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Our client, The Closer Movie (TheCloserMovie.com) won 4 awards at the Buffalo-Niagara Film Festival this past Sunday. They won in the following categories:
1. Best Feature Film 2. Best Actor (Patrick Duke Conboy) 3. Best Supporting Actress (Jessica Park ) and 4. Best Director (Eli Hershko). We are extremely proud of the whole cast, crew, actors, and of course Isaac Broyn (IsaacBroyn.com) the executive producer and Eli Hershko (conjured visions.com) the director for this extraordinary work and film.
Its not just us, others are recognizing The Closer Movie and we are attaching some new articles below, which include The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (our hometown paper), Alegemeiner, and The Jewish Standard (Times of Israel).
Check out the following articles for more info, reviews and coverage of "The Closer":
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle: http://bit.ly/1r0hoGO
The Jewish Standard: http://bit.ly/1U6NoEG
"The Closer Movie" World Premiere at Palm Beach International Film Festival - Film Review by Award-Winning Journalist from South Florida. Overall: 4.3 out of 5 Stars!
One would think that it would be easy for an Opinion Columnist to write a movie review…it’s not. Let me explain.
I was invited to attend the Premier of THE CLOSER by the writer/Director, Eli Hershko. I watched the film while sitting in the seat directly to his left. It was like taking a final exam while your teacher hovered over your shoulder; not that Mr. Hershko was doing so. Indeed, he let me enter my movie meditation state without interruption and I was able to devote my total attention to the screen. In fact, after the movie started I was barely aware of his presence.
I would like to preface this by pointing out that most films we see today follow a particular sequence: Introduce characters, shoot someone, bad drama, car chase, sex scene, more shooting, lots of stunts, foot chase followed by more shooting, and so on until the ending credits. All very predictable.
It was refreshing to see that the writers (Victor Baranes, Isaac Broyn and Eli Hershko) had neither the budget nor inclination to follow this sad formula; settling instead for an original, very well delivered story.
Now, let’s break this thing down:
THE PLOT: I think it’s fair to say that most of us see bankers and mortgage companies as predators run by men with very dark souls. This description was never as accurate as it was during the subprime lending fiasco. A time when lenders where offering mortgages to anyone willing to apply, regardless of their ability to pay, and then selling the paper to investors looking for a hefty profit. The way this works is somewhat involved, but is explained in the film via a short scene which sets out the motivations without boring us into a short nap. A nice bit of writing by my take.
We all know that during this time, bankers and investors were moving these worthless mortgages around like so much counterfeit money; and making a fortune by doing so. But this is not that story. No, this is the story of the bottom feeders. The people who bought homes, fixed them up a bit, and then sold them, often without concern for the law, to a buyer…any buyer.
Steven (Robert Berlin) is a somewhat crude, self-centered, and greedy man who sees there’s money to be made and sets about making it. He is ruthless, scheming, and demanding; riding his team of buyers/sellers with harsh aggressiveness. Steven wears a black suit (dark suit- dark soul?) His only concerns are profit and self.
I think it’s fair to say that Steven’s only real love interest is…well...Steven. However, the very talented and lovely Jessica Park does a great job of playing his girlfriend, Kim.
Robert Berlin’s portrayal of Steven is a clean demonstration of tightrope walking. Berlin’s “Steven” is rudely confident and always alert; looking around like a street thug who’s afraid the cops are coming. Berlin never overplays his role; opting to explore the full dynamics of his character. A thug who is sometimes bully; sometimes almost cowardly. A very strong and note worthy performance by an equally noteworthy actor. It’s impossible to watch Robert Berlin perform without becoming a fan. You are sure to see a lot more of him.
Sean (Patrick Duke Conboy) is the closest thing your going to get to a good guy in this film. It appears that he saved Steven’s life during a firefight in Iraq. Although, to me, what occurred is not fully explained in the film. Be that as it may, Sean meets one of his fellow Vets, Jack (neatly played by Christopher Kloko) who introduces him to the disreputable world of subprime real estate. Sean is sometimes cool, often solemn, and fighting PTSD. Again, I am unsure if he is married or just romantically involved with his partner, Tiffany ( a wonderful 5 star performance by Danielle Leaf) who wears a wedding ring while he doesn’t. I must have missed the part which explains this. Sean is conflicted on many levels which adds intensity and suspense to the film. You’re never really sure when this time bomb will explode; or who his victim(s) will be.
