Pivot Pals (2022) – Trailer from Doron Drew Feldman on Vimeo.

Many children who contend with the trauma follwoing the death of one of their parents experience those feelings again when their surviving parent begins dating again. Filmmaker Doron Drew Feldman drew from his own grief-stricken personal experiences of his mother beginning to date again after the death of his father in his new short film, ‘Pivot Pals.’ The comedy chronicles the young protagonist, Dax, as he’s forced to face the pain he’s feeling when his mother forms a new romantic relationship, and whether he can live with the new man in her life.

‘Pivot Pals’ is having its World premieres at this year’s first annual Dances With Film NYC festival this Sunday, December 4 at 1:15pm during the Shorts Block 6 at the Regal Union Square. The festival’s latest edition comes after it celebrated its 25th anniversary in Hollywood this past spring.

The movie was written by Derek Weissbein and Doron Drew Feldman, the latter of whom also directed, produced and edited the short. ‘Pivot Pals’ stars Cameron L. Keitt, Ty Fanning, Sal Rendino, Lyindaa Russell, Freya Gothelf and Rolando Mays.

‘Pivot Pals’ follows Dax (Keitt), an uptight boy who reluctantly agrees to spend the day with his mother’s man-child boyfriend Clay (Fanning). In an effort to get closer to Dax, Clay decides to take him to a Steelers game.

But, when Clay is forced to pivot because Dax says he doesn’t like football, a chaotic day commences. As the afternoon wears on, Dax continues to challenge Clay, and eventually causes Clay to lash out and prematurely end the day.

Feldman generously took the time recently to talk about co-scribing, helming, producing and editing ‘Pivot Pals’ during an exclusive interview over Zoom. Watch the full interview in the video, as well as read a written expert from the interview, with the filmmaker below.

ShockYa (SY): You co-wrote the script for the new short comedy, ‘Pivot Pals.’ What was your inspiration in penning the screenplay?

Doron Drew Feldman (DDF): I have a writing partner, Derek Weissbein, and we have worked on one script together, and a number of other projects. When COVID started to wan and we were able to start going out and filming again, I said, “Why don’t we make a short film? I’d like to be back on set, working with actors and directing.”

So we had a couple of ideas, and one of the ideas I presented was a story from my childhood. When I was six-years-old, my father unfortunately passed away, and that was obviously very challenging.

In some ways, the period after was more challenging when my mother started dating again, and new people started coming into our lives. We were living this whole new experience and reality, and I was growing up and going through changes, as a young boy does.

One of the times, a man I didn’t particularly like, who seemed to like my mom quite a bit, wanted to take me to a Dallas Cowboys game, as I grew up in Dallas, in order to get to know me. So he said to my mom, “Why don’t I take your son for a drive around the block one afternoon, and then I’ll take him to the game as the next step?”

So he drove me around the block, but I don’t remember anything from the conversation. But I do remember really not wanting to be there.

When he dropped me off, he walked into my house and found my mom and said, “I think you need to get your son’s IQ checked out.” My mom said, “What? What are you talking about?” He said, “Your son just told me what he thought about our relationship, and I think he’s right.” He broke up with my mom on the spot and left. (Feldman laughs.)

My mom likes to tell that story. I don’t remember what I said, but I guess I got my way.

So I told Derek that story, and he said, “That can be a short film.” Often times, when you’re doing a short film, you either want it to be contained to one location or a short period of time.

So that was the genesis, and we started riffing off of each other. When people watch the film, they’ll see it’s not anything like that story, but it has that heart, humor and character to it.

SY: Besides co-penning the script, you also directed the film. What was your overall helming approach while you were making the movie?

DDF: In terms of directing, I’ve never directed anything that felt so personal. Even though (the film’s) story didn’t actually happen, since it’s based on an event, it felt very close to me. So I was mindful to attempt to let go of some of my ego, which is hard as an artist. (Feldman laughs.)

I would say the experience overall was very challenging because we only had a limited amount of days; we only had three-and-a-half days. There are a lot of locations in the short film, and the budget wasn’t very large.

But I was fortunate to have one of my longest collaborators, Ty Fanning, who plays Clay, come from New York City to play one of the main roles. We also found a terrific actor in Cameron Keitt, who plays the young boy, Dax. He’s smart and used to being on set.

So getting to work with the two of them, and seeing their chemistry together, made things go much more smoothly. But of course, like any low budget short project, it’s not without its difficulties, and also moments that I can recall and now laugh about.

SY: ‘Pivot Pals’ will have its World Premiere in the Shorts Block 6 this Sunday, December 4 during Dances with Films NYC. What does it mean to you that the short is playing at the festival?

DDF: It’s very exciting. I haven’t been a part of Dances With Films before, but it’s a highly reputable film festival. They’ve treated us so well so far. I may be spoiled that this is the first festival that we’re going to to kick off our festival run.

They’re communicative and willing to go out of their way to help us. I’m so excited that they made it so that the films aren’t in competition with each other, meaning they’re all slotted at different times. Even in the shorts blocks, there’s a comedy, drama and a horror film, so you’re not competing for the same space. So that’s exciting to me.

I’ve gone through all of the trailers for the festival, and all of (the projects) are high quality. So it’s good to see that diversity.

Doron Drew Feldman, the co-writer-director-producer-editor of the short comedy, ‘Pivot Pals.’

By Karen Benardello

As a graduate of LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic, Karen Benardello serves as ShockYa's Senior Movies & Television Editor. Her duties include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, and scribing movie, television and music reviews and news articles. As a New York City-area based journalist, she's a member of the guilds, New York Film Critics Online and the Women Film Critics Circle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *