Mayor of the West Side

From The Fanlight Collection

Directed by Judd Ehrlich

56 minutes / Color
Release: 2003
Copyright: 2003

This complex, engaging video explores what happens when love gets in the way of letting go. It is the riveting coming-of-age story of Mark Puddington, a teenager with multiple disabilities, who is a local celebrity in his New York City neighborhood. Against the backdrop of preparations for his Bar Mitzvah, and with the constant, unstinting support of his devoted mother, both his family and the wider community face the reality of his uncertain future. They must consider what Mark's life will be like when they are no longer able to protect and take care of him. Filmmaker Judd Ehrlich worked for nearly ten years as a caretaker for Mark, and his close relationship with the family results in an unusually intimate portrait of family dynamics.

"An extraordinarily compelling and deeply engaging human story!"—Ric Burns, Director, New York: A Documentary Film

"An unsentimental look at the disabled. Sad and inspiring in equal measure, a remarkable portrait of an unforgettable character."—Shlomo Schwartzberg, Boxoffice Magazine

"A remarkable documentary! Viewers are introduced to the most intimate and poignant moments. The pressing political, religious and social issues that emerge are seamlessly woven to create a provocative family drama that will speak to a very broad audience."—Garrison Botts, WNET Thirteen

"The difference between this film and others is its total lack of sentimentality. I came away quite moved and aware, possibly for the first time, that someone who can't do anything for himself, can inspire whatever it is that we need to make us believe it's all really worth it."—Anne Bernays, author

"Captures some wonderfully telling moments. An interesting portrait of family dynamics in the face of disability. Recommended."—Video Librarian

"Provides insight to parents on how to raise a disabled teenager. Recommended."—Educational Media Reviews Online

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Judd Ehrlich

Select Accolades

  • Emmy Award Nomination, Best Documentary
  • Perspectives Exhibition, American Film Institute
  • Brooklyn Jewish Film Festival
  • Toronto Jewish Film Festival
  • Boston Jewish Film Festival
  • Sprout Film Festival


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