top of page
Shooting a Crowded Street

2023-2024 FELLOWS

Adam Jay Epstein Headshot.jpeg

Adam Epstein

JERUSALEM SYNDROME

Agnostic Jewish American private investigator Allen Sobel is sent to Israel by a rabbi to find the true Messiah that he thinks is being held in a mental ward that treats individuals suffering from Jerusalem Syndrome, a psychological condition that afflicts people that go to the Holy City which causes them to believe that they are the reincarnation of a famed biblical figure… or the Messiah. As Allen investigates, he begins to experience disturbing hallucinations and prescient visions that place a disconcerting thought in his mind: What if he himself is the true Messiah?

IMG_2285.jpeg

David Lombroso

MOLEK

People always said there was a demon in the woods at Camp Catskill. No one’s been up there in years, not since a boy was found dead one summer in the early 2000s. When a group of old camp friends receive a mysterious invitation to a reunion on the long-shuttered grounds, their visit awakens an ancient evil with a thirst for Jewish blood.

“Molek” is a feature film that works as an allegory for antisemitism; an effort to upend bigotry through satire, a propensity for which horror films are especially suited (i.e. "Get Out"). By centering the plot around a group of twenty-somethings at a summer camp reunion, the film is grounded in nostalgia and innocence before shifting to fear, confusion, and terror.

Molek is a Canaanite god to whom followers in antiquity were said to offer child sacrifices. By linking this mythological character to a through-line of historic antisemitism – and shifting his thirst from children to Jews – the film creates a new myth, one in which behind every antisemitic act lies the seductive call of a bloodthirsty demon.

HEADSHOT.jpeg

Iris Bahr 

THE GUILT TRIP

The Guilt Trip is a dramedy about two sisters, Maya and Abby, who are sent to Poland by their ailing grandmother, Chana, to trace her journey from the Warsaw Ghetto to the camps. Chana hopes this trip will heal the girls’ strained relationship, and perhaps her own wounds as well. Armed with a briefcase and audio guide that their Savta prepared,  the reluctant sisters depart. Once there, the friction between them only escalates, as they find themselves in increasingly complicated situations and it becomes apparent that this trip is having the opposite effect of what Chana intended.  

Screen Shot 2023-10-26 at 11.30.46 PM.png
Emil and Sigmund.jpeg

Emil Stern & Sigmund Stern

MONOPOLY

Before toy giant Hasbro was Hasbro, it was three Jewish brothers — the Hassenfelds. MONOPOLY is a one-hour TV drama with comedic elements based on the true story of how, through epic struggle and creativity, the Hassenfelds turned their Lower East Side rags and pencils business into an American icon. Spanning from the 1920s to the 1980s, MONOPOLY illuminates some of the biggest cultural currents in Jewish and American life and presents the story you haven't seen about how a bunch of cranky, hardworking, quarreling, sometimes desperate immigrant Jews created what Americans now simply call, "fun."

Screen Shot 2023-10-26 at 11.30.46 PM.png
Screen Shot 2023-10-26 at 11.37.20 PM.png
Zack_Headshot_1 copy 3.jpeg
Roni.jpeg

Roni Geva & Margaret Katch 
 

SHALOM Y'ALL

A half hour comedy tv series inspired by Roni’s family. 

It’s 1991 and the Ophir family just moved to a small town in Texas from Tel Aviv.  Dad Menachem had been a spy for the Israeli Mossad, and mom Chaya, asks him to choose family over country after a particularly scary mission. So Menachem gets a job teaching at Texas A&M University and the whole family, including cool teenage brother Rahm and super-dork 11 year old Noa, moves to Texas. 

 

But Chaya doesn’t know that Menachem actually wanted to go to Texas so he could spy on an Iranian physics professor - who is actually a spy for Tehran - to turn him into a double agent. Like, the Americans, but funny. 

