September’s Online Short: REVERENCE

August 31, 2015

JFI presents the SFJFF35 Official Selection, Reverence, as it’s Online Short of the Month for September.

Batman, Homer Simpson, a New York Yankees logo — you’re likely to see any of these logos on the yarmulke of a Jewish boy in modern Jewish communities today. Reverence dissects the meaning and context behind branded kippot and the concept of faith in a modern world while exploring the societal and religious norms that these garments may challenge, focusing on the notion of “fitting in” and “standing out” within the Reform and Conservative Jewish communities.

JFI presents a Q&A with Reverence director Collin Kornfiend

What inspired you to make this film?

Being from rural Pennsylvania and going to college on Long Island, I first noticed branded yarmulkes when I sat down for a screening of “Borat” at the local movie theater my sophomore year and noticed a boy in front of me with a New York Islanders logo on top of his kippah. Not being educated in this trend in Reform or Conservative Judaism, I thought this had to be the most blasphemous thing on the planet: putting advertising on your sign of religious reverence. Nine years after that initial thought, I made the film.

What was your greatest challenge during the filmmaking process?

Raising money is always a challenge and Kickstarter, while great, is not a bottomless well. After coming off a short film two years prior that was funded by Kickstarter donors, I found it harder to have friends and family give again with the same fervor and generosity. I’d like to find an angel investor to alleviate this stress from me forever — or just have some stranger to throw a big bag of money at my head and never be seen again. Both would be nice.

Any thoughts you’d like to share about screening this film in a Jewish context?

It’s been great showing this to Jewish audiences whom they themselves had no idea about the context, meaning and saturation of branded yarmulkes among certain communities. There’s a lot of inside jokes that only Jews get in the film, which is fun to see an audience react to, but the greatest thing that has happened since releasing the film is having Jewish people come up to me or contact me in awe of how they never knew anything about this niche trend — and how they now can’t un-see them.

What film/media has inspired you lately?

I’d say the most inspirational media I’ve seen lately has been Last Week Tonight with John Oliver for the pointed and hilarious way he holds a mirror up to our world. Movies, for me, have been severely lacking in that department lately and, in this distracted world, I think we need that type of content the most.

What do you do when you’re not filmmaking?

It’s a constant balance between traveling and finding more production work. Or watching baseball.

Lastly, gefilte fish: delicious, or disgusting?

Never had it and that’s how I plan to keep it.


Keep up to date with Collin Kornfeind and his works in progress by visiting

Inspiring communities to expand their understanding of Jewish life through film, media and dialogue. Presented by the Jewish Film Institute!

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