A disillusioned rabbi, who has lost faith in himself and his congregation, calls upon Godfrey, the owner of a small shoe store, to inquire about a pair of elevator shoes in an effort to get a little closer to God. The rabbi purchases the shoes and heads to his synagogue, confident in what he thinks is a new elevated state. Little does he know that Godfrey's youthful sidekick has stolen the lifts from the shoes in order to win a date with a girl who prefers taller men. When "God" (Godfrey) realizes this, he rushes to the synagogue with the rabbi's lifts. He arrives too late. The service begins and Godfrey watches with amazement as the rabbi, believing that he is wearing the elevator shoes, is lifted, miraculously, to new heights.

Richard Benjamin, Joe Grifasi and Fisher Stevens star in "Lift. The film is a Herschel Weingrod presentation, a Paul Kaufman Production of a film by Salome Breziner. Herschel Weingrod and Salome Breziner are the screenwriters of this original story by Salome Breziner.

"Lift" was shot in Los Angeles' Korea Town, and at University Synagogue in Brentwood during the worst rainstorm to hit Los Angeles since the mid1800's.

"The scenes we shot atthe shoe store in Korea Town were bright daylight scenes," explains director Salome Breziner. "We had to shoot with lights outdoors, at night, in a torrential downpour. Due to the weather, our Winnebegos showed up four hours late, so my cast was sitting in the middle of Korea Town in a complete flood. The crew, dressed in plastic trash bags, was getting drenched, trying to hold down 12K lights from being toppled by the wind. Paul (Kaufman) had to sweet talk disgruntled crew members out of mutiny and fend off all these angry Korean shop keepers, while Richard Benjamin and Joe Grifasi just laughed at the absurdity of it all."

Producer, Paul Kaufman, had convinced his own rabbi to allow "Lift" to be shot in Brentwood's University Synagogue. After packing the Temple with a hundred crew 'members and atmosphere personal, Kaufman was sternly warned by his rabbi that everything was to be left exactly as found. Unfortunately, an antique table and a treasured Lladro sculpture were damaged during the film making process. As he glued the table back together, Kaufman was certain that his own Rabbi would throw him out of the religion. He rationalized it wouldn't be too terrible, "there are at least 400 other religions who are willing to take us if we get kicked out of Judaism."

"Lift" could have never been made, Kaufman and Breziner agree, if people didn't believe in young filmmakers. Kaufman, who spent months soliciting donations of time and equipment from the likes of Panavision, Dolby Laboratories, Universal Studios, Deluxe, and others, is quick to point out that he was able to bring the film in at a fraction of its quarter million dollar budget due to the overwhelming support of the industry.

He recalls, "the first day we opened our production office I called and asked a vendor for a contribution of less than $5.00 worth of simple production forms. He refused. I hung up the phone, thought about it, and called right back. 'How can you refuse,' I asked? 'We're the young filmmakers of tomorrow. We're the future blood of this industry. We can't take no for an answer.' With that, the production forms were on their way. We begged, borrowed and stole to make this film and we didn't accept 'no' for an answer. And, with that attitude, the contributions of equipment, time and talent just kept getting larger."

"We were very picky," adds Salome. "For as picky as we were, it's amazing that people didn't get insulted considering we were asking them to basically work for free. We wanted the best and we wouldn't compromise. That's why this film looks so good we held out for good people."


DRAMALOGUE - PUBLIC SCREENING: Producer Paul Kaufman's 20-minute short Lift is finally ready to be seen. This witty story of a disillusioned rabbi who buys a pair of elevator shoes in an effort to get closer to God will hold its Los Angeles premiere at the Nuart Theatre tomorrow through Sunday. The film marks the first time in 10 years that veteran actor and increasingly important director Richard Benjamin has appeared in a theatrical release. It also stars Joe Grifasi and Fisher Stevens. Director Salome Breziner wrote the script along with executive producer Herschel Weingrod who wrote the scripts for Twins, Trading Places and Kindergarten Cop. Tomorrow the movie appears on a double bill with The Dark Backward and Saturday and Sunday with The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The Kaufman Company 2013