Black Hat

What goes down, must come up...

Project type: Fiction Short
Director: Sarah Smith
Writer/Producer: Phillip Guttmann
Producer: Yaniv Rokah
Co-producer: Loriel Samaras
Director of Photography: Jeff Tomcho

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A seemingly pious Hasidic man living a secret double life misplaces his black hat one night which will cause his two separate lives to collide in a way he never imagined.


At first blush, Shmuel is a pious Hasidic man leading a fairly simple life. By day he dutifully prays at the local synagogue and manages a busy dry cleaner. But when his wife and daughters leave town for a few days, Shmuel will step out of his simple daily life and into a more complex world lit by the night. When he misplaces his black hat along the way, Shmuel’s two lives will interconnect in a way he never expected.

Meet the Filmmakers

Sarah Smith — Director

Sarah Smith is a Los Angeles based filmmaker and television producer. She is the co-creator and director of the web series Tender Touches, which won 1st place at the 2018 AT&T Create-a- thon. In 2015 she debuted her award-winning short film D.Aisan which went on to screen at over 35 festivals across the globe including Palm Springs ShortFest, Iris Prize (shortlisted 30K prize), Rhode Island International Film Festival (Director’s Choice), DC Independent Film Festival (Best Short) amongst many others. Sarah was also awarded the 2017 AT&T Underrepresented Filmmaker Award for D.Asian, presented by Patty Jenkins. Sarah has written for The Young & the Restless, where she and her team won a WGA award for outstanding scripted daytime drama in 2013. In addition to her writing and producing work, Sarah has edited numerous music videos, short films, and the two feature films Saint Janet and Armless (an official selection to the NEXT category of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival). Sarah is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Phillip Guttmann — Writer/Producer

Phillip Guttman is a writer and producer based in Los Angeles. Originally from Minneapolis, Phillip was raised in Northern California. He earned an MFA at the New School in New York and an MSW at New York University. Phillip has written many plays and worked off and on Broadway in New York and worked for many years with people and in criminal justice as a social worker and therapist. Phillip wrote the short story D. Asian which became a widely acclaimed short film in 2015 where it was an official selection at film festivals around the globe, including Palm Springs, Newport Beach, Tel Aviv LGBTQ and went on to win awards at Rhode Island Flickers, Seattle Shorts and was a finalist for the 2015 Iris Prize. Most recently his web series, Tender Touches, won the grand prize for the 2018 AT&T Shape Create-a-thon.

Yaniv Rokah — Producer

Yaniv is a director, producer and actor originally from Netanya, Israel. Yaniv started off as an actor in New York where he attended the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute. After Yaniv moved to Los Angeles in 2006, he appeared on shows like NCIS: Los Angeles, The Beast, Jon Avnet’s web-series Kendra, USA Network show Dig, Marc Forster’s 2013 summer blockbuster World War Z and in several national commercials, including a SuperBowl spot for Verizon. Yaniv made his directorial debut with Queen Mimi, a feature documentary that tells the story of one woman’s journey through homelessness, which won many awards around the world. Queen Mimi was granted a worldwide distribution deal with Netflix, where the film is currently streaming.

Loriel Samaras — Associate Producer

After studying and performing with The Second City in Chicago, Loriel attended Columbia College, during which she produced uPressplay productions’ Palooka, Soldier and Roscoe Village. While in Chicago, Loriel worked in casting for Prison Break, Stranger Than Fiction and Flags of Our Fathers. After moving to Los Angeles, she has worked over the last 13 years on numerous high-profile productions such as, Big Love, Get Smart, Revenge, Desperate Housewives, Glee and American Horror Story.
Currently, Loriel is developing and producing various television and short form projects and works with writer/producer, Maria Arena Bell at Vitameatavegamin Productions.


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