The Pale of Settlement


On a cold winter day in 1916, four Russian soldiers arrive at a small poverty-stricken settlement in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. Their mission is to bring fifteen-year-old Moische Glasserman to the local regiment, by any means necessary. Pale of Settlement, Jacob Sillman’s first dramatic short, tells the true account of Moische’s choice to fight for his life and for justice.

Residents of Russia’s Pale of Settlement, the area ofland to which Russian Jews were restricted from 1791 to 1917, were already well accustomed to persecution by the outbreak of World War I. Russian government turned a blind eye to violence against Jews. They relentlessly restricted education and employment, and maintained a severe conscription policy. Shtetls throughout the Russian Empire were obligated to provide a disproportionately large number of young men to the army or face a heavy fine. The bulk of these conscripts were 12 to 15 years old, some as young as 8. The policy of targeting the Jewish Population in times of war to fillout the ranks continued through the first World War. As the Russian army began to face heavy losses at the hands of the Germans, this policy turned into a daily practice.

Moische, like most Jewish boys at this time, is increasingly aware of the escalation of fighting near his home. He knows that joining thelocal regiment,voluntarily or by force, would mean immediate deployment to the front lines. When he hears the approach of the soldier’s horses in the distance, he refuses to accept his fate. When the soldiers arrive, they find an axe and freshly chopped wood, evidence of a strong young man, but no Moische. The soldiers set out after him, armed and angry.

Production started March of 2012 in Sugar Hill, NH. Principles include Karen Lynn Gorney (Saturday Night Fever, All My Children). The film is sponsored by Arri CSC, which has generously agreed to donate an Arricam Studio Camera Package for the duration of the shoot.

About the Filmmakers


Jacob Sillman is a New York based filmmaker and cinematographer. He attends NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. As cinematographer he has worked on several professional films and numerous music videos and commercials. He has directed several commercials including, most recently, a commercial for Cadillac.


Adi Gupta is a highly experienced Student Producer at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Founder of the production company, Conjure Arts, he produced the independent feature film, Kshay, shot entirely in India. His most recent project is the short film Stealing Suburbia, which was an official selection of the Cannes International Film Festival.



Back to Top





Join our mailing list!