 

_MG_7960-Edit.jpeg

Brett Melnick

YOM KIPPUR

After getting high on the night of Yom Kippur, three distant cousins wake up with muddled minds and empty stomachs as they find themselves in the middle of a major drug ring. “Yom Kippur” follows three Jewish cousins through the day-to-day rituals of the Yom Kippur holiday, all while they bust a drug ring ran by a group of bad-intentioned students in their community. The main themes of the screenplay are family, unity and religion, which I believe are also three major themes of Judaism. Family and unity is shown in the process of bringing our young distant cousins together to work through their differences and stop a potentially compromising crime from happening under their watch. Meanwhile, the theme of religion is sprinkled throughout, from our three cousins attending Yom Kippur services, to breaking fast together as it plays simultaneously with its climatic final chase scene.

Jessie photo.jpeg

Jessie Kahnweiler 

YIDS

YIDS is a half hour single camera comedy that follows a group of teens in Poland against the backdrop of Hitler’s rise to power.   YIDS is Yiddish for Jews. It was co-opted by Anti-Semites in Europe as a derogatory word but we are reclaiming it.    Just to be clear, this show is gonna be fun! It’s gonna be wild and hysterical just like the kids themselves. It’s a comedy through and through but because we the audience are aware of the historical context the comedy feels incredibly poignant.  We will stay in the kids POV: The world events are happening in the background but the teens are focused on their daily dramas. That’s all that matters.   We’re not going to show anything that we’re used to seeing during this time period. No ghettos, Jewish stars, death camps, or Nazis. This series will take place right before all that shit goes down because...  I wanna make a show about how Jewish teens lived, not how they died.

Headshot_Victoria George.jpeg

Victoria George

BREWS

Adina Jacobs, a recently turned 13-year-old biracial teen who would love nothing more than to fade into the distance and forget the utter embarrassment she endured at her Bat Mitzvah, is forced to attend J-Camp, a.k.a. Jewish sleepaway camp, where she comes face to face with her archenemy, all while trying to navigate new friendships, a unexpected crush, and an unfamiliar atmosphere on her journey to becoming a woman. BREWS is not just a story about teen angst and maturity, it is also one of identity and visibility. In this quirky teen comedy, a clash of personality, of culture, and of religion all bubble over into a heartwarming story about a young woman just trying to survive her summer at camp.

Screen Shot 2023-10-26 at 11.20.57 PM.png

Doron Drew Feldman

HERZL

Set against the backdrop of pervasive anti-Semitism in late 19th and 20th century Europe, "HERZL," a movie-musical, paints a vivid picture of Theodore Herzl's life as he transitions from a dynamic playwright to a visionary political activist and struggles to secure a Jewish homeland. In a complex political theater that includes countries, kings, popes, and diplomats, Herzl successfully forges the first Jewish parliament in over two millennia, but when he fails to secure Palestine as a homeland, his attention shifts to Africa, causing a deep schism in the Zionist movement. Even as his health declines and familial tensions mount, Herzl must overcome not only external adversaries but also internal dissent. Influenced by Herzl’s vision of "The Old New Land," the musical score blends traditional Zionist folk music with contemporary folk-rock, incorporating Eastern Jewish, Yemenite, and Arabic influences to capture the Jewish people’s historical struggles, their aspirations for a homeland, and the significance of their collective dream.

Screen Shot 2023-10-26 at 11.28.04 PM.png

Danielle Berrin

BECOMING

Set in a modern Los Angeles synagogue, “Becoming” is a drama series about a brilliant and charismatic rabbi whose world is about to implode. When we meet Leon Gold, he is happily ministering in the shadow of his renowned rabbi father, a towering figure whom he loves and admires -- and with whom he shares a pulpit. But when a scandal erupts implicating the elder Gold in a terrible crime, Leon is offered the chance to take the reins of his father’s congregation and lead one of the most powerful, politically engaged Jewish communities in the country. Although both destined and deserved, Leon never expected his ascension to leadership to come at the cost of his father’s downfall. He is deeply conflicted about assuming the role as the ideal of paternal and rabbinic greatness that has anchored him since youth vanishes. Torn between his commitment to righteousness and his drive to protect his father, community and tradition from the inevitable fallout of scandal, Leon becomes a “divided self.” His quest for authenticity and holiness is constantly complicated by the ways his public role clashes with the disillusionment and shadow of his private reality. Epic in emotional scale, “Becoming” is about the chasm between what we aspire to be and what we are; the private self and the public reality; and how even the holiest among us can spend their entire lives locked in a struggle for and against God’s will.

