Private Project


A mother struggles with a new normal after her teenage son is murdered by an off- duty police officer.

  • Pearl Gluck
    Divan (2004), Williamsburg (2007), Where Is Joel Baum (2012)
  • Pearl Gluck
    Divan (2004), Williamsburg (2007), Where Is Joel Baum (2012)
  • Elle Jae Stewart
  • Pearl Gluck
    Divan (2004), Williamsburg (2007), Where Is Joel Baum (2012)
  • Jennifer Carlin Hasty
  • Elle Jae Stewart
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    28 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 15, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital HDV
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Deep In The Heart Film Festival
    Waco, TX
    United States
    February 17, 2017
    Best Actress In A Short Film
  • Houston Black Film Festival
    United States
    March 25, 2017
  • Azalea Film Festival
    Mobile, Alabama
    United States
    April 2, 2017
  • Langston Hughes African American Film Festival
    Seattle, Washington
    United States
    April 28, 2017
  • Women of African Descent Film Festival
    Brooklyn, NY
    United States
    May 6, 2017
    Jury Award
  • San Francisco Black Film Festival
    San Francisco
    United States
    June 15, 2017
    Honorable Mention, Best Short Narrative Film
  • Lake View International Film Festival
    June 22, 2017
    Winner, Best Editor; Winner, Second Best International Short Film
  • Miami Independent Film Festival
    United States
    July 8, 2017
  • British Urban Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    September 22, 2017
    United Kingdom
  • Austin Revolution Film Festival
    United States
    September 22, 2017
    Nominated for Best Actress in a Short, Elle Jae Stewart
  • BronzeLens Film Festival
    United States
    August 26, 2017
  • DC Black Film Festival
    Washington, DC
    United States
    August 17, 2017
  • Black Urban Film Festival
    Rancho Cucamonga, CA
    United States
    October 8, 2017
  • International Black Film Festival
    Nashville, TN
    United States
    October 7, 2017
    Winner of Best Actress
  • YoFi Fest: The Yonkers Film Festival
    Yonkers, NY
    United States
    November 4, 2017
Director Biography - Pearl Gluck

Pearl Gluck was awarded a 2000 Sundance Producer's Lab fellowship and a 2001 Sundance Festival mentorship for Divan (2004), her first documentary film. Divan (2004) was broadcast on the Sundance Channel, theatrically premiered at the Film Forum in New York and played at festivals around the world. Her short film, Where Is Joel Baum (2012), starring Lynn Cohen won various awards at festivals including Best Film at The Female Eye film festival and Best Actor for Luzer Twersky at the Starz Denver Film Festival. Junior (2017), a short film addressing racially motivated police violence, garnered nominations and three awards for Best Actress for Elle Jae Stewart. Gluck is currently in post-production on her first fiction feature, The Turn Out, exploring domestic sex trafficking at truckstops. In July 2011, she was a contributing producer for WTIU, the Indiana PBS affiliate and reviewed the Midwest Best Biker Fest. She released Soundwalk: Williamburg in 2007 on Paris Premiere, and won an Audie Award for the project. Her first short film that she co-wrote, Goyta (2007) premiered at Cannes, and she co-directed and co-produced the award-winning short, Great Balls of Fire (2001) which screened at Transmediale, Oberhausen, European Media Arts Festival, Ocularis, the New York Video Festival at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and the DIG.IT Festival at the Walker Center for the Arts. In 1996 she received a Fulbright grant to Hungary to collect Hasidic stories. Gluck has been interviewed about her work on NPR with Melissa Block, WBUR's The Connection with Chris Leiden in Boston and produced for WBAI. She has appeared in A Life Apart: Hasidism in America (1998; Directed and Produced by Oren Rudavsky and Menachem Daum). In addition to being in post-production on The Turn Out, Pearl teaches screenwriting and directing at Penn State University.

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Director Statement

As I entered Ms. Stewart’s one-woman show, Junior, I was given a "Fox News" badge to wear. I asked if I could exchange mine for an NPR tag or even "The New York Times." The usher was sweet but said that we were not given an individual choice as we sit in the audience. My perspective was assigned and this, I realized, was part of the performance. I was instantly viscerally connected to the narrative, even if not from my usual socially conscious and activist perspective. If only I could take my hard earned open-mindedness and impose it on Fox News the way their conservative (and often appalling to me) point of view was imposed on me through this press badge.

Then the show started. From the moment Ms. Stewart walked on stage to the moment the show was over, I was moved by how she created from many interviews with mothers of the murdered, one story that explores how one mother prepares for the funeral of her son. In a way, I (without the Fox badge) would be a built-in audience, since my own work often uses documentary interviews to craft a fictional narrative structure, but it was the creative muscle behind her writing and performance that drew me in more. Her authenticity and treatment of the material, as a mother, an artist, and an intellect, called out to me.

Ever a fan of Rodrigo Garcia’s 2005 work, "Nine Lives," where he gives women voice through short films shot as one continuous image, I proposed to Ms. Stewart the possibility of adapting her work into a one-shot short film.

In order to adapt the assigned discomfort brought on by the badges in the one-woman show, I decided to put the audience on alert (viscerally) as we follow Ms. Stewart’s character around the house not totally comfortable with taking on the role of voyeur. In the end, the camera swivels around and reveals a camera crew and journalists who have been following her all along. One of the journalists, John Dillon, is a 32-year veteran as a reporter and editor and currently teaches journalism and media ethics at Penn State University.

One of the commitments we made to the material was to question some of the socio-economic “causes” used to explain away the violence against African Americans by police officers. The specific home that was chosen for the set location, the red dress (reminiscent of Michael Brown’s mother’s dress at his funeral), the level of education Junior was given, all these details served to disarm the distractions. We wanted the focus to remain on the realities of implicit racism that leads to these vicious crimes.

As a filmmaker, my work is inspired by the concept of Tikkun Olam, leaving the world a better place than how I found it. The moment I saw Ms. Stewart’s work on stage, I knew that collaborating with her on developing this voice on film would be my opportunity to be a vessel for change.