D.Mitry Gelfand is a writer and director whose daughter inspired and helped him from the Other Side to create the movie My True Fairytale. A classically trained pianist originally from Minsk, Belarus, D.Mitry made his way into cinema via theater, his plays staged off-off-Broadway and, in 1998, at the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference in Connecticut. D.Mitry’s most recent film, “Shade of Music,” drew accolades at festivals and aired on Seattle public television. In May 2017, D.Mitry’s 17-year-old daughter died after her car crashed into a tree. But she’s been with him in the nearly three years since, D.Mitry says — leading and guiding him as he wrote and directed the movie My True Fairytale.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT THINGS LIKE:
- How D.Mitry lost Alyssa then found her by writing the movie.
- The way D.Mitry was stuck with a certain scene and Alyssa gave him the resolution for that scene.
- The movie communicates a message about the strength of love which is connected to being a Superhero.
- The awards My True Fairytale has received and the path the movie is now following.
SOME QUESTIONS IRENE ASKS D.MITRY:
- How did Alyssa’s friends help you with the movie?
- What are some of the many signs Alyssa has given you and others?
- What do you mean when you describe Alyssa as a New Wave Soul?
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D.Mitry Gelfand: A Writer/Director Whose Daughter Inspired Him From The Other Side To Create A Movie
I hope this finds each of you very well. I’m speaking to you from my studio in West Orange, New Jersey. I am excited to have this opportunity to interview D. Mitry Gelfand, a writer and director whose daughter inspired and helped him from the other side to create the movie, My True Fairytale. D. Mitry will be speaking to us from Voorheesville, New York. A classically trained pianist originally from Minsk, Belarus, D. Mitry was fifteen when he arrived in Albany, New York with his parents.
In 1993, he graduated from Albany High School, and the University of Albany in 1997. He made his way into the cinema via theater, his play stage off-off-Broadway, and at the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference in Connecticut in 1998. D. Mitry’s first films were shorts that he wrote, directed, and scored. His most Shade of Music drew accolades at festivals and aired on Seattle public television.
In May 2017, D. Mitry’s seventeen-year-old daughter died after her car crashed into a tree, but she’s been with him since, leading and guiding him as he wrote and directed the film she inspired, titled My True Fairytale, which he calls an uplifting tragedy. I’m looking forward to talking with D. Mitry about his grief journey, which includes the creation and production of My True Fairytale. This is going to be one fascinating interview.
D. Mitry, welcome to the show.
Irene, it’s so great to be here. Thank you for having me.
This is going to be so special. I loved your movie.
Thank you very much.
You’re welcome. Let me begin our interview with this question. Please tell us about your precious daughter, Alyssa, your relationship with her, and the last time you talked with her before her accident.
The synonym to describe Alyssa would be love. From the moment she came into this world on January 1st, 2000 being a millennium baby to the moment she departed, which was on Memorial Day weekend of 2017, I had a terrific relationship with her. It was more of a twin relationship. In fact, Alyssa called me her twin partly because we looked alike. Secondly, because we very much were very similar on the inside.
You were very close to her, and then she had this accident. I’m sure you wouldn’t like to, but please describe her accident and share what your grief journey was like after the accident. Also, I love that you had a celebration of her life.
My ex-wife and I were living in Seattle. We had moved prior to this happening in December 2014. Alyssa lived with her grandparents, my parents. I visited her in May of 2017. I took her to Syracuse University where she really wanted to attend college. Eleven days later, I received a phone call from my mother saying that it was past 9:00. Since she was not yet eighteen, she should have been home, and she wasn’t back yet. I wasn’t really worried, but there were a couple of things that felt a little strange.
The day before, I had a very quick FaceTime for less than 30 seconds with her, and I felt like she was in a dark place. I couldn’t tell what exactly it is, but I had that feeling. Lo and behold, my mother tells me, “I have to go. There is a police officer on the driveway.” She was on the way to the hospital because there was a crash. Alyssa with two of her friends was involved in the crash, and there were no details.
This is where I’m starting to get worried. I get that phone call that I hope nobody ever gets. The phone call where my mother tells me, “We don’t have Alyssa anymore.” I could tell you what happened when it hit me. All of a sudden, everything came to a pause. I didn’t cry. I didn’t scream. I started to hyperventilate because I felt like I was in a vacuum space.
