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Stefan SCHAEFER, Diane CRESPO
Two young women – one an Orthodox Jew, the other Muslim – meet and become friends as first-year teachers at a public school in Brooklyn. Over the course of the year they learn they share much in common, not least of which is that they are both going through arranged marriages.
Rochel is a daughter of an orthodox Jewish family. She starts teaching at a public school in Brooklyn, working as a teacher of Special Ed. Rochel meets another teacher, Nasira, and the two become friends. However, Nasira is from a Syrian Muslim family. The two women have completely different religious and cultural backgrounds. Yet their conservative atmosphere and behind-the-times fashion somehow bind them together. The principal calls the two secretly; she tells them about her experience in women’s rights, advising them to dress more sophisticatedly and enjoy life. Other commonground that Rochel and Nasira share is that they have been asked to consent to arranged marriages. Rochel must go on blind dates set up by a familyvetted matchmaker. However, none of the men she meets appeal to her. Arranged attempts to cross hostile social cultural boundaries through the friendship, solidarity, and wit of two women who come from different religious backgrounds. The film suggests that what overcomes social hostility is neither grand discourses regarding politics or world peace or war, but feminine values, such as person-based understanding, consideration, mutual respect and compassion. Instead of utterly abandoning tradition, the film suggests a way for the tradition and modernity to coexist by slightly twisting the former so that it could fit into the latter without harm. Filmed in just seventeen days with a hyper-low budget, Arranged is a delightful independent film that addresses the strategy of co-existence in our multicultural era. (KWON Eun-sun)
Stefan SCHAEFERStefan SCHAEFER
Stefan Schaefer was born in Boston, spent his childhood in Sussex, England and his adolescent years in Detroit and New York. He graduated from Wesleyan University with degrees in political theory and theater. Following a year and a half in Germany - where he studied as a Fulbright Scholar and worked as a journalist - he returned to New York and founded with Diane Crespo. Over the past ten years he has written, directed and produced feature films, documentaries, music videos and TV commercials. Confess, his debut narrative feature, premiered at the 2005 Hamptons Int’l Film Festival, where Stefan won the Best Screenwriter award. The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela, a film Stefan produced and acted in for Icelandic director Olaf Johannesson, premiered at the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival, where it won the TEDDY Award for Best Feature Film.
Diane CRESPODiane CRESPO
Diane was born and raised in Queens. Drawn to the dramatic arts at a young age, she received a BA in theatre from Roger Williams College, and studied at the graduate level at the London School of Dramatic Arts. Following a brief stint in LA, where she worked at Canon and New World Pictures, she returned to New York to work in theatre. She met Stefan working off-off Broadway, where she directed a series of one-act plays, written by her. They went on to form the production company Cicala Filmworks, where their initial focus was creating short documentaries for clients such as the Guggenheim Museum, the NYC Department of Education, and Roundabout Theatre.