THE SHERIFF

 שעריף

Based on a true story. 

The Sheriff is a coming-of-age story about a boy who uses dark humor in order to cope with the painful trauma of the Holocaust that penetrates his family life. Our protagonist is Yoeli, a rebellious Ultra-Orthodox Jewish boy – 21 years old - from Brooklyn who has a strained relationship with Albert, his father, and Judaism. As men, they are polar opposites – a first-generation American son whose humor and lighthearted nature is the antithesis of his German father- a stoic, brooding figure whose trauma lives in an ever-present scowl. 

 

The film moves between the present conflict, set from 1969-1974 – Yoeli is finishing college during the Vietnam war, and desires to live outside of his insular Jewish community, but Albert wishes for Yoeli to marry and raise an Orthodox family in Crown Heights – and two divergent pasts - Yoeli’s childhood in Brooklyn in the 1950s and 1960s, and Albert’s life in Berlin in the late 1930s, where we witness the story of he and his wife, Rose, as they make several trips between America and Europe, shuttling their family out of Berlin under the assistance of a high-ranking Nazi commander. 

Eventually, in an attempt to evade the draft, Yoeli defies his father to attend medical school in the Midwest, where, on the first day of school, his lab coat is graffitied with a six-pointed star.  For the first time, Yoeli is forced to question what it means to be Jewish in an environment where he is the only Jew. He promptly writes, “Sheriff,” in the center of the star, but his humor is no match for blatant antisemitism. 

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Written in Yiddish and English, The Sheriff offers a window into Jewish family life in the years following World War II and explores the searing divide between two generations of Jews, Albert, a man plagued with survivor’s guilt, searching for meaning in his son’s future, and Yoeli, a bright-eyed  young man, whose life choices stand firmly at odds with his father’s expectations.

 

The Sheriff is ultimately a story about being a Jew and about being an American – about deference to the past and embracing the future.  

Seeking Executive Producer and Financiers.