A Putzel is also a wonderful independent film made by a fiercely talented man named Jason Chaet who happens to be husband to Heather (my writer pal and mom to Big Girl's Preschool BFF) and himself a very good friend of ours.
On Saturday afternoon, Husband and I drove upstate for the world premiere of Putzel at the Woodstock Film Festival. I learned from Heather that the screening was sold-out so we made sure to arrive early. We grabbed a delicious bite at Cucina and were among the first in line at the Woodstock Playhouse. Heather provided us with super-clever "What's a Putzel?" buttons which we pinned on with pride. And then we stood there in the October chill as a big crowd gathered. We listened to people buzz about Jason and the movie.
We did the same thing once the movie started; We soaked up the rip-roaring laughter and joyful chatter around us. During all of this, something amazed me - how legitimately anxious I felt about a project that was far from mine, and also how genuinely excited, too.
About the movie. It was, and is, smart, fantastic, quirky, charming. It is a New York story and as Jason put it in his remarks after the screening, "a modern fable." Here is the description from the movie's site:
For some, life is an adventure filled with opportunities to excel and places to explore. For Walter Himmelstein, a young man endearingly known as Putzel, life literally doesn’t go beyond his family’s fish store and his community on the upper west side of Manhattan. In this heartwarming comedy, Walter’s aspirations of taking over his uncle’s smoked fish emporium are disrupted by the arrival of Sally, who becomes romantically involved with his about-to-retire and very-married uncle. While Walter tries to thwart their romance in order to insure his taking over the business, he finds his circumscribed life thrown off kilter, and after years of being undermined by his family and friends, he finally starts to realize his full potential. With Sally’s help, Walter confronts his fears and proves he is more than a Putzel.
We popped by the after party at the wonderfully wacky Hurley Mountain Inn (where parts of Dustin Hoffman's Tootsie were filmed), toasted with Jason and Heather and members of Putzel's cast (which includes Jack Carpenter, Melanie Lynskey, John Pankow, Susie Essman) and crew. We would have loved to stay longer, but we had a two hour trip home. As we drove in the darkness, Husband and I talked. About the movie we both genuinely adored. About how excited we are for Jason, and for this film he spent more than seven years working on, and shot for only eighteen days for a mere $200,000.
What's a Putzel? It's a little film that might just do big things. It's a film I hope you all get a chance to see someday and someday soon.
Congrats, Jason. We are your and Putzel's biggest fans and cannot wait to see what happens next!
Have you felt true vicarious anxiety and elation? Do you agree that there is something truly unique and rewarding about dreaming big and/or supporting a friend's big dream? Do you know anyone who has embarked on very cool - and courageous - creative endeavors? Do you have any thoughts on how to get the magical little Putzel out in the big, bad world where it so belongs?