Sunday, August 27, 2006
Happy half birthday to my blog.
This week, My blog has reached the 6 month mark.
Happyhalf birthday to it and to me. It's proud father.
Six month of trying to figure out my life in public and trying to put some images with it.
What are the conclusions?
Seems like the story of my life is les complicated than I make it to be.
The story of someone feeling he's an outsider everywhere he goes.
Feeling alone and misunderstood.
Feeling seperated from the world.
Yet at the same time, my work, seems to be playing all over.
I am so worried that I am not communcating with the outside world, and yet I keep having screenings of my films all over the world.
Today I got an email that the Yiddish film will play in Port Townsend Seattle in a Film Festival there.
I should have been happy. Slowly we're reaching communities all over the US.
We've already played in California, Georgia, Utah, Kentucky, and soon in Canada.
So we're getting around.
So why do I feel isolated?
Perhaps because the films have not succeeded in breaking into the mainstream. They are real films with real emotions, so they communicate with those who actually take the time to watch the film and let it affect them.
But in the main events, with the cold hearted sharks, I still haven't figured out how to play the game right and create the momentum that will allow those gatekeepers who care very little about quality and more about the overall politics- I can't seem to play the game right. I'm losing not because of my talent as an artist, but because of my talents as a politician.
Happy half birthday Blog.
And thanks to the programmers in port townsend, whereever that may be in Seattle.
I know your audience will love the film.
Posted by Dan Katzir at 6:22 PM
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Thank you Gloria International Film Festival:
Ironically, the Yiddish film is getting accepted to festivals that one would not think we would.
Today the film is being shown in the Gloria Film Festival in Salt Lake Utah.
We still haven't been accepted to any festival in NYC, even thought it's a NY story. But we're being shown in Salt Lake Utah.
It's a great honor to be in Utah.
Seems like Christian audience will discover this film before Jewish audience.
The good - slowly there's an audience for the film.
The bad - not making it into the festivals I thought would accept me - the ones who were the perfect home for it made me slowly feel once again that this film - a small reflection of my soul- is homeless.
Anyways, I should be grateful, which I am for Gloria film festival and it's programmers.
I am appreciative.
I'm sure the audience in Salt Lake City will love this film about life, love, and the passion to live.
Here's a description of the festival :
About the Festival
The Gloria Film Festival began in 2002 as the
Salt Lake City Film Festival. Founder Wayne
Lee was discouraged by the lack of uplifting
films, so he assembled a team of dedicated
film afficionados to create this
family-friendly event. Now in its fifth year,
The Gloria Film Festival continues to
showcase films that "stir the soul, heal the
heart, and enrich the world."
Posted by Dan Katzir at 8:45 AM
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Welcome FAIF Film Festival Hollywood :
One of the hardest things in art, is that most of the time you're by yourself, trying to find a path into your own soul, hoping that as you dig deeper and deeper inside you'll find some meaning that will also have some meaning for other people.
Most of the time, like gold diggers and oil diggers, you find nothing. Mostly rock and sand. But from time to time you do find something that has some relevance.
It's not always gold or oil. But it could be something worthwile.
Unlike other professions, it's a life of a lot of frustration, as most of the time you have to deal with constant rejection.
Perhaps the hardest thing is that when you come back from the dig, you have no clue if what you had found is gold or rock. Only after time, and trying to sell it to people accustomed to dealing with artists and reminding them that they are nothing and will never be any thing else do you slowly realize where you truly stand.
The Yiddish film was a labour of love. One I put more energy and time than I thought I would. Much to my amazement, the reaction to it was colder than I expected.
I still love the film and stand behind it.
But it's sad to realize that the subject matter I thought was gold- is actually treated as a rock, by most of the world.
The most shocking thing to me was that New Yorkers , Jews, hate a film about the woman who had kept Yiddish Theater alive for so many years.
Luckily from time to time there is good news,that helps not go totally crazy.
We were just selected to the FAIF film Festival in Hollywood and will have a screening of the film at the Mann Chinese theaters in Hollywood.
So this unpopular film slowly is finding some fans.
Funny that a film about an actress trying to keep her culture alive- is turning into a real life film - about a young artist trying to keep a film about the fight of a culture to stay alive.
Life in cuckoo land continues.
Have a wonderful day
Posted by Dan Katzir at 9:18 AM
Thursday, August 17, 2006
The war in Lebanon is over.
