Sunday, April 30, 2006

Grandpa has a crater on the moon.

I discovered that my grandfather has a crater on the moon named after him.
Pretty wierd, to discover that a place in a planet one will never visit, is called after your grandfather.
Actually, I could have been more proud if it would have had the same family name as myself, but it's not. Grandpa changed his last name when he came to Israel. Made his name sound more Israeli, but they named the crater on the moon after his older "European" name.
For all you skeptics out there, here's the link from, the free encyclopedia :

I've been thinking about this new info for several hours now. Trying to figure out what's to do with it.
Is it something I should be proud of ? and to whom?
An Angeleno girl told me once, you have to put everything on a car scale and judge where it stands . The highest is usually a Ferrari or Maybach. The lowest, Korean cars.
So is grandpa's crater closer to a porsche- or closer to a Subaru ?

I assume it's closer to a Subaru , since a crater on the moon means that granpa was smart and made some impact on humanity, and that as a token of recognition his name is in the pantheon to be remembered for eternity - on the moon.
But I guess, many of those who do the car tests on every aspect of life, don't get excited by brains. They believe in Dollars bills not IQ numbers. As such, a crater on the moon has no monetary value for them.
Ah... life in the modern capitalistic world. In LA in particular.

Anyways, if anyone ever goes to the moon, don't forget to check out my grandpas crater.
It doesn't have the same name as my last name- but we're still related.
It's called the Katchalsky crater... and make sure not to litter on it. I'll be checking with my telescope to make sure it stays clean.

Have an orange day.


Saturday, April 29, 2006

In the picture above : Actor Jon Voight and me at the Giffoni Hollywood film festival closing night at the Kodak Theater.

The Giffoni Hollywood Film Festival came to its finale today at the Kodak theater in Hollywood, the same place the Oscars take place in.

For all those who don't know about the festival, here's a link to it :

It's a very unique festival. A festival for kids, by kids, judged by kids.
It started in Giffoni Italy, and now, several people have brought it to Hollywood.

Lots of great people are involved including Will Smith and Jon Voight.
My friend Shaked exposed me to it, as he's the programming director of it.

Kids from around the world were flown in , to learn about each other's cultures and cinema.
I saw an amazing film there : IN THE ORANGE

A long time has passed since I saw a movie that made me cry. I cried like a kid there. It was so emotional . So beautiful . so touching. An amazing story about the love of a father and his son.
Sometimes I ask myself what am I doing in this crazy business of filmmaking. But from time to time I see's a movie like this one that reminds me why I chose this tough profession. There's nothing like suddenly being exposed in a dark theater to the magic of cinema.
That magic usually doesn't happen. But sometimes you sit in a dark room and that magic happens- and it is...
Well magical...
More about the film :
In Orange (2004)

Director : Joram Lürsen
Producers : Frans van Gestel, Jeroen Beker, San Fu Maltha
Country : The Netherlands
Length : 90 minutes
Language : Dutch

Remco, 12 years-old, is a fanatic little soccer player with only one dream: to play in the Dutch national team. He is the top scorer of his team and insiders predict a great future for him. Erik, his father, is possibly even more fanatic in coaching Remco and convinced that he can make it to the national team. But Remco's world falls apart when his dad unexpectedly dies. Now Remco, his mother and his sister have to cope on their own. Remco misses Erik so terribly that he doesn't feel like playing anymore. Not even when he is invited to play for the regional team. One magical evening Remco meets his father's ghost who has come to train him again

