The album New York, I love you is a collection of twelve 7-minute films about love from a team of the most recognized directors, actors, and producers.
Each director was given two days to film and a week to edit. The budget of each "novella" was 150,000 dollars. One was allowed to use only a certain amount of film and not more than twenty actors. Each director had the right to choose cameraman, sound director, and film editor, but the project’s producers were to choose the other members of the crew.
None of the directors knew the contents of the other participants' novellas - such was one of the obligatory conditions of work on the film.
One of the novellas was to be shot by Anthony Minghella. But, after having already written the script and even started preparatory work, Minghella suddenly died. The producers took the decision to carry out what Minghella had started, and sought a director who would agree to shoot the novella of his colleague.
At much the same time, Egor Konchalovsky invited Zvyagintsev to work with him on a similar project about Moscow. But preliminary negotiations with Benbihy had already begun, and Zvyagintsev decided that "it would be comical" to accept both offers.
Andrey Zvyagintsev shot one of the novellas of the album. The project's producer, Frenchman Emmanuel Benbihy, had invited him to participate in the first part of the project as well – the film Paris, I love you – but Zvyagintsev refused, believing that one can tell nothing but a joke in five minutes. However, upon seeing the result of Paris, I love you, Zvyagintsev was impressed by the last story of the album – Alexander Payne's 14th arrondissement – and agreed to participate in the continuation of the project.
Work on the movie took place in New York in winter and spring 2008. Zvyagintsev and Krichman chose to shoot their novella on digital video, and selected for this purpose the Digital Capture Genesis camera that at that moment possessed significant advantages in the field of digital recording.
Zvyagintsev shot his novella on the 22nd and 23rd of April. One of the filming days took place in close proximity to the house where Joseph Brodsky had once lived, at 44 Morton Street. The other day brought Zvyagintsev to a quay in the district of Queens, with a view of Manhattan, the Empire State Building, and the United Nations Plaza Tower.
In the novella, we hear a fragment of a poem by W. H. Auden, translated into Russian by Joseph Brodsky. The poem is read by Elena Lyadova, with whom Zvyagintsev had worked shortly beforehand for the dubbing of the part of Vera, the female lead character in the film The Banishment.
The first version of the film, shown at the International Film Festival of 2008 in Toronto, was composed of 14 novellas. The film was later re-edited, and Scarlett Johansson's directorial debut and Andrey Zvyagintsev's novella Apocrypha, were cut. The decision to remove these two novellas was made by the American distributor-producer on the basis of reports from an initial viewing by a focus group in the U.S. (Initially the institution of the focus group was created for advertising and commercial cinema. It involves a survey of the reactions of a certain number of people of different ages and social positions towards the object of study, the results of which are used to help raise producers’ ratings in the eyes of consumers). The American focus group thought that these two novellas developed too slowly, and that their subjects were not readily evident. The format that the film took for its international release was determined by this opinion.
On the territory of Russia and CIS countries, however, the album was released in full in October 2009.