"THE NEWLYWED'S GUIDE..."

Inspired by a real self-help book of the same name, the film follows a newlywed Hasidic couple arriving home on their wedding night. The trouble is, no one ever taught them what comes next.

Written, Directed, & Edited by Julie Benko

Starring: Felix Teich & Julie Benko

Original Music by Jason Yeager

OFFICIAL SELECTION AT:

JOYCE FORUM JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL (Upcoming)

ONLINE NEW ENGLAND FILM FESTIVAL (Audience Award Winner, Best Comedy)

NEW FACES NEW VOICES (Honorable Mention)

TWIN CITIES JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL

AES SHORT FILM COMPETITION (Honorable Mention)

AUTHOR'S/DIRECTOR'S NOTE

I have always been fascinated by the way the Hasidim live their lives. The members of this insular Jewish community share a history with my own Reform Jewish one, but otherwise operate in a world unto themselves. After graduating from college, I began volunteering as a math tutor at Footsteps, a non-profit social services organization that supports people who wish to explore secular lifestyles, and helped various women study for their high school equivalency exams. As I discovered more about Hasidic culture through this work, I developed a passion for sharing the stories I heard from these inspiring women.

While doing research for my film, I encountered many shocking stories of sexual assault between married couples that occurred as a direct result of the lack of sex education provided to young people within this (and often any) repressive culture. Eventually, I stumbled upon "The Newlywed's Guide to Physical Intimacy," which was co-written by a male Orthodox rabbi and a female sex therapist to help average young couples within the community grapple with these issues, who often must do so without any guidance from their authority figures or even access to the Internet. After reading the book myself, I was immediately impressed at the authors' ability to tackle an enormously sensitive issue with tact, grace, respect, and encouragement. I realized that I had found the inspiration for the film I wanted to make.

My short film "The Newlywed's Guide to Physical Intimacy" provides a brief glimpse into the Hasidic world, delicately tackling intimate subject matter with humor, subtlety, and a fresh optimism for how simple access and education can improve the lives of people across cultures.