A Phenomenal Period Drama From Director Jonathan Siebel
Break The Will, Directed by Jonathan Siebel is an Oregon Short Film Festival 2018 Official Selection. This film has been nominated for "Best Drama Film" and actress Tania Nolan has been nominated for "Best Actress." This amazing period drama gets all of the details right, with the home, costumes and mannerisms of the time period. The deep drama that this family deals with however is timeless. The adult and youth actors give an amazing performance in this film, which should do very well on the Film Festival Circuit. Tagline "An Amish father questions his belief system when he's forced to violently punish his son."
Synopsis: Break The Will
Set in the back country of modern day America, Break the Will is about an Amish mother and father who catch their 12 year-old son watching them in a moment of intimacy. They clash when they must decide if this was boyish curiosity or if they must punish the boy with violence.
Director's Statement: Jonathan Siebel
The short film Break the Will was inspired by a trip I took to visit a friend on the Western New York and Eastern Pennsylvania border. There we stayed in his bungalow, the nearest neighbor miles away. I saw glimpses of the Amish; but what drew me to the story was their isolation. Unable to interact with them, they became mythical to me. My imagination ran wild as I began to create stories and characters. My research taught me a lot about the Amish and their strong belief in punishment, something I could personally relate to. One of the earliest memories I have is the first time my father hit me with a belt. I can't remember what it was for, but I remember the anger and humiliation I felt as my mother and brother watched. The Amish are an incredibly peaceful people, but in accordance with the Bible, they believe physical punishment is necessary for a child's growth. In fact, they believe it is the responsibility of the parents to break a child's bad will. As you may have guessed, this is where I drew inspiration for the title.
I, personally, don't have children, but I know that intentionally striking someone you love must be difficult (or I would hope). So I wanted to explore the collision of what we feel is right versus what our belief system tells us is right. How far is someone willing to go for what they believe? And how do communities affect the behavior that we believe is perceived as being "right?" I hope you enjoy the film.