Brooklyn’s Finest: A math teacher wants into Sundance |

Brooklyn’s Finest: A math teacher wants into Sundance

Greg Marshall, Of the Record staff

Keith Black isn’t a typical Sundance filmmaker. He isn’t even at this year’s festival. That’s because Black, a 39-year old math teacher from Brooklyn, ran out of money before he could complete his first feature-length film "Drive Me Crazy," a romantic comedy about a man who drives 3,000 miles for a first date.

Black, the film’s producer, stars in the film, which also features Mickey Rooney and Celeste Holm. Black describes himself as a "late bloomer" in the comedy world. He garnered media attention in 2003 for the short film "Get the Script to Woody Allen," based on Black’s real-life attempt to get Allen to read a copy of his manuscript.

Now, Black is making waves in the blogosphere. He has written a song appealing to Robert Redford to help complete "Drive Me Crazy." "Dear Bob Redford," Black begins. "You don’t mind if I call you Bob, do you? I want to congratulate you on 25 years of Sundance."

Flattery out of the way, Black continues, "Sundance, Sundance, you’re a great showcase/Always producing a fresh new face/Everyone is competing to win first place/

But right now all I have is a trailer on MySpace."

Black lives with his mom and said he wrote the song to raise money for the film after his bar mitzvah money ran out. "Here I am, a nerdy Brooklyn man," Black pitched in a phone interview Tuesday. "No, I don’t have Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt in my movie. I’m a working-class teacher. Can this guy with a pot belly hold his own in Hollywood?"

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"I’m kind of like Kelly Clarkson," he added. "A no-where guy who made good. They don’t just want a star, they want a backstory." But unlike Clarkson, Black said he isn’t a sprightly youngster. "I’m not 20 years old," he said. "I can’t go to L.A. and live in my car."

Black, who looks nothing like Hollywood leading man, said the Sheepshead Bay ninth graders he teachers are the toughest crowd he has ever played. He said his goal with "Drive Me Crazy" is to "pollinate the gene pool with what makes people laugh."

As far as Hollywood types, though, Black prefers Superman to Clarkson. "It’s a crazy duality teaching and being a filmmaker," he said. "During the day I’m mild mannered, grading papers, and then you get me set up in front of a camera."

"Drive Me Crazy" is about a neurotic man from Brooklyn, a combination of Woody Allen and Harvey Weinstein, he says, who strikes up an Internet relationship with a woman living in California. Terrified to fly, the man decides to drive across the country.

"I want people to see the film," Black said. "Tell my Cinderella story."

To view a trailer of Black’s film, go to