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Film World To Come -To Play at Cinamateque May 12 - 15, 2016-Loosely Based on Abuse Allegations That Rocked Winnipeg Jewish Community in the 80's

May 10, 2015

The movie WORLD TO COME by Daniel Eskin and Trevor Mowchun will be shown at Cinematheque in Winnipeg, May 12 - 15, 2016. The movie was shortlisted at the Sundance Film Festival and received an award at the ReelHeART International Film & Screenplay Festival in Toronto. Co-director Trevor Mowchun will be introducing the Thursday and Saturday screenings.


The film World To Come, made by Winnipeg filmmakers Daniel Eskin and Trevor Mowchun has just had its Canadian premiere in Toronto this past July as part of the ReelHeART International Film & Screenplay Festival.  It has been announced that the film received the second place award for best feature film. [See the two trailers at the bottom of this article]


The film is the first feature film made by Eskin and Mowchun and the filmmakers have described the film as having “its roots in a 20 year old tragedy that has informed much of our lives.” It is loosely based on the tragic events that rocked Winnipeg’s Jewish community in the late 1980s and 1990’s.


In 1988, the then principal of Winnipeg’s Torah Academy denied numerous allegations of sexual abuse against children. One of the alleged victims who came forward with accusations, Daniel Levin, later committed suicide at the age of 17, and the film is dedicated to him. Rabbi Bryks was never charged with a crime.


Daniel Eskin, who was a student at Torah Academy at the time and now lives in Australia wrote the screenplay for the film. Like Eskin, Mowchun also grew up in River Heights.  As Eskin and Mowchun explain, “We chose to set the film in the present, focusing more on the aftermath and what we refer to as a conspiracy of silence and one man's attempt to break it and the harmonious rhythms of nature coming together once again.”  World to Come is much more abstract than historical dramas that deal explicitly with facts and real-life characters.


In the film, Doveed (played by Daniel Silver), who returns to Winnipeg, finds that members of the town’s religious community have not come to terms with the alleged crimes. Old friends, family members and authority figures try to repress the past.


Mowchun, who currently resides in Montreal, told the Winnipeg Jewish Review that it is clear from the film that the main character and his family are orthodox Jews: “The main character, Doveed, is rarely seen without a black suit and hat. The other characters in the film, including a secondary main character, are not orthodox and their relationship to Judaism is not explicitly explored. The community as a whole consists of a fragmentary mixture of orthodox and secular people, and some question their faith or seek to cut themselves off from the community entirely while others remain steadfast in their methods of observance. A very important scene later in the film shows Doveed giving a speech in a synagogue, addressing the congregation who represents the Jewish community in the film. By speaking "the truth" he becomes ostracized by his very own family.”


It took Eskin and Mowchun more than 10 years to finish a World to Come “ an incredible and exhausting journey" of independent movie making.


“Both Daniel and I had made a couple short films before embarking on World To Come. During the making of World To Come Daniel continued to make a few short films whereas I pursued a Masters and Ph.D in film studies and philosophy at Concordia University in Montreal,” Mowchun told the WJR. The film was made with support from Canada Council for the Arts.



In a director’s statement, Eskin and Mowchun note that the film “is thematically and aesthetically unconventional and at times controversial. They continue:


“We strived to place the film’s own gaze at the center of attention, often at the expense of the narrative. We decided early on, despite the urgency of the film’s subject matter (collective repression and the genealogy of sin within a religious community), to concentrate more on the “formal language” (specifically shot composition, metaphorical montage, and interiorized sound) in order to express the psycho-geography of an alienated community trapped in time and unable to move forward. To this end we took inspiration from the first-person immediacy of avant garde cinema and the philosophical reflectiveness exemplified in the works of Terrence Malick, Andrei Tarkovsky and Alain Resnais. As a whole our cinematic exploration strives to reach beyond politics and social criticism, delving into the very heart of a world that is fraught with a tragedy that cannot be undone, a tragedy that is beyond the realm of justice, beyond the answer of a Creator. It is ultimately a film about human nature, about humans who cannot live in nature because all they can do is look at it and dream of a better world—and we found ourselves bending the rules of narrative cinema in order to bring it to light.”


As for why the film took so long to make, one of the reasons according to Mowchun is that “In the beginning we were in no rush to complete the film and we allowed the film to evolve organically. We would shoot for about a week and then assess our footage, rewriting scenes to be re-shot and often writing completing new scenes. The film's form and content and overall vision were never firmly established ahead of time; rather we relied on the many aspects of the filmmaking process to discover the psychological layers of the characters, the main themes and visual motifs as we went along.”


Eskin and Mowchun are now submitting World to Come to many film festivals, and are hopeful that Winnipeg ‘s Cinematheque will screen the drama. This would afford the film’s cast and crew, who shot the film here years ago, the opportunity of seeing the long-gestating project.

The film was shortlisted at the SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL earlier this year. The film stars Leah Pasuta wife of former Winnipeg Mayor, Sam Katz. 



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