The Quintessential American Burger Joint

By Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg

The folks who've been working at New York City's Prime Burger for decades say it's a little like the mafia -- once you're in, you don't leave. The restaurant has been in business since 1938, and the staff are in it for the long haul. This documentary is one in a series of short films, This Must Be the Place, which explores the deeply personal connections between people and the spaces they inhabit. David Usui and Ben Wu of Lost & Found Films talk about the making of the series in a short interview below. 


Stills from the video

The Atlantic: What inspired you to do this series?

David Usui and Ben Wu: We look at the series like a passport that allows you to see how people live -- across cultural, class, socioeconomic and racial lines. What better way to sum up that idea than explore people's spaces: their homes, their places of work, their hangout spots. It’s an opportunity to really examine, both visually and emotionally, the places that people LIVE. So we decided to make that the focus of our series.

How do you find the stories you tell?

So far it’s been a combination of the usual subjects: through friends, blogs, articles and word of mouth.

You do a lot of documentary work for clients, but this is a personal project. How does your creative approach change when you work on this series? 

We’ve been pretty fortunate with our clients. They’ve provided us with the subject matter but have for the most part allowed us to inject our own style. With our series though, we have the chance to seek out our own stories.

What's next for you? 

We’re working on a few feature-length documentaries that we’re hoping to have done in the next year or so. We’re also editing the next piece in the series about a man who live out in Detroit in an abandoned auto plant.

For more videos by David Usui and Ben Wu, visit http://lostfoundfilms.com/.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/02/the-quintessential-american-burger-joint/252776/