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The 2022 Sundance Film Festival runs from Jan. 20 - 30, in Park City, Utah

Sundance and other Park City Festivals news, past and future.   #sundance @sundancefest


Hasidic Drug Dealers At Sundance

The Sundance Film Festival is an event full of unusual stories....but Hasidic drug dealers? That has to be a first. The film, appropriately called HOLY ROLLERS, was produced and stars Danny A. Abeckaser, who is best known as a rock impressario and club promoter.

The film, set in New York in the 1990s, is about a pair of Hasidic Jews who become part of an ecstasy smuggling ring. The film is the feature directorial debut of Kevin Asch with a screenplay by actor/scenarist Antonio Mascia. Leading the cast is hot young actor Jesse Eisenberg (the star of such diverse films as ZOMBIELAND, ADVENTURELAND and THE SQUID AND THE WHALE) who plays one of the Hasidic boys who gets lured into the world of international drug trafficking.

Eisenberg plays Sam, a Hasidic Jew living in Brooklyn who is lured away from his devout path to become a Rabbi to become an ecstasy smuggler for an Israeli drug runner. His partner in crime is another Hasidic young man named Yosef, played by Justin Bartha. Before long, the two religious young men are rebelling against the will of their fathers and their connection to their communities and former lives begin to unravel.


The film's quirky script, driving narrative style and the fine acting of its supporting players (including the Israeli drug dealer played by Ari Graynor) give the film its unusual gloss and dramatic punch. There is even a love story that develops between Eisenberg and the girlfriend of the menacing Israeli drug dealer, which adds a layer of exotica and erotica to the proceedings.


While this may all seem like out-there parody, it is in fact based on a true story. Aside from the various action and thriller sequences, the film tells a universal story of the price to be paid for forsaking one's family and faith. The ending features a glimmer of hope that redemption is indeed possible, even after one has fallen from a great height.


The film is competing in the US Drama section of the Festival and just might pick up awards for its actors and its script. International rights for the film were sold to French-based sales company Pyramide International by rep company Cinetic Media.

Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Dailies Editor

Comments (1)

Based on a real story? That

Based on a real story? That young man had a troubled life, drugs were the temptation and he didn't resist them and it all gets down form here. Yep, it the plot has all the ingredients of a real life story...Now I am really curious about the ending.
Ronna, CA drug treatment program


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