Safdie brothers

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Josh and Benny Safdie
Joshua Safdie
(1984-04-03) April 3, 1984 (age 36)
Benjamin Safdie
(1986-02-24) February 24, 1986 (age 34)

Alma materBoston University
  • Filmmakers
  • Actors
Years active2007–present
AwardsFull list

Joshua Safdie[1] (born April 3, 1984)[2] and Benjamin Safdie[1] (born February 24, 1986)[3] are American independent filmmakers based in New York City, who frequently collaborate on their films. They are best known for writing and directing the 2017 film Good Time and the 2019 film Uncut Gems.

In addition to writing and directing, both Josh and Benny serve in a variety of key positions including acting, editing, shooting, mixing sound, and producing their films. They have also frequently collaborated with Ronald Bronstein, who has co-written and edited all of their narrative features beginning with the 2009 film Daddy Longlegs. Other recurring collaborators include composer Oneohtrix Point Never and cinematographer Sean Price Williams.

Early life[edit]

The Safdie brothers were raised in New York, the children of Amy and Alberto Safdie.[4] They spent their childhood living between their father in Queens and their mother and stepfather in Manhattan.[4] The Safdie brothers are Jewish. Their father, who is of Sephardic Jewish of Syrian-Jewish and Lebanese-Jewish descent, was raised in France and Italy.[4][5][6][7][8] Their mother is of Russian-Jewish descent.[9]

They began making films at a young age, inspired by their film-enthusiast father, Alberto.[4] They graduated from Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School in Manhattan.[4] At Boston University, they co-founded the creative collective Red Bucket Films with Alex Kalman, Sam Lisenco, Brett Jutkiewicz, and Zachary Treitz.[10] Josh and Benny Safdie graduated from Boston University College of Communication in 2007 and 2008, respectively.[11] They claim "turmoil of their youth", as children of divorced parents, became an inspiration for later work.[12] Famed Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie is their great uncle, and they are also related to his son, playwright Oren Safdie.[13][14]


The Pleasure of Being Robbed[edit]

In 2007, Josh Safdie was hired by Andy Spade and Anthony Sperduti to create a short film featuring Kate Spade Handbags.[15] He devised a concise story about the adventures of a kleptomaniac woman.[15] Eleonore Hendricks, who co-wrote the screenplay, portrayed the lead role.[15] The project eventually turned into a feature film.[15] The film, titled The Pleasure of Being Robbed, had its world premiere at the 2008 South by Southwest.[16] It also screened in the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, along with a short film The Acquaintances of a Lonely John directed by Benny Safdie.[15]

Daddy Longlegs[edit]

Their second feature film, Daddy Longlegs, had its world premiere under the title Go Get Some Rosemary[17] in the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.[18] Starring Ronald Bronstein, it was inspired by the filmmakers' younger years living with their father, Albert.[12] Bronstein won the Breakthrough Actor Award at the Gotham Independent Film Awards 2010.[19] The film won the John Cassavetes Award at the 26th Independent Spirit Awards.[20]

Lenny Cooke[edit]

Their first full-length documentary film, Lenny Cooke, follows the life of Lenny Cooke, a once phenom high school basketball player, from adolescence to manhood.[21] The film premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival.[22]

Heaven Knows What[edit]

In 2014, the Safdie Brothers produced Heaven Knows What under their Elara Pictures banner.[23] The film centers around the real-life stories written in a book titled Mad Love in New York City by lead actress Arielle Holmes.[24] The film had its world premiere at the 71st Venice International Film Festival.[25] It also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, and the Tokyo International Film Festival.[25]

Good Time[edit]

The Safdies directed the 2017 crime film Good Time, starring Robert Pattinson and Ben Safdie as siblings.[26] The film was selected to compete for Palme d'Or in the main competition section at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.[27]

Uncut Gems[edit]

The Safdies (center) with Adam Sandler in December 2019.

The Safdies directed Uncut Gems, starring Adam Sandler, with Martin Scorsese serving as an executive producer.[28] The film was inspired by their father's time working in the Manhattan Diamond District.[12][7] It had its world premiere at the 2019 Telluride Film Festival.[29] Theatrically released in the United States in 2019, it received critical acclaim and became one of A24's highest-grossing releases.[30]

Future projects[edit]

In December 2017, The Hollywood Reporter announced that The Safdies will helm the 48 Hrs. remake with the script being written by Josh Safdie, Ronald Bronstein, and Jerrod Carmichael.[31] In December 2019, The Safdies elaborated in an interview with The A.V. Club, saying the film was still being made but it would no longer be a remake.[32] Their script would instead be "re-shifted into something original."[32]

In February 2020, Showtime ordered a pilot for The Curse, a parody of HGTV starring Nathan Fielder and Benny Safdie. Fielder is set to co-write the show with The Safdies, and both brothers are to co-direct.[33][34]


Feature films[edit]

Title Year Director Writer Producer Cinematographer Editor Actor
The Pleasure of Being Robbed 2008 Josh Josh Josh Josh Josh & Benny Josh
Daddy Longlegs 2009 Josh & Benny Josh & Benny N/A Josh Josh & Benny Josh
Lenny Cooke 2013 Josh & Benny N/A N/A Josh Benny N/A
Heaven Knows What 2014 Josh & Benny Josh N/A N/A Benny N/A
Good Time 2017 Josh & Benny Josh N/A N/A Benny Benny
Uncut Gems 2019 Josh & Benny Josh & Benny N/A N/A Benny N/A

Short films[edit]

Title Year Director Writer Producer Cinematographer Editor Actor
I Think I'm Missing Parts 2005 Josh Josh N/A N/A N/A Benny
The Ralph Handel Story 2005 Josh & Benny N/A N/A N/A N/A Josh & Benny
We're Going To The Zoo 2006 Josh Josh Josh N/A N/A Josh
The Back of Her Head 2007 Josh Josh & Benny Josh N/A N/A Josh
Jerry Ruis, Shall We Do This? 2007 Josh N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
John’s Lonely Trip to Coney Island 2007 Josh & Benny N/A N/A Josh Benny Benny
The Acquaintances of a Lonely John 2008 Benny Benny Benny N/A Benny Benny
There’s Nothing You Can Do 2008 Josh & Benny N/A N/A N/A N/A Benny
John's Gone 2010 Josh & Benny Josh & Benny Josh & Benny Josh Josh & Benny Benny
Straight Hustle 2011 Josh & Benny Josh & Benny N/A N/A N/A N/A
Solid Gold 2012 Josh & Benny N/A N/A Josh N/A Benny
The Black Balloon 2012 Josh & Benny Josh & Benny N/A N/A Benny N/A
Trophy Hunter 2012 Josh & Benny Josh & Benny N/A Josh Josh N/A
Toback Vs. Mailer: The Incident 2016 Josh & Benny Josh & Benny N/A N/A Benny N/A
Goldman v Silverman 2020 Josh & Benny N/A N/A Josh N/A Benny

Acting Credits[edit]