by Don Church and Tony Schillaci, Critics On The Aisle
Writer, producer, director, and actor Rabbi Moshe Paul Mones and producer Darren Schwartz make a team that is passionate about movies. Both were living in neighboring towns in upper New York State, away from the glitz and glare of Hollywood, when Moshe and Darren read a small book by G. Silber.
At that time, in 2011, Moshe was in serious condition from Lyme disease, and Brooklyn-born entrepreneur Darren make a simple suggestion to perk up the Rabbi’s spirits: “Let’s make a movie!”
“For me, it was a gift, a miracle,” Moshe recalls.
The project, Dovid Meyer—The Orphan from Jerusalem is a touching, funny, and uplifting film about family, tradition, and love, with a few well-timed giggles along the way. During the Moondance Film Festival September 26 through 29 in Mystic, the movie has taken home the Best Director award for Moshe. The showing at Mystic was the International World Premiere of the movie.
Rabbi Mones explains, “It’s about faith. About finding your religious roots. But it isn’t just about Judaism and the Jewish people. It applies to all religions and all people.”
The title role of Dovid Meyer is wonderfully played by young Ted Sutherland, with an equally brilliant performance by Jonathan Tindle as Charles Kalman. In the film, the Kalmans, a proper British, “non-practicing” Jewish family, think they are hiring an au pair for their two young children. Hoping for a real-life Mary Poppins, the family is in for a surprise when the au pair who turns up on their doorstep is a 13-year old Chassidic Israeli boy, Dovid Meyer. The shocked Kalmans agree to keep young Dovid for at least a few days, not knowing he is about to turn their lives upside down.
The movie was filmed in New York and Jerusalem, and we asked Darren and Moshe if they made changes in the script or production schedule as they went along. “Always,” said Moshe. “We filmed in 24 days, and there was always something to adjust. I would go back to my room at night and take a machete to the script, and rewrite until dawn. At one point in the filming I literally had to push a camel out of the shot because it had wandered into the scene!”
So, what’s next for this dynamic, creative team? “We have optioned the seven books Small Miracles of the Holocaust and are working on a live teleplay series—something like the acclaimed Playhouse 90 of the “fifties,” Darren told us. “Our website is going live this week at www.26entertainment.com.” Look for more great work from Darren Schwartz and Moshe Mones, and watch for Dovid Meyer in theaters and on DVD.
To post your comments, visit www.theresident.com or follow us on twitter@Resident_News.