Sunday, July 30, 2006

Finally an official US premiere for the Yiddish Film. We were very fortunate to have it at the San francisco International Jewish Film Festival.
The largest Jewish Film Festival in the world.
The first screening was at the Castro theater, shown above.
An amazing screening that 500 people attended.
They loved it and the festival organized that Yiddish Diva- Chayale Ash will come to the stage and do a Q and A with the audience.

At the same time, one of the largest Jewish Film Funds in the world sent us a letter informing us that our film was not selected to receive finishing funds. Funds that would have helped us a lot get our film out there in a better condition - fix some of the sound problems and have more funding for publicity. The head of that organization told me a year earlier, he thinks Yiddish theater is dead and there's no point in making a film about it.
I told him my film is not only about Yiddish theater. It's a film about the spirit of Jewish actors - and any actors. Mine was about some of the most colorful Jewish actors on stage today. People who survived the holocaust by working in their profession. The eternal wanderers. Unvelievable people who's story is that of survival. My film is also about growing old and still wanting to stay relevant. About being an older artist in a society that only worships youth.

So the film will not have the perfect sound. It will be what it is.
Even more painful is that once again, I will have to go at it alone.
As always.
Like the older Yiddish actress in my film said to me :
"Don't seperate yourself from the world. "

Unfortunetaly in Israel there's a war, so most of the critics in San Fran preferred to focus on political films about the conflict in Israel.
My film got no coverage in the press.

That said, I was on Channel 4, in a morning show, and was interviewed by the charming Jan Wahl.
I also got a small quote in the San Fran Chronicle.
I talked about my shame of some of the Jewish community members in San Fran who wanted to buoycott the festival because what Israel is doing in Lebanon and Gazza.
I didn't understand how Jews want to buoycott an ultra left wing film festival because Israel is trying to protect itself from over 100 missiles that are falling on their civilians daily.
Have some of the Jews in San Fran reached an all time low of self hatred ?

Like most of the people in the planet- I too had issues with self hatred. But I think I'm growing up.
I've realized that one cannot be loved by everyone, and so, one has to be careful from the haters. Those who hate themselves and fill us with hate as well.

That's it.
Onward with the fight not to seperate myself from the world.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

So today I got an email that my new script - Children of September, went up the ladder in the Sundance script competition. It's been a good week.
We've gone up the ladder in the AAA script competition and now Sundance.
It's a story about growing up in the US of A. Living in a country where money has become the ultimate substitution for love.
A country where young people learn by example, from their parents - that the most important thing is to be in full control- and the more money one has - the more control possible.
Almost a brilliant philosophy. Only problem is money can buy most things but not emotions.
No matter how much gold, diamonds, and property one has- they can only help to impress others - not really influence their hearts.
That is, if one wants to affect their hearts.
Unfortunetaly I've noticed most people want to keep every thing not personal. Perhaps because personal might also hurt. Perhaps because personal cannot be controlled or bought.
Money can buy another persons limited trust- very limited most of the times.

So that's what this story is about. It's about the one girl who learned on the first week of college, that life can be different and that she doesn't have to listen to all she has learned from her mom, cause parents aren't always right.
She learns that since we only live once, it's better to live it in a truly exciting way and not just let life go buy, secured in a mansion\prison of diamonds.



Thursday, July 06, 2006

So July 4th is behind us.
The new Superman did ok at the box office, but not stellar.
Guess kids didn't understand the complex world Brian Singer tried to depict.
Seems like when I grew up, the world looked a little less scary, cause grown ups didn't want to show us how complicated the world really is.
Now, artists , not wanting to grow up themselves, want to persuade the rest of us, why we should be afraid of growing up and allow them to stay infantile.
Seems like all the latest kids films have much darker themes than ever before.
Even Superman, the man of steel, the simplest story of them all now gets much more 21st century undercurrents.
Lois Lane is now an unmarried mom with a young child.
How will middle America see this film, I wonder?
Then again, I lately read that almost 50% of the US population is divorced, so perhaps that's becoming the norm.
As Bob Dylan once sang : "The time's they're a changin'"

This American Independence day, I've felt stronger than before the feeling of exile.
Feeling misplaced, feeling a stranger in a strange land.
Don't know why.

I talked to several Americans at the beach party I went to, and I realized everyone, even the ones who have been in this country feel they're don't belong.

The curse of the 21st century is the feeling of not belonging. Feeling there are two kinds of people. The shiny happy people, living in fantasy land, in People magazine. And all the rest of us, on planet earth, living the normal life.

I used to feel more a feeling of belonging until I went into film, and realized I have a sensibility, that connects to the public, but not to the heads of our film industry.
Will I ever go home?
I hope so, but at this part of the journey I remember the title of that classic American book ; " You can never go home again."