I immediately got in the car. I flew to New York because I was living in LA. I called my ex-wife and I had to tell her what happened. All of us met in upstate New York in Albany where there was still a little glimmer of hope, but it was fading very quickly. She was hooked up to the machines. What had happened was the car hit a tree. In the process of it, Alyssa’s spinal cord separated from her brain. Unfortunately, after the state exam, they had to pronounce her brain dead.
After you went to the funeral and everything, you also had a wonderful celebration of her life. Within your grief, you were able to pull that together. What was that about?
It’s very strange because when I got on the plane, the metaphysical phenomenon started for me when I got on the plane from LA to Atlanta, and then to New York. I had this very weird sensation in my left hand. It almost felt like a paperweight was placed on my left hand. I automatically thought that I’m probably going to have a heart attack, and this is what it feels like to have a heart attack. That strange paperweight felt on the right hand. I said to myself, “That can’t be right.”
The thought had crossed my mind that it is Alyssa who is communicating with me. My first breakdown happened privately as I was taking a shower. We knew that we couldn’t save Alyssa and we had to make preparations to have her funeral. I had this very strong sensation. It is almost like she possessed me. Maybe not possessed me, but she was telling me, “What would I do if I was in your place?” The thought that came to me was, “I want to celebrate my eighteenth birthday. That’s the only thing that I want to do. I can’t wait to be eighteen.”
Was she very close to her eighteenth birthday when the accident happened?
January 1st was her eighteenth, so she was six months away. At that point, I knew that there was not going to be any funeral. There’s not going to be anybody. There is going to be a celebration. That’s the first strange thought that came to me. I knew I had to do this because that’s what she would want me to do. I announced this to the family, and I think there was a place where anything would’ve gone.
It’s whatever you want or whatever you say. That was a very successful celebration of her then with all the mixed emotions, but it was what Alyssa would’ve wanted.
In fact, this is exactly what we did. After the funeral, we went to a restaurant and we celebrated her eighteenth birthday. It was very strangely uplifting.
How did she connect with you after the accident? Besides the weights on your hands? Were there other ways that she connected to let you know that she was still with you?
I started to experience the signs from the moment I entered the house. The lights were flickering on and off. The strangest incident that happened was I would be sitting at a table, the bell would ring, and nobody would be there. That’s okay. It happens sometimes. We would take the batteries out, and the bell would still ring without the batteries. On one hand, it was improbable. On the other hand, that’s what had to happen. We saw a lot of moths that came in. One of the moths slept in the same room where I slept in the house right next to me.
A moth? The insect?
Why do you think a moth?
I don’t know if it’s a butterfly or a moth, but I took pictures. I have detailed pictures. I don’t know if I’m calling it correctly
Do you think it’s probably a butterfly?
A night butterfly. I don’t know if it’s a moth or not.
Were you spiritual before all of this happened? Did this surface as an awakening for you of sorts?
I’d like to think that I was spiritual, but only by virtue of reading a lot of metaphysical, esoteric, and spiritual literature. I knew that this was my journey in a way. I was fascinated with the notion of NDEs.
NDE is Near-Death Experience, for those who don’t know what that is.
That is correct. I’ve read several books on spirituality and I tried meditating, but nothing could prepare you for something like this. From here on, I had to take it to the next level.
I think it’s amazing that you were reading those books. In a way, it was like you were preparing yourself for what was to come. You were drawn to them. What inspired you to make My True Fairytale, which you felt you had to make as opposed to the film you wanted to make? Why did you name the movie, My True Fairytale?
Alyssa was such a happy person in this present form as we know ourselves, like in 3D. I refused to believe that she was gone. From the moment I heard the news, it was inconceivable to me. I set out on this journey to find her and to bring her back. The only way I knew how to do this was to first write her back, and then to make a film about her. That’s why I did this.
Why I named it My True Fairytale? It’s because, from the very beginning, I set off to write a very weird genre. I wanted to write a happy tragedy. In other words, a tragedy that has a happy ending. My True Fairytale is also an oxymoron. There are no true fairytales. It’s either a fairytale or true. Only later that the meaning dawned on me. I have to admit, I transcended all of this through Alyssa and through the guides.
You said you lost Alyssa, and then found her by writing the movie. Do you want to say anything else about that?
I wanted to bring her back, and I knew that the only way I could bring her back is by writing her back. I knew that I was on one way and she was on the other way, and somewhere we were bound to meet if we worked very hard at it, and it worked.
How close was your portrayal of Alyssa to the personality of the lead character named Angie in the movie?
