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‘My Annie Hall,’ A Charming Short Film Starring Senior Citizens, Has Woody Allen’s Blessing

The 30-minute romance includes a lobster co-star and took much inspiration from the Best Picture Oscar winner of 40 years ago.

My Annie Hall

Shula Chernick in “My Annie Hall”


A pair of twenty-something filmmakers made a 30-minute short called “My Annie Hall,” starring members of a New York City senior center. Matt Starr and Ellie Sachs did not seek writer-director Woody Allen’s approval to use copyrighted material from “Annie Hall” — the winner of four Oscars, including Best Picture of 1978 — but received it nonetheless. Allen’s publicist told The New York Times via email that the 82-year-old auteur “thought it was funny,” and “saw no reason to interfere with those seniors’ enjoyment of life.”

The project began after Starr was pleased to learn that watching “Casablanca” with his grandmother — a dementia patient — allowed them to have a normal conversation. He and his girlfriend and fellow artist, Sachs, next led a weekly Interpretive Cinema class at the Upper East Side’s Lenox Hill Neighborhood House. They showed their students 10 classic trailers, took a vote, and then decided to make their own version of “Annie Hall.”


A 20-person volunteer crew was assembled for three months of shooting. Following rounds of auditions, Shula Chernick, 73, and two-time Emmy-winning scenic designer Harry Miller, 94, stepped into the respective roles of the titular photographer/singer (Diane Keaton) and comedian Alvy Singer. Starr and Sachs (who also co-star) successfully raised $11,000 for the tribute; contributors included “Curb Your Enthusiasm” regular Jeff Garlin. Two Lenox Hill screenings have happened since December — but alas, there’s no plan yet to make the film available in its entirety. 

Watch the IndieGogo campaign video for “My Annie Hall” below.

“My Annie Hall” Indiegogo Video from Matt Starr on Vimeo.

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