Come on Dorothy, find the Wizard, so we'll all learn the secret how to return home.

Happy Fourth.
Happy Independence day, my fellow strangers.


Monday, July 03, 2006

So the new MYSPACE.COM for the Yiddish film has just passed the 500 friend list.
It's gaining new friends on a daily bassis. It's so cool to see the response and how so may people are adding comments and are emailing us, so happy to be friends with this film.
It's also cool to know, after press in San Fran didn't want to help us with our big premiere there, that we decided to continue going the indie route, and find friends for our film in alternative means.

A film about an old diva looking for an audience in a society that worships youth is finding friends, just like her, underground.

Long live the independent scene.


Here's the URL to our myspace:

Here's the first part of the Myspace, for those too lazy to link to it :

General WE ARE NOT ASHAMED ANYMORE. WE LOVE YIDDISH AND WE'RE PROUD !( EVEN IF WE DON'T UNDERSTAND IT) There's something sad and ironic that Jews throughout history have helped save every dying culture. From Kabuki to ancient Chinese cultures. Yet time and again in the 20 and 21st centuries they've done everything to kill their own culture. It seems Jews are ashamed of this culture which is softer and gentler than many other cultures. An old culture that worships the importance of family might be looked down on in a society that has over 50% divorces. A society drugged on VICODIN, ZANAX, and PROZAC to the point of making life one big numb experiene- perhaps can only mock a culture that focuses on feelings- and always mixing all of them- from love, to hate-from laughter to tears, sometimes in the same sentence. Yiddish is a culture which is not afraid to mix laughter with tears and tears with laughter. A culture which has the power to look at people in a loving and forgiving way, with self humour. It was created in a different time, when people didn't take themselves so seriously, and didn't think they're the center of the universe. Yiddish is a culture which is very warm, which is the opposite of the cold culture, which seems to be prevelant today. Perhaps the Jews have realized that love, family and warmth are not popular in the new age- Which seems to worship, greed, evil, and above all poker face coldness.__________________________________________________ Several young filmmakers have missed the warmth of the old days, and realizing that if no one will do anything this warm and wise culture will not survive they set out to make their voice heard for the need to keep this beautiful culture alive. Well it's time, Jews stop feeling the shame and look at their MAGICAL old culture. It's existed for 1100 years for a reason. So stand up and listen to the music people. Don't be afraid to feel the love, the tears running down your cheeks, or the warm fuzzy feelings fill your body. The tough Israeli filmmakers, felt these strong feelings, and they didn't even understand the Yiddish language, which is an old Germanic dialect. So it means anyone who still has a few open corridors in their hearts will feel the same. Grandma, this one's for you. We're fighting back... We're no longer ashamed and hopefully we'll find a few more people to come with us on this amazing journey.
Music ARTISTS’ STATEMENT: Dan Katzir was vacationing in New York in December 2000 when he stumbled across Zypora Spaisman. If she would have been 60 years younger, he probably would have fallen madly in love with her. Zypora in her nineties had an amazing energy – forcing him to see her show in Yiddish. For him it was a first, since Yiddish represented for him something he had always been ashamed of, because for him Yiddish represented an old world that he never liked or cared about. However, by the end of the show, Dan had fallen in love with Yiddish, Yiddish Theater, and the actors who were struggling to keep their show from closing. They asked him if he could help in some way, and he suggested documenting their show. He lived for one week with this fascinating group of actors in a show that kept getting more and more positive reviews by the major press, yet got less and less audience. He was shocked that no one had come to see the show, even when they were voted one of the top ten off Broadway shows for 2000. Thus it became a journey not only into our grandparents’ culture and heritage – but also into the real meaning of art. As young artists it was an intense journey into every artist’s nightmare in which there are no more people who speak the language of their art. In that week we learned the meaning not only of perseverance, but also of the love of art for art’s sake, even when there may be no audience for it.

About me:
'Yiddish Theater: A Love Story" A New Film By Award winning director Dan Katzir ("Out For Love...Be Back Shortly") __________________________________________________________________ SYNOPSIS : THE COOLEST MOVIE EVER MADE ABOUT YIDDISH CULTURE !!! Enter the funny, larger-than-life world of Yiddish Theater through this magical independet film about the amazing woman who has kept the oldest running Yiddish Theater in America alive. Zypora Spaisman conquers all hearts in her passion for art, life and Yiddish. This heartwarming story of one unique woman's struggle portrays the fight of both an old art form to stay relevant and an old actress to find meaning and a stage in a society that worships youth. A must see film for anyone who loves theater and has realized Yiddish is HIP not shameful !!!
Who I'd like to meet:
People who believe the words NAIVE and INNOCENCE are strengths and not weaknesses. People who want to go see movies to feel something and not just be desensetized on CGI special effects.