Safdie brothers

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Josh and Benny Safdie
Joshua Safdie
(1984-04-03) April 3, 1984 (age 37)
Benjamin Safdie
(1986-02-24) February 24, 1986 (age 35)

Alma mater Boston University
  • Filmmakers
  • Actors
Years active2007–present
Benny: Ava Safdie
(m. 2013)
ChildrenBenny: 2
Awards Full 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 crime thriller films Good Time (2017) starring Robert Pattinson and Uncut Gems (2019) starring Adam Sandler.


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

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 a Sephardic Jew of Syrian-Jewish descent, was raised in France and in Italy. [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] Their mother is an Ashkenazi Jew 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 brothers grew up as fans of basketball and the New York Knicks. The duo try to watch every game together. [15] Basketball is prominently featured in Lenny Cooke and Uncut Gems.


The Pleasure of Being Robbed

In 2007, Josh Safdie was hired by Andy Spade and Anthony Sperduti to create a short film featuring Kate Spade Handbags. [16] He devised a concise story about the adventures of a kleptomaniac woman. [16] Eleonore Hendricks, who co-wrote the screenplay, portrayed the lead role. [16] The project eventually turned into a feature film. [16] The film, titled The Pleasure of Being Robbed , had its world premiere at the 2008 South by Southwest. [17] 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. [16]

Daddy Longlegs

Their second feature film, Daddy Longlegs , had its world premiere under the title Go Get Some Rosemary [18] in the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. [19] 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. [20] The film won the John Cassavetes Award at the 26th Independent Spirit Awards. [21]

Lenny Cooke

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. [22] The film premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. [23]

Heaven Knows What

In 2014, the Safdie Brothers produced Heaven Knows What under their Elara Pictures banner. [24] The film centers around the real-life stories written in a book titled Mad Love in New York City by lead actress Arielle Holmes. [25] The film had its world premiere at the 71st Venice International Film Festival. [26] It also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, and the Tokyo International Film Festival. [26]

Good Time

The Safdies directed the 2017 crime film Good Time , starring Robert Pattinson and Benny Safdie as siblings. [27] The film was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or in the main competition section at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. [28]

Uncut Gems

The Safdies (center) with Adam Sandler in December 2019. SafdieBros.jpeg
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. [29] 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. [30] Theatrically released in the United States in 2019, it received critical acclaim and became one of A24's highest-grossing releases. [31]

Future projects

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. [32] 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. [33] Their script would instead be "re-shifted into something original." [33]

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. [34] [35]


Feature films


2008 The Pleasure of Being Robbed YesYesYesYesYes
2009 Daddy Longlegs YesYesNoYesYes
2013 Lenny Cooke YesNoNoYesNo
2014 Heaven Knows What YesYesNoNoNo
2017 Good Time YesYesNoNoNo
2019 Uncut Gems YesYesNoNoNo


2008 The Pleasure of Being Robbed NoNoYes
2009 Daddy Longlegs YesYesYes
2013 Lenny Cooke YesNoYes
2014 Heaven Knows What YesNoYes
2017 Good Time YesNoYes
2019 Uncut Gems YesYesYes

Short films


2005I Think I'm Missing PartsYesYesNoNoNo
The Ralph Handel StoryYesNoNoNoNo
2006We're Going To The ZooYesYesYesNoNo
2007The Back of Her HeadYesYesYesNoNo
Jerry Ruis, Shall We Do This?YesNoNoNoNo
John's Lonely Trip to Coney IslandYesNoNoYesNo
2008There's Nothing You Can DoYesNoNoNoNo
2010John's GoneYesYesYesYesYes
2011Straight HustleYesYesNoNoNo
2012Solid GoldYesNoNoYesNo
The Black BalloonYesYesNoNoNo
Trophy HunterYesYesNoYesYes
2016Toback Vs. Mailer: The IncidentYesYesNoNoNo
2020Goldman v SilvermanYesNoNoYesNo


