Bar Mitzvah Man

The New, Jewish, Slightly Musical, Millennial Dramedy

(for the Wannabe Rock star in all of us)

Project Goals

We hope to present our film BAR MITZVAH MAN as a representation of the modern Jewish young adult for all Jewish audiences as a fun, entertaining new Jewish film. We hope this film is the start of a dialogue about the ever changing role of the Jewish identity in the modern spiritual and secular world.

Almost every jewish holiday can be summed up as “They tried to kill us, they didn’t, let’s eat.” We see this project as a much needed “Let’s Eat” contribution to Jewish media. While it continues to be critical to tell the heavier histories of our peoples’ tribulations, modern Jewish sages like Mel Brooks teach us that it is just as important to be proud and have fun with our jewish identities. We hope this film will fulfill the latter need.

In addition, Bar Mitzvah Man is a film to inspire dialogue between the different generations within our Jewish community. A large group of Jews is never going to agree about everything, but we believe Bar Mitzvah Man is a means to begin an important conversation to help them all grow closer.

To this end, our goal is to raise our production funds with the help of these Jewish communities, so that we can deliver this film directly to them before releasing the completed film to a wider audience.

The specifics for this endeavor can be found in our project timeline.

Timeline

We have a unique initiative to bring a proprietary screening of our film to Synagogues and Jewish communities across the country BEFORE the film has its theatrical release.

We are first giving individual members of these communities the opportunity to donate to the first part of our fundraiser effort to become producers and provide us with the starter funds needed to get this production off the ground.

Once the pieces have been put in place and the starter funds are raised, we will be inviting synagogues and communities as a whole to donate to our production budget and in return, gain exclusive rights to have a premiere of the film for the members of their communities before anyone else.

This is a film about growing in a Jewish community, so it is very important to us that Jewish communities across America are directly involved in the realization of this project.

5 Step Strategy From Development to Wide Release:

1 — Starter Funds

We are currently seeking $6,000 to fund what is known in the film industry as Starter Funds. These are the monies we will need to have in place before we can raise the full budget for our production.

This investment will fund establishing the legal entities and accounts necessary to legally collect and use our production funds. And will enable us to film a sizzle trailer and several sample scenes of the film that we can show to prospective donors and producers in order to secure our full production budget. 

2 — Production Budget

Once the legal entities are in place and pitch materials such as the trailer and sample scenes have been filmed, we will launch our fundraising campaign for Jewish organizations and synagogues to donate to directly. These organizations will be able to donate to the production fund and will be given documentation and proof of exactly what their funding will go towards. Every penny of raised money will go towards a carefully calculated production budget and every cent will be visible on the screen.

3 — Production

Once the production budget is fully raised and accounted for, we will go into production.

4 — Synagogue Premieres

Once post production is complete and the the film is finalized, we will have a series of exclusive premieres at Jewish organizations and Synagogues all across the country.

5 — Broad Release

After the Synagogue Premieres, we will release the film and enter it into various premiere Film Festivals such as SXSW and Sundance. After our initial festival circuit, we will distribute the film for wide release, theatrically or through streaming services, though many members of the Jewish community will have already had an exclusive preview!

Logline

A 30 year old wannabe rock star still living with grandma, decides to throw himself the Bar Mitzvah he never had to get his family to pay for studio time and further his dreams of fame.

Synopsis

Jason Goldberg is an unemployed law school drop-out living with his grandma and clinging to his dreams of still becoming a rock star. At age 13, he was supposed to have a Bar Mitzvah but it was canceled when his beloved Grandfather passed away just hours before it was to begin.

Now, as his 30th birthday approaches, a record executive finally shows some interest in his music after seeing him perform at his cousin Rhonnie’s Bat Mitzvah. The executive asks to hear a demo. This could finally be his big break!

Only snag is, Jason does not have a demo recorded. To make matters worse, his band decides that now is the right time to call it quits and move on with their adult lives. With nowhere else to turn, Jason looks to his 13 year old cousin for advice. Rhonnie jokingly suggests that he throw himself the Bar Mitzvah he never had and use the money he receives as gifts from family to pay for a new demo. Jason realizes this is a brilliant idea and decides sets out to throw himself the Bar Mitzvah.

In his search, he meets Rabbi Jonathan Roth, the former head of a prominent synagogue, who now works as a Hebrew school teacher. Rabbi Roth agrees to train Jason after he is convinced that Jason is actually doing this for the spiritual fulfillment and not monetary gain and also on the condition that he will help the Rabbi with his own initiative to bring LGBT education to the synagogue.

