Monday, February 27, 2012

The Oscars 2012

One more year. The dream of an Israeli Oscars getting closer. Attending the Israeli Consulate's award screening event I was quoted by the LA Jewish Journal after we got one step closer...

February 27, 2012 | 12:58 am
No Oscar for Israel, but French Jews triumph in ‘Artist’

Posted by Tom Tugend
A brief groan of disappointment swept through the crowd of some 200 Israelis gathered at a Westside hotel with the announcement that the Iranian entry, “A Separation,” had beaten out four other finalists to win the Oscar for best foreign-language film.

Among the runner-ups was Israel’s contender, “Footnote,” which depicted the rivalry between a father and son, both Talmudic scholars, and Poland’s “In Darkness,” a Holocaust-era film about a dozen Jews hiding in underground sewers during the Nazi occupation of Poland.

An Israeli movie has made the elite list of five Oscar finalists in four of the last five years, but without garnering the top prize.

This year’s outcome was a repeat for Joseph Cedar, director-writer of “Footnote,” whose war film “Beaufort” suffered the same fate in 2007.

However, tribal pride was somewhat salvaged by the impressive triumph of “The Artist,” a black-and-white homage to Hollywood’s silent film era, which won five Oscars for best picture, director, actor, costume design and original musical score.

Director Michel Hazanavicius is a French Jew, who told The Journal’s Danielle Berrin that his parents and grandparents survived the Nazi occupation by hiding in the French countryside.

Producer Thomas Langmann is the son of famed French director Claude Berri, whose parents were East European Jews and whose first film, “Two of Us,” dealt with a French Jewish boy hiding from the Nazis.

In addition, the veteran Woody Allen won the golden statuette – as always in absentia – for his original screenplay for “Midnight in Paris.”

Director-writer Asghar Farhadi of “A Separation,” which centered on the conflict of a husband and wife in a complex and difficult society, struck a note of international conciliation in his acceptance speech.

He spoke of his country’s “rich and ancient culture that has been hidden under the heavy dust of politics” and of his countrymen as “people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment.”

In a backstage interview, Farhadi heaped special praise on Poland’s Agnieszka Holland, the half-Jewish director of the Holocaust-themed “In Darkness,” describing her as “a great director, a great filmmaker and a great human being.”

The Sunday night viewing party was hosted by the Israeli consulate and the Israel Leadership Council, and while guests acknowledged some sense of disappointment at the Oscar outcome, most tried to look at the bright side.

Israeli Consul-General David Siegel noted that Israeli movies and television programs were showing the world that “Israel is not just about conflict but has become a fountainhead of creative talent… We’re now the people of the book and of the film.”

Documentary filmmaker Dan Katzir sounded a similar note of optimism, observing that “with each year, Israel gets closer to winning an Oscar.”

Eli Teme, co-chair of the Israel Leadership Council, said that Israel had been honored by just placing among the five nominees and expressed the hope that Iran, having been recognized by the American movie industry, might feel a bit warmer toward the West.

Another guest was John Fishel, who served as the long-time president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and will chair the upcoming Jewish Film Festival.

“I can only say that Israel has come a long way,” Fishel said admiringly.

Monday, February 20, 2012


I noticed lately that a few of my close friends have "unliked" my Legalize it - the film - fan page on facebook. I called them up to figure out why and they told me they realized that LIKING a film's FB page about legalizing pot could hurt them at work... (Especially since they're friends with their bosses on Facebook). They said they support my film - but -are afraid of being associated with a Facebook fan page called LEGALIZE. Funny, huh? Legalize comes from the word LEGAL - and when people are afraid of the word LEGAL - not to mention - people are afraid of liking a FILM's fan page on Facebook - that says something about a society... especially one that cherishes the idea of free speech!!! For all my friends who aren't afraid - please help our film by getting your friends to like this film's page. Maybe if enough people show they're not afraid of a film's page on Facebook - people will see there's nothing to be afraid of and as more people won't be afraid to LIKE this page- the cycle of fear will be broken. Happy Presidents day everyone! Remember the words of Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

And for all those wanting to become friends of the film:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Modern world vs the Arab spring

One of the biggest stories that will change the way society is went almost unnoticed.