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Back to one of my favorite singers. My friend Inon, a huge Leonard Cohen fan, emailed three pictures he thought I might enjoy, drawn by Leonard Cohen himself and well, they're pretty crazy.
Inon knows I'm also a Leonard Cohen fan. Not as devoted as him, but I still care, so he emails me from time to time new info he's found online.
I'm not much of a fan. Don't know why, beyond loving someone's music, I don't bother to learn more about the artist behind it. I accept it for what it is. But luckily I have friends who are always out there to assist.
Talking about Leonard,
Lately Inon emailed me a myspace link to a singer called Anjani. It sounded like Leonard Cohen reincarnated as a woman. I told him it sound like some lady singing an unkown Leonard.
He told me Leonard wrote the songs, and she borrowed them from him.
She's been collaborating with him for over twenty years.
Inon, was the only leonard Cohen guy fan I've ever met in LA. I've met a few female Leonard Cohen fans, but they were all nuts.
I have a Leonard Cohen test. When a girl usually tells me she likes Cohen, I usually know she's a little distrurbed. Don't know why.
That said, I guess guys who like Leonard, must be also a little ... you know... disturbed.
Maybe I'm also a little disturbed, if i like him.
That said, maybe we're all disturbed.
Then again, the way he draws himself.. you know...disturbed.
Check out Anjani on my space and her amazing record : Blue Alert

Fo all those who still think a previous existence as a fish has not been exaggerated.



Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Yesterday was a very sad day for lovers of Jewish arts.
John Rauch, founder and president of the Center for Jewish Culture and creativity died.
The CJCC, as may knew them was an organization founded 16 years ago by John and his wife- Ruth.
It had helped hundreds of artists, and art projects from the entire spectrum to reach completion and find an audience.
John was one of the people that were as close to saints as I had ever seen.
No matter how unique, different, and sometimes isoteric a project was. If John believed in the importance of the project to enhancing Jewish culture, he would invest days and nights into helping that artist not break in the tidal waves of cynicism and suspicion that are the greatest dangers to any project.
I worked with John and Ruth on several projects that reached their happy completion and if it wasn't for them- these projects would have probably never ended, as the general consensus of people who saw them was that these projects are not worth anyones time.
The Yiddish film, I recently finished was just another example of this.
John and Ruth made sure, I would continue believing in myself, long after I lost my belief, and their determination and support allowed me the energy to complete this film.

A sad day indeed for the arts.
A sad day for dreamers.
A very painful day, and yet I am so grateful to have met him.
He is one of the people, I can honestly say changed my life.

Good by John. I will miss you, and yet feel you will continue to be with me forever.


Monday, April 10, 2006

An actress friend of mine, who recently saw my new film, currently titled : Yiddish theater- A love story, was so moved, she decided to write a paper on it for one of her college classes.
She just got 100 on that paper, and was so happy, and let me know about it, as well as send me the paper.

It's a cool paper, so I decided to add it to my blog. It's always moving when a young artist see's a film about an older artist and is moved to the point of having to comment on it.
I did it with my film, about one of the last divas of Yiddish theater.
Einav responded to the film, by adding her comments.

So here it is.

Yiddish Theater, A Love Story

by Einav Markel

In this paper I will tell the story of two Israeli film makers, Dan Katzir and Ravit Marcus and their journey of a small inspiring documentary shot in New York. For any film maker, trying to get their film out there, it is a very difficult process. For foreign film makers it’s even harder.
But to take on themselves a challenge like this one, it will be an uneasy task and one they may not succeed in doing.

The film “Yiddish Theater, A Love Story”, is about the Yiddish theater, of course. It takes us through the journey of Zypora. Zypora is in her eighties and is a Yiddish theater star. From the moment she arrived in the states, knowing only Yiddish, she has joined the Jews of New York in the lower east side and the theater. As it is well known, the Yiddish theater in New York was very successful at the time, bringing people from all over the land. Zypora is one of the people who kept the Yiddish theater alive for 40 years. This movie takes us to the lives of Zypora and other Yiddish theater actors and producers as they are holding on to a thread, trying to keep the theater alive. It’s a story about the human spirit, about persistence, determination and perseverance.

How do you keep a theater alive when most of it’s audience has died. It is hard enough to manage holding a theater alive in English, but in a dead language, it’s practically impossible. With that knowledge, Zypora and her fellow actors and friends, try to convince who ever they can, to donate or invest money in the theater so they can move to a better location, a location that might produce an audience despite the foreign old language.

