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BROOKLYN BABYLON

TITLE: BROOKLYN BABYLON
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Marc Levin / Henri Kessler and Ezra Swerdlow
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 90 minutes
SOURCE: Marc Levin 601 W. 26th Street 17th Floor New York, NY 10001 email: mlevin@offlineonline.com phone: 212-989-4495 fax: 212-989-6723
TEXT: Premiered at Slamdance, January 2001. Worlds collide, cultures clash, and sparks fly in this music-driven love story set in the boiling melting pot of Brooklyn, New York. "West Side Story" meets "The Harder They Come" when Sol, charismatic rasta rapper on the verge of stardom, falls in love with Sara, a young Jewish beauty chafing at the confines of her religious background. Brooklyn Babylon is the story of the triumph of mysticism and love over fanaticism and hate. It is a modern day Solomon and Sheba, although the Jewish characters are portrayed as vile stereotypes. Director: Marc Levin Writers: Marc Levin, Bonz Malone, Pam Widener Producers: Henri Kessler, Ezra Swerdlow DP: Mark Benjamin Music: The Roots, Rahzel, Bounty Killa, Spragga Benz, Yossi Piementa Cast: Tariq Trotter, Karen Goberman, Bonz Malone, David Vadim, Joanne Baron.
Levin writes: "This film was created out of chaos. We started shooting 1999 Labor Day weekend, the money still wasn't in place, the crew and cast were up 36 straight hours so we could shoot both Juvet and the Caribbean Parade. A hurricane was headed for New York. Setting up on the float we realized the band hadn't brought some of their instruments. So a production assistant had to go to 47th St in Manhattan, buy a bass and a drum kick and then fight his way through over a million people on Eastern Parkway to get to us in the middle of the parade. In the midst of that madness we shot our first scene. Somehow we survived and it was at that moment we knew the gods had greenlit the project."

Me and The Moilsies

TITLE: Me and the Moilsies
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Justin Schwarz
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 20 minutes
SOURCE: Justin Schwarz 322 West 11 Street #3 New York, NY 10014 email: justin@zetzfilms.com 212-463-0062 fax: 212-691-7861
TEXT: Set in 1959, "Me and the Moilsies" charts a Hasidic boy's journey into manhood and fall from innocence. Following his sister on an illicit trip to the beach, Sheldon discovers greasers, lovers, and a gang of Hasidic misfits. Torn between his desire to belong and a mysterious girl, Sheldon learns that either choice will destroy a part of himself.

Enigma

TITLE: Enigma
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Michael Apted / Mick Jagger, Lorne Michaels
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 118 minutes
SOURCE: Sundance 2001 or INTERMEDIA 8490 W Sunset Blvd, 7th floor, Los Angeles CA 90069. 310 777-0007 Dragotto@intermedia.com
TEXT: Written by Tom Stoppard. With a nod to the espionage thriller of the 1940s, director Michael Apted has shaped a tense, intelligent, and sexy drama that is as thoroughly entertaining as it is elusive. Stories that are enjoyable are often presumed to be mindless, but Apted and screenwriter Tom Stoppard, who adapted the best-selling novel by Robert Harris, achieve a perfect balance in this masterfully deft depiction of one of the truly crucial turning points of World War II. It is March 1943, and the elite team of code breakers who have been assembled outside of London face a monumental responsibility. Their worst nightmare has come true: The Nazis have unexpectedly changed the Enigma code that makes their communications ultrasecure and the location of roving packs of U-boats undiscoverable. A huge convoy of merchant shipping is on its way across the Atlantic, and 10,000 men are in dire peril if the code can't be broken. And it can't be, for its indecipherability lies in the fact that the code changes each time it's used. Tom Jericho is the standout genius in a coterie of mathematicians who must overcome impossible odds, but his heart has been broken by the seductive and mysterious Claire, who then disappears. Her housemate, Hester, can be enlisted to help solve the puzzle, but is there a spy in their midst? Produced by Mick Jagger and Lorne Michaels, and featuring the alluring Saffron Burrows, an impressive performance by Dougray Scott, and an appealing and convincing turn by Kate Winslet, Enigma reaffirms the viability and endless versatility of the classic genre film. This is a fictional treatment of the actual ENIGMA team that had to re-break the ENIGMA code in 1943.

