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Emily Mortimer & Alessandro Nivola gave Jewish grief movie big boost


Movie couple Emily Mortimer and Alessandro Nivola helped finance Shawn Snyder's new movie, dedicated to the filmmaker's late mum. The director had initially planned to make To Dust on a very low budget with a group of New York University film school pals, but thanks to the Mary Poppins Returns star and Alessandro's help he was able to hire a consultant rabbi, Matthew Broderick and Hungarian actor Geza Rohrig. "The plan 'A' was to go off into the woods with my film school classmates and shoot it for $100,000," Snyder revealed during a recent 92nd Street Y Reel Pieces panel event. "and then Emily Mortimer and her husband, Alessandro Nivola, saw the script. "Emily had just played a Hasidic (Jewish) woman in a short film (One Cambodian Family Please for My Pleasure) and Alesandro was cast in Disobedience, playing a Hasidic rabbi, right around the time this adventure began. They sent me an email saying they wanted to help me make my movie. "We shot for 20 days and they were on set every day and the on-set Hasidic consultant for Disobedience came onto our film, which was very important to us to have that authenticity." The film went on to screen at last year's Tribeca Film Festival in New York, where Emily was a member of the jury, and landed Snyder the Best New Narrative Director award. The project was still made for a budget of only $1 million (£760,000), which gave Son of Saul star Rohrig's agent a headache. "I grew my beard for the role, which took me about a year," the actor, who plays a Hasidic cantor in the film, explains. "My agent didn't like it at all that I'm growing this beard because it cost me roles. This was a $1 million movie which is a very, very low budget. But this was a very unique script and I really wanted to be part of it."

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