ANTISEMITE, 13min., USA, Drama
Directed by Michelle Bossy
Seth, a college senior, is home for winter break. He’s spending a day relaxing and shopping on Fairfax Avenue when he’s suddenly confronted by an Orthodox Jewish man asking Seth if he’s Jewish. Seth’s chance encounter leads to a profound spiritual experience with life-changing implications.
Get to know the filmmaking team:
Producer: David Maire
Director: Michelle Bossy
Writer: Etan Marciano
1. What motivated you to make this film?
(Writer Etan) The spike in violent antisemitic attacks in New York City, Los Angeles and other major cities around the world inspired the climax of the film. But beyond that, I wanted to dig deeper into the complicated nature of Jewish identity in today's modern world, and how exploring that identity can be fraught with complicated and conflicting emotions, especially within a college-aged individual.
(Dir. Michelle) I was motivated to make this film as an antidote to hate. There was an uptick in hate crimes during the pandemic, which we are still seeing. I am part of a minority group, and I hope this film can shift perspectives and allow space for acceptance and understanding.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
(Dir. Michelle) I think this process was pretty fast. Etan wrote the script relatively quickly, in about a month. We shot it with a few weeks of prep. And post took about 3 months. So all in all, maybe 6 months.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
(Writer Etan) Spiritual awakening.
(Dir. Michelle) Religious questioning.
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
(Writer Etan) As the writer, the biggest obstacle I faced was shaping a narrative that wasn't only centered on the violent attack but delved deeper into the complex emotions around being Jewish in today's modern world.
(Dir. Michelle) My biggest obstacle was shooting the hate speech and violence. We were doing some sensitive things: putting faux graffiti outside of a synagogue and beating up a young guy wearing a kippah. Several onlookers tried to intervene. I love that the community was trying to do the right thing, and also it was interfering with the shoot!
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
(Prod. David) The viewing experience was so positive all around, especially with how kind and constructive the audience was with our film! It’s very validating to hear how our story has had an impact on someone, whether by eliciting an emotional response or igniting a conversation. As a team that is spread out across the country, we’re not always able to travel to attend festivals, so this video was invaluable in providing an experience that is usually reserved for in-person events, and which we are very appreciative of.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
(Writer Etan) I realized I wanted to make films in my late twenties. I've always been a writer, but at first I focused my creative energies on writing short stories. After self-publishing an online serialized story, it occurred to me that screenwriting, specifically for television, was a path I wanted to pursue. As my carry in TV progressed, it seemed only natural to finally write and produce a short film with the hope of eventually turning the story into a feature length film.
(Dir. Michelle) I actually came to filmmaking late. I first directed theater, which I still do. I made my first film about seven years ago.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
(Writer Etan) Good Will Hunting.
(Dir. Michelle) I think the WIZARD OF OZ, which is still magical to me.
(Prod. David) Michael Haneke’s American “Funny Games” .
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
(Prod. David) This is already such a worthwhile experience that offers many perks rarely found at other events! Asking this question demonstrates a level of self-awareness and desire for growth seldom found in many other festivals. Any form of media that can be used for advertising and distribution purposes to attract further interest is invaluable for us indie filmmakers. With that in mind, dedicating a webpage to films that could tentatively include the feedback video, written reviews, trailers, social media links could be useful in helping bring more attention to our work.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
(Dir. Michelle) I think FilmFreeway is a great way to get your work out into the world. It connects filmmakers to programmers and ultimately to our audiences.
10. What is your favorite meal?
(Writer Etan) Dinner.
(Dir. Michelle) Breakfast!
(Prod. David) Sushi.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
(Writer Etan) I'm currently in development on a dark comedy/thriller TV series for Amazon. Additionally, I'm working on the feature length script for the short.
(Dir. Michelle) I just finished my second feature called NOBODY’S HOME, so I look forward to having that out in the festival circuit. And we hope to expand ANTISEMITE into a feature; Etan is writing that script now.
(Prod. David) I am actively completing a post-graduate degree in screenwriting at Royal Holloway’s University of London, while simultaneously post-production and film festival producing over a dozen short films.