Saturday, April 04, 2009

Washington Jewish Film Festival VS The Yiddish Theater Film

A lot of people have been calling and emailing me why has my film on the Yiddish Theater not played in Washington DC. I tried to explain but you didn't believe me when I said It'll never play in Washington DC. NEVER!!! Please let it be. There's no point in continuing to do a follow up with me. Friends, it's not in my hands.
Yiddish Theater: A Love Story will never play in DC. There's no love for it there.
Some of you have been persistent emailing me every few month- still not believing that those who choose films in DC hate this one. I'm sorry to break the news to you guys who do care about Yiddish and live in Washington. You'll have to see this film somewhere else. The Jewish film festival in DC has rejected the film three times.
YES. You heard it right. THREE TIMES.
That's a strike out!!! So please don't contact me again. You can email me to : and I'll update you where the film is playing. It's playing every month in many places around the country.

For those who liked my other films and don't know what this one's about - it's about the woman who single handedly kept Yiddish theater alive in the US and kept the last theater running and thanks to her the oldest Yiddish theater in the US is alive and kicking. She's a charming holocaust survivor that made it her mission to keep the culture Hitler wanted to kill alive in the US.
Guess there's no room in the Washington Jewish Film Festival for a film about that subject matter.

So sad that Washington Jewish Film Festival organizers and selection committee chose to ignore this film for so many years.

So why is Washington still off limit to the Yiddish theater film?
I don't have a clue why they don't want to show the film. I truly don't.
I don't live in Washington. I know very few people in Washington.
I guess they didn't trust the amazing reviews of the NY TIMES and the LA TIMES and every major newspaper in NY and LA.
I guess the fact the film succeeded so well in LA and NY wasn't a reason to give it a one time showing in Washington DC.

Friends, thanks for writing and calling me and asking me to bring the film to Washington. If it was up to me- I'd do it. But it's not. I'm grateful all of you thought about me.

I have no clue why they don't want to show this important human story that's also an important historical document about Jewish life in the US. Normally, I would say call the JCC and talk there to their programming director and tell them how much you enjoyed the film - but I don't think it'll help. I've been talking with various people in Washington now for three years. I think it's a done deal. This film is dead in Washington. There's no point in talking with anyone there. I think it's unanimous. They HATE the film!!!
It's OK. The film has had such a tremendous life- got so much press. Was loved by EVERYONE who saw it. Played in the top three Jewish Film Festivals in the world: San Francisco, Jerusalem and Toronto.
Played in endless other Jewish Film Festivals, JCC's, Synagogues and other locales.

This film will play in every major city in the world- except for Washington DC. The capital of the United States.

There's no point in fighting anymore friends. It seems that in this case, the good guys lost. The festival is run at the JCC and if they really wanted to show it, they could have found two hours to program it in their schedule. The festival is only a week, but the JCC shows programs all year.
3 years of rejecting this film is over 1000 days that would have been suitable for showing this film.
I live far away from the politics of Washington DC. I do not know why they don't want to help this documentary that has proven itself beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Something is going on over there in Washington and it's sad. Hopefully it's not politics cause politics in Jewish film festivals like politics in many other organizations can many times lead to stagnation, becoming irrelevant and eventually to dissappearing.
I'm sure some at the Washington Jewish Film Festival feel their festival will live forever cause it's Washington and there's a thriving Jewish community there.
But I say look at General Motors and Chrysler friends. They also thought they're invincible cause people will always drive car. But the fact people drive cars don't mean they'll always drive a Chevy...
The fact any organization makes a killing a few years in a row- don't mean it'll always be this way.
Festivals can also run dry very fast and just as fast disappear when they stop caring about their audience.

Not wanting to make a stand at keeping Yiddish Theater alive in the US is a statement.
I don't know what it says- but I hear it loud and clear!

I could just move on. Pretend I don't care. Say hopefully they'll show my future films, like they've shown my previous films.
But I am offended by this.
I am.
I am offended as a filmmaker.
I am offended as a person who cares.
I am offended as a Jew who's relatives escaped Nazi Germany and feels it's important to keep the Yiddish Theater alive.
I am offended as someone who did give his time to help keep this culture and the ONE woman who dedicated her life to keep it alive.

Passover is soon here. The holiday celebrating independence. Leaving behind the idea of being a slave.
I am moving forward. But I will not forget that which I have left behind.

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