Patrick Duke Conboy is an incredibly strong actor. He seized the role of Sean and played it like a fine violin. Every nuance of the character was in sync with all the other performances. Patrick was always on point and keyed in. He will certainly be a force to reckon with. If his agent is nearly as strong as he is, there are big things ahead for this star quality performer.
SCRIPT: As a writer I can almost point out the parts that went through a major rewrite. This can result in some points being softened, and some details crucial to the plot getting dropped. Yet, the script was very well constructed with aptly timed comic relief added at just the right moments. The dialogue was excellent. These people are rough, and the language reflects it. Rating: Script: 3.99 stars for not better explaining the relationship between Sean and his wife/girlfriend, and diluting the battle scene which defined Steven’s relationship to Sean.
MUSIC: Excellent 5 stars
OVERALL: Now the big question: Would I pay to watch this film? An unqualified yes. And I wouldn’t feel in the least bit cheated. A healthy 4.3 stars.
Now that you've read this, I would like for you to check the ratings on NETFLIX, or any other service that rates movies. You will see that most of the movies have a 1 to 3 star rating. 3 stars is considered pretty watchable by most viewers. A 4 star rating is simple, it means good...very good, and well worth watching. Keep that in mind when you read my reviews; I don't hand out 4 stars for average movies. So, if I rate a movie 4 stars or above, jump on it.
Link to the full article by Jim Brantley: The Closer Movie Article
Our client, "The Closer" movie.
A comprehensive look and review on JNS.org.
When I saw the recent Academy Award-winning film “The Big Short,” I was struck by the sheer genius of the financiers who devised the schemes and packaged the loans for resale, but it left me with unanswered questions about how the properties these loans represented were moved. “The Big Short” was largely about paper transactions, big money, and wealthy investors, and it mildly touched on the way the actual end-users—the home buyers and brokers—played into this scheme.
For every packaged loan transaction, credit default swap, and synthetic collateralized debt obligation handled by the men in suits, there are actual people and properties being bet on. It begged the questions of how these properties were moved, who was on the ground in these risky neighborhoods, and just how were these transactions put together?
Three Israeli real estate brokers, developers, and property managers based in Brooklyn were in the heart of the real estate boom prior to the big bust of 2008. They were buying dilapidated properties, renovating them, and then reselling them—usually to people who could only obtain loans through the controversial government-backed programs that encouraged property ownership even for those who could not afford it.
What they saw were greedy mortgage brokers, shady developers, and likely inept or corrupted appraisers, and they witnessed firsthand the dealmaking on the ground to get these properties sold, which would then yield a risky mortgage to be packaged by the bankers depicted by “The Big Short.” It inspired them to write a screenplay and develop a story to share with the world—the 2015 movie “The Closer.”
From a chance meeting in 2010, while working in real estate to offset his passion for film, former Israel Defense Forces photographer Eli Hershko met developer Isaac Broyn and his partner Victor Barnes, a former master engineer in a fighting jet squadron in the Israeli Air Force. Being involved in the same markets of lower-income Brooklyn, they shared their stories of challenges stemming from the then-recent market collapse. In talking, they realized that there was a common interest in telling this story to the world. So they embarked on the ambitious project of developing a compelling story based on some very real experiences they witnessed, encountered, or learned about through industry peers.
Ultimately, “The Closer” evolved and is on the film festival circuit this year, launching in Buffalo, N.Y., and Palm Beach, Fla., then coming to Hawaii and New York City, to name a few host cities. It is a self-financed film shot over the course of 28 days, pulling favors all over Brooklyn, from the local police and property managers to bars and shops used as sets.
The movie stars Robert Berlin as the military unit commander and a ruthless broker who only cares about making money to fund his lavish lifestyle, Christopher Kloko as his right-hand man, Patrick Duke Conboy as the initially unwitting loner trying to escape the nightmares of war when their buddy was killed by a sniper.