Another horrible 30 days that reminded everyone that life in the middle east is hard.
Like everyone in Israel I was glued to the internet trying to learn every detail possible, hoping it will make some sense, but it didn't.
The worse war ever.
We were humiliated
We were in total chaos.
There was a strong feeling that we could not trust the leaders in this war.
More death and destruction to both sides.
Sadly I discovered that even in the web, Israel was defeated. In Mytube.com lots of sad films and film clips about the destruction to Lebanon and it's people.
Nothing equivalent to Israel.
Where has our brains gone?
What has happened to us.
At the same time- The president of Israel has legal problems due to harrasement.
Two leading ministers have legal problems - one of corruption one of harrasement.
And the chief of staff was selling his stocks when the war broke out.
A feeling we the people were abandoned.
Feeling more alone than ever.
Especially here in the US.
I feel I am different, as I can't just focus on partying, and fashion.
At the same time, I feel so sad from what's happening in Israel that I'm detaching from it all.
I still have so many wounds from my own army service. So many open scars. So much feeling of anger . So many years have passed, and still it all feels the same.
More people dying for no reason.
One of the saddest things was that the son of Grossman one of our national authors died in the two days before the cease fire took effect. Grossman wrote a few days earlier in the press that the cease fire should start as the bloodshed is pointless. Everyone read his article. Everyone also read about the death of his son.
How horrible it must be for him.
How much pain, for so many families.
Pain. More pain. More pain.
I want to be like the people here in LA, who've not tasted this type of pain. But I can't.
I'm addicted to the news. I'm addicted to the pain of my country, my people, my culture.
I'm addicted to the need to be a part of the place that will always be my home. The state of war.
Good morning to everyone out there.
Posted by Dan Katzir at 9:21 AM
Thursday, August 10, 2006
San Francisco International Jewish Film Fest souvenirs:
My boring life.
I don't want to sound like I'm a Festival junky. But since the new film is starting to tour, the images I have that make up my life do consist mainly of showing up at film events with large amounts of people, in historical screening venues.
A second before the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, becomes but one more memory, and with it the US premiere of my film, I decided to record a few last souvenirs from that trip.
Among those souvenirs are pictures from the festivals website that were posted on FLICKR.
As for the pictures themselves and whose in them :
The fabolous Castro Theater inside and outside.
Ravit Markus, my producing partner.
The wonderful people running the festival : Peter Stein and Nancy Fishman.
Me at the Shabbat dinner that was quoted in the Chronicle and Peter Stein in the center.
Another souvenir that will always be there in cyber space, is my quote in the San Francisco Chronicle.
I was a little pissed in that interview. It was supposed to be a very simple interview about the Shabbat dinner.
But I was shocked from what I had seen before I got to the dinner and so gave a piece of my mind to the reporter there.
Israeli's are getting killed in a war for survival, 200 rockets a day are landing on the north of Israel. Yet people in San Francisco allowed their self hatred to kick in and use the opportunity to bad mouth our soldiers battling in Lebanon and in Gazza for the safety of our people .
I know it wasn't the most tactical thing to say. But what could I do. Being an artist means allowing yourself not only to say what is politically right, but also what is honest and what one feels is the moral thing to say.
Here's a link to the article:
As was obvious from the article, All the other artists talked about their films, while I talked about the reality of war, and what disturbed me most, hypocracy. But it seems the reporter didn't lik my answer, cause she didn't even bother to write the name of my film, unlike all the other filmmakers whose films were mentioned.
Doesn't matter. I feel good about giving her a piece of my mind.
My two cents, to the effort to make the world a more truthful place.
May the real war, the war for truth continue.
The article itself:
Jewish film festival captures the spirit -- and the reality -- of Sabbath dinner
Ruthe Stein, Chronicle Senior Movie Writer
Monday, July 24, 2006
Gathered around a very large challah Friday evening at the Sabbath dinner put on by the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. Before the traditional breaking of the bread, everybody was asked to say something about themselves.
When it was Israeli filmmaker Yoram Honig's turn, he said, "I came here on a Hezbollah rocket.'' His line drew a lot of laughs, but also brought up a deadly serious subject that can't help but impact this year's festival: the heavy fighting in the Middle East.
