Sneak Peek: The Anne Frank Gift Shop
Reboot Studios Presents A Navy Court Production: A dark comedy about a high-end design firm rebranding the gift shop at The Anne Frank House
Is there a wrong way to talk about the Holocaust? That’s the question at the heart of “The Anne Frank Gift Shop,” a dark comedy short about antisemitism that packs a vital and timely message. The film was shortlisted for the best live action short category for the 96th Academy Awards! When a high-end design firm presents its plans to reimagine the gift shop at The Anne Frank House, the company’s overt appeal to Generation Z sparks a debate about collective trauma, the Holocaust—and tote bags.
Rapkin, whose best selling book was the basis for the Pitch Perfect film and television franchise, partnered with Reboot Studios, which funded the film as a part of its inaugural class of Studio projects in 2022. Earlier this summer “The Anne Frank Gift Shop” was awarded the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival’s Film Movement Award for Best Narrative Short! More recently, the film won Best Short at the 2023 Santa Barbara Jewish Film Festival and the Audience Award for Best Short at the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival’s Fall Fest 2023.
The premise for this debut short is comedic—and there are plenty of jokes—but this film grew out of a very real challenge, “shocking levels of ignorance about the greatest crime of the 20th century.” There has never been a more necessary time for the Holocaust story to be told with a fresh perspective. “The Anne Frank Gift Shop” cast includes Ari Graynor (FX’s “Mrs. America”), Chris Perfetti (“Abbott Elementary”), Kate Burton (a Tony nominee for “Hedda Gabler”), Jason Butler Harner (“Ozark”), the comedian Mary Beth Barone, and Josh Meyers (“MadTV”). This short uses dark humor and conscious reflection to meet this next generation where they live.
According to a recent study by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims, two-thirds of young adults in the U.S. couldn’t tell you that six million Jews died in the Holocaust. Some 11 percent of respondents somehow believed “Jews caused the Holocaust.” The Guardian summarized the results, citing “shocking levels of ignorance about the greatest crime of the 20th century.” It wasn’t just happening in the United States either; the Claims Conference uncovered similar results in Canada, France, and Austria.
We’re living in strange times. Antisemitic incidents are on the rise and fascism is somehow making a comeback. How do you reach a generation that has access to tragedy in their pockets? Should the Anne Frank House have its own Instagrammable moment? Should there be a place to take a selfie with Anne? What is even appropriate anymore?
“The Anne Frank Gift Shop” takes aim at a very real problem—a generation with little awareness of the Holocaust—and attempts to solve it with humor by meeting this audience where they live. This irreverent short plays like an episode of “Succession” meets a breakout room at McKinsey Consulting. But the laughs soon give way to the film’s essential message. As one of the characters says, “We need to tell this story again and again and again—every which way we can—or it will happen again.
Mickey RapkinAuthor and Journalist
Mickey Rapkin is a screenwriter and journalist whose first book, Pitch Perfect—about the world of competitive a cappella singing—inspired the film franchise of the same name. He has developed projects with Apple, John Wells, Jason Bateman’s Aggregate Films, and MRC. Previously a senior editor at GQ, he has written for the New York Times, WSJ, Town & Country, and Esquire. Rapkin lives in Los Angeles.