Divided We Fall

TITLE: Divided We Fall
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Jan Hrebejk / Ondrej Trojan, Pavel Borovan
COUNTRY: Czech Republic
LANGUAGE: Czech w/ English ST
TIME: 117 minutes
SOURCE: Sundance 2001, Ceská Televize, TELEXPORT 140 70 Prague 4 Kavoi Hory 140 70 Prague 4 CZECH REPUBLIC Tel: 420-2-6113-7046 Fax: 420-2-6121-1354 jitka.prochazkova@czech-tv.cz http://www.czech-tv.cz/
TEXT: Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, Oscars (March 2001). Stars Boleslav Polivka, Anna Siskova, Jaroslav Dusek, Csongor Kassai, Jiri Pecha, Simona Stasová. Set in a small Czech town in 1943 (a few hours from Brno), Divided We Fall revolves around a childless couple, Josef and Marie Cízek, who are somewhat apathetic toward the German occupation until Josef finds his former Jewish neighbor David Wiener hiding in his old villa, having just escaped from Theresiendstadt concentration camp and another death camp. Josef realizes he must harbor David and, with Marie's help, creates a hideout for him in their basement (under a dead pig). The Cizeks thought they could just watch the war go by, not getting involved, watching it from their window, but not anymore. The Cízeks are concerned about their best friend Horst as he is a Nazi collaborator and is lasciviously interested in Marie (of course, as a collaborator, he is not purely Czeck, but of German heritage, hmmmmm). When Marie refuses his advances, he is determined to take revenge by moving a high-ranking Nazi into their home, putting David's and the Cízeks' future in danger. Marie rebuts this forced hospitality by claiming she is pregnant, although Josef has just been diagnosed as sterile. The solution to all their troubles, revealed in the wonderful third act, contains an ironic twist that is alternately comedic, poignant, and life affirming. Divided We Fall is the latest collaboration from director Jan Hrebejk and screenwriter Petr Jarchovský. Based on a myriad of true stories, the film intelligently posits heroism as an act endemic to a particular situation and born of simple human decency. The vile indecency of many during this cruel period of history can never be explained, but through character-driven films like this, one is able to get a sense of individuals excelling simply through the will to survive.

Haiku Tunnel

TITLE: Haiku Tunnel
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Josh Kornbluth and Jacob Kornbluth
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 90 minutes
SOURCE: Sundance 2001. Email Jkornbluth@earthlink.net see HaikuTunnel.com or JoshKornbluth.com
TEXT: Confining, institutional settings have often inspired great creative minds (think Genet; think Kafka) to their greatest work. Proving yet again that creativity sometimes soars in deadening, sterile spaces, Josh Kornbluth turns in an eminently fetching comedy in this hilarious, contemporary gem of a feature. Painting an astute portrait of the bottom-dwellers of corporate culture, Kornbluth creates a world of spiritual dead ends that many working-class Americans experience, though few may ever tell their stories with such precision. An aspiring novelist, Josh (portrayed by Kornbluth himself), supports himself through temporary work. As a "temp," Josh thrives in an undemanding world of deathly-still hallways and rote tasks, but when it's decided at one firm that he's good enough to "go perm," an existential crisis sets in, nearly paralyzing Josh in its grip. The drama centers around a menacing and critically important stack of letters that Josh forgets to mail day after day. But after reading the Talmud, he had hoped to be a better person. As the enormity of his crime compounds, Josh becomes torn between creating elaborate psychological escapes or equally outrageous alibis. Ultimately, he must question whether he has what it takes to survive the stresses of long-term employment, while furtively working to further his creative goals. His contortions are both agonizing and hilarious. Taking a lesson from the capitalist drones he so gently harpoons, Kornbluth gathers the most meager dramatic elements; the horrors of making copies, faxing and mailing; and reaps terrific profits from them, adroitly illustrating their enormous implications to a working-class life. Poignant, but brimming with hope (in addition to an exquisitely subtle irony), Haiku Tunnel is an insightful portrait of the inner cost of just getting by.

