Madison (World Premiere)
Running Time: 6 Minutes
Screening Time: Saturday, Nov 10th. 5pm
Packing up the last boxes as they prepare to sell their home, a father and daughter have trouble leaving the premises. Jules, sitting on the floor in his daughter's empty bedroom, can't remember a certain lullaby he used to sing to her when she was a baby. It may be a small matter to Mira, but her dad learned the niggun (wordless melody) from his grandfather, and singing the tune in its entirety strikes him as a significant way of remembering and holding onto his past as he himself grows older.
As short as it is, OLD COUNTRY LULLABY packs more personal references in its scant 6 1/2 minutes running time than all of my previous short narratives combined. Shot on location at the home where my wife and I lived with our children for over twenty years, the film pays homage to my Byelarussian and Ukrainian ancestors, draws upon my Jewish Day School training and affection for the work of Shlomo Carlebach, nods at my lapsed religious observance and advancing age, introduces my college-aged daughter, an aspiring actress, to the film world and provides me with an opportunity to appear on screen with her.
In addition to letting me flex my muscles as a film score composer, the film also represents the first video project that I partly shot and edited thanks to the patience and guidance of my cinematographer/editor Randy Lee, a young man with the patience and soul of a tzaddik.
One question for me when I set out to make this film was whether or not non-Jewish audiences would understand the significance of the mezuzah (see Deuteronomy) that appears near the end of the film. Would they appreciate the Chasidic influence in the melody I composed for the movie and, more importantly, was the film's message universal enough to appeal to them. If the film finds its way into as many non-Jewish film festivals as Jewish film festivals, I'll have my answer