In this acerbic part teen comedy, part drama, TAHARA, where a funeral becomes a battleground between best friends Carrie Lowstein (Madeline Grey DeFreece) and Hannah Rosen (Rachel Sennott, breakout star of SHIVA BABY). When their former Hebrew school classmate commits suicide, the two girls attend her funeral as well as the “Teen Talk-back” session hosted by their synagogue, designed to be an opportunity for them to understand grief through Judaism. Hannah, more interested in impressing her crush Tristan (Daniel Taveras), convinces Carrie to practice kissing with her, unlocking feelings that turn Carrie’s world upside down. Emotions heightened, the scene develops into a biting depiction of unrequited crushes, toxic friendships, and wavering faith, which ComingSoon calls “one of the most original films in the coming-of-age sub-genre in a long time.” Director Olivia Peace and Screenwriter Jess Zeidman join us for an in-depth conversation on the collaboration between them, the superb cast that was assembled for this exceptionally well executed story of love, death and teen angst.
About the filmmaker -Olivia Peace is an award winning inter-disciplinary artist and film director from Detroit, Michigan living in Los Angeles. Their work is heavily informed by hip hop, the dreamspace, and a deep appreciation for garishness. They hold a master’s degree in Interactive Media and Games from The University of Southern California where they specialized in Worldbuilding. Their thesis project, “Against Reality,” is a roomscale interactive experience built using AI neural networks.While still in their master’s program, Olivia’s debut feature film, TAHARA, premiered to rave reviews at the 2020 Slamdance Film festival and went on to win awards around the world. TAHARA opened in theaters June 2022 via Film Movement becoming a New York Times Critic’s Pick.Olivia remains committed to discussing and exploring critical imagination and radical optimism in the face of loss and change. They believe that style helps to facilitate agency in people and so they set out to create work that’s replete with style.
About the filmmaker – Writer, Producer, Comedian Jess Zeidman is a writer, comedian, and producer living in Brooklyn, NY. Her work explores toxic female friendship, sexuality, and trauma through comedy. As a queer creator and collaborator, Jess is dedicated to inclusivity and accessibility at every step of production. Her first feature, TAHARA, which she wrote & co-produced, premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival in 2020 and has gone on to be a part of Outfest, Maryland Film Festival, Frameline, and more. Previously, she has written for the satirical website Reductress and the indie food publication Cherry Bombe. Jess graduated from Northwestern University with a BA in Radio/Television/Film and a minor in Theatre in 2018.
100% on RottenTomatoes
“Tahara would be nothing without the wonderful performances of Sennott and DeFreece. I can’t say enough about the acting. I would also be remiss in not highlighting how funny Tahara is. Lastly, yes, we’ve seen high school classrooms in comedies of the past with your stereotypical cliques. Tahara’s handling of this tried-and-true comic set-up feels fresh and alive.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat
“This is truly one of the most original films in the coming-of-age subgenre in a long time.” – Grant Hermanns, ComingSoon.net
“Brilliantly crafted, intelligent, honest, funny, stylishly cinematic, and serves as a powerful feature debut for director Olivia Peace and screenwriter Jess Ziedman.” – Rendy Jones, Rendy Reviews
“So much conversation can be had around this film, which is why it’s a must-watch. It’s a sharp dark comedy with fantastic lead performances from Madeline Grey DeFreece and Rachel Sennott. It’s a unique debut, and with poignancy shows the importance of growing into ourselves and out of toxic relationships.” – Sara Clements, AwardsWatch
“Peace’s film emerges as a keen-eyed examination of contemporary teenage intimacy.” – Manuel Betancourt, That Shelf