Dan has interviews with the cast and the investors, everyone trying as best as they can to stay hopeful, but it’s not looking good. From the interviews with Zypora and the way she is questioned, we get to know her and learn from her. This is a woman that might be banging her head against the wall, but she knows how to fight for what she believes in. We hear her wisdom and the passion she has for life and, by god, it’s inspiring. David, one of the young producers is doing all he can, and we get the feeling that it’s just for her. Slowly even his hope starts to diminish but he keeps a smile on. David walks in to any office he can think about and the camera follows, but everywhere, the answer is no.

When I watched the film I thought to my self, what would I have said if I was approached by them (and had money to spare), and my conclusion, sadly, was “no”. In business you invest where there is a possibility of a return and hopefully also a profit, and as much as I admired their ambition and life, I had to be truthful with the chances of success, or lack of. But it touches you no matter what, because you can relate to her, to them. You imagine what it would feel like if one day a long time from now, the only thing you love and know how to do, your source of money, will no longer be needed. If you are an artist, you always know or hope that at least your legacy will stay long after you are gone. Here, some one took their whole life away, everything they are and who they were, will be gone for ever.

The question I asked myself was: would a film about the Yiddish theater, the theater I wouldn’t have invested in, would have a chance succeeding as a film.

As we follow these incredible people through out the film and see them start to accept defeat, we reach a point where it’s obvious that their dream will be long gone. We also have to say goodbye to Zypora who finally gave up, and like her audience, past on, leaving us with her wisdom and the love for life, “keep fighting as long as you can”. Apparently her fighting helped because in the end of the film, the group receives a generous contribution from the city of New York which will help them continue in the quest of spreading the joy of Yiddish, at least for awhile.

I decided that I shouldn’t look at this film as merely a film about Yiddish. It is much deeper then that. This is a film about love.
I want to help my friends and show this film to the world, but even if I know the true nature of the film, how do we sell a movie about Yiddish to the world.

I asked my friends a few questions: How they came about this story that has nothing to do with their life, how do they intend to promote it, where they would like it to go, etc. I intend to try and answer those questions in this paper and maybe we will find some hope ourselves.

Dan came about this story when he met Zypora on the subway in New York. He recognized what an amazing woman she is and followed her wish, to record the fight for the Yiddish theater. Dan wasn’t thinking of how he will edit, how it will

look or what the production values are, he just went with the story, recording the struggle.

Dan has done a number of documentaries in his life. His films have gained international release and appreciation, winning numerous awards. When asked, Dan replied that he follows films as “Water Marks”, “Shanghai Ghetto”, and “The Comedians”, and he feels that they resemble his film, showing the fighting for something you believe in. Dan (director) and Ravit (producer) both have been working on this film for sometime and in their words “we haven’t gone this far and spent so much energy to just give up”.

Ravit came in to this project much later than Dan. She has seen his work and was happy to be working with him on this film when he realized he needed a producer. The two of them hope to get limited release: New York, Los Angeles and Miami at least. Ravit says that having these limited, yet difficult goals, is the way to go. So far they have had a screening in USC and then, through some friends, they have had a private screening, trying to show the film to influential parties and hopefully get some investors interested. Dan and Ravit have a very optimistic look, not unlike Zypora. They are trying to publicize this film through word-to-mouth and hope that they will get enough support and money to get a good PR person so that this work will see as much audience and appreciation as it should. Apperantly one of the ways to go are free screening, but even I, Jewish and all, would not have gone to a screening of a film about Yiddish, free or not.

If it’s that hard to sell then how will they?
In the case of investors showing interest but wanting things changed, Ravit says, they will make the changes. They will sacrifice some of what they shot so the film will be out there, to inspire other people, like I was inspired myself.
You always say in your lecturers, how the documentaries we see have had changes or some things have been staged all for the purpose of the film - “sometimes you have to lie to tell the truth”. Well, they did not lie in this film, they didn’t have to. But sometimes to sell a film, people ask you to.

