Charm Circle

Director and Producer Nira Burstein, Producer Betsy Laikin
Charm Circle


Oscillating between present day and decades-old home videos, filmmaker Nira Burstein returns to her childhood home—now crumbling from the inside out—to explore the circumstances in which her parents live. Prolific musical expression and creative resourcefulness punctuate an otherwise tumultuous environment. When the announcement of her younger sister’s polyamorous wedding is met with challenge by her religiously observant Jewish father, refueling tensions threaten to sever what’s left of the family bond. Burstein’s brave, wryly amusing first feature is a tender, unpredictable portrait of a family struggling against an array of issues with honesty and a steely sense of humor. Exploring Jewish values and going beneath the surface of the social struggles of its subjects, the film reveals people as more than the problems they experience, and the labels applied to them.

Phase of Support: Post-Production

Nira Burstein

Nira Burstein - Director, Producer

Nira Burstein is an award-winning filmmaker based in New York City. She was recently selected for Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film and her documentary film Charm Circle has been shortlisted for the International Documentary Association’s Feature Awards. Charm Circle had its World Premiere at Sheffield DocFest in 2021 where it won the Audience Award and First Feature Award Special Mention. Nira is an Independent Film Project (now The Gotham) Documentary Fellow, and her work has been supported by the Jerome Foundation and Women Make Movies. She has written & directed several narrative short films, including Gangrenous, which premiered at the 2020 Nantucket Film Festival and Off & Away, premiering at the 2014 Brooklyn Film Festival. Nira has also directed several music videos, premiering on VICE and Impose Magazine among others.

Betsy Laikin

Betsy Laikin - Producer

Betsy Laikin is a New York based creative producer and consultant. She is the producer of director Nira Burstein’s documentary film Charm Circle which premiered at Sheffield DocFest. She was a consulting producer for Jacob Feiring’s Samantha and the Amazing Acro Cats, which premiered at Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival in 2017. She also produced Nira’s short films Gangrenous and Off & Away and was a co-producer on Leslie Koren’s Now Return Us To Normal. She previously worked as a film programming coordinator for Women’s Voices Now.

Project logline and bios courtesy of the grantees.