For a Jewish prayer community or “minyan” to be able to hold a service, it must consist of at least ten practising Jews. David, who was born into a Russian immigrant family, is 17 years old and regularly helps out at minyans in Brighton Beach, a district of New York that is characterised by Jewish life. His father, a former boxing coach, his mother and his beloved grandfather all take this for granted. But David, who is just starting to tentatively explore life in the East Village gay scene, gradually begins to question the strict rules of his community and makes friends with two elderly gay Jews. At the same time, David’s sexual awakening cannot help but be affected by the emergence of HIV and AIDS.
Director Eric Steel sets his sensitive portrait of a gay Jewish youth in the as yet un-gentrified, roughshod New York of the 1980s. In his feature film debut, he depicts unobtrusively and with quiet humour how one young man squares social attributions – immigrant, Jew, homosexual – with his own feelings and learns to define them anew.


  • Runtime

    113 min
  • Country

    United States
  • Year of Presentation

  • Year of Production

  • Director

    Eric Steel
  • Cast

    Samuel H. Levine, Christopher McCann, Mark Margolis, Richard Topol, Brooke Bloom, Alex Hurt
  • Production Company

  • Berlinale Section

  • Berlinale Category

    Feature Film

Biography Eric Steel

Born in 1964, he lives in New York City, USA. He studied art history at Yale University and began his film career with Walt Disney Pictures in California. He then moved to the production company Cinecom in New York before working for several years at Scott Rudin Productions where he developed films including Martin Scorsese’s Bringing Out the Dead, Alan Parker’s Angela’s Ashes and Stephen Daldry’s The Hours. After making two documentaries, Minyan is his debut feature film as a director.

Filmography Eric Steel

2013 Kiss The Water | 2020 Minyan