Arnon_DSC01381.jpeg

Arnon Shorr

DAUGHTER OF GONDAR

Esti Baro, an Ethiopian-Israeli disaster-relief worker, recently moved to New York City, and she doesn’t fit in. She’s Jewish, she’s Black, she’s an immigrant. She’s different. Everything changes for Esti when she survives the 9/11 attacks by accidentally activating her mother's ring - the legendary SEAL OF SOLOMON. The ring summons the demon ASHMODAI, who rescues her from the falling towers.

With the demon bound to her will, Esti takes on a superhero identity - the DAUGHTER OF GONDAR - and wages a courageous battle against bigotry and hatred. Maybe if she fights for a more open society, she’ll find her own place within it?

But an open society is not likely in the xenophobic aftermath of 9/11. While Esti fights the good fight, a white supremacist wizard, known as the SHADOW MAGE, senses an opportunity to instigate a race war. And he plans to summon a dark demon to help spark it.

As Esti helps people around her, she discovers the wizard's plan, and realizes that she alone has the power to stop him. With Ashmodai as her guide, Esti fights her way towards a final showdown.

But Esti is wrong. She can’t stop the Shadow Mage on her own. She needs support. And she gets it from all the people she helped along her journey. They defeat the Shadow Mage - together.

LaurelGans.jpeg

Laurel Gans

THE EIGHT DATES OF HANUKKAH

Natalie knows that time is valuable, and she is determined to not waste a moment. A top efficiency expert, she has helped hundreds of businesses succeed through her time management techniques. She swears that if she had been with the Maccabees, she could have made the oil last for way longer than eight days. Unfortunately, her success in her professional life far exceeds that of her personal life. She hasn’t dated a nice Jewish boy since her Birthright trip—and that was more of a hook up in the Bedouin tents. She has had it with being single but she’s running out of ideas. That is, until she is chosen to go on a work trip at her company’s headquarters in New York City. Determined to finally meet someone, she gets swiping on the apps and lines up a date for each of the eight nights of her trip. She soon realizes that romance is not something that can be scheduled.

Zack Bornstein

THE TAILOR

I know him as Uncle Nathan. As my Nana’s stoic, kind-eyed brother-in-law, whose name was sewn into the lining of my Bar Mitzvah suit. But to Colonel Mendel Marshak, the Soviet overseer of defeated Germany, Nathan Freisinger is the only tailor in East Berlin fit to fashion his leather jacket. And the suit maker Stalin now wants for himself. But 5 years earlier in the Lithuanian ghettos, Nathan’s skill as a tailor is the only thing keeping him and his beloved wife Mina alive, before they’re ripped apart and sent to camps. In the final months of WWII, Nathan survives the death march from Dachau by escaping into the forest. Fueled only by farm scraps and whispers of the Nazi’s fall, he limps towards Berlin. There, he finds ruins and despair, but also hope—his presumed-dead wife may be alive. Nathan dares to negotiate with the ominous Russian liberators, bargaining his tailoring skills to find his long-lost love. His craftsmanship secures not only the rescue of his wife and her sister (my Nana), but also a place as the celebrated head tailor of post-war Berlin. But the joys of reunion are short-lived as a summons arrives from the Kremlin—run Stalin’s factories or face a Siberian Gulag. As soldiers surround his factory, Nathan must thread his smallest needle yet—a plan to escape the Soviet regime with an unlikely ally and a disguise of his own design. THE TAILOR is a testament to the unbreakable Jewish spirit and the power of a good coat. Think THE PIANIST meets PHANTOM THREAD.

JWI- logo1-3.png
bottom of page