My First Mister

TITLE: My First Mister
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Christine Lahti / Gerald Green, Frank Hübner Carol Baum, Jane Goldenring, Mitch Solomon, Sukee Chew, Anne Kurtzman
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 105 minutes
SOURCE: Sundance 2001. Paramount Pictures. Hollywood California. 323-956-2665.
TEXT: Stars Albert Brooks, LeeLee Sobieski, Desmond Harrington, Carol Kane, Mary Kay Place, Michael McKean. Not overtly Jewish, although Carol kane does cook a brisket, and the tombstones are sure not to show any sort of religious icons.
My First Mister is a beautifully rendered debut film about a special first love that both departs from and fulfills expectations and creates satisfying feelings about family, friendship, and other f words. It is a triumph for its director, Christine Lahti, who already has a directorial Oscar for her 1995 short film, Lieberman in Love, and who here displays such an abundance of talent and storytelling gifts that one wonders why it has taken this long for her to return to directing films. My First Mister is a wonderfully engaging story about an odd couple. Jennifer (Leelee Sobieski) (or "J") is an angry and depressed 17-year-old teenager who finds a job as a clerk at an upscale clothing store despite the serious misgivings of her middle-aged and tight-assed boss, Randall (Albert Brooks), or "R". (as in Juliet and Romeo??) Jennifer is pierced and clad in black; Randall wears his sweaters buttoned and takes his lunch with a book. At the outset, they seem to share nothing but a rather curious interest in each other. Consciously offbeat but sincere and real, My First Mister adroitly avoids the pitfalls of melodramatic wallowing. As Jennifer and Randall learn about each other and their feelings grow, the age difference and the vast cultural gulf between them fade in importance. And when Jennifer stumbles onto the secret to Randall's lonely existence, she takes on a quest that brings them even closer. A love story in the truest sense of the word, full of emotion, revelation, intimacy, and range, My First Mister is a delightfully rich and funny film that invigorates one's passion for film's distinctive power.

the Natural History of the Chicken

TITLE: the Natural History of the Chicken
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Mark Lewis
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 56 minutes
SOURCE: Mlewis@pobox.com or Mark Lewis 323-469-5182 at Radio Picture in Los Angeles
TEXT: Not a jewish film, but it is about chickens. Maybe I would pair it with the film chicken soup? May play well at Jewish fests. The Natural History of the Chicken effectively entices us while capturing people's bizarre attraction to this common barnyard animal. Broken into sections highlighting individuals' experiences with their feathered friends, the film is interspersed with striking footage of what goes on inside a poultry-harvesting factory. We are introduced to a variety of folks, from a woman in Maine who gave her ailing chicken CPR to one in Florida whose chicken lives in her home and wears panties. Through these anecdotal tales, we come to realize how attached people can become to these often-overlooked creatures. On the opposite side of things, we meet a group of citizens who are up in arms over the noise created by roosters raised for cockfighting in their otherwise-tranquil community. Director Mark Lewis, a renowned veteran of films about animals ranging from toads to dogs, wastes no time as he delves into the fascinating animal/human connection. In this film dosed with humor, he manages to walk the delicate line which showcases his subjects' peculiar fascinations while preserving their dignity and unique personalities. The film allows us to reconsider our relationship with an animal we may previously have taken for granted while also giving us a lens to reexamine the way we look at ourselves. Brilliant color photography and amplified sound effects allow this highly entertaining film to leap from the screen. After viewing The Natural History of the Chicken, we can never think of chickens or the people who love them in quite the same way again.

Ralph Bunche. An American Odyssey

TITLE: Ralph Bunche. An American Odyssey
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: William Greaves
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 117 minutes
SOURCE: William Greaves Productions in NYC at 212-2656150 or wiliamgreaves@ aol.com
TEXT: Narrated by Sidney Portier. The legacy of Nobel Prizewinner Ralph Bunche, who died in 1971, has faded from public consciousness in the 30 years since his death. Given the historical significance of his life as a diplomat and scholar, and his impact on the shape of twentieth-century political life, this neglect is particularly lamentable. Thus, William Greaves's compelling documentary chronicling Bunche's achievements acquires even more importance. Ralph Bunche was a national icon in the decades after World War II.
His role as the behind-the-scenes mediator of the 1949 armistice between Israel and its four Arab neighbors marks the only time in the history of this Middle Eastern conflict that an agreement has been signed by all parties. It was also the event that precipitated his being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950.
His later position as under-secretary general of the United Nations, his critical contribution to the decolonization of Africa, and his calm handling of other international insurgencies are revealed here in fascinating and complete detail. Greaves is a veteran documentary filmmaker whose expertise and professional skills are fully on display in this serious, yet captivating portrait of a man who played a leading role in creating the world as we know it, but who remains obscure and rarely spoken of in the media. Bunche is also noteworthy as the first person of color to win the Nobel Prize and one of the few African Americans of his generation to achieve prominence inside the halls of traditional power. Narrated by Sidney Poitier, Ralph Bunche succeeds in painting a vivid portrait of a remarkable man.

