Father/Son Filmmaking Duo Plan to Turn Short into Feature Film
Updated: Aug 21, 2019
Norman and Jeremiah Kaufman are a father and son filmmaking duo from New Jersey who both have dual citizenship in the USA and in Israel.
With the opportunity afforded to them in Israel, the Kaufman’s use it as the location for their films, including their latest short, David & Goliath, which screens at the Churches Making Movies Christian Film Festival, October 11 -13th in Basking Ridge New Jersey.
Jeremiah wrote the concept and synopsis and Norman wrote the first draft of the script. The film, as is evident from the title, is an adaptation of David’s confrontation with the giant Goliath from the book of I Samuel. However, one major highlight of this film, as Norman explains, is that it adds the subplot of David’s relationship with King Saul’s daughters Merab and Michal.
He and Jeremiah believe that it is an important detail overlooked by most
adaptations of the story. The Kaufman’s believe that Saul switching out Merab with Michal to marry David is an extension of Saul’s rivalry with David. In the original story, Saul challenged David to collect one-hundred foreskins from the Philistines. However, considering the gruesome nature of the act, it is not certain whether the duo will follow that exact plot line.
Norman and Jeremiah Kaufman think that adaptations of Biblical stories are able to deviate from their source material and not be considered blasphemous. Films such as Exodus: Gods and Kings, Noah, and The Last Temptation of Christ add and/or change details from the Bible. The Kaufman's believe that, with some exceptions, films like these are noble efforts to reach people who have never read the Bible.
“They are not intended to rewrite or replace the Bible but to give Voice to those who would never read a Bible. Films that have a message must also be entertaining or they just won't find an audience. So, create films that may not be verbatim but are true to the ‘Mind and Heart’ of God. Films that are literary stories with suspense, comedy, character arcs, and all the other elements that make a film successful,” said Norman.
As both family and filmmakers, Norman and Jeremiah have learned to complement each other and balance out their responsibilities. Both have worn many hats during their films. Norman does most of the writing, works on management such as updating IMDb profiles and sending work to film festivals, and he gives input to the editor during post-production. Jeremiah, meanwhile, is in charge of casting, producing, music, editing, and sometimes writing along with his father. Both Norman and Jeremiah come up with concepts for films and alternate between which ones that they fully realize.
During their first collaboration, their Watchman music video, they both conceived the story from a blank page in a coffee shop in Kansas City. Then, for their short Girl in a Coma, they used Norman’s concept based on his volunteer work in a hospital detox. Norman wrote the first draft, and then he and Jeremiah collaborated heavily on the script.
Jeremiah has decided to stay in Israel for the most part. He and his father see each other at least once a year. They have both learned that living in Israel is not easy. In addition to the distance between time zones and the extreme heat, basic items such as food and water are both very expensive, according to the Kaufman’s.
The Kaufman's are also looking to the future for their film and entertainment careers. In making David & Goliath, they want to make this the start of something more, whether that takes the form of a TV mini-series or a web series. They want to tell the stories of David’s reign as the next king of Israel. They have already written a short script about David and his union with Bathsheba, and they want to later adapt David’s broken relationship with his third son Absalom. Beyond David, they are also interested in telling lesser known stories about Jesus’ ministry, including him meeting the woman at the well and his continued work after his resurrection and before his ascension to Heaven.