EXCLUSIVE: In its first acquisition of a foreign language film, A24 has acquired U.S. and Chinese Distribution rights to the Joshua Z. Weinstein-directed father/son drama Menashe. The film, one of the first to be performed almost entirely in Yiddish in nearly 70 years, premiered last Monday at Sundance, and it is now booked to make its international premiere at Berlin next week. Weinstein made his narrative directorial debut on Menashe, after working as a documentarian and cinematographer. A24, once again in the Best Picture hunt with Moonlight, will give the film a traditional prestige theatrical rollout later this year.
Weinstein shot the film covertly within the New York Hasidic community in Borough Park, Brooklyn over two years. It’s based on the life of actor Menashe Lustig, and sheds light on a notoriously private community to paint a warm, life affirming look at the universal bonds between father and son. Menashe follows a loving but hapless single father as he tries to maintain custody of his son in a tradition-bound culture that requires a mother present in every home.
A24 confirmed, saying: “Our entire company has fallen in love with this magical and beautiful film. Filmmaker Joshua Z Weinstein has done an incredible job of presenting the movie’s unique setting with great authenticity and fresh insights, but at the same time, this is a film whose warmth, tenderness, and heart-stirring depiction of family and love will resonate with audiences everywhere. Menashe is an absolute gem, and we are extremely proud to be putting it out in the world.”
Said Weinstein: “Our cast took an extraordinary risk stepping outside the confines of their community to take part in this film, and our team couldn’t be more excited to collaborate with the daring A24 to release this unique movie.”
Weinstein wrote the script with Alex Lipschultz and Musa Syeed. Alex Lipschultz, Traci Carlson, Danny Finkelman, Weinstein and Yoni Brook produced, with Danelle Eliav, Adam Margules, Chris Columbus and Eleanor Columbus the exec producers and David Hansen and Johnny Mac co-executive producers. Deal was brokered by A24 and Charlotte Mickie of Mongrel International, latter of which is selling the film internationally.