Trembling Before G-d

TITLE: Trembling Before G-d
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Sandi Simcha DuBowski / Dubowski and Marc Smolowitz
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 84 minutes
SOURCE: See www.TremblingBeforeG-d.com or email at info@ TremblingBeforeG-d.com (get rid of spaces). Or New Yorker Films, 15 west 61st street. Ny, ny 10023 tel/212-247-6110 or Newyorkerfilms.com
TEXT: This film has already been screened in a half a dozen US cities, and been used as a backdrop to community discussions on the topic of Judaism, other religions, and attitudes towards homosexuality. Director Sandi Simcha Dubowski has orchestrated a film of unparalleled scope with his remarkable Trembling Before G-d. This feature-length documentary is about Hasidic and Orthodox Jews who "come out" as gays and lesbians and as a result must reconcile their sexual orientation with the drastic discipline of their tradition. They struggle with a way to negotiate their sexuality and identity within a religious community and ultimately are forced to question how they can pursue truth and faith in their lives. Trembling Before G-d gives us an opportunity to understand the way modern perceptions about sexuality have come to challenge entrenched religious views which condemn homosexual lifestyles and have forced many gay people in Hasidic and Orthodox Jewish communities into isolation. As the film unfolds, we meet intolerant rabbis, narrow-minded family members, and abandoned gays and lesbians who are all struggling to solve an inscrutable dilemma: how it is possible to remain true to familiar, age-old traditions and values and simultaneously be true to oneself. Shot over five years in Brooklyn, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, and London, the film is an international project with global implications that strike at the core of the rapidly growing religious world. To date no film or book has documented in depth these stories and struggles. Trembling Before G-d takes a provocative look at issues that have rarely been publicly discussed. Music by John Zorn. Sandi DuBowski's (harvard 92) earlier work was Tomboychick, which was critically acclaimed. SUNDANCE JANUARY 2001, BERLIN FILM FEST FEBRUARY 2001. By the way, you can get Rabbi Greenberg's book from MyJewishBooks.com

SPOILER-SPOILER - After filming was completed, Mark went back to yeshiva and is studying for the rabbinate. He is living in the UK with his parents; Malka cut off her relationship with her parents until such time as they are willing to accept her; Michelle lost about 150 pounds; Israel met with his aged father. His father then moved to Israel, and Israel's father's caretaker told Israel never to contact his father again.

Ny the way, for those of you who don't catch the quotations at the start of the film..
"a man who lies with a man as one lies with a woman, they have both done an abomination: they shall be put to death, their blood is on them" Leviticus 10:13
For women to run against each other in the position of sexual intercourse is forbidden... It is fitting for the court to administer lashes for this trasgression." Even HaEzer 20:2, the Shulchan Aruch, the 16th century code of Jewish Law.

Wet Hot American Summer

TITLE: Wet Hot American Summer
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: David Wain / Howard Bernstein
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 97 minutes
SOURCE: Sundance 2001 see wethotamericansummer.com or contact Eureka Pictures 212-219-3209
TEXT: Stars: Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Paul Rudd, Michael Showalter, Marguerite Moreau, Molly Shannon. Written by Michael Showalter and David Wain (met at NYU in the 80's, you know them from the comedy troupe, The STATE, the pride of Shaker Heights Ohio). Not overtly Jewish, but Jewish. "Are you ready for the summer, are you ready for the sunshine," is an anthem which embodies the spirit of all great teen, summer camp movies of the '70s and '80s. What more could any teen (or adult for that matter) with a raging libido want than horny camp counselors in tight bathing suits gallivanting through the woods. Wet Hot American Summer delivers this and all the other summer camp elements we've grown to know and love as it offers a new comic sensibility to the genre all its own.. The setting is Camp Firewood, the year 1981. It's the last day before everyone goes back to the real world, but there's still a summer's worth of unfinished business to resolve. At the center of the action is camp director Beth (Janeane Garofalo), who struggles to keep order while she falls in love with the local astrophysics professor (David Hyde Pierce). He is busy trying to save the camp from a deadly piece of NASA's Skylab which is hurtling toward earth. Over at arts & crafts, nine-year-old campers are comforting counselor Gail (Molly Shannon) as she deals with the pain of a recent divorce. Particularly comforting are the gentle hands of the prepubescent Aaron (Gideon Jacobs). In the kitchen, Gene (Christopher Meloni) the camp chef, is facing his own darkest secrets-which proves just as painful to his assistant, counselor Gary (A.D. Miles). Meanwhile, adventure counselor Victor (Ken Marino) abandons a group of young campers at the edge of a dangerous waterfall in favor of Abby (Marisa Ryan), the girl he loves. If only he knew that Abby has yet to meet a tongue she didn't like. All that, plus: a dangerous waterfall rescue, love triangles, misfits, cool kids, and talking vegetable cans. The questions will all be resolved, of course, at the big talent show at the end of the day.. Wet Hot American Summer does justice to the time-honored tradition of such highly respected films as Little Darlings and Meatballs. David Wain, whose short film Aisle Six played in the 1993 Sundance Film Festival, manages to incorporate his flare for comedy into the first great summer camp film of the new millennium

