The Plumber | JFI Online Short: February 2023

Jewish Film Institute
3 min readFeb 1


The Jewish Film Institute is pleased to present The Plumber as our Online Short for the month of February 2023.

About the Film: In this adventure/suspense take, inspired by Irena Sendler and her network: As curfew approaches, an everyday heroine risks it all in a smuggling operation from Nazi-occupied Poland.

Jewish Film Institute: Tell us about the genesis of this film. What inspired you to tell this story?

Cate Carson: This film was inspired by a historical snippet the director had been holding on to for a while about Irena Sendler and her network of incredible human beings. At great daily risk, they smuggled over 2500 Jewish children from Warsaw during the holocaust. And what is shown in The Plumber, is just one of those ways they accomplished this feat. The director, Cate Carson, wanted to take a different approach to this subject matter by focusing on the heroism at the core of the story — the closest we can get to a real world superhero — and did so through an adventure/suspense lens. We initially had decided against telling this story in short form because it felt big in scope, budget, and feasability. But the pandemic required us to think in very small terms, with very few people, and wildly enough, this was reborn from that box

JFI: What was your biggest challenge making the film?

CC: Filming with such few people while still trying to produce big production value is always a challenge- especially while trying to create a period piece. We harkened back to early filmmaking days and took on multiple roles to achieve the shoot on time, with a tiny budget, during the thick of covid. This meant everyone on board had to really be on board — and they were. So much of filmmaking is assembling the right team who can make things not only possible, but elevated.

JFI: What are you working on now?

CC: We are developing and shopping a few different features at the moment. We’ve partnered with Cardinal Trio Pictures and are just beginning the packaging phase now on ATOLL. That suspense/survival film is inspired by a true story as well. Another we’re excited about is a contemporary, stylized, neo-noir genre-blending feature with two teen siblings who get themselves into a police standoff over their family home and end up on the run. It’s in the vein of Thelma and Louise or Sugarland Express. We’ll soon be seeking independent financing and hopefully filming later this year.

About the Filmmaker: Cate Carson is an LA-based writer/director with award-winning feature screenplays and short films, including the national wildcard-winning Lionsgate short “Masque,” which also earned her a directing award at the Crystal & Lucy’s. As a director selectee for the Alliance of Women Directors Short Film Program grant, “Of Mine” premiered at Disney Studios. She has been selected as 1 of 9 fellows in the Blackmagic Collective (presented by Blackmagic Design) “Future Directors of Studio Features” Initiative for 2021.

About JFI Online Shorts: JFI Online Shorts features one new short film each month from emerging and established filmmakers. Since 2009, JFI has showcased over 100 online shorts and garnered worldwide views over 2 million on the JFI Youtube channel. Learn more at



Jewish Film Institute

The Jewish Film Institute, based in San Francisco, champions bold films and filmmakers that expand and evolve the Jewish story for audiences everywhere.