The film itself is a drama, with action, heated anger, a love story, and a tale of a friendship that begins in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, as a U.S. military unit, and extends to the tough streets of Brooklyn. It quickly establishes the characters and their associations, their friendships and post-war personalities, before getting into the fast-paced and sometimes shady underworld of the low-income real estate market.
“The Closer” explores the methods used to get loans approved for high-risk borrowers, and the way emotions are played to convince the prey that home ownership is good for them. It covers the violent turf and gang wars over neglected buildings in poor neighborhoods, the removal of squatters, and the corruption in the appraisal process. Basically, it shows the bottom rungs of the banking scandals that brought the market down. For every unprincipled finance vehicle created by the bankers, “The Closer” shows the voracious property and mortgage brokers sowing the seeds of catastrophe so that they can buy Rolex watches and Mercedes-Benz cars.
The films also contains a love story, including how money and greed affect families and loved ones. It also presents a test of the loyalties between a commander and his troops. There are Russian mobsters, street thugs, exotic dancers, car crashes, and shootouts, and it all comes together in a compelling action film surrounding the local Brooklyn streets, the atmosphere built by greed, and the corruption that literally rose from the ground up to the towers of Wall Street.
Eli Hershko, Isaac Broyn, and Victor Baranes just elevated themselves from unknown real estate entrepreneurs to the competitive world of Hollywood and the indie film market. They have built a solid little picture that will compel moviegoers and give us all some appreciation for how a major international economic scandal was born on small streets in our very neighborhoods, all around us.
Link to the article: The Closer Movie
We're pleased to announce that our firm, Herald Strategies, has been working hard to promote "The Closer" movie, which is a film about the 2008 real estate market boom and bust, and the greed and malicious behaviors that led to the crash and the Great Recession. The film's director, Eli Hershko and executive producer, Isaac Broyn - and many of the main cast members - are currently in Palm Beach for the Palm Beach International Film Festival. The film will be premiering at the film festival on Saturday, April 9th at 1:55pm at the Cinemark Theater in Boca Raton. This is the world premiere and a very exciting time for "The Closer."
Through our efforts and connecting with the nice people at ABC affiliate, WPBF-ABC 25 news in Palm Beach, we were able to get director, Eli Hershko and executive producer, Isaac Broyn an opportunity to discuss the film and the world premiere with morning show host/anchor Stephanie Berzinski. See the link to their interview here: The Closer Movie on WPBF-ABC 25 in Palm Beach.
To learn more about the film or for press inquiries, please visit: TheCloserMovie.com and/or contact Warren H. Cohn at Warren@HeraldStrategies.com.
The Closer is a tale of friendship and betrayal between three friends set against the backdrop of the biggest boom & bust in the subprime real estate market. Our film is inspired by true events and approaches the 2008 housing crisis from a street-level view in low income areas of Brooklyn, NY, and is written from the perspective of developers, lenders, and home buyers. There is love, friendship, pain, hardship, and the testing of friendships and trust...all wrapped into a thrilling ride that will glue you to your seat.
The Closer was written and produced by Writer/Director/Producer Eli Hershko and Brooklyn-based real estate experts & investors turn filmmakers, Isaac Broyn and Victor barnes who witnessed the 2008 housing crisis first-hand and felt compelled to share their incredible and trying experiences.
Directed by: Award winning director Eli Hershko who’s debut film Titled “carl(a) has garnered himthe 2013 Canada International Film Festival Award of Excellence for Feature Film, and 2013 Best original screen play in the Long Island International Film Expo as well as earned him nominations in the best feature and best director categories.
Writer/Director/Producer – Eli Hershko
Writer/Executive Producer – Isaac Broyn
Writer – Victor Baranes
Palm Beach International Film Festival – April 9th @ 1:55pm
Buffalo Niagara Film Festival - April 17th @ 1:30pm
Manhattan Film Festival - April 19th @ 9pm
OFFICIAL MOVIE SITE: http://TheCloserMovie.com @TheCloserMovie
95 MINUTES / ENGLISH
The Closer is a passion project of Isaac Broyn and Myself. The movie was self financed and shot over 28 days pulling favors all over town. Isaac and his partner Victor who worked as real estate developers in Brooklyn for over 20 years met me when I was working part time in the field of real estate while shooting films and photographing celebrities for magazine covers. Isaac always wanted to make movies and the 2008 real estate burst gave both of us the impetus to come together on a project that involved a world we all knew very well. Ironically the real estate burst planted the seed to “THE CLOSER” in our minds separately since we didn’t meet till 2010. We both had this very similar idea of what movie we wanted to make on our own. When we finally met in 2010 and realized that our ideas for a movie are practically the same, we knew that fate has brought us together to make this film which combines our knowledge of the real estate world mixed in with the pure desire to make a film so we decided to collaborate.
