is based on your own teenage years, right? So what prompted you to make
that part of life into a movie, how close did you remain to what really
happened and how much artistic license have you taken, and what kind of a
feeling was it to revisit your own past?
was 18 years old when my brother committed suicide. Although it was years
later (15 to be exact) my sister committing suicide was what prompted me
to tell my story. The suicide, especially in my teen years, caused me to
question my own mental and emotional health. What is my future? I had many
feelings of guilt, sadness, fear and confusion.
for remaining close to what really happened, I did take some artistic
license with some of the story as I had to condense many years into a two
hour film. The feelings in the movie were authentic and real.
my own past was at times extremely difficult. I had to revisit the
sadness and confusion that I felt and now I was revisiting the past and
all the pain resurfaced. As the feelings resurfaced, I was better able to
understand the pain and suffering that they experienced in their lives.
of inspiration when writing Extra
for my film came from other sources as I pursued my education and career
as a social worker and received a masters in social work. I worked with
numerous individuals who had their own difficulties. This experience as an
MSW helped me to learn about myself. I was given the opportunity to help
other people as well as understand myself and my past.
Innings being set in the 1960s, what were the main challenges of
bringing that era to life?
main challenge to bring that era of the 1960s to life was being authentic
to the time and working with a limited budget.
Do talk about your overall
directorial approach to your story at hand!
approach, because this was based on a real story and real characters, was
to talk to each actor about their role, and yet give them the freedom to
use their craft and bring their own authenticity to the role.
appearing in front of the camera in Extra
Innings, playing your lead character's father - so what did you
draw upon to bring your character to life, and did you write him with
yourself in mind from the get-go? And what kind of a feeling was it to
essentially play your own dad?
original intention was not to play my father, so I did not write him with
myself in mind. What I drew on from my father was his sweetness,
stubbornness, and his inability to understand his children growing up in a
different time and country.
have to say that it was actually fun to play my dad, which gave me a
better sense of who he was and the challenges that he had to face.
What can you tell us
about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
actor that was cast in the film truly represented the character that they
were playing. It was a fun and creative process to select the right person
for each character.
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
that I was the writer, producer, director, and an actor in the film,
wearing so many hats was truly thrilling, intense and at times
frightening. As the days went on, I became more more comfortable and
patient, which allowed me to let the actors do the work, but making
adjustments when needed.
of the artists’ creative impulses conflicted with others and as a
director, I had to step in and make the final decision.
$64-question, where can your movie be seen?
now, we are trying to get as many people as possible to see the film by
entering various festivals, sharing with mental health foundations and
Jewish community centers. Eventually, I hope to get Extra
selected movie theatres and onto online digital platforms.
can tell us about audience and critical reception of Extra
first week of May 2019, we won Best Feature Film at the
Manhattan Film Festival to a sold out crowd, and nine days later, we sold
out at the Jewish Community Center in New York City. The film was met with
a very warm reception at both.
Any future projects you'd like to
am constantly thinking of new projects for the future.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Extra
last 40 years, I have been producing and directing videos for commercial
products, a few short films, and also documentaries.
How would you describe yourself as a
didn’t need to give too much direction to the actors, because I was
confident that they were familiar with the characters they were
portraying. There were some moments where I had to be more hands on and
guide production according to my vision and story. The crew knew exactly
what they needed to do and my co-director was spectacular in keeping them
Filmmakers who inspire you?
Chaplin, Martin Scorsese, Milos Forman, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert
Redford, and Woody Allen are filmmakers that inspire me.
Midnight Cowboy, Ordinary People, Cider House Rules, The Godfather, One
Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Once Upon a Time in America, Field of
Dreams, Life is Beautiful, and Limelight.
Thanks for the interview!