Charm Circle

: Documentary Feature
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Post-Production


An estranged New York family attempts to reconnect with what worked in decades old home videos: a sense of humor mixed with some jam sessions.


Charm Circle is a cinema verité portrait of an eccentric New York family as they navigate the chaos that divides them. Filmmaker Nira Burstein returns to her childhood home—now crumbling from the inside out—to explore whether she and her two sisters can reconnect with their parents. With the discovery of a treasure trove of home videos documenting a tumultuous upbringing, moments of laughter, music, and loving spirit are also revealed . Whether or not this family can rebuild that bond is put to the test when Nira's younger sister announces her upcoming polyamorous wedding, refueling tensions that threaten to separate the family for good.


We set out to make a movie that explores the possibility of joy amongst the chaos, which has taken on new meaning and urgency in these times. Society is facing isolation and mental health struggles at record numbers, and with this new pass, we have emphasized how we can find ways to connect when it feels most difficult.  Ultimately, we want to uplift, weaving together humor, music, and acceptance.


Nira Burstein - Producer/Director

While pursuing a bachelor's degree in Media Studies at Queens College, Nira began her career as an editor and has worked her way into directing. Nira has held positions at Turn of the Century Pictures and the Douglas Keeve Studio. She has written, directed and produced several short films and music videos. Her short fiction film “I Said Light” premiered at the Portland Underground Film Festival and another fiction short, ”Off & Away,” premiered at the Brooklyn Film Festival in 2014. Charm Circle is Nira's documentary debut about her family and it is slated for release in 2018. Nira was born, raised, and continues to live and work in New York City.

Michael Levine - Editor
Michael Levine is an Emmy Award winning film editor who got his start working with Ken Burns on Baseball (1994), and The West (1995). Acclaimed filmmaker Bennett Miller hired Michael to edit The Cruise which got a theatrical release in 1998. Amongst his other notable films are: Amir Bar Lev’s My Kid Could Paint That (2007), Jennifer Venditti’s Billy The Kid (2007), Liz Garbus’ Bobby Fischer Against the World (2011), and Sarah & Ken Burns’ Central Park Five (2012). Michael edited three films for Sebastian Junger that included the Oscar nominated, Restrepo (2010) (co-directed by Tim Hetherington), for which he received his Emmy for Outstanding Editing.

Betsy Laikin - Producer

Betsy Laikin is a New York based creative producer and media consultant. She produced Nira Burstein’s short film Off & Away (2014), which premiered at The Brooklyn Film Festival and was an associate producer for Jacob Feiring’s Samantha and the Amazing Acro Cats, which premiered at Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival in 2017. Her latest film project, Now Return Us To Normal, is a first-person account of time spent at a behavior modification school in rural Utah.


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