Famous Nathan (U.S. 2014, 86 minutes) chronicles the personal and public history of Nathan’s Famous of Coney Island, the iconic Brooklyn eatery and Coney Island institution created in 1916 by filmmaker Lloyd Handwerker’s grandfather Nathan Handwerker.
The film debuted at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, was awarded Best Documentary Feature at the 2014 Coney Island Film Festival and the Audience Award at the 2015 Jewish Film Festival in Berlin.
and here's a bit of backstory... In 1984, Lloyd started filming interviews with former workers and family members, a journey that took him around the world, as he listened to stories, first-hand accounts, secrets and perhaps a few tall tales. Spanning a century, this Coney Island inspired rollercoaster ride of a film employs a kaleidoscopic blend of home movies, animation, experimental cinema, historic archival, family photos, never-before heard audio recordings of Nathan, and a series of emotional and sometimes hilarious interview ‘encounters’ with the Handwerker family, their tight-knit circle of friends and a group of former Nathan’s employees recounting the dedicated days of ‘hustle and bustle, fast food cooked at nano-second speed.’ A film about labor, family, immigration, and yes, food, Famous Nathan is a vivid testament to a true American success story and the fighting spirit of a consummate New York family-run business.
Nathan Handwerker raised in Jaroslaw, Poland, one of 13 brothers and sisters from a poor Jewish family, came to New York, in 1912, unable to read, write or speak a word of English. By the 1930s, with the love, support and dedication of his wife Ida and sons Murray and Sol, he’d created one of the most beloved places to eat anywhere in the world. For decades, millions flocked to the larger-than life playground known as Coney Island and without a doubt, Nathan’s, on Surf Avenue, was the soul of Coney Island. As the centennial of Nathan’s approaches in 2016, Famous Nathan stands as an intimately personal love letter, thirty years in the making, to parents, grandparents, workers, eaters, and all lovers of Coney Island and Nathan’s Famous.