A friend wanted me to write a script for him.
I found an agent in Israel to rep me on the deal, and much to my amazement, the agent was trying the entire time to piss me off, and explain to me why it shouldn't happen, and why I shouldn't be the writer of the film.
People like him, are the reason I decided to leave Israel for awhile and clean my anger in the US.
One of the things that broke my heart in Israel was that even thought I made a highly succesful film- that affected an entire generation- I was looked down on by my peers.
Moreover, for two years after completing the film, I couldn't find work anywhere in the industry.
I was unhireable for some reason.
People explained to me in all the production companies I went to interview for, why my filmmaking style is wrong and doesn't truly work.
It's very hard to see that on the one hand people around the globe love your film, and on the other hand, that film couldn't even get me a low paying job working for TV making tiny segments for any shitty news program.
So I'm still fighting to keep my dream alive, of getting my voice heard, the independent way- and from time to time, when my energy runs out- facing the constant battles of life, I google myself, hoping to see something new about me that I haven't seen before.
I know. A little vain, but still, I assume I'm no different from any artist who hopes his work will be seen or recorgnized somewhere.
So I discovered that two weeks ago, there was a big conference in Missisipi about Israeli culture, and there was a lecture by a professor I didn't know about my film.
The name blew my mind out :
Lea Fima from McGill University lecture was titled:
"The Impact of Dan Katzir’s Film Out for Love…Back Shortly on Students in the Diaspora"
Here's the link.
OUT FOR LOVE... came out in 1997.
So 9 years after, the film is still influencing new generations of people not just in my country, but also around the world.
Still, how sad it is that with all my success - it translated to so little in terms of the Israeli art "gate keepers" who time and again did everything not to allow me to work in my own homeland.
I cannot complain about my life in LA. Still, for my own record I must admit that there are many a days inwhich I feel like an EXILE.
Some one who was forced out of his homeland, not because of his political beliefs, but because of his very unique artistic point of view.
Long live those who are not afraid to be different.
Monday, June 26, 2006
Friday, June 23, 2006
And so my films continue touring the world.
The first screening will be at the 30th Atlanta International Film Festival, and afterwards, the official US premiere will be at the San Francisco International Jewish Film Festival.
I started noticing that there's already press for the premiere of my latest film at the San Francisco International Jewish Film Festival - The largest Jewish Film Festival in the world.
San Francisco International Film Festival :
Theatre Date Time Ticket Code
Castro Theatre Jul 24 3:50 PM Buy Now
Mountain View Century Cinema 16 Jul 31 4:15 PM Buy Now
Roda Theatre (at Berkeley Repertory Theatre) Aug 02 6:30 PM Buy Now
Co-presented by Lehrhaus Judaica and Traveling Jewish Theatre
I've also noticed that the film is starting to get buzz in the San Fran Websites :
Here's an interesting link :
Here's the article from the San Francisco Music News:
Music Films at a Jewish Festival
Michael Tilson Thomas is the most prominent, but not the only, champion of preserving memories of Yiddish theater, musicals, and music. At the upcoming 26th annual San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (July 20-27 in San Francisco's Castro Theater; July 29 – August 5 in Berkeley's Roda Theater; and August 5-7 in the San Rafael Film Center), there will be ample documentation of the subject.
The festival — the oldest and largest such event in the world — will present the U.S. premiere of Dan Katzir's Yiddish Theater: A Love Story, about Zypora Spaisman, founder-director of Folksbiene, one of the 12 Yiddish theaters thriving in New York City as recently as the 1940s. (Spaisman died in 2002.) Playwright/opera librettist Tony Kushner is the subject of Freida Lee Mock's documentary, Wrestling With Angels (the title referring to Kushner's best-known work, Angels in America).
With an astonishing list of big names from a small corner of New York City's Lower East Side — for starters, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Sophie Tucker, Molly Picon, Eddie Cantor, Fanny Brice, the Marx Brothers, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw — it was easy pickings for Fabienne Rousso-Lenoir's From Shtetl to Swing to depict "a vast heritage of Yiddish music and culture, taking 20th century American entertainment on a musical joyride." The film is narrated by actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein.
A Voice Without a Face is Assaf Basson's loving tribute to his father, exploring the double life of his Iraqi Jewish father, a renowned singer of Arabic music and an agent for Mossad, Israel's intelligence service. The film ventures into the rhythm-filled realm of Iraqi Jews in Israel, who brought their love of Arabic cadences with them when they immigrated in the 1950s. Assaf's father, Yitzhak Basson, who performed under the name of Magdi, sang only on the radio in order to preserve his anonymity.
Vladimir Mashkov's Papa is a Russian period drama centering on the antagonistic relationship between Abraham (played by Mashkov), a poor Jewish Ukrainian businessman, and his son David, a rising musical prodigy. Mashkov captures the refined world of the conservatory and Moscow in the 1930s — a tenuous atmosphere where party protocol is critical to success and even survival. A feature-length documentary, Blues by the Beach, is about an Anglo-American bar and live blues club located on a Tel Aviv beach, bombed in a suicide attack that coincided with the filming of what was to be an examination of daily life in the city.
Posted by Dan Katzir at 1:57 PM
Thursday, June 15, 2006
MOONDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2006
So my short film : "Today you are a fountain pen" was selected to competition to the Moondance Film Festival 2006.
This year Moondance moved for Colorado to Los Angeles. It was an amazing festival at Raleigh studio.
TIME magazine had an article about the up and coming festivals in the US and this was one of them. A festival to watch.
Seems that my short still has life in it, and that Len Lesser ("Uncle Leo" from the hit TV series Seinfeld) great perfomance still touches audience.
People keep telling me that no one is interested anymore in works that are to innocent. The world has moved on and is looking for more cynical and jaded stuff. But somehow, it seems to me that my innocent and naive work keeps finding new audiences and lasts the test of time .
Who's right - those who say that innocence is gone, or those who love innocence?
The most bizarre comment I've heard is that the world is much less innocent today than it was in the fifties...
I say- in the fifties, people came out of WWII. Twenty million people died. Some in death camps, some in labor camps, some in ghettos. Many in horrible deaths, in Thailand, China, Europe...
All hell broke out in that war- and some of the ugliest sides of humanity came out- so how could one blame those living during and after it of being naive?
Perhaps we are the ones living in naive times? We who have seen so little of the ugliness of the human soul, try to force ourselves to go to the dark side of the moon to see what's there.
But no matter how much we try - as most people, especially in the western world, and in the US live a very sheltered lives, they just can't grasp what evil really means.
Thus they want more cynical and jaded films, as it connects them to something they really haven't seen.
So much for my two cents about innocence.
Long live naivety, long live innocence. long live love. back by popular demand.
Posted by Dan Katzir at 9:37 AM