Moj Brat aka My Brother


TYPE
: Narrative Short
GENRE: Drama
STATUS: Pre-Production

LOGLINE

Julian seeks to escape Nazi-occupied Poland with his beloved, Dawid, in the summer of 1942. but an unforeseen complication will put both of their lives at stake.

SYNOPSIS

Poland, January 1942. Julian, a Pole, and Dawid, a Polish Jew, are making their escape from the Nazis. Julian has a plan to disguise his beloved Dawid as a priest, and as his brother. But when they come face to face with the enemy, love and a simple plan may not be enough.

ARTISTIC STATEMENT

This is a story of courage, love, and sacrifice, expressed through the tale of two gay men in love in Nazi-occupied Poland, on the run for a better life. This narrative explores the desperate sacrifices that these characters—and others—make to preserve themselves and the people they care about. Acting is the audience’s primary point of connection with the material. The first I did after casting was to hold a screen test with the actors in their costumes to identify if they were suitable for the roles. I’ve attached profile pictures of the cast. I am focused on rehearsing with these actors to create their own believable and charismatic characters and bring them to life. I am particularly fond of the Stanislavski method. He encourages actors to get attached to the material, deepening and intensifying their connection to it. I also believe in getting my actors involved with research—not just historical research but in building their characters’ backstories. In order to create a background story for Julian and Dawid, I held a photo shoot with them in Poland to depict some intimate moments before the war. Dawid plays piano and Julian listens to every note, falling in love with it all the while. My approach to directing actors is to allow long pauses, where they may behave outwardly calm but a chaos inside them comes across in their eyes and their body language. For Julian and Dawid, their chaotic world finds a moment of peace when they’re with each other. Pauses can produce emotions that say a thousand words without a shred of spoken dialogue. Each character plays a different level of intensity that motivates them to move forward and achieve their goal. This World War II film takes place during the Epiphany, or the Feast of the Three Kings—so, January. To give the film a distinct visual identity, I envision a range of cool neutral colors—brown, beige, yellow, red and gold—paired with gray shades and layers of white. To make a film visually stunning requires teamwork, with people using their own imagination to create something exceptional. As much as my own vision is clear, I will rely on my team and give them full independence to create. Cinematically, the feel would be simple and raw. I will use anamorphic lenses to give everything a textured, old-fashioned atmosphere. Additionally, I envision static, photograph-like compositions, and an uncluttered mise-en-scène paring the image down to its essentials. The light would be soft throughout the film to avoid unnecessary shadows. My vision for the editing is very simple; I want the audience to take the time to witness Julian and Dawid’s relationship. Long takes will encourage introspection. Scenes like the train scene can employ a more classical cutting style, condensing space and time for the sake of action. Music could add a poetic commentary throughout. At the end I will highlight some emotion, lest the film feel too austere, but I don’t think I need a lot of music; I’d rather let the actors supply the crucial emotion of the scenes. The two source pieces would require some attention paid to production and performance, and I think they could lend themselves to a beautiful arrangement and recording. I will hire a string quartet to perform the score, and a young soprano to sing the songs with a viola or violin.

KEY CREW

Muneeb Hassan - Director

Muneeb Hassan immigrated to New York from Pakistan at the age of 19, abandoning medical school in pursuit of his filmmaking dream. While still a kid in Pakistan, he watched dozens of Disney animations and dreamed of one day becoming a filmmaker himself. He is making that dream happen step by step, and is currently working to make his groundbreaking short, "Moj Brat (My Brother)" It was in the U.S. that Muneeb first learned extensively about the Holocaust., a topic that was not as often discussed in Pakistan. At once horrified and deeply stirred by the accounts of atrocities, he felt that - as a Muslim - he has the obligation to speak of the subject with depth and compassion. As he has gained experience in the Editors' Guild and studied filmmaking at Brooklyn College, he has matured as a filmmaker, making his first fictional thesis short called "We Just Met". We Just Met is currently playing festivals and has screened at the Williamsburg Film Festival, the Melbourne Film Festival and the Chicago Irish Film Festival; it received awards for Best Student Film and Best Editing at the Los Angeles Indepenent Film Festival and the Best Screenplay award at the Chicago International Screenwriting Festival. His prior short films have screened internationally-from India to Tel Aviv to the Ukraine-and on New York television. Other credits include associate producing the feature film The Nearest Human Being and producing a Danish documentary short Left in a Box.

Piotr Turlej - Producer

Piotr Turlej is a filmmaker, editor, and producer based in New York. He graduated from the University of Silessia (Poland) Film School in 2008 and has worked on film, TV, and commercials ever since. He served as assistant director, producer, and editor in Poland, Peru, and the US. Growing up in Krakow with his grandparents, former resistance fighters during WWII, he was surrounded by war stories and songs from that time. In his work, he has followed this fascination as an Assistant Director in "Days of Honor" ("Czas Honoru") - Polish WWII TV series, and in a Brazilian documentary about Jewish survivors from Auschwitz. He was always drawn to WWII movies like "The Pianist", "Schindler's List" and "Kanal", to name just a few.

Daniel Silberstein - Producer

Our producer Daniel Silberstein works and resides in New York. He has extensive experience raising capital for emerging artists of all kinds related but not limited to event production, editorial content, and short films. After graduating with a Communications degree from Syracuse University, Daniel moved to New York and started working with emerging fashion designers looking to make their mark in New York. Happy, but curious he decided to take film classes at the school of visual arts. Moved and inspired, Daniel decided to shift his focus to indie film production. As he prepares latest short Gloria, for submission to the upcoming festivals, Daniel has already fallen in love with his next project, Moj Brat. Being an American Jew with a lot to say about love and the history of the holocaust, Daniel recalls being instantly mesmerized by the script & impossibly excited to start working immediately.

Kacper Fertacz - Cinematographer

Graduate of K. Kieslowski Faculty of Radio and TV at Silesian University.

Participant of Budapest Cinematogrpahy masterclass 2007 with Vilmos Zsigmond, and Elemer Ragalyi. Director of photography of many short, feature and documentary films, music videos and commercials. Working on film and digital. 
In free time also digital compositor working on e.g Lars von Trier’s “Antichrist” and “Melancholia”. 

Agnieszka Kruk Inez - Screenwriter

Graduate of screenwriting programmes at Warsaw Film School (2006) and Lódz Film School (2010). Holder of two MA degrees in 20th century literature: British (1998) and Dutch (2000) from Warsaw University. Received scholarships to study Dutch literature in Antwerp, Utrecht and Leiden.

She started working for media in 1996 writing scripts for television shows, creating new formats and producing television shows, both live and recorded. She has credits in 1200 episodes of prime time television series. She was commissioned to write several new formats, build writers’ teams and train new writers.

She has been educating writers since 2007. She supports writers working on television projects, feature and documentary films as well as novels. She organises courses, workshops, webinars and events for writers, including the festival for screenwriters called Script Fiesta, pitching sessions and various screenwriting competitions.

 

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