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The Art of Filmmaking: Danny A. Abeckaser

Abeckaser, notable Director, Producer and Actor, was born in Israel and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Also an active philanthropist with organizations such as Rhonda’s Kiss, Amfar and those supporting Israel relief, Abeckaser is known for roles in films such as The Irishman, The Iceman, LANSKY, Holy Rollers, and his own directed films Mob Town, I Love Us, and the currently streaming features released back to back this past August, The Engineer and Inside Man, both starring Emile Hirsch and produced by Abeckaser’s 2B Films, among many other projects to date. He has also been involved in a variety of documentaries, such as The Last Shamen and Davi’s Way. 

Abeckaser is one of the most driven and focused people you will ever meet, which as a director will continue to yield him much success. “I am happiest when on set, I feel so excited, creative and motivated, like the possibilities are endless and you get to lead the narrative. It is just an energized feeling, both when acting and directing, that I just love.” 

Quote to live by:  “All you can do is your best. As long as you did your best, then be confident and proud of your work, and the rest will fall into place as it should. And when life throws you curveballs, you have to just stay calm and navigate through the game, with a clear head and focused mind.”

His latest directed feature project, which is a blend of documentary and scripted feature, recently acquired by Gravitas Ventures for US and Canadian rights, is the World War II drama, BARDEJOV. The powerful film stars Robert Davi, Danny A. Abeckaser, Kyle Stefanski, Dean Miroshnikov, Darren Weiss and Omer Hazan, among many other incredibly talented actors to comprise the expansive cast.  Written by Shmuel Lynn and directed by Danny A. Abeckaser, Gravitas Ventures will release the film in March 2024, with festival appearances slated for 2024 as well. “BARDEJOV” is Executive Produced by Yoav Gross and Produced by Holocaust Survivor Emil A. Fish, who was a 7 year old boy in Bardejov when these events took place.

Danny A. Abeckaser kicked off his directing career with the indie feature film First We Take Brooklyn released in February of 2018, starring Harvey Keitel and AnnaLynne McCord, among many other notable cast members. Set in New York, the gangster movie held a sold out theater run across Brooklyn and New York cinemas, before hitting digital to must success across streaming platforms and Itunes, especially international streaming. Danny next directed the feature film Mob Town starring Jamie-Lynn Sigler, David Arquette, Robert Davi, PJ Byrne and Jennifer Esposito, still on digital streaming worldwide, released in 2019. The movie has been an international success, across North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East among others, still playing in-flight on American Airlines and many other streaming networks.   

Following the first two crime dramas, Danny directed Blackjack: The Jackie Ryan Story. A film about the legendary street basketball player, Jackie Ryan, also set in New York. Abeckaser stayed behind the camera for this project as director and producer, casting Greg Finley, Ashley Greene, Brandon Thomas Lee, Robert Davi and David Arquette as the leading cast. Following its premiere in November of 2020 during the height of the pandemic, the film streamed worldwide with a widespread digital release, and continues to stream across various channels.  

I LOVE US, shot in Los Angeles, is a romantic crime drama directed by Abeckaser that was released on Sept 17th, 2021 in collaboration with Wild7 Films, and continues to create buzz for itself. The film also featured Abeckaser as the male lead, further showcasing his depth in the emotional film.  It focuses on family, life circumstances and evokes heart and emotion. Receiving positive reviews from top critics like Jeffrey Lyons and Film Threat, the film starred Katie Cassidy, Jackie Cruz, Kyle Stefanski, Greg Finley, Jasper Polish and Harlow Jane, among many other incredible actors.

Under his 2B Films production and distribution company, Abeckaser has directed 8 films to date since his directorial debut in 2018, and produced over 17+ films including several documentaries. 

As an actor, Danny was featured in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman alongside Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, and co-starred alongside Sam Worthington, David Elliott and longtime friend Harvey Keitel, in LANSKY, a summer  2021 release to much success.

Selective when it comes to the projects he works on,  Abeckaser’s first major foray into cinema was 2010’s Sundance favorite Holy Rollers directed by Kevin Asch, where Danny stars alongside Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Bartha, also a producer on the movie. Following the film’s success, Danny went on to land one of his better-known roles as Dino Lapron in The Iceman, appearing alongside Ray Liotta, Winona Ryder, Chris Evans, and James Franco. To date, he regards the part as one of his favorite and most challenging roles.

Also a cult favorite, Abeckaser co-wrote and co-produced the film Club Life, which was loosely based on his life as a New York nightclub power player. 

Abeckaser has many more projects in store, with several to start shooting this year now that the SAG and WGA strike has concluded. He is a force to be reckoned with, and whatever he puts his mind to do, he does. 

Those around him are constantly inspired by him, and his personality and motivation is infectious.  He is also extremely giving, both charitably and to his friends and family, as well as industry peers. Which in the film industry, and in life, is not always the case, always giving opportunities to those that want it and persist. “People gave me a chance when I was starting, and many of those chances came from persistence. And they still do every day, so I want to give a chance to others, and those hungry like I was. If I have a platform to give opportunities, why not do so? Helping people is a duty and a gift.”

Follow @DannyA27 on Instagram.

Photos by Ben Draper.

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