2005The Ralph Handel StoryYesNoNoNo
2007The Back of Her HeadNoYesNoNo
John's Lonely Trip to Coney IslandYesNoNoYes
2008The Acquaintances of a Lonely JohnYesYesYesYes
There's Nothing You Can DoYesNoNoNo
2010John's GoneYesYesYesYes
2011Straight HustleYesYesNoNo
2012Solid GoldYesNoNoNo
The Black BalloonYesYesNoYes
Trophy HunterYesYesNoNo
2016Toback Vs. Mailer: The IncidentYesYesNoYes
2020Goldman v SilvermanYesNoNoNo

Acting credits


2006We're Going to the ZooThe HitchhikerShort film
The Ralph Handel StoryThe Director (voice)Short film
2007The Back of Her HeadHimShort film
2008The Pleasure of Being RobbedJosh
YeastRiverguy 1
2009 Taking Woodstock Documentary CameramanUncredited
Daddy Longlegs Chris
La corsaAlessandroShort film
2013Lydia Hoffman Lydia HoffmanBruceShort film
HellawareGallery Patron
Stand Clear of the Closing Doors Fighter
2015 This Summer Feeling Thomas
2016 Togetherness Craddock Brother #1Episode: "Advanced Pretend"
My ArtTom
2017Ezer KenegdoLevi


2004Alberto Lives in a BathroomBenny the SalesmanShort film
2005I Think I'm Missing PartsShort film
2006If You See Something, Say SomethingBusiness Man 2Short film
The Ralph Handel StoryRalph HandelShort film
2007John's Lonely Trip to Coney IslandJohnShort film
2008The Story of Charles RiverbankCharles RiverbankShort film
There's Nothing You Can DoShort film
YeastRiverguy 2
The Acquaintances of a Lonely JohnJohnShort film
2009La corsaFedericoShort film
2010John's GoneJohnShort film
2012Solid GoldGoldmanShort film
2016 Togetherness Craddock Brother #2Episode: "Advanced Pretend"
2017 Person to Person Eugene
Good Time Nick Nikas
2020Goldman v SilvermanAl SilvermanShort film
Pieces of a Woman Chris
2021 Licorice Pizza Joel Wachs Post-production
2022 Obi-Wan Kenobi TBAFilming;
TBA Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret Herb SimonPost-production

Music videos

2015 Ariel Pink "I Need a Minute" Heaven Knows What: Original Music From The Film [36]
2017 Jay-Z "Marcy Me" 4:44 [37]
Oneohtrix Point Never "The Pure and the Damned" Good Time (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [38]
2020"Lost But Never Alone" Magic Oneohtrix Point Never [39]

Awards and nominations


Their artistic influences included the cinematic works of John Cassavetes, Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino as well as underground comix artist Robert Crumb and author Irvine Welsh. [40] [41] [42]

Benny Safdie named the Robert Bresson's film A Man Escaped as his favorite film of all time. [43]

Related Research Articles

Robert Bresson French film director

Robert Bresson was a French film director.

Adam Sandler American actor, comedian, and filmmaker

Adam Richard Sandler is an American actor, comedian, and filmmaker. He was a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1990 to 1995, before going on to star in many Hollywood films, which have combined to earn more than $2 billion at the box office. Sandler had an estimated net worth of $420 million in 2020, and signed a further four-movie deal with Netflix worth over $250 million.

<i>A Man Escaped</i> 1956 French film

A Man Escaped or: The Wind Bloweth Where It Listeth is a 1956 French film directed by Robert Bresson. It is based on the memoirs of André Devigny, a member of the French Resistance held in Montluc prison by the occupying Germans during World War II. The protagonist of the film is called Fontaine. Bresson himself was imprisoned by the Germans as a member of the French Resistance. The second part of the title comes from the Bible.

Daddy Longlegs is a 2009 American comedy drama film directed by Josh and Benny Safdie. It stars Ronald Bronstein, Sage Ranaldo, and Frey Ranaldo. It tells the story of a divorced projectionist and his two sons. The film had its world premiere under the title Go Get Some Rosemary in the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival on May 16, 2009. It was released in the United States on May 14, 2010.

Oneohtrix Point Never American musician

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Ronald Bronstein

Ronald Bronstein is an American film director, screenwriter, editor and actor. He directed, wrote and edited the 2007 film Frownland.