The Yiddish theater, surprisingly, is coming back, surfacing slowly amongst young people. Who knows, maybe this film will come to be a hit. And maybe this film will help the Yiddish theater. Maybe if this film will get the distribution it should, people will see a dying, interesting, filled with history language, and they won’t want to let it disappear anymore.

I have always stayed away from documentary. For me, as an actress, it seemed like something very boring and educational. In my mind, I don’t watch films to see the truth, there are news programs for that. I watch movies to escape to a different world.
Then I started studying in LACC, and in order to move farther into film making, some people in charge decided that we have to learn Documentary. Well, I’m still learning to like this subject, but the more I see, the more I realize the possibilities.

I still think Documentary is educational, I just think that in this day and age, when we have the means to know what’s going on around the world, the internet being able to crawl into endless lives and stories, we are still, and even more then ever, locked in our own little bubble.
This is, indeed, the time for documentary film and with that knowledge, I believe my friend’s film will get to be shown and touch a lot more people like me.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

I am me !!!

So I discovered much to my horror that there's another Dan Katzir living in LA. He's about my age. Jewish, like me. Well educated . Like me. He's doing something meaningful. Like me.
We even know some people in common, who have met us both, and will testify that we're both good people.
I've never met the other Dan Katzir, who like me, has a very full life, and so is probably so busy, he doesn't have time to search for the other Dan Katzir.
Has he ever gotten my mail- the other Dan Katzir?
I googled him. I've even seen his picture.
The other he, who is not me.
He is the head of the Broad foundation, which I can only assume is a very interesting job.

Some people told me they needed to google me, and didn't know who is me and who was not.
I'm the filmmaker, thank you very much.
I'm the one trying to write about life, film life, and expose life, through my point of view.
That's all I do.
For all of you who are searching info about me, I've included below some links, to the info that is really about me- not just about the person who shares the same name as me, but isn't me.

What are the chances of two people with the same name and last name, and not a common one, living in the same city- maybe in the same neighborhood? How wierd?
Two Dan Katzir's lived in the world. They weren't related, but they were neighbors.
Will I ever meet the other DKLA? Maybe.
but until then, I'm marking this territory.
I'm also including my links, so that there won't be any confusion.



Friday, April 07, 2006

So yesterday I went to see the US premiere of the film : Post Military Trip.
A really interesting film, made by Indian director, Shruti Bhardwaj, who followed Israeli veterans after the army travelling to Goa, to dance trance and forget their army service and the tensions of Israel. Powerful film, and really interesting to see how an outsider see's the Israeli experience.

I wrote a book, after my army service. Over a decade ago, with a similar theme. It was very painful for me to write it. People who read it at the time had problems with it. Told me it's Sci Fi, not real life. The difference between me and those who read it was that I was there, in the far east, travelling after a rough four + years in the infantry.
Lately I've given it to people to read, and now it might finally be published.
Funny how sometimes time is what makes the difference in the way people read and understand text.

So interesting to see how a foreigner saw the things I had seen as an ex soldier.

Indeed I belong to a nation that has been forced into almost six decades of sending our teens to the front lines to experience life in a way that will never enable us to be the same like other teens around the globe.


As for info about the film : Check it out next at the Eilat Film Festival, and hopefully in other festivals near you :
Genre: DocumentaryDirector/Writer/Producer: Shruti Bhardwaj
Starring: Israel Aharoni, Paul Oakenfold and Kobi OshratSynopsis: The discovery of a tribal musical beat in Goa, India has caused a revolutionary harmony within the Israel youth. Today Israel has become the empire of Trance. In a land of conflict lives a world with no fear.


 Another Amazing Review in Art Beats LA. Thanks  Kurt Gardner. ART BEATS LA REVIEW OF AMERICAN POT STORY: Slamdance Review: ‘American Pot St...