A Film by Shawn Snyder
About a Hasidic cantor’s struggles to find religious solace after his wife’s untimely death, while secretly obsessing over how her body will decay.
IN THEATERS FEBRUARY 8TH
“Shmuel and Albert may be the funniest odd couple since Broderick and Nathan Lane’s Leo Bloom and Max Bialystock.”
– Barbara Hoffman, NY POST
“Broderick, as a Jethro Tull-obsessed stoner, is mind-shattering.”
– Joshua Rothkopf, TIME OUT NEW YORK
Shawn Snyder’s TO DUST premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, followed by screenings at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and the Hamptons International Film Festival. This feature film debut from Snyder is tells the tale of Shmuel, a Hasidic cantor in Upstate New York, who is distraught by the untimely death of his wife, Rivkah. As he struggles to find solace in his religion, which proffers a stringent timeline for grief, Shmuel grows increasingly haunted by visions of Rivkah’s decomposing corpse. Convinced that her soul will suffer until her body returns to dust, Shmuel decides that to stop his feverish spiral he must seek an understanding of the physical processes of her decay - despite the blasphemy inherent in any scientific inquiry. Risking discovery and expulsion, Shmuel tip-toes outside his enclave, where his search leads to Albert, a bumbling biology professor at the local community college. Soon, Albert is unwittingly seduced into an odd world of homespun forensic research and begins to guide Shmuel through outrageous experiments that aim to approximate a timeline for Rivkah’s dissolution - starting with the theft, suffocation and burial of a pig. As amateur scientists practicing imperfect science and incompetent criminals on progressively absurd outings, the two find themselves neck-deep in genres in which neither of them belongs. With their macabre moonlit misadventures growing ever more perilous, the odd couple will stop at nothing to satiate their curiosity and ultimately find Shmuel the comfort he desperately seeks. 92min.
Directed by Shawn Snyder
Produced by Emily Mortimer, Alessandro Nivola, Josh Crook, Ron Perlman and Scott Lochmus
Executive Produced by Jonathan Gray, Todd Remis, David Moscow, Jason Dreyer, Jed Webber,
Joseph Siprut, Aaron L. Gilbert, Anjay Nagpal, David Boies and David Stone
Cinematography by Xavi Gimenez
Starring Géza Röhrig and Matthew Broderick
Release Date February 8th, 2019
US Distributor Good Deed Entertainment
TO DUST Social Media pages:
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
SHAWN SNYDER (Writer/Director)
Shawn Snyder grew up in South Florida. After receiving a BA in Religion from Harvard, he spent most of his twenties on the road as a singer/songwriter. The last seven years have seen a return to Shawn's long-standing passion for filmmaking, during which he completed studies at NYU's Graduate Film Program. His short film, FESTUS, won the 2014 CINE Golden Eagle Award for Best Student Drama and later premiered on KQED’s Film School Shorts. His follow-up, LULU, premiered at the Palm Springs International ShortFest in 2015. And his first feature, TO DUST, premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, where it won the “Narrative Audience Award” and Shawn received the award for “Best New Narrative Director.” TO DUST was a part of IFP's 2015 Emerging Storytellers, the recipient of the NYU/Alfred P. Sloan’s $100K First Feature Award, the winner of TFI's 2016 Sloan Student Grand Jury Prize, and a part of the NYU Production Lab's inaugural slate. Shawn is also a former IFP/Marcie Bloom Fellow and Sundance Institute Feature Film Fellow, and was named one of Filmmaker Magazine's "25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2016.