"Drones Set Sights on US Skies" : " A new federal law, signed by the president on Tuesday, compels the Federal Aviation Administration to allow drones to be used for all sorts of commercial endeavors — from selling real estate and dusting crops, to monitoring oil spills and wildlife, even shooting Hollywood films. Local police and emergency services will also be freer to send up their own drones."

While some might wonder why is this such a big story - I feel this is a huge game changer in civil rights and the pursuit of individual freedom.
In the past, people had some control of their own privacy. In the 21st century lifestyle - we've given up some of our hard fought for civil rights regarding freedom in return for the convenience of our web lifestyle.
Other rights regarding our freedom were taken away from us under the guise of security following Sept. 11 and one of the most horrendous assaults on the free society.
We all believed that for our safety we should give away some of our rights to protect us from lunatics that want to destroy all of us.

Now a new danger is lurking with the drones that will be able to monitor each and every one of us from the sky and follow our actions 24/7 without us even knowing about it.
Sure, some will say that the current laws might prohibit that - but the minute we the people allow drones to fly above us and follow anything that moves - it's just a matter of time before we will be the focus of that drone's attention.

While some may say - if you have nothing to hide - there's no reason to worry.
The worry isn't about what a person has to hide.
It's about the fact that our privacy - one of the most basic rights any animal, including humans have- might be taken from us.

George Orwell predicted this dangerous world decades ago in his monumental book 1984 - but sadly the world doesn't care.

The dangers of loss of civil liberties aren't ever seen immediately. It takes time, sometimes even years before people fully realize the extent of the danger.

I know many will claim this is paranoia and in a world so full of crime we need to allow law enforcement to do their job to make our world safer.
That said, yesterday, a friend has told me that he has read that crime in Los Angeles, has fallen to it's lowest levels in 60 years so I guess crime isn't the biggest threat right now.

The bigger threat is that our modern society seems to be slowly moving backwards into an older model that gives citizens less freedom and what's amazing is how few people are raising any voice of concern.

The news in the world is divided between news from two opposite worlds - the modern world where freedom and civil rights are being taken away from it's citizens without anyone raising their voice.
While at the same time - in the Arab World - thousands of people are losing their lives in a war to regain back the civil rights they too gave away in the past and allowed their countries to deteriorate into a world where eventually they had no rights at all.

Thursday, February 09, 2012


This morning the media outlets were reporting that a national deal in the US would allow the banks to pay about twenty something BILLION dollars and in return get full amnesty for the housing crisis they created inwhich millions of homes were foreclosed on.
Assuming 3-4 people live in each home we're talking about a staggering amount of people that have lost their roof. The crisis has affected tens of millions of people. A huge percentage of the population. I don't think there's one person in the US that doesn't know someone that lost a home.
I read that the homeowners who's home's were foreclosed on will be compensated by about $2000 each. Other homeowners that are now struggling will get some reduction to their loan to help them.
About $20,000
Helping some of the people pay their mortgage will probably anger many others who won't be getting any help cause they didn't try to game the system.
Giving full Amnesty is also problematic cause it too will cause a huge sense of injustice among everyone who's paying attention to the news.

I don't think corruption is a new thing. It's an old story as old as time.
But in modern times- especially in a media world where news is reported on 24 hours a day - politicians at least tried to keep a public face that they do care about the law and that they were elected to use the law to protect the people from the pariahs out there to destroy their lives.

The media is hardly reporting on this story. They're downplaying it as if it's not an important issue. They're treating is as a side story - even thought tens of millions care about it and it's ramifications is that more and more people will feel the world is a total jungle and in a world that behaves like a jungle - there are no laws- it's all about survival of the fittest and everything is legitimate in order to survive.

It's sad that humans, unlike animals spent so much energy and time to try to create societies that will have law and order so that people will be able to exist not feeling like they're in a jungle - but eventually - their animal instincts have come back to haunt them and as time goes by they are slowly returning to their roots and all of us are being pushed back to live in the jungle.

If there's any consolation - it's that when everyone will be back to the jungle - no one will actually need a home to live in - cause it's the jungle - so the millions who are now homeless cause their homes were foreclosed on - won't be that worse of than the rest of the people.


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