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Friday, May 9, 2014

Video Chats With Mom Become Popular Web Series

Film director Joshua Seftel turned his FaceTime conversations with his mom Pat Seftel into a popular YouTube series called "My Mom On Movies." (Phillip Toledano)

Film director Joshua Seftel turned his FaceTime conversations with his mom Pat Seftel into a popular YouTube series called “My Mom On Movies.” (Phillip Toledano)

In 2009, after filmmaker Joshua Seftel‘s father passed away, he and his sisters worried about staying in touch with their mom, so they bought her an iPad, and even though she was nervous about it at first, they convinced her to start using it.

First they sent emails back and forth, but soon Seftel and his mom started talking on FaceTime. Seftel says that around this time he remembered his mother said she had always wanted her own show. So he thought, why not?

He started recording their FaceTime conversations, and posting them on YouTube. Seftel and his mother talk about pop culture, movies and fashion — and their videos have thousands of hits.

Ahead of this Mother’s Day weekend, Joshua Seftel and his mother, Pat Seftel, joined Here & Now’s Robin Young to talk about their videos.

It’s about two different generations finding a way to connect.

– Joshua Seftel

“I think the series is about connecting,” Joshua said. “It’s about two different generations finding a way to connect, and in every episode, we try to bring it to a personal level and really learn something about my mom.”

Some of the things he’s found out have been funny, like when he found out the origin of his middle name, Rand, during a discussion about Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s baby daughter, North West.

“I was pregnant and I was driving down a street here in Schenectady, thinking about, ‘What am I gonna use for a middle name?'” Pat said. “And there was this store that sold Venetian blinds and window treatments, and it was Rand Blinds. And I said to myself, ‘Rand, Joshua Rand!'”

Pat says she has to do her homework to stay on top of all the and popular culture she and her son discuss.

“When I go to the beauty parlor, I read all the magazines, because I don’t know what he’s gonna ask me,” she said.

And Joshua has noticed his mom carrying herself like the TV star she’s always wanted to be.

“She does a lot more prep with the makeup and hair these days,” he said. “The first few episodes, she didn’t care as much, but as the series has gotten a little bit more of a following, the hair has looked better and better.”

Most importantly, “My Mom On Movies” has been a way for Pat and Joshua to stay connected and become even closer — and Joshua said they’ve been inspiring viewers to do the same with their parents.

“We’ve received a lot of email, letters, and from fans and people who watch the series, saying they’ve been inspired — that they’re either gonna buy their parents an iPad, or or they’re just going to call their parents and talk to them more,” he said. “And to me, that’s amazing. That’s what we want.”


    • Joshua Seftel, award-winning filmmaker and creator of “My Mom On Movies.” He tweets @JSeftel and @MyMomonMovies.
    • Pat Seftel, retired social worker, grandmother to four and star of “My Mom On Movies.”

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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