<i>Good Time</i> (film) 2017 American film directed by the Safdie brothers

Good Time is a 2017 American crime thriller film directed by Josh and Benny Safdie and written by Josh Safdie and Ronald Bronstein. It stars Robert Pattinson as a robber who tries to free his mentally disabled brother, all while eluding his own capture. Barkhad Abdi, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Buddy Duress co-star. The original soundtrack was by electronic musician Oneohtrix Point Never. The film was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or in the 2017 Cannes Film Festival's main competition section. It received critical acclaim for Pattinson's performance, the direction, story, and soundtrack.

The Independent Spirit Award for Best Editing is one of the annual awards given by Independent Spirit Awards, a non-profit organization dedicated to independent film and independent filmmakers.

<i>Good Time</i> (soundtrack) 2017 soundtrack album by Oneohtrix Point Never

Good Time is a soundtrack album by electronic musician Oneohtrix Point Never, containing the score for the Safdie brothers' 2017 film Good Time. It was released on August 10, 2017 via Warp Records.

<i>Uncut Gems</i> 2019 American crime thriller film starring Adam Sandler

Uncut Gems is a 2019 American crime thriller film directed by Josh and Benny Safdie, who co-wrote the screenplay with Ronald Bronstein. The film stars Adam Sandler as Howard Ratner, an American Jewish jeweler and gambling addict in New York City's Diamond District, who must retrieve an expensive gem he purchased to pay off his debts. The film also stars Lakeith Stanfield, Julia Fox, Kevin Garnett, Idina Menzel, and Eric Bogosian. Filming took place from September to November 2018. The original score was composed by Daniel Lopatin.

<i>Lenny Cooke</i> (film) 2013 American film

Lenny Cooke is a 2013 American sports documentary film directed by Josh and Benny Safdie. It tells the life of the former high school basketball player Lenny Cooke. The film had its world premiere at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival on April 18, 2013. It was released in the United States in limited theaters on December 6, 2013.

The 91st National Board of Review Awards, honoring the best in film for 2019, were announced on December 3, 2019.

The 45th Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, given by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), honored the best in film for 2019.

Julia Fox (actress) Italian-American artist and actress

Julia Fox is an Italian-American actress and filmmaker. She is best known for her debut performance in the 2019 film Uncut Gems, for which she was nominated for the Breakthrough Actor Award at the 2019 Gotham Awards.

The 24th San Diego Film Critics Society Awards were announced on December 9, 2019.

<i>Uncut Gems</i> (soundtrack) 2019 soundtrack album by Daniel Lopatin

Uncut Gems is a soundtrack album by electronic musician Daniel Lopatin, containing the original score for the Safdie brothers' 2019 film Uncut Gems. It was released via Warp on December 13, 2019. It received positive reviews from critics. It peaked at number 44 on the UK Soundtrack Albums Chart.

The 40th Boston Society of Film Critics Awards, honoring the best in filmmaking in 2019, were given on December 15, 2019.

Wayne Diamond is an American fashion designer.


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  43. Jacqueline Coley (January 14, 2020). "The Safdie Brothers' Five Favorite Films". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved July 15, 2021. Benny Safdie: "Then the second one – and let’s say, this was in no particular order – but A Man Escaped, the [Robert] Bresson movie. That has to be my favorite movie of all time, just because it always makes me cry at the end, because I feel like I’ve achieved something that the character achieves. And it tells you what happens in the title, and it makes it no less suspenseful the entire way. You’re literally feeling the sound of the gravel as he puts his foot down – those shots of the foot or the spoon going into the slot. All of these things, the editing of it, the character, the way he’s using these actors who you don’t really know, they just – you feel like they’re real people. It’s just so perfectly put together, and it’s something where I kind of feel like I’m going along with the escape in a way that’s just done by a master. In a weird way, I feel like Bresson is the Fontaine character in that movie. But what’s weird is I’ve watched it again recently, and I had a totally different feeling of it, where it was more about society and how people are talking to each other. And then you realize Bresson is just kind of making the same movie every time, just with different [settings and characters]. One’s World War II, one’s Lancelot."