Division Ave

Two parallel realities meet at one Brooklyn corner

Division Ave is a short film written and co-produced by Michal Birnbaum.

The piece is the fruit of the collaboration with Lorena Rodriguez. The two met in theatre school and continued to work together after graduating. The Majority of professionals involved in the project are women, including director Tamar Glezerman and cinematographer Meg Kettell. In September 2016 Birnbaum and Rodriguez launched a successful Kickstarter campaign that was covered by major press and media outlets such as Nuestra Tele, Haaretz and Tablet. Among the reward contributors was the Latin Grammy award winning band Mariachi Flor De Toloache. 

The film won a generous production grant from Panavision, a motion picture equipment company, which allowed the use of the most advanced filming gear as well as hiring the best New York crew.

Filming took place in different Brooklyn neighborhoods including Williamsburg, Park Slope and Bushwick. It is expected to hit the festivals in 2019.

The Story

A few days before Passover, Fernanda, a young Mexican woman, is hired by a Brooklyn cleaning agency to work in the local Jewish Hasidic community. Despite a prolonged wait for her payment, Fernanda continues to faithfully show up for work each day at Nechama’s house. An unexpected connection between the two leads to a fight for justice against the cleaning agency at fault, bridging the gaps between their very different worlds.

The story behind Division Ave is inspired by true events happening to this day on the corner of Division & Marcy Ave in Brooklyn, NY. This modern day slave labor started decades ago in the early 1990’s, in a different Williamsburg location. It is common practice for individuals and companies to frequent Division & Marcy early in the morning and hire a cleaning lady for the day. The women, mostly immigrants from Latin America and Eastern Europe, are often underpaid and/or sexually abused.

In The Press

Division Ave in Haaretz.com

Michal Birnbaum and Haaretz journalist, Neta Alexander, visit  the corner of Marcy & Division Ave and talk about immigration, poverty, and women’s role in the Jewish and Latino communities in Brooklyn.