ABE'S ASHES


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

LOGLINE

On the day of her dad’s ash scattering, twenty-three-year old Nora redefines the classic stages of grief when she realizes that her family’s mourning process isn’t exactly kosher.

SYNOPSIS

On the one year “death-versary” of Abe Hirsch's passing, one family cycles through the mourning process in a series of nonlinear vignettes that range from sentimental to absurd. ABE’S ASHES is a story about how we conceive of grief in theory and in practice, and the profound - though highly unconventional - sadness experienced by the family Abe leaves behind. 

ARTISTIC STATEMENT

When the subject of my most recent documentary, Arthur Cohen, embraced his death by ALS as inevitable, situations that once seemed grave took on an unexpected levity. In PICKLE MAN, he invited me and his daughter, Tess, to capture those moments on camera. Three years later, Arthur’s inspiring attitude left us wanting to frame this unique balance of humor and gravity in a narrative film. 

ABE’S ASHES subverts the classic five stages of grief to reflect how one family actually experiences loss. Told in five time-hopping vignettes, the film explores grief's fundamentally undefinable nature. Grief proves itself to be imperfect, disjointed, and incapable of being categorized into five tidy stages - a shit show even. 

As director, I aim to capture our protagonist Nora’s external grief, as it is felt in public, and the darker, number grief she feels inside. I’ll encourage each actor playing a member of our fictional family to lean on compassion to achieve the subtle emotional beats that the script calls for. I believe that only by framing each character's wit and fallibility in tandem can we get at a universal truth. 

DONOR BENEFITS:

$25 - Special Thanks in credits

$50 - Special Thanks in credits & link to film when completed 

$100 - All of the above plus signed poster by cast & crew

$250 - All of the above plus invite to private screening in NYC

$500 - All of the above plus invite to cast & crew wrap party

$1,000 - All of the above plus Associate Producer credit

$5,000 - All of the above plus Executive Producer credit 

KEY CREW

Nastasya Popov - Director, Editor

Nastasya Popov is a twenty-five year old director, writer, and editor based in Brooklyn. She was born in Los Angeles to Russian parents, whose history first inspired her writing. In 2016, Tess's dad, photographer Arthur Cohen, became an artistic mentor to her, and making PICKLE MAN, a documentary about his life, was the formative experience of her filmmaking career. The film traveled from Montclair to Nashville to Cannes to Cleveland, where it won the Audience Award for Best Female Directed Short. While studying Film at Northwestern University, her focus was Screenwriting and Literary Nonfiction, for which she received the Krevoy Screenwriting Prize, numerous English department awards for her essays and short stories, and the Gilman Scholarship to fund the study of Screenwriting abroad at FAMU in Prague. After college, she spent two years assisting producer Meryl Poster, and she currently works full-time as a director of both commercial and narrative films.

Tess Cohen - Writer, Producer

Tess Cohen is a 24-year-old writer and producer based in Brooklyn. She graduated from Northwestern in 2017, where she most notably studied screenwriting and met Nastasya Popov. She currently works at United Talent Agency in the Independent Film Group. Prior to that, she had a brief stint in reality television as a production associate on season one of WE Tv’s Love After Lockup. Most recently, Tess produced (and starred in) PICKLE MAN, a short documentary that traveled the festival circuit from Montclair, NJ to Cannes.

Lizzie Frieder - Producer

Lizzie Frieder is a 24-year-old producer based in New York City. While receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Radio/Television/Film from Northwestern University, she produced a number of projects, including the school’s largest production of a full-length original sitcom pilot. She also produced over 45 sketches for the student group, NSTV. She is currently a coordinator for Tina Fey’s production company, Little Stranger, and previously worked in Los Angeles at United Talent Agency in the Motion Picture Talent department. She also runs the New York chapter of Women Wednesday, a group dedicated to empowering female filmmakers with bi-monthly screenings and a weekly newsletter shared with hundreds of executives, agents, coordinators and assistants across the entertainment industry.

Russell Kahn - Producer

Russell Kahn grew up in NYC and has been producing since his first short film premiered at the Raindance Film Festival in London, while still a student at LaGuardia Arts High School. At Northwestern University he served as Artistic Director of two theatre companies, and produced 6 plays, 4 short films, and 2 music videos. After graduating Russell spent two years at Creative Artists Agency, working first in the Motion Picture Literary Department in LA and then in the Theatre Literary and Talent Departments in NY. In Winter 2018 Russell produced and performed in a large scale immersive experience, ARCADE AMERIKANA at Industry City, recognized by Time Out NY as one of the top ten immersive theatre experiences in the city. Currently, Russell is assisting Rachel Brosnahan under her new production banner, Scrap Paper Pictures at Amazon Studios; building the company's initial development slate as Rachel's first and only hire.

Sam Fox - Producer

Sam Fox recently followed his lifelong passion for film to a role in the independent film finance and sales department at UTA after spending most of the decade leading food and hospitality start-ups in Manhattan. A proud Stanford drop-out, Sam helped launch FarmersWeb, an innovative online sales platform designed to allow small farms to sell directly to chefs at local restaurants and other wholesale buyers. He was most recently Head of Partnerships and Integrations at SALIDO, a restaurant POS company. Sam is on the Advisory Board for the Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y, as well as 92Y’s Emerging Leadership Council. Sam’s favorite thing about working at UTA is supporting and empowering up-and-coming directors to make their creative visions come to life.

Frances E. Chen - Cinematographer

Born in Vancouver, Canada and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, Frances spent her formative years testing out different ways of telling stories and capturing memories. With a background in writing and photography, she found her calling in cinematography. Frances graduated from New York University's prestigious Film and Television program and continued to mature her cinematography at American Film Institute Conservatory. Her work has being screened worldwide at renowned film festivals such as the Cannes Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival. Her work has earned her the Nestor Almendros Award for Outstanding Cinematography and has premiered on creative platforms such as NOWNESS and SHOOT online. Frances splits her time between New York and Los Angeles.

Ani Schroeter - Assistant Director, Line Producer

Ani is a New York based filmmaker who produced the short BEACHED (2018) directed by Paris McGarry. She previously worked at Lifetime Television where she assisted the Editor-In-Chief and developed online content for their multiple platforms. She recently AD the film GIANTS BEING LONELY which was nominated for the Orizzonti Competition (Horizons) at the Venice Biennale. She currently works at EMJAG productions as an Executive Assistant to Scott Lambert and Alexandra Milchan. She is a graduate of Bard College and is based in Brooklyn.

Natasha Simchowitz - Costume Designer, Production Designer

Natasha Simchowitz is a costume and production designer who works in film, theater, and television. She has worked as production assistant to award-winning costume designers Ann Roth, Colleen Atwood, and Sarah Laux. Some projects include - the 2019 Broadway production of King Lear, the film adaption of Stephen Karam’s The Humans (Rudin/A24), and the Hulu series, High Fidelity. As a production designer, she has designed for short films and the television pilot, “The Debt.” In addition to designing, Natasha worked for director Noah Baumbach as his assistant on Marriage Story (2019.) She is a graduate of Oberlin College and is based in Brooklyn. 

Harry Klein - Executive Producer

Harry Klein is currently an associate and credit research analyst at H/2 Capital Partners. Before joining H/2 Capital Partners, he spent two years at Rialto Capital Management. Although currently working in the finance world, his passion has been film and working with talented up and coming artists. Harry has spent nearly all his spare time working with promising young filmmakers in New York City and LA, to develop and finance short and feature films. To date, Harry has executively produced 3 short films and co-executively produced one feature film, due in theatres in 2020. He’s currently in the pre-production stages on several other short and feature films.  

 

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