Honig, who is a major in the Paratroopers Reserve in Israel, wasn't sure if he would be called up before he was scheduled to be in San Francisco with his documentary, "First Lesson in Peace.'' Ironically, the film is about an experimental school for Jewish and Palestinian children where he sends his daughter. Classes are taught in Arabic and Hebrew, and understanding between the two nationalities is stressed.
"In times of conflict, there is always a sneaking doubt that putting on a film festival is somehow trivial,'' Peter L. Stein, executive director of the festival, acknowledged. "But when I look at the films that help us gain insight not just into the conflict right now, but into human stories, I feel that a festival like ours is crucial particularly for this moment.''
Of the 10 directors from Israel who were to be here, only one, Vidi Bilu, dropped out at the last minute, for a reason unrelated to the escalating combat. A new project of hers suddenly got a green light.
Her co-director, Dalia Hager, made the trip to represent their festival entry, "Close to Home," which addresses the Israeli-Palestinian issue in an understated way, through a story of two Israeli army buddies who happen to be women.
"I came, but I'm in a bad mood,'' Hager said.
It was hard to stay glum for long with all the goodwill floating through the room. The Sabbath dinner brings together not only filmmakers and festival board and staff members, but also their families.
A dozen or so children, some still in their parents' arms, stayed remarkably quiet through the lighting of the Shabbat candles and a series of prayers. The one over the wine is supposed to be said over red vino. But it was a condition of getting a spiffy new space this year in the Hills Bros. Coffee building on the Embarcadero that white be used instead. The older kids participated in breaking off a piece of challah, which they gnawed on as they headed for a bountiful buffet table.
"This is so different from many typical film festival parties, where it's often as much about whom you can't get close to and what list you are not on,'' said Stein, who's been going to these suppers since they were at someone's house. For the secular Jews attending "marking the Sabbath is a very unusual thing,'' he added.
In observance of the holiday, no films were screened Friday, which for other festivals is a big night at the box office.
The San Francisco festival inaugurated the Sabbath dinner 22 years ago, and the idea has since been co-opted by a few other Jewish festivals. "There's such a loving family atmosphere,'' said Rex Bloomstein, who, like other directors at the party, is a veteran of the film festival circuit but had never before been invited for Sabbath dinner. "To create that at a time like this is unusual and touching.''
For filmmaker Dan Katzir, it was a perfect antidote to a conversation he had overheard on opening night that still upset him. "People were saying they wanted to boycott the festival because of what Israel was doing,'' he related. Katzir, whose great uncle, Ephraim Katzir, was the fourth president of Israel and whose grandfather was killed in a terrorist attack, said he was "ashamed for San Francisco'' to hear expressed that kind of attitude, which he finds narrow-minded.
Many of the films being shown are on personal subjects far removed from the politics of the day. Doug Block brought his father and stepmother, the subjects of his revealing documentary, "51 Birch Street,'' to the Shabbat observance.
Block's perception of his parents' marriage as happy was shattered when his mother died unexpectedly at 78, and he discovered from her diaries that she had a lover. His father, Michael Block, quickly started seeing his secretary from 40 years ago, who is now his wife.
"Hi, I'm the wicked stepmother,'' Kitty Block said, introducing herself with a broad smile.
Michael Block said he doesn't at all mind his son spilling the family beans. "He had a good reason. He wanted to show that dysfunctional families like ours are really representative of what's going on in America.''
In an elegant black sheath and high espadrilles, Tanaz Eshaghian was the most stylish filmmaker to break bread on Friday. You wouldn't think anyone with her looks would have a hard time finding her own dates. But in "Love Iranian-American Style'' she documents her family's numerous attempts to set her up.
"My Iranian family is obsessed with getting me married before it's too late,'' Eshaghian said, explaining that "too late'' for them means age 25.
As a condition of going on these fix-ups, the men had to agree to talk into a camera.
On Saturday, the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival was back in full swing with her film and several others. But, Stein said, it felt right that on Friday night "we paused.''
E-mail Ruthe Stein at email@example.com.
Posted by Dan Katzir at 8:48 AM
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
So the Moondance film Festival's pictures are finally up on their website.
I got a few, but I decided to put only the ones I liked.
Moondance was a great festival, in the famous Raleigh studio in the heart of Hollywood, across the street from Paramount Studios.
Their link is : http://www.moondancefilmfestival.com/MD-06-Pictures.html
Posted by Dan Katzir at 10:47 PM