Cleveland International Film Festival } April 4 – 15, 2018

An 'Orphan' Makes a Film about Family

April 05, 2013   |   posted in Filmmakers


Writer and director Jeff Lipsky had just lost his father, which brought back memories of his mother and her death. At the same time, he was writing his latest script, “Molly’s Theory of Relativity.”

Although the story is about a young married couple, Molly and Zack, the story’s focus is on mothers and daughters and fathers and sons.

“And if there’s anyone out there who can’t identify with that,” says Lipsky. “Then they’re ice, or an orphan.”

After reflecting about his own mother, he realized that even after death, she was still with him all the time, especially in times of great stress, anxiety or worry.

“That’s what inspired the magical realism aspects in the film,” he says.

Molly’s mother Natasha, although dead for years, appears as a hallucination throughout the film. That mother-daughter relationship was specifically called out by the New York Times review as “the most touching bond” in the film.

During filming, Lipsky invited the cast and crew to take over his 500-square-foot apartment for the duration of the shoot. Almost 90 percent of the film took place there.

“I’ve always been able to compartmentalize and separate directing work from real life,” he says.

He has used his home before, having shot his previous film, “Flannel Pajamas” (CIFF 2007), in his then-apartment. So he knew what he was in for … sort of.

But, he explains, while filming the pivotal largescale dinner scene—including 25 crew members and nine actors—it did “resemble the stateroom scene in the Marx Brothers’ film, ‘A Night at the Opera.’”

The New York Times review of the movie, noted that the film “shows how our parents live inside us, and how our relationships with them continue to evolve even after they’re gone.”

How true. Lipsky remembers his parents fondly. When it came to fulfilling his dream of being part of the film industry, Lipsky says, his parents were proud of their son—from his first job in the business as an usher at the local movie theater to his first film.

Even though Lipsky says “financially, I’m an unsuccessful filmmaker,” he still considers himself the luckiest person on the planet. “That speaks volumes about the power of art,” he says.

—Anne M. DiTeodoro
Photo by Janet Macoska.

PDF  Download Related PDF [1.6 MB]

Related Screenings:
04/05/13 @ 6:30 PM – Molly's Theory of Relativity
04/06/13 @ 1:30 PM – Molly's Theory of Relativity

Permalink  [Permalink]

CIFF on Instagram

Follow us @clefilmfest

Thanks @clevelandscene and its readers for voting CIFF Best Arts/Film/Music Festival 2017! #boc17

Posted by clefilmfest at 7:00 PM

CIFF Tweets

Thanks @ClevelandScene and its readers for voting CIFF Best Arts/Film/Music Festival 2017! #BOC17

about 8 hours ago   .   Reply   .   Retweet   .   Favorite

CIFF Facebook Posts

Thanks Cleveland Scene Magazine and its readers for voting CIFF Best Arts/Film/Music Festival 2017! #BOC17

about 8 hours ago   .   Link

Questions? >


Check out our FAQs for answers to common questions about entering the film festival.

Become A CIFF Member >

Become A CIFF Member

We have seven different levels of membership to choose from, so find the one that best fits your film appetite!

Sign up for our email newsletter

  • facebook
  • twitter
  • instagram
  • youtube
  • flickr
  • foursquare