"Simple Things" (Wesleyan Film Thesis)
"Simple Things" is a dark-comedy that follows a day in the life of Rabbi Ellie Hirschberg - a kindhearted man who is faced with a great deal of change in a short amount of time. His age has posed many challenges for him, with both his health and his community, but he has far from given up.
Inclusion StatementAt it's core, "Simple Things" is a story about age. We feel that older characters in films are often oversimplified. We wanted our protagonist, an aging Rabbi, to be a complicated and rich character. He still has much to give, even if his fondness for tradition makes him less marketable.
About The Project
Why "Simple Things"?
When I was younger, I saw my religious leaders as enlightened figures, unburdened by normal problems. Slowly, I came to see how little separates me from many of them. I found that comforting beyond words. I loved thinking about these people when they were given the wrong food at a restaurant or when they felt unsure about a haircut. In those moments away from the spotlight, whether they're hilarious or serious, those people felt the most holy to me. Through their flaws and insecurities, I take solace in my own. "Simple Things" aims to explore that human side of those around us who must act strong for the sake of their community.
The world and look of "Simple Things" exists somewhere in between Clerks and A Serious Man. I hope to find a balance between the energy and approachability of Clerks mixed and the languid surrealism of A Serious Man. Something like Welcome to the Dollhouse approaches the look very closely for me, but with the empathy of Harold and Maude.
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About This Team
Writer/Director: Manny Unger
Manny is a senior film major at Wesleyan University. In all sincerity, he couldn't be happier to work on this film with this amazing team. He won't stop talking about it. Try to get him to stop. He won't.
Producer: Emily Litz
Emily Litz has high cholesterol and is Jewish. In many ways, you might say she inspired the film. She also happens to be the best producer this side of the Mississippi.
Assistant Director: Luke Goldstein
Luke Goldstein has extensive film set experience and is the most organized and timely person we know. His influences include Bunel and Tony Leondis (director of The Emoji Movie).
Director of Photography: Caris Yeoman
Caris Yeoman is a junior film major at Wesleyan University. She loves images, especially ones that move, and is thrilled to be the director of photography on Simple Things!
Assistant Camera: Oriana Ullman
Oriana Ullman is 1st AC and 1st in our hearts. She and Caris work so well together, people often say it seems like they could share a brain.
Production Designer: Lucy de Lotbiniere
Lucy de Lotbiniere drew up the original design for Falling Water, but she was told that she was too ahead of her time. However, now her time has come, and we're lucky to have her iconoclastic vision on set.
PD Assistant: Phoebe Liebling
Phoebe Liebling was so excited to be a part of this project she told us that she hasn't been able to sleep in weeks because she spends all day trying to envision the perfect set.
Grip/Gaffer: Artemio Leclerc-Jones
Artemio Leclerc-Jones is an American actor, producer, and environmentalist. He is drawn to parts in biopics and period films, and playing unconventional roles.
Sound Recordist: Kendall Kinney
Kendall Kinney is an cherished American actor, film producer and screenwriter. He is ranked among Forbes magazine's most bankable stars and is one of the highest-grossing actors of all time.
Script Supervisor: Anna Hector
Anna Hector sleeps with a copy of the script next to her bed. She was also the first person to catch the coffee cup slip-up in the final season of Game of Thrones.
Costumes/Makeup: Joey Young
Joey Young's qualifications to head the wardrobe department are evident in her personal style alone. Originally, she wanted to dress everyone in Gucci from head to toe, but she's excited to challenge herself on a more limited budget.
Prodcuction Assistants: Heddy Parker & John Bell
Heddy and John may be new to Wesleyan, but they weren't born yesterday. We know that when all else fails, they'll be there to catch us.