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ATLFF 2017: 'Menashe' Executive Producer Danelle Eliav on Introducing Audiences to Jewish Culture

ATLFF 2017: 'Menashe' Executive Producer Danelle Eliav on Introducing Audiences to Jewish Culture

In partnership with the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, the Closing Night presenation of the 2017 Atlanta Film Festival was a special showing of Menashe, a father/son story set within the Hasidic Jewish community in New York. Executive Producer Danelle Eliav walked the red carpet beforehand where we had the opportunity to talk to her about the film and introducing audiences to this largely unseen culture.

Shakefire (SF): What was it that attracted you to the project?
Danelle Eliav (DE): I met one of the producers, Alex Lipschultz, at the New Directors/New Films film festival like four years ago. We really connected and we wanted to find something to work on. And he approached me with the projected a couple of years and I wasn’t available but then eventually I was. It seemed like a great opportunity, a great team. Joshua Z Weinstein is an amazing filmmaker, and I really loved his documentary work. The other producers are really talented. Also, just to get to showcase a part of the world that not many people have access to or seen was something that was exciting.

SF: Talk about filming the movie entirely in Yiddish. That’s something that is very unique to this film that we don’t see a lot.
DE: Yeah. Well we wanted to be authentic and really in those worlds they speak Yiddish. They speak English with an accent if they speak English at all. It was very important for us to be authentic as possible. We had a Yiddish translator on set. None of us spoke Yiddish, but some of us spoke Hebrew so that helped too.

SF: A24 picked up the film for distribution. What’s it like working with them?
DE: It was pretty much like winning the lottery. We’re all very excited. We love them. I couldn’t be more excited to work with them. So far they’ve already blown us away with their ideas and their plans so hopefully we’ll get to do it again. SF: What do you want most people to take away from this film? DE: I think it would just be great for people to open their eyes about a certain part of the world and have a deeper understanding of really religious people in general, but especially Hasidic Jewish people. Hopefully it’s a film that has a universal appeal, and it’s a universal story of a father and a son. So maybe it touches their life in some way. Mostly, I hope they just enjoy the film.

Menashe will be released sometime in 2017 by A24.

Matt Rodriguez
Interview by Matt Rodriguez
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