Jewish Seniors Observe Sabbath With Blessings Over Burgers in WENDY'S SHABBAT, NY Premiere 4/21 at Tribeca Film Festival
For the past eight years, a group of Jewish senior citizens have attended a weekly ritual of Shabbat dinner on Friday night, meeting their friends at the Wendy's fast food chain near their Sun City homes in Palm Desert, Calif. Most of them are in their eighties and nineties and congregate at the restaurant to light Shabbat candles, say the blessings and share challah and grape juice (no wine allowed at Wendy's). They then enjoy such popular menu items as the Baconator®, Frosty®, chili, baked potatoes, french fries and more. This event has become a meaningful tradition. Filmmaker Rachel Myers, whose grandmother Roberta, a retiree originally from New York and a regular attendee at these dinners, captures these touching moments in her new documentary WENDY'S SHABBAT, which will make its New York premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday, April 21 on the "Home Sweet Home" Shorts section.
WENDY'S SHABBAT is a film about rediscovering the joys of community and the importance of connection in older age while facing the fragility of aging, and the longing for ritual however unorthodox it may appear. While quirky at face value, the film at its core is philosophical. There are themes of love, of ritual and of community-all within the context of an adorable scene at Wendy's.
The film has had a tremendous impact on Jewish communities with an outpouring of support based on the idea of "Wendy's Shabbat" as a communal gathering. Myers has received messages from Jewish communities, both young and old, throughout the U.S. and overseas who have loved the film and have been inspired requesting events, private screenings or synagogue dinners and have in some cases adopted their own practice by making a Shabbat dinner gathering at other local restaurants bringing candles and challah into the public sphere to celebrate. Myers was also contacted by Wendy's, the company itself, expressing their joy over the gathering of the group in the film. In a way the film, which has now received 175,000 hits on Vimeo and YouTube (for the short online teaser), has become a bit of a movement and phenomenon in Jewish circles.
"I wanted to celebrate the ways in which people share unique moments in their lives and shine a light on the joy of the mundane and every day," said director Rachel Myers. "As storytellers we are tasked with many types of narratives, some of which are sad or challenging. I wanted to make a film that was uplifting and honest but celebratory. The documentary is really about finding connection in the most unlikely places. It has been tremendously inspiring that our little documentary could have such a broad reach."
Director and Designer for Film, TV, Stage and live events. Rachel Myers award-winning company, 3 PENNY DESIGN portfolio includes- "Crayola" Times Square, "Short Term 12," "The Drowning," "East Los High," TV- HULU, Lionsgate, Facebook, MTV, LIFETIME. She is currently developing her feature film directorial debut. MFA Yale-Drama.
Rachel Myers, Director
Abby Myers, Executive Producer
Juliana Schatz, Field Producer
Dana Turken, Editor
Jeanne Tyson, Director of Photography
Dylan Chapgier, B Camera
John Clifton, Colorist
Ellis Burman, Sound
Documentary / 10 min. / English / 2018 / Digital
Tribeca Film Festival Screening Schedule:
04/21/2018, 6:30 PM at REGAL Battery Park City
04/24/2018, 5:30 PM at REGAL Battery Park City
04/25/2018, 5:00 PM at REGAL Battery Park City
04/28/2018, 3:45 PM at CINEPOLIS Chelsea
Photo credit: WENDY'S SHABBAT