Filmmaker Spotlight:
‘Say What!: A Geriatric Proposal’ filmmaker Aaron Weinstein

Leading up to the 28th Washington Jewish Film Festival, we asked our filmmakers a few questions about their featured films.
In this edition, Director Aaron Weinstein discusses Say What!: A Geriatric Proposal

What inspired you to tell the story of your subject or the story depicted in your film?

Well, the way I pay the bills is by playing jazz on the violin (which, I know sounds like both the set-up and punchline to a joke.)  And I think there is a misunderstanding about the life of a jazz musician.  Despite some convincing arguments from many a-musician biopic, it really isn’t all about tortured souls, drugs, and getting so frustrated that you push everything off of a desk (seemingly a required scene in any film about an “uncompromising artist”). So, I thought it would be fun to show a little slice of a very real, very different kind of jazz musician’s life.


Director Aaron Weinstein

What was a particular obstacle you faced while making this film? 

Getting the production crew to do their jobs in a timely fashion given the production budget.  That’s a joke.  There was no production budget.


What do you want audiences to walk away with after screening your film?

It would be terrific if the film helps dispel some misconceptions about the esoteric and romanticized image of an artist’s life. That and not asking for their money back.


Why do you think Washington, DC is a valuable location to screen your film?

DC and the surrounding areas are filled with sophisticated, interesting people, and screening a film for an intelligent viewing audience is valuable, wherever and whenever you can find one.


Still from Say What! A Geriatric Proposal

What films or filmmakers have been the most influential to you?

Most of the artists who influenced me were not film makers.  They include Django Reinhardt, Joe Venuti, Jack Benny, Truman Capote, and Edward Albee.  But Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure remains a source of inspiration.


Why are Jewish-interest films important today?

This is difficult to answer because I don’t exactly know how to define “Jewish-interest”. Fortunately, my mother, who also designed the titles on Say What!, taught a class at our synagogue called, “Jewish Image In American Film”.  I’ll let her take it from here.
“Jewish-interest films cover a wide array of subjects ranging from assimilation, the search for identity, humor, and the immigrant experiences, to the Holocaust and the lessons that were learned–or should have been learned. Jewish films not only entertain but educate, presenting the evolution of the Jewish image brought to the screen. In continuing to produce Jewish films that mirror issues of today, we are honoring the unique contribution of Jews to humor, history, and contemporary American culture.” -Linda Weinstein, who also designed the film’s titles

Watch Say What!: A Geriatric Proposal during the 28th Washington Jewish Film Festival.

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