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The story of Shmilu, a Hasidic Jew in crisis, torn between his community and romantic possibilities of trendy East London.
The story of Shmilu, a Hasidic Jew in crisis, torn between his community and romantic possibilities of trendy East London.
98 backers pledged £6,237 to help bring this project to life.
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A gutn tog and hello.

samuel-613 is a short film that explores elements of London's Hasidic Jewish community, including themes of spirituality, culture clash and mental illness. It's an artistic and boundary-pushing drama about a young man named Shmiel who abandons his religion and leaves home.

Writer/director Billy Lumby has spent the last 18 months getting to know the people of Stamford Hill and a number of those who have left. The film includes some genuine Hasidic locations & actors, and is partially in the Yiddish language - for a fictional film this is a first in the UK.

The project been partially funded by Dazed & Confused - a fashion, film and culture magazine. It will be shown at international film festivals worldwide and with a promoted release by Dazed online. The majority of the film was shot in December 2013 but we now need to find funding for post-production and possibly a pick-up shoot.

Billy has already put a large amount of his own (borrowed) money into this project, so to ensure he doesn't go to jail and to finish the film, we really desperately need your help. This will be an ambitious, unconventional and important film.

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The Story

Shmiel is the shame of his family.
Shmiel is the shame of his family.
At 23 and already divorced, he has moved back home.
At 23 and already divorced, he has moved back home.
Secretly he goes out in non-Hasidic, 'goyish' clothes.
Secretly he goes out in non-Hasidic, 'goyish' clothes.
...until a confrontation with his father...
...until a confrontation with his father...
...leads to drastic measures.
...leads to drastic measures.
He leaves home to experience a new world...
He leaves home to experience a new world...
...new difficulties...
...new difficulties...
...before facing a moment of truth.
...before facing a moment of truth.

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The Cast

Shmiel is played by rising star THEO BARKLEM-BIGGS, who took a dedicated approach to getting into character, including shaving his head and learning Yiddish dialogue. Aged only 23, Theo has already appeared in several TV dramas and feature films, including the lead in Film London's Borrowed Time. You can watch some of his previous work here.

Shmily's father Hershel is played by SAMUEL LEIBOWITZ, an infamous but reformed member of the Hasidic community, subject of two documentaries regarding his imprisonment for cocaine trafficking and eventual reintegration into Stamford Hill society. Click here to watch BBC's 'The Hasidic Drugdealer'.

The whole cast is terrific, with performances by LETTY BUTLER and DAVID DE KEYSER. Supporting roles for ROBERT FIRTH, ABIGAIL PARMENTER and OTTO BAXTER. A cameo by MARTIN ASKEW. And introducing BELLA KERRIDGE, MATTY TURNER and HADASSA REICH. Here are some pictures of the family in our story:

For more pictures of the film please see our Facebook and Twitter pages. 

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The Filmmakers

Billy Lumby (writer/director) is from London and studied philosophy at university before working as a creative assistant to directors such as Ben Wheatley, Harmony Korine, John Hillcoat and Derek Cianfrance. After a run of top festivals and awards, his last short film God View was bought by Canal+ and broadcast on TV in France, Spain, Switzerland and Africa.

Cheyenne Conway (producer) has produced music videos, commercials, theatre and short films. In 2012, she production managed the feature 'Leave To Remain' (dir. Bruce Goodison) which recently premiered at the London Film Festival. In 2013 she has production managed and line produced more feature projects including 'Snow In Paradise' - a Parisian-style East London thriller, currently in post-production.

Josh Appignanesi (executive producer) is a writer/director based in London. He has directed the feature films The Infidel scripted by David Baddiel and Song Of Songs starring Natalie Press. Directing short films, music videos, documentaries, commercials and artworks, Josh has worked with actors John Malkovich, David Tennant, Tom Hiddleston, Sara Kestelman and artist Martin Creed among others.

Paul Özgür (director of photography) was born in the Netherlands and studied Fine Art before enrolling at the Dutch national film school. He is about to graduate from the UK's National Film & Television School and recently won an award at Camerimage - the world's most prestigious cinematography festival.

Michael Aaglund (editor) is a Danish, multi-award winning NFTS graduate. His shorts, feature documentaries and fictions have been shown at top international festivals like Cannes, Berlin and Sundance. He edited the recently released For Those In Peril (dir. Paul Wright) and their short film Until The River Runs Red won the BAFTA for Best Short in 2011.

With support from:

FRIEND is a highly respected London-based production company who have been generously helping us in various ways.

MPC is one of Soho's leading post-production houses, providing cutting edge visual effects and animation to international markets. They have very kindly agreed to do the visual effects.

Not to mention everyone else who has been involved, including Ravi Amaratunga & Jennifer Byrne at Dazed, makeup design by Konnie Daniel, casting by Kharmel Cochrane, and production design by Anna Hourierre. Plus many, many more great and wonderful people, including the people of Stamford Hill.

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What We Need The Money For

This film is a project of passion. To be perfectly honest, we have made it without having nearly enough money to complete it and I am tens of thousands of pounds in debt. So if you can help by contributing towards these aspects of post-production and we hit £5,000 then it WILL be finished!

-Editing

-A Day's Pickup Shoot (if needed, one of our shoot days was cancelled)

-Sound Design (including dubbing, foley and mixing)

-Visual Effects

-Grading (colouring the film)

-Festival submission fees

Risks and challenges

Thanks for reading and hopefully becoming a part of this movie. If you can't contribute it would still be brilliant if you can spread the word.

We're aiming to have the film finished by May 2014, there is a chance it may take longer than that, but either way we will strive to ensure all our benefactors are kept in the loop and in full receipt of the rewards once this whole shebang is over.

A dank and zay gezunt,
Billy & Cheyenne

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £5 or more About $7

    Every little helps. For this amount you will receive no less than our eternal gratitude - which in this day and age is a bargain really. You will also get your name in the credits (albeit very, very briefly). And you will be kept abreast of all new clips and updates by Kickstarter.

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    Pledge £10 or more About $13

    A dank! For ten you will also be the first to see the film online with a temporary and PRIVATE preview. And if you speak Yiddish we can record your voice to be in the movie too.

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    Pledge £20 or more About $26

    All of the above, plus a DVD of the film. No doubt this will be worth a lot in a few years time so consider it an investment. In fact, we're doing you the favour. L'chaim!

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    Pledge £50 or more About $65

    All of the above, plus a photographic still with a personalised message on the back, an item of clothing or a prop from the film, and a phonecall/skype up front to say thanks and hear more about how the movie was made.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £100 or more About $130

    All of the above, plus an invitation to the premiere or a festival screening, including meeting with the director in person. (No touching).

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    Pledge £250 or more About $325

    A notable 'Special Thanks' in the credits of the film and an invitation to witness the post-production in London - the editing, visual effects, dubbing or colouring. (Plus all the above).

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £500 or more About $650

    Mazel tov. You're an official Associate Producer with your own IMDb credit. You will be mentioned in all the movie's PR literature as an AP. We would also like to take you out to a nice restaurant for lunch or dinner. (Plus all of the above).

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    Pledge £1,000 or more About $1,299

    A GROYSER DANK! Are you crazy? You've just become an Executive Producer, with a huge credit at the end of the film and a chance to meet the other film industry executives on-board. You'll also receive a complete gift package for the film. Welcome to Hollywood.

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Funding period

- (30 days)