In order to get the money to record his demo, Jason must now go on a journey of self discovery in preparation for the biggest day in a young Jewish person’s life. He must do it without the Rabbi or his family knowing his true motives. Along the way, he may just end up having to own up to his failures, stop giving excuses and finally embrace adulthood in order to truly become a man.

Director

Max Kinchen

Max Kinchen is a filmmaker and screenwriter living in Brooklyn New York. He is the son of a Christian father and Jewish mother, who both remarried back into their religions, leading to a lifetime of religious identity crises for their son. After graduating New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2012 and a two year stint in Los Angeles, he currently works in the production department on various TV shows in New York, most recently on the third season of TV Land’s YOUNGER. He has written and directed short films, completed the screenplays for several features in addition to this one, and can’t wait to cut his teeth on his first feature film. He is also a die hard Red Sox fan and will not apologize for it, despite living deep in Yankee country.

Writer

Suzanne Bressler

Suzanne has been writing since she was 4-years old (starting on her parents’ living room walls). Much later in life, she gave up her jumbo crayons, but not her desire to challenge her audience. Suzanne’s work expresses her interest in exploring social issues with intelligent humor and engaging characters. She has written and produced several plays that have been performed in multiple venues across the country, including her political comedy “Assess and Elephants,” and the one-woman show she penned, “New Eyes,” which has enjoyed a six-year run and significant critical praise. Her most recent production, “30 is the New 13” premiered at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in 2014. An LA native, Suzanne earned a masters degree in writing from USC. When she’s not writing, Suzanne works as a teacher. She lives in West LA with her husband David and their adorable pup Rookie.

Characters

Jason Goldberg

Jason is a 30 year old slacker who believes he’ll someday take over the world as a rock star, if only certain things would break his way. He prides himself on never having given up on, or compromised, his music ambitions that he’s had since he first picked up a guitar at 17. This commitment to his dream came at the cost at completing law school and taking the bar. He is a very smart and clever guy who doesn’t always live up to his potential because he can usually find an excuse (legitimate or not) to keep him from stepping out of his comfort zone. He could be anything he wants to be, rockstar or no, if he’d get out of his own way. Until then, he still has some growing up to do, whether he’ll admit it to himself or not.
framed family

Grams

Grams is the matriarch of the small family unit at the center of our story. Since her husband died suddenly, 17 years before, it has fallen on her to keep everyone together. She is loyal to a fault. She would do anything for her children and grandchildren. Grams guides Jason and his young cousin Rhonnie with a warm, comforting yet firm hand and still serves fresh chocolate chip cookies to Rhonnie whenever she comes over after school to do homework. Grams’ love for Jason does blind her a bit however, and she is perhaps too accommodating, often sacrificing her own needs and desires for him. Even in her 80’s, she is sharp as a tack and takes no bull from anyone.

Rabbi Roth

Rabbi Jonathan Roth is an old, experienced, world weary Conservative Rabbi who should be the head of his own synagogue. However, due to a shameful secret from his past, Rabbi Roth is instead forced to while away the later years of his life teaching Hebrew school and being subordinate to a group of much younger Rabbis who he knows he is better than. Rabbi Roth is a principled man who knows he has made mistakes and tries in his own way to correct them. He takes honesty and honor very seriously, and will be your most loyal defender as long as he knows you never lied to him. He sees himself as the wise mentor type, yearning to steer the next generation. His pride and shame at his past mistakes keep getting in the way of his abilities as a mentor and guide.

Rhonnie

Rhonnie is a boisterous, lanky, goofy 13 year old girl who is wiser and older than her years. Precocious and unflappable, she gets what she wants one way or another. She idolizes her older cousin Jason and truly believes he’ll be the next great Rock Star, to the point of declaring herself his manager. This tenacious exterior is that of an independent old soul, which hides the very vulnerable side of a girl who is just starting to figure out who she is while coming to realize that maybe she shouldn’t be idolizing Jason anymore.

Jeremy Goldberg

Jeremy is Jason’s father. A no nonsense stoic man, he did the best he could to raise his son once Jason’s mother died. He has Jason’s best interests at heart, but has difficulty articulating them in ways that Jason can understand. These constant misunderstandings and disagreements have led to a strained relationship between the two. There is lots of resentment and Jeremy has trouble understanding why it’s directed at him since he’s only trying to help his wayward son reach his full potential after all.

Sarah Hollenberg

Sarah is the founder and director Keshet Yachad, a Jewish LGBTQ organization that provides educational services and support for Jewish LGBTQ youth who may be struggling to find acceptance within their communities. Sarah is ambitious and independent, having started Keshet Yachad all on her own. While it first appears that her connection with this story is merely professional, it soon becomes apparent that there is a much more personal tie to the events than originally thought.