Director: Rachel Israel
Genre: Narrative Feature
Running Time: 94 min
Sponsored by: National Museum of American Jewish History and Joseph and Renée Zuritsky
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Of New York City, writer E.B. White once said “It is a miracle that New York works at all. The whole thing is implausible.” Cross New York City with the goal of finding true love as a young person on the autistic spectrum, and you have the makings of the unbelievably affecting and groundbreaking romantic comedy, KEEP THE CHANGE.
David Cohen (Brandon Polansky) is not your average New Yorker. Coming from an exceptionally wealthy Jewish family with Long Island and Florida estates, he has never had to work a day in his life. With his dark sunglasses, off-color jokes, and well-practiced cynicism, David believes he can hide his presence on the spectrum. When one of his inappropriate jokes gets him into trouble with the police, he is mandated to attend a JCC support group for adults with autism. At first, David keeps the other participants at arm’s length, believing himself to be superior to the “weirdos” surrounding him. However, when Sarah (Samantha Elisofon), a pretty and outspoken young woman from his group, confesses an attraction to David, he surprisingly discovers that the feeling is mutual. As he begins to open up to Sarah, the possibility that one day he may be able to be himself without apology inspires his confidence and lifts his spirits.
Rachel Israel’s KEEP THE CHANGE (based on her short film of the same name) is perhaps the first full-length film to feature a cast of mostly unknown actors who almost all identify as being somewhere on the autistic spectrum. Although its simple message of accepting ourselves completely before being able to truly accept others is hardly a new one, this heartfelt and award-winning film will undoubtedly be among the most genuine and memorable comedies you’ll see in the theater this year.
Special Guests: Samantha Elisofon, Star of Keep the Change; Rachel Israel, Director of Keep the Change; Brandon Polansky, Star of Keep the Change.
For Fans of: Atypical (Netflix series), Jessica Walter, New York City, ReelAbilities Film Festival, rom-coms, the films of Woody Allen
Official Selection: Los Angeles Film Festival, San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, and Tribeca Film Festival
Awards: Jury Award for Best US Narrative Feature and Best New Narrative Director at Tribeca Film Festival
Reviews: “Charming romantic comedy…an ode to self-discovery and acceptance that’s as funny as it is sweet.” (Nick Schager, Variety)
“A rom-com with a fresh perspective…Samantha Elisofon is the standout in this unconventional rom-com… Keep the Change positions itself to join the pantheon of New York rom-coms, an enduring tradition to which [Rachel] Israel has added a refreshingly uncynical new take. We’ve seen the Brooklyn Bridge up there on the big screen plenty of times, but rarely have we seen it crossed by characters quite like these.” (Michael Nordine, IndieWire)