2020 Sundance Docs in Focus: UNTITLED PIZZA MOVIE

UNTITLED PIZZA MOVIE | Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Jonathan Kovel

David Shapiro revisits a long-unfinished project to make sense of the passing of his friend and collaborator.

Festival Section:
Indie Episodic

Sundance Program Description:

In the early 1990s, David Shapiro and Leeds Atkinson, lifelong friends from Manhattan’s Lower East Side, set out to find the perfect slice of the city’s biggest commodity – pizza. Under the guise of filming a TV series titled EAT TO WIN, Dave and Leeds traversed pizzerias throughout their rapidly changing city until they found a favorite: Lombardi’s, widely acknowledged as the first pizzeria in the country. There they discovered Andrew Bellucci, a passionate chef whose humble beginnings as a short-order cook at a bingo parlor segued into an unlikely role as a darling of the New York food world. When they discover that Bellucci had been a Wall Street criminal imprisoned after an FBI investigation, their project takes an unexpected turn. The two friends drift apart, and their film goes unfinished.

Over a decade later, Leeds died tragically at the age of 52. Shapiro, now an established filmmaker in his own right, pieces together their lost footage to examine the fault lines of class, memory, and self-invention.

Some Background:


  • David Shapiro
    Past Sundance docs:

    CHARLIE VICTOR ROMEO (2013, associate producer)

    Shapiro is an Oscar shortlisted and Emmy-nominated filmmaker who previously has directed two previous doc features, KEEP THE RIVER ON YOUR RIGHT and MISSING PEOPLE. As a visual artist, his work has been at MoMA, the Tate, the Whitney, and the Brooklyn Museum, among other institutions.


  • Michael Tubbs

    Tubbs previously produced MISSING PEOPLE. Tubbs also contributed to the series’ original score.

  • Brendan Doyle
    Past Sundance docs:

    BAYARD AND ME (2017, short)

    Doyle co-founded production company C41 Media together with Peter Sillen.

  • Peter Sillen
    Past Sundance docs:

    BRANSON: MUSICLAND USA (2003, short)
    SPEED RACER (1994, short)

    Sillen is co-founder of C41 Media with Brendan Doyle. He also was cinematographer on Sundance titles THE MEASURE OF ALL THINGS, OLD JOY, and BAYARD & ME.

Consulting Producer:

  • Karin Roach

    Roach is a mental health and substance use counselor. She previously associate produced MISSING PEOPLE.

Associate Producer:

  • Tamber Johnson

    Johnson runs Dallas/Ft Worth-area film/photography production company Tamco Productions.

Executive Producer:

  • Gerald Herman
    Past Sundance docs:

    FILM HAWK (2016)

    Herman is a film collector, curator, and producer.

Why You Should Watch:
Inventive and surprising, Shapiro’s docuseries is an immediately enjoyable, freewheeling look at New York City, gentrification, friendship, and chutzpah, full of distinctive personalities and with a clear sense of place and time.

More Info:

For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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