In the tumultuous summer of 2020, four entwined New Yorkers tell stories of how their lives have been shaped by the George Floyd protests, the pandemic, and the unforeseen consequences of both.

  • Paul Schwartz
    Time Can Break Your Heart
  • Paul Schwartz
    Time Can Break Your Heart
  • Paul Schwartz
    Time Can Break Your Heart
  • Mike Keller
    Key Cast
    "Adam Schiffman"
    On The Rocks, Ray Donovan, Blue Bloods.
  • Ed Setrakian
    Key Cast
    "Nathan Schiffman"
    Zodiac, The Sopranos.
  • Ivy Omere
    Key Cast
    "Dr. Elizabeth Adebayo"
    Law and Order, Doctors, London's Burning.
  • Joan Porter
    Key Cast
    "Mitzi Schiffman"
    Gotham, Law and Order, The Front, Chicago Med.
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    49 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 30, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Paul Schwartz

Paul Schwartz is a writer, director and composer. His work is in the field of dramatic story-telling in all its forms, and encompasses projects in film, theatre, opera and dance. He is a member of ASCAP, the Dramatists Guild, and the Playwrights and Directors Unit of the Actors Studio.

He recently completed his first feature film: THE SEASONS, which consists of four linked stories each filmed in a different season of the year. The film has been out to festivals since September 2022 and has already won a slew of awards: multiple best feature and best director awards, as well as a number of awards for individual cast members and the entire cast as an ensemble.

His last film, A NEW YORK STORY, was completed in January of 2021. The film addresses the tumultuous summer of 2020, as four entwined New Yorkers tell stories of how their lives have been shaped by the protests, the pandemic, and the unforeseen consequences of both. So far the film has won over two dozen awards: for the film itself, and for best cinematography, best screenplay, best cast and best director. In 2018 he completed his first film: TIME CAN BREAK YOUR HEART, a short which deals poignantly with memory, loss, and the power of love, and which has also received over two dozen awards.

He is currently at work on his next film: SHADOWS AND LIGHT, which will begin shooting early in 2023. It tells the story of a photographer, enclosed by grief, who unexpectedly finds that a window opens when he is forced to confront a young thief.

Also active as a playwright, his play A MEASURE OF DOUBT was a standout hit at the 2020 New York Winter Festival of Plays. Other recent projects include A DATE and THE SIENA QUARTET: performed as part of the Actors’ Studio Kazan Festivals of June 2013 and 2014. His play AN IDEAL TRUTH has had readings at Manhattan Theatre Club and TACT. Other plays in development at the Studio include BRILLIANCE, TRUST and AWAKE AGAIN.

Mr. Schwartz is the composer of a musical based on Edith Wharton's SUMMER, which won the Richard Rodgers award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and went on to have productions by the York Theatre in New York, and the International Festival of Musical Theater in Cardiff, Wales.

He is the composer of two operas. ORPHEUS ’68, commissioned by a consortium of Scandinavian opera companies, explores the junction of politics, art and romance against the background of the Prague Spring in 1968. It received its widely acclaimed premiere in 2012. SNEHVIDE (Snow White) is a children's opera. It is both targeted to an audience of children, and is entirely performed by children. It was commissioned by Operaen I Midten in Denmark, and received its premiere in November of 2017, performed by a company of 64 singers and dancers aged from 7 to 17.

Mr. Schwartz has composed ballet scores for New York City Ballet (twice), Milwaukee Ballet, Ohio Ballet and The Royal Ballet. He has conducted for NYCB and Ballet Rambert, as well as serving as the musical director of several Broadway shows, including PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, SONG AND DANCE, and ON YOUR TOES. He has also served as a conductor and musical director for both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre in London. He began his conducting career as an assistant to Andre Previn with the Pittsburgh Symphony, leading a contemporary music series.

As a record producer Mr. Schwartz has sold over a million of his own records world wide, and many millions more through his collaborations: notably with Josh Groban, Carlos Santana and David Foster. He is the creator of two popular series of cds: the ARIA series, and the STATE OF GRACE series. STATE OF GRACE III won the NAR Lifestyle Album of the Year award. The ARIA cds continue to be something of a cult: both in the US, and especially in Europe, with the result that most recently some of his music was used in a Superbowl commercial for Alfa Romeo.

Mr. Schwartz received his education at the Royal College of Music, London University, and the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy. He is the recipient of the Adrian Boult Conducting Prize, a composition prize from the Royal Ballet, and two New York Foundation for the Arts composition prizes.

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Director Statement

The events of last year: in particular the explosive summer of 2020, had a profound affect on me. The pandemic, the protests, the sense of total political schism in American society...I began to see were all things I needed to address creatively, and I needed to do it in a way that minimized the risk of infection for all involved. So I came up with the idea of telling a linear story, divided into four monologues for four different characters. Each character has a very specific agenda and point of view, but the stories they tell are only fragments of what the audience comes to see by the end of the film as a whole. I decided I would shoot each actor individually, on separate days. By making the film this way, limiting the crew to exactly one person (me), and following strict Covid protocols, I could realize this story and also protect my colleagues. And I could stay within my very finite budget (under $5K).

Of course this placed severe restrictions on what I could do, but I have often found that setting parameters and limitations can be, counter-intuitively: creatively freeing. After all, when you can do absolutely anything.... how do you choose? But when you can only work within a very defined framework, having that many fewer decisions to make forces those decisions to be diamond sharp.

As I progressed in the writing and production of this film, I began to realize that I'm not aware of any other examples of a story being told precisely this way: four characters, four points of view, but a single line they all adhere to sequentially. I've found when I try to explain it to people they say: "Yes, but RASHOMON..." However that film repeats the same story three times through the eyes of different witnesses, whereas this film only goes through the story a single time, but each section of it is from a different point of view. The idea of telling a story in an unusual way I found to be exciting.