As developers, Isaac saw the activity from the street. We have all seen and heard the way the banks and Wall Street fueled the collapse through greed and financial schemes, but the truth is that they could only create the market because Wall Street’s greed trickled down to the level of the same people in the industry who were building the buildings and selling the properties. Since no stories have yet been told from the street level, stories of how the activities we read about in the newspaper and heard on the street affected the subprime low income areas like East New York in Brooklyn and the similar areas around the country, we wanted to show this calamity from the street perspective. It is important to understand that greed can make people and institutions do awful things.
Most people don't realize that when you make a film, you are making three different films at the same time. The first is when write it. The second is when you are filming the movie and modify the story along the way. The third time is in the editing room where you put together all the pieces and mostly end up with a different movie you started with.
The Closer was inspired by the true collapse of the real estate market specifically speaking local to our market. We hope it as entertaining as it is educational, and that our experiences can shed light on what happens at the very basic levels, aided by Wall Street’s greed that fueled this craziness.
Eli Hershko - Director/Producer/Writer/Cinematographer
Originally from Israel, Eli graduated from Haifa school of the arts joined the Israeli Defense Force where he served as a photographer and later as a teacher of photography. After his Honorable discharge as a Sergeant he studied at WIZO Art College in Haifa, then graduated from the New York Film Academy Digital Film Program.
Eli has worked as a professional photographer, shooting album and magazine covers for popular artists including: Biggie Smalls, Bjork, Public Enemy, Naughty by Nature, SpaceHog, The Backstreet Boys, Cake, Garbage and Tony Bennett.
In 2012 he finished post production on his first feature film titled “Carla” starring 2012 EMMY nominated actor Mark Margolis and 2013 EMMY nominated actor Lavern Cox of “Orange is the New Black” Netflix Original Series. The film was entered in the 2013 film festival circuits and had won awards. The film was theatrically released in December 2015, and currently it is being distributed on various VOD platforms.
Working under the banner of Conjured Visions Films, Hershko continues to write, produce, direct and shoot TV spots as well as create viral films and web content for various clients and ad agencies.
In July 2014, Principal photography for Hershko’s new feature film titled “The Closer” wrapped, and the film is being entered in the film festival circuit. It is slated to screen nationally and internationally through 2016.
Pre Production has commenced on Hershko newest project titled "Fairy Tale" slated to shoot in the 3rd Q of 2016.
Isaac Broyn - writer, executive producer
For over seventeen years, Isaac Broyn has been involved in the real estate business. He opened his first office in Queens New York in 1998 when he focused on purchasing neglected, multi-family properties and converting them into remarkable homes, inside and out.
Most of Isaac’s properties are focused in Brooklyn, New York, and since 2002, he has been building brand new multi-family homes between six and eight families, as well as multi-unit apartments, penthouses, condominiums, duplexes, and commercial space.
Isaac has gained a tremendous amount of insight in this market, and continues to create tasteful architecture. So much that he has built business and personal friendships with the people and companies who help make his dream possible.
His experiences in real estate and renovating in developing areas of Brooklyn have given him a unique insight into the issues that directly caused the 2008 in the industry. He decided to write a screenplay with his colleagues about those experiences, and The Closer is his inaugural film project. Mr. Broyn was directly involved in the making of The Closer throughout the process, which included being on location every day of filming, working with the actors and on screenplay edits on set. His insights and deep knowledge of the real estate industry were invaluable and this film wouldn’t have come to fruition without this knowledge and his financing and producing of this film.