The Believer

TITLE: the Believer
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Henry Bean / Eric Sandys, Suan Hoffman
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 100 minutes
SOURCE: Sundance 2001 or contact mlechner@fireworkspix.com or contact Mike Lechner 421 South Beverly Drive Beverly Hills CA 91212
TEXT: Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2001. Stars Ryan Gosling, Summer Phoenix, Billy Zane, Theresa Russell, Glenn Fitzgerald, and A.D. Miles. a Jewish student questions the importance of Judaism in his life. Henry Bean has composed a profoundly provocative and important dramatic feature which questions and shatters the very foundation of one young man's cultural and religious upbringing. In an exploration that goes to the roots of personal identity and self-awareness, director/writer Bean has courageously entered territory which few filmmakers have dared to tread in this gripping story of a young man's philosophical evolution. Based on a true story, The Believer recounts the life of Danny Balint from fervent religious student to rising star in a neofascist political movement that subverts almost everything he was brought up to believe. In a fascinating series of twists and turns, Danny exhibits all the passion of the converted as he browses militia-movement Web sites, utters hate-filled but articulate discourses on Judaism and its teachings, and promotes the violent attack upon and ultimate destruction of his most hated enemies. When his own suppressed identity seems likely to be revealed, he flees to a upstate training enclave, further galvanizing his desire to act out the vicious and heinous vilification subscribed to by him and his compatriots. But as events ensue and striking contradictions multiply, something in Danny's soul prompts a complex and incredible resolution. . With a uniquely intelligent and perceptive vision, Bean steers us on a course which is both enlightening and enthralling, one which avoids easy psychological explanations and creates an unforgettable film experience. Special accolades go to Ryan Gosling for a stunningly effective performance. The Believer is cinematic truth at its finest.
Jewish audiences may have a hard time stomaching the monologues of anti-Jewish hatred and the characters vicious beating of a Jew in the first few minutes of the film.
[dvd video, click me]








TRAFFIC

TITLE: TRAFFIC
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Steven Soderbergh
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 147 minutes
SOURCE: USA FILMS
TEXT: Not Jewish, except for the drug lord's lawyer, and the character, Seth Abrahm's (Topher Grace), the boyfriend of the drug scar's daughter. He gets her high so that they can have drugged out sex and reach orgasms while speedballing. Also, when the drug dealer needs a good lawyer, they hire Atty Adler. According to the NYT, "Not since "Nashville" or maybe even "The Godfather" has Hollywood turned out an epic as resonant as Steven Soderbergh's densely layered study of the Mexican drug trade and its devastating impact on the United States. In weaving together multiple stories, this intricate thriller, adapted from a British mini-series, jumps from Tijuana to Washington to San Diego to suburban Ohio. Michael Douglas is the new American drug czar, Catherine Zeta-Jones the ruthless wife of a busted drug lord and Benicio Del Toro a Mexican policeman. Don Cheadle and Luis Guzman are a team of government agents whose bust of a cynical midlevel dealer (Miguel Ferrer) precipitates much of the drama. Shot with hand-held cameras (by the director working under a pseudonym), "Traffic" builds into a profound and gloomy meditation on greed, violence and contemporary ennui. "

STATE AND MAIN

TITLE: STATE AND MAIN
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: David Mamet
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 102 minutes
SOURCE: Fine Line Features
TEXT: Dark comedy. A barbed social fable. Written by David Mamet. After being kicked out of one town, a Hollywood film crew descend upon a small New England town to film movie about second chances and an old mill. Unfortunately, this town does not have an old mill anymore. It burned down a few decades ago in a rash of arsons. So what is Jewish other than the matzah eating producer? Just the quirky Jewishness of some of the characters, and the latent anti-Semitism of one town leader against the money grubbing Hebe producers. Good Yomtov, baby. Stars Alec Baldwin, Sarah Jessica Parker, William H Macy, Charles Durning, Patti LuPone.