It was very close.
The girl who played Angie is a wonderful actress.
It was Emma Kennedy’s first feature film as a Hollywood film. She did such an amazing job and came through as that vibrant and that lovable girl who is there to save everyone’s world.
She is their angel. How did Alyssa’s friends help you with the movie? What did that mean to them to be a part of creating this movie with you and Alyssa? What was the core group of friends who helped you?
That’s a tough one because there were about 12 or 13.
She was well-loved.
I’m talking about very close 12 or 13 that went and did interviews. I wanted to become part of the gang. I met with each one of them or sometimes with smaller groups. I wanted to be part of that group. I wanted this film somehow to help them have some type of closure. They wind up creating the names of every single character in the film. Because this is a film and you cannot include everything, we wind up having to mix maybe 3 or 4 people into one story, and so on and so forth. To answer your question, a lot of them have reached out to me after the film. They were speechless. They were so honored to be part of this project, and so thankful.
What a blessing for them. Alyssa helped you co-write My True Fairytale from across the veil, even navigating through scenes as you were writing them. What was that like? Please share your story about being stuck with a certain scene, and Alyssa giving you the resolution for that scene.
This is a good one because she was with me every step of the way. I remember distinctly the main things in the film, even the lines, where I wrote them, and how they happened. There’s one particular scene that comes to mind where I witnessed a physical miracle in the three-dimensional space as we know it. I was writing a scene between Angie, the main character, and her father after a fight they had.
I remember that well. It was very poignant.
I was stuck with the scene, and I didn’t know how to go forward because I’d written myself into a corner. It’s been 1, 2, and 3 days, and I didn’t know how to move. Every scene I write, I write with a song or music. I have to have some type of musical background for each scene that I write.
You’re a classical pianist too, so you’re very connected to your creativity. I was a violinist growing up, so I know your creativity is very linked with it.
Yes, and the music helps you.
I understand it very well.
I listen to separate music for these scenes. For this scene, I’ve tried several types of music and none of it works because I don’t like to hear songs because songs are convoluted with words. All of a sudden, something happened. YouTube starts playing on my computer a song by Coldplay called Fix You. All of a sudden, I started vibrating. I started getting those goosebumps. I knew that this was the line. I knew that Alyssa had communicated to me quite a bit through the lyrics of songs. I knew that this one was the line. The line in the film became, “I Can Fix You.” That’s where the scene turned in a different direction.
I remember them so well. It was such a wonderful part of the movie. It was a turning point. What are some of the many signs that Alyssa has given you and others to let you all know she’s still with you? What have you received from her since the movie came out? Have you gotten a bravo from the other side? How do you communicate with her since then? She must be very involved in this.
She has been, and she has been involved behind the scenes as well. Suzanne Giesemann always talks about the setups. She has created a setup for me to meet my current wife, for example, who was born on the same date as Alyssa. Just so that I don’t mistake, January 1st. She turned out to be the producer of the film. Without her, this film would never get made.
I am very close with a friend of mine who is a medium, Stacy Jones. She has done a reading before I did the film and after the film. She has indicated to me that Alyssa has seen the film over ten times. To me, Alyssa speaks in two different ways. She speaks to me by holding my hands, and she explained to me after the film has been distributed. We knew that the film was coming out as a theatrical release. She had explained to me that holding my hand meant I’m going to walk you through this.
Most importantly, she had left me a deck of cards. These are tarot cards, but they’re very strange tarot. They’re tarot cards of the Oracle of Rama. They have an incredible rate of accuracy for me. It’s two decks, and you pick two different cards. She had predicted the whole path from the very beginning to the very end. To date, at least once or twice a week, I do a reading.
For those of you who do not know who Suzanne Giesemann is, D. Mitry mentioned her. She’s an absolutely wonderful medium and a spiritual-metaphysical healer. I have also interviewed her on the show so you can refer back to that for Suzanne Giesemann. She’s wonderful. D. Mitry, this is super important for everyone. My True Fairytale communicates a message about the strength of love, which is connected to being a superhero. I love this. Please tell us about the movie or whatever you’d like us to know, why you call it an uplifting tragedy, and how the superhero concept connects to all of our lives.
That’s a very loaded question.
It’s hugely loaded, but I think it’s the crux of your movie.
I will start by saying that to me, Alyssa was always a hero. This film is not about her. This film is for her and from her. The message of the film is that yes, indeed, love is that superpower that we all have as superheroes. That power of love could cure everything including death. It’s that eternal connection that gets you to that other side. For me, in the sense with Alyssa.
