Director's Statement

Asher Schwartz

When I first discovered a book of short stories by Sholem Aleichem in 2015, I was
immediately entranced. The stories seamlessly weave together irony, sadness, joy, and
humor—while keeping Russian Yiddishkeit alive. This is where I discovered the short
story “The Fiddle”. It tells the story of a young boy names Sholom, who will do anything
to play the fiddle, despite his father. The stories of "The Fiddle" and The Fiddler on the
Roof needed to be brought together somehow. They connect quite perfectly—and after
some deliberation, I turned the story of Sholom, the young starry-eyed fiddle fiend, into
the childhood tale of the fiddler from The Fiddler on the Roof .

Asher Schwartz

Director & Animator

The music in Sholom Aleichem's short story "The Fiddle" is described as deeply emotional and colorful. As an animator
and a musician, I found it an exciting challenge to bring the music to a visual format in
classic animation technique. The color palette in the film is largely inspired by the art of
Chagall, since Chagall’s painting “Fiddler on the Roof”, inspired the Broadway hit and
film classic of the same name.

The Fiddle - an aniated short film
Mike Burstyn

With a desire of keeping the film true to its source material, I decided to have Mike
Burstyn read the narration in Yiddish. Although I personally can count on one hand the
number of words I understand in Yiddish, the language seemed to compliment the
animation in a way no other language would have.

The message I hope to convey through the film is one which highlights the struggle for balance in our daily lives. Some people find that their passions challenge the norm, making them feel they are constantly swimming upstream. But in Sholom’s case, as in many cases, tradition and modern developments do not necessarily clash. While the theme of my movie may follow the story "The Fiddle," the overall vision is an homage to the collection of brilliant stories that Sholem Aleichem left behind.

The Fiddle - Behind the scenes