Victor Baranes - Writer, Producer
Victor, immigrated to the United States at age 22 from Israeli, having first served as a Master Engineer in a fighting Jet Squadron in the Israeli Air Force. Having been honorably discharged at the rank of Master Sergeant, Victor pursued his dream of being a professional surfer. As a leader of the sport in Israel, he had won professional sponsorship and moved from Israel to Hawaii to compete. Following a short surfing career, he moved to New York and got started in the real estate business, forming a partnership with Isaac Broyn.
Together they established a real estate development company that generating more than $35 million in revenue per year, employing more than 60 people. Recently, his company expanded into developing low rise condominium building throughout Brooklyn.
As a hands-on, creative entrepreneur Victor is heavily involved in the architecture and design of his projects.
In addition to real estate, Victor develops games and applications for the internet and iPhone, and helped produce THE CLOSER feature film, as his entrée into film making.
Something happened during filming – Eli Hershko (director)
The most important aspect for me when I tell a story is whether or not people believe the characters and the story. I write the script in a vacuum; period. And no matter how hard you work to flesh out a character; you are just one person, one writer trying to capture many voices. Often, when I have my final draft I do a table read in order to “hear” the characters. Later when the movie is cast I do not rehearse the lines. I refused to do so. Instead I would spend time with each "talking Character" over many weeks during pre production period, over lunches or coffee, and we will talk about the motivation of the character and whether the dialogue works or not. I ask the actors if they feel comfortable saying the dialogue I’ve written for them and often I ask them for their own words and ideas. I want them to mesh with the character they portray in the movie and by allowing them to use their own words and improvise, I help make this process easier on them.
Movies are often not filmed chronologically; this is done in order to accommodate locations, schedules and budgets but certain scenes should not be forced to accommodate scheduling. For instance, I now know never to ask my actors to film the final scene of the movie in the first week of shooting. It just doesn't work and I had to learn that the hard way on set where we had to shut down a production day since it didn’t work emotionally for the character... luckily we picked up the day towards the end of production. Once the actors become familiar with the film and the characters, and the “emotional growth” of the character was more chronological, it felt so much more true and real and as such it came across coherently on camera.
For my next feature project titled “Fair Tale” I am going to completely abandon all traditional film making and approach my next project in a very different way. In my quest for the ultimate "live in the moment" which is the Holy Grail for actors and directors alike, I intend to explore that phrase and put it to the test. (Shooting will start towards the end of 2016).
The Funnier Side of Stunts, on a small budget
This is an action drama, and even though it was a shoe-string budget we still needed some action sequences. We have one here that called for the main character of The Closer to get hit by a car, and didn't want to have our lead man really get hit with a car over and over again, so we hired a wonderful stuntman named Paul Mann. On our budget, we had only an hour and half to execute this scene, which was a challenge.
Paul assured me that he’s be alright and that I should not worry about him or the stunt, but having a Jewish mother made me worry anyway. I was asking a person to get hit by a car at 40mph over and over again until the scene is perfect. Nerve wracking!
Two weeks before the scene, Paul saw my anxiety and told me about a new technology; a special protective suit that is soft and rubbery under your clothes, but hardens into armor when it is impacted by a blunt force. Without hesitating I ordered the suit for him, and Paul got hit by the car time and time again until it was right and believable. Out of gratitude I gave him the protective suit as a gift when we finished the shoot.
Ryan F. Johnson
Patrick Duke Conboy
Andrew Scott Francis
Kevin Martinez Rivera
Adam P. Murphy
Jay Wells L'Ecuyer
Andres Emanuel Pina
Timothy C. Floyd
Emilio Ramon Gomez
Brett Roman Williams
Filmmakers & Crew
Isaac Broyn, Executive Producer
Sharon Broyn, Co-Producer
Eli Hershko, Producer
Eytan Millstone, Producer
Kip Baker, Associate Producer
David Spaltro, Consulting Producer
Brie Puneky, Makeup Artist
Ashley K. Thomas, Key Makeup Artist
SECOND UNIT DIRECTORS OR ASSISTANT DIRECTORS
Jay Wells L'Ecuyer, Second Assistant Director
Ruben Rodas, Second Unit Director
Niki Broyn, Set Designer
Rafi Chen, Sound Designer
Paul Mann, Stunt Coordinator
CAMERA AND ELECTRICAL DEPARTMENT
Nikki Broyn, Still Photographer
Mike Gomes, Camera Operator