While creating this message, writing this film, and then later making this and putting the finishing touches, I realized my ambition to make this film became more of a meaning. The meaning is that we are all superheroes. My true fairytale is not Alyssa’s true fairytale. It’s yours and mine and everybody else. We are all heroes in our own lives, and it is up to us to make our life a fairytale or not. We get to say what part we would play in it.
I think that’s beautiful. We do have choices about how our lives unfold in many ways. I also love the idea that our deceased loved ones can become our superheroes also because they’re still involved in our lives and making contributions. Wouldn’t you agree?
I couldn’t agree more. Against us being these three-dimensional beings, having these three dimensions communicating with the fifth-dimensional beings, that have the sense of teleportation and time. Also, knowing exactly when things are going to be set up and when things are going to happen. It’s magnificent to see it unfold.
Working on My True Fairytale brought you even closer to Alyssa. You had an amazing relationship with her before the accident. How do you feel you’re even closer now?
In a way, I feel that she guides me. She tells me how to do things in the right way. When I say in the right way, I mean things that have meaning and things that help people to see things in a better way. In other words, if I could summarize it, it’s how to give as opposed to receiving.
How did your family members react to the movie? I’ll bet that for ten family members, you had ten different reactions.
I have to be honest with you. It’s not only family members. I haven’t heard from some of Alyssa’s close friends who are very close to me before this film. Also, I have not heard from my ex-wife, Alyssa’s mother. That is not a bad reaction to me. I respect everyone’s grieving process. Whether they liked it or they didn’t choose to be part of this process, I totally have to respect it. On the other hand, people that have embraced it were speechless, and it resonated with them. I’m super blessed to have that.
You have described Alyssa as a new wave of soul. What does that mean? I personally have never heard that expression.
I will be honest with you. I have heard this from two different sources. There is a kabbalistic source. Kabbalah is the teachings of Jewish mysticism. I have heard it from Dolores Cannon.
Who’s Dolores Cannon?
Dolores Cannon is somebody who did past life transgressions. She’s quite famous. She has written several books on the subject matter. She talks about the three waves of volunteers. One of the waves of volunteers is the third wave, the Indigo Children, or children of the souls that come in for the sole purpose of teaching us something, and then going back to where they came from. We don’t know. Maybe it’s another planet or another dimension but in a different space. From a very early age, all the way to her departure, I felt like Alyssa was almost not human.
In the way that she was so loving and more mature for her age, perhaps.
It felt like she would give you wise advice. Sometimes that advice would come jokingly. After all, she was a teenager, and she would get in trouble as a teenager too. Her advice was so mother-like and so wise that sometimes it made me wonder, even if she said that sarcastically. All those little symbols of her dressing up on Halloween as an angel, and always having purple butterflies near her.
In fact, two hours before the accident happened, she was at the airport watching the planes fly at a spot where she went quite a bit. I think deep inside, she knew that something related to an accident would happen to her because she had a very strange fascination. Nobody knows about this but my family. Her fascination was to sit sometimes for hours on YouTube and look at the plane crashes.
She had this fascination, “I want to be an investigator. I want to know why this happened.” That always was very peculiar because there’s no school for this type of thing. There’s kind of, but there isn’t. Every time I would bring up a spiritual subject with her, she would always brush it off like a shaman woman. She would say, “Why would you want to talk about this? You don’t want to know your future. Why would I want to know that?” In a way, she would give such wise advice to me, whether it was for business or it was spiritual that sometimes it boggled my mind.
She was mature way beyond her years. She had a knowing. Tell us about the awards My True Fairytale has received, and what’s the path it’s following. Tell us all.
Translating a script into a film is not an easy undertaking, especially if you do it in Hollywood. There are a lot of films that get made but my goal from the beginning was not to sell this film and make a ton of money. I didn’t even think about this. All I wanted to do was I wanted to have this film seen by as many people as possible. That’s the only thing that I had in mind.
You had a message to share.
Right off the bat, we got rejected from very big festivals like Cannes and Venice, but we hit it right at COVID. When COVID started, we completed our film. Nobody wanted new films at that time. Everybody had to deal with COVID. We wind up having this film and all of a sudden, we don’t know what to do with this.
Maybe it’s not such an accident, right?
