -- I walked in and introduced myself. I mentioned the Made by Hand project and came back the next weekend to let them know I was for real. I hung out for an hour or so smoking with them (I'm not a smoker) to get a better sense of what the place was about. I had been wanting to find a topic that was more about friendship and community, and also was interested to do a film that would make the series more ethnically diverse. It was perfect. We scheduled shooting dates and that was it.

Watch earlier episodes of Made by Hand on the Atlantic Video channel here, and read a longer interview with Ehrlich about the making of the series here

For more information about Made by Hand, visit http://thisismadebyhand.com/.

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.

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