Suburban Witch

Following a young Jewish girl as she struggles with her appearance in a world that criticizes her nose, a common Jewish trait that’s often the target of antisemitic hate, “Suburban Witch” tackles the complexities of nose jobs in the Jewish culture.

  • Lily Emalfarb
    Becoming Lincoln
  • Lily Emalfarb
    Becoming Lincoln
  • Lily Emalfarb
    Becoming Lincoln
  • Hayley Nash
    Recent Idols, Meltdown: A Nuclear Family's Ascension Into Madness, Salty, How to Make Friends, Make Up Your Mind
  • MJ Adamson
  • Lizzie Keller
    Noxious, Butch, Only An Imprint, A Boat Beneath a Moonlit Sky
  • Aspen Nelson
    Killer Puss, Call Me Crazy, Sparkle
  • Caroline Alley
    Best Buds, Wordlotto
  • Dylan Troesken
    Key Cast
  • Rachel Sands
    Key Cast
  • Stephen Bonser
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, Satire
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes 26 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 11, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    8,472 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Chelsea Film Festival
    Chelsea, New York
    United States
    October 14, 2023
    New York Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Boston Jewish Film Festival
    Boston, Massachusetts
    United States
    November 2, 2023
    FreshFlix Short Film Competition Official Selection
  • Los Angeles Film Awards
    Los Angeles, California
    United States
    Winner of Best Original Story, Winner of Best Actress (Dylan Troesken), Official Selection
  • Toronto International Women Film Festival
    Official Selection
  • Chicago Indie Film Awards
    Chicago, Illinois
    United States
    Winner - Best First Time Filmmaker, Official Selection
Director Biography - Lily Emalfarb

Lily Emalfarb is a screenwriter with a focus in comedy and animation. Her comedic foundation was built on Second City’s comedy programs. Emalfarb’s screenwriting and writing breadth ranges from sketch comedy to TV, feature films, comics, and even video games. Emalfarb received her BFA in Screenwriting and Minor in Game Development Programming from Dodge College of Film and Media Arts in Orange, California in December of 2022. When not writing, Emalfarb can be found developing video games, or animating short videos of her characters. Suburban Witch is her official directorial debut.

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Director Statement

The idea for my film “Suburban Witch” came about just a little over three years ago when I decided I wanted to tell a story about my own experiences in not only being Jewish and the impact my ‘Jewish nose’ has had on me, but in my contemplation to go through with rhinoplasty and my decision to ultimately not have the surgical procedure. It was around that time that I learned about the origin of the phrase ‘Jewish nose’ as a term coined by an antisemitic anthropologist named Robert Knox who felt that Jews’ “large, massive, club-shaped, hooked nose” meant the Jewish face never can be perfectly beautiful.”

This film is a true story that is based on my real-life experiences. Growing up, I received countless questions about my ethnicity, being that I have a large, hooked nose, and along with it, told that I looked like a witch. The title of this film acts as a resistance to the bigoted adjectives I’ve been called, as well as my reclaiming of the word “witch.”

I truly believe that there is not a more important time to see more Jewish stories on screen and Jewish representation both on screen and behind the scenes as well. In the past year, according to the Anti-Defamation League, antisemitism in the United States has increased by 34%, and assaults on Jews have increased by 167%. While the Jewish people have always been targeted and exiled peoples, we’re living in an even more extreme time period where antisemitism has been given room to resurface. This project is important not only because it touches on a scarcely known history of the Jewish nose, but because of its defiance and reclamation of an ethnically charged stereotype and trait.

Given this film touches on my real-life experience of not only contemplating rhinoplasty and going to a plastic surgeon, but of societal pressure in and outside of my school to change this ‘Jewish feature,’ I am the only one who can tell this story because it’s my story. The concept behind this film is not an easy or light one, but it’s one I feel is important and should be addressed. It’s one I feel compelled to tell. What I hope not only Jewish audience members, but all audience members, will get out of this is a better understanding of not just the history behind where the term ‘Jewish nose’ originated, but a better understanding of how growing up Jewish in a world where antisemitism very much exists impacts one’s self-esteem, and forces them to question changing a physical part of themselves in order to fit in.

-Lily Emalfarb