Startup.com

TITLE: Startup.com
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Chris Hegedus and Jehane Noujaim / Frazer Pennebaker
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 96 minutes
SOURCE: Artisan Entertainment. 310-255-3812
TEXT: Startup.com traces the paths of two freewheeling entrepreneurs and their quest for the new American dream: developing a successful Internet start-up company. Directors Chris Hegedus and Jehane Noujaim track the roller-coaster ride of the creation of GovWork.com, a new-media solution for connecting citizens with government via the Internet. This exceptional filmmaking team pinpoints a critical time in our history by focusing on the trials and tribulations of Tom Herman and Kaleil Isaza Tuzman, two Jewish friends from high school, and GovWork's charismatic founders and leaders. The camera captures each important milestone on the road to riches, from the inception of the idea to the courting of venture capitalists. The relentless drive in this group is palpable from their sports-rally chants to their obsessive work ethic. Startup.com follows them from East Coast to West and a few spots between, through sleepless nights and disappointing setbacks. We even eavesdrop at the deal-making table when they discover they cannot get their lawyer on the phone. The wild ride will all pay off if it delivers them to the ultimate final round, an IPO. Startup.com is also about friendship and dreams. The bond of high-school friendship is put to the test when big money comes into the equation. The choices and sacrifices involved are heightened by their now-infamous historical context, the peak Web euphoria which occurred some two years ago. Startup.com has all of the suspense and intriguing characters of a great fiction film.
I saw the premiere of this film at Sundance in January 2001. Directed by Chris Hegedus and Jehane Noujaim, the intense and entertaining film follows two men, Tom Herman and Kaliel Isaza Tuzman, as they start and find financing for govWorks.com in New York City's Silicon Alley. Half way through the film, however, I noticed that Tom's father was the director of Camp Interlocken, and that Kaleil sprinkled his language with f-words and a couple of Yiddish words. He also wore a Chai. Once again, I had found a Jewish film. Kaleil is a Colombian-Jewish man who practices meditation, and Tom is Jewish as well. "Startup.com", a euphoric documentary about a startup internet company in Manhattan's Silicon Alley, was so fresh and timely that the directors had no time to transfer their digital video format to film for its Sundance premiere. Directed by Oscar nominated Chris Hegedus, and Jehane Noujaim, and produced by D. A. Pennebaker, it chronicles the turbulent founding of govWorks.com by 20-somethings, Tom Herman and Kaleil Isaza Tuzman, and portrays their struggles to raise capital and survive after the downturn in the internet economy. It is also a study of loyalty, money, friendship and the personal conflicts and the compromises that occur in business partnerships. In one tense scene, the founders, who are lifelong childhood friends, receive a $17 million offer from a venture capital firm that they must sign that day, but they are unable to locate their lawyer on their cell phones. In another scene, one of the partners must tell the other that things aren't working out.
NOTE TO FILE: The reason the filmmakers got such in depth intimate scenes during the filmmaking process is that Jehane Noujaim was a roommate of Kaleil Isaza Tuzman. Over 400 hours of film were shot to make this documentary.
Note To File: What you don't see in the film is the following timeline SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER... LATE 1998: Tuzman, Herman, Shieh Sheung and George Fatheree start Public Data Systems. MAY 1999: Renamed GovWorks, raise $705,000. SUMMER 1999: Sapient builds the site. OCTOBER 1999: Second round of financing completed for $19.3 Million by Mayfield Fund and KKR. Govworks staff at 50 people. WINTER 1999-2000: Company leases four floors at 81 Franklin Street I TriBeCa. Staff is 250. Third round of financing raises $39.4 million. APRIL 2000: Layoff of 60 employees. AUGUST 2000: First live system. Signs up NYC parking ticket system, State of Massachusetts, local city governments of New Orleans, Greenville SC, Boston, and Providence RI. NOVEMBER 2000: New CEO. JS Seligman exerts more power. JANUARY 2001: Staff down to 60. Files Chapter 11. Payment system purchased by eOne Global and