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New York-based production company working on Tops mass shooting documentary

The crew will begin filming in April and wants to premiere the documentary in Buffalo when it's done in the summer.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — In just a few days, we mark a somber milestone: six months after the racist mass shooting that left 10 people dead and injured three more at the Tops Market on Jefferson Avenue.

There will obviously be attempts to tell the story of what happened, how and the impact it had.

One such project is already underway with a Syracuse production company working on a documentary. Tony Merkurii of Long Island and Jade Widger of Syracuse have been working in the film industry out in Los Angeles for nearly a decade.

Early this year, they were in Syracuse in pre-production for a drama film. They halted the project on May 14. 

"We knew we had to pivot our entire direction," Widger said.

Added Merkurii: "As I was on Jefferson, I saw the haircuts that were happening and the families, and I saw so much love. These words started coming into my mind and it started as a poem."

That poem has turned into a screenplay for "A Luv Letter 2 Buffalo."

It's a documentary Tony's production company Nightmare KIDZzz Productions, will begin filming in the spring.

Nightmare KIDZzz Productions operates out of the Redhouse Arts Center in Syracuse. 

A Luv Letter 2 Buffalo will run from 30 to 45 minutes and will not focus on the shooter. Instead, it will be a goodbye letter to the 10 lives lost.

"We're mixing family testimonials with performance art from local, Buffalo rappers and spoken word artists and singers," Widger said.

The entire crew is from Buffalo, including one of Katherine Massey's family members.  

Andre Mackniel's family is also in talks with Merkurii and Widger, but they hope to get every family and the survivors on board. 

"We can send this love letter to heaven at the end," Widger said.  

She says the goal is to show the world they cannot forget about Buffalo and why we need to rid every city of future hate crimes. When the film is done, they want to premiere it in Western New York for free. 

Merkurii, the film's director, and Widger, the film's executive producer, also plan to show the documentary at film festivals in Los Angeles. 

"There's a lot of love, a lot of light in this city. I just don't think it has been properly exposed, especially the East Side of Buffalo," Merkurii said. 

"It's sad to know that this had to happen in order for a film to show how beautiful this place is but we're going to do it in the right way."

Merkurii and Widger need $50,000 to pay for the documentary, and for their crew members' salaries. 

Widger says they are putting those funds right back into Western New York.

Their entire crew lives here and they're looking to hire more producers. 

Merkurii and Widger hope to have the documentary premiere by next summer. 

To donate to the creation of the documentary, click here. 

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