Miraculously but not so miraculously, a company called Circus Road Films and a man by the name of Glen Reynolds came to the rescue. He has a production company that produces and sells films. He saw a trailer for the film and asked to see the film. He said, “I think you have something very special here. I think I can help you sell this film.” Meanwhile, we’re waiting to hear from the festivals.
Within two weeks, we had multiple offers from prestigious companies. We decided to go with Gravitas Ventures, a big studio distribution company that puts those films out there into the world because they saw in the film what I was hoping a film distribution company would see. I knew after I had gotten off the phone with the acquisition team that this was the right home for the film.
Keep in mind, the film did not appear at any of the festivals then. Venice said no, and Cannes said no. We thought it was just going to go out and it would have this limited theatrical release. This is fantastic and wonderful. All of a sudden, when distribution was finished with the film, we heard from one of the biggest festivals in the States called Cinequest, who wanted to have our film as a premiere. It happened in March.
Also, the top 50 festival, Julien Dubuque in Iowa accepted us and nominated us as the best feature film. We wind up doing that film in April in person. It was the first festival in person in the United States. They had flown us down to Dubuque, Iowa. We did not win, but it was nominated as the best. It came out everywhere on all the platforms on April 9th, 2021.
You must be thrilled. It’s astounding. It’s an honor to your daughter and it has such a wonderful message, and it’s starting to fly. It’s wonderful.
You’re welcome. I understand that. D. Mitry, how would you say the theme of your movie, My True Fairytale, is connected to your message about the importance of healing for all of us?
Healing is a choice. You have to take a chance and you have to take a very drastic change because when something dramatic like this happens in your life, you have to take a dramatic choice. I’m simply talking about myself right now. I was faced with two choices. I could either go into drugs, get into alcohol, or do other dark things. I said, “I can always do this, but let me try to do what I haven’t done before.”
I went a little drastic. I stopped eating meat. “Let me start meditating every single day. Let me start to see if this thing is real. Let me try to connect to that other side.” In a way, you set off on this journey, and it almost becomes a tale told by Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces or The Hero’s Journey. You have been summoned to take a journey, and you become a journey in your own story.
It’s a very tough story that you have to tell because you have to go through a deep forest or deep water, and you do not see the other side, but you will get there as long as you have faith. When I say faith, it’s when you let things go because that’s what the meaning of faith is. Once you let things go and allow things to happen and have trust and faith in the universe, the things will magically manifest themselves to you.
Part of what you’re saying is there are so many people who are attached to control, and part of healing is to let go and to let yourself be guided and tuned in to the messages that are coming through to you.
On the three-dimensional level, the worst thing has happened. It could only be better. You have hit the rock bottom.
What a great way to look at that. Now, everyone wants to connect with you, D. Mitry. They all want to see My True Fairytale. How do they find you and how do they find the movie?
It’s very simple. MyTrueFairytale.com is the easiest way. If you forget that, our publicity team and distributors did such a phenomenal job. If you go into Google and you type in ‘My True Fairytale,’ everything will pop out. It’s available on every major platform right now. We’re hoping that within the next 60 to 90 days, it will be available to a wider audience on the bigger platforms.
To get ahold of you, do you have a specific website or is it MyTrueFairytale.com? Is that your website also?
It will go directly to our production team. If you do want to get with me personally, you could email us at Info@PurpleLightPictures.com.
D.Mitry, what is your tip for finding joy in life, which I think you found in many ways?
Surprise yourself. Try to go a little bit beyond your comfort zone and try to see things differently. Lao Tzu, the author of Tao Te Ching, which happens to be one of my top three favorite books in the world, has a fantastic message. When you change the way you look at things, things you look at change. I think you will surprise yourself when that happens.
It’s very profound. I have seen your wonderful movie, My True Fairytale. I truly love its message about our deceased loved ones becoming our superheroes through the power of love. Surely, many of our audience now want to see My True Fairytale with this important message about the lasting power of love from beyond the veil. D. Mitry, thank you from my heart for this special interview.
Thank you very much, Irene.
- D.Mitry’s movie: My True Fairytale
- Suzanne Giesemann’s Previous Episode
- Referenced in the interview The Hero with a Thousand Faces
- Referenced in the interview The Hero’s Journey
- Referenced in the interview Tao Te Ching
- @IreneSWeinberg on Instagram
- Irene Weinberg on Facebook
- Irene Weinberg on Twitter
- Irene Weinberg-Grief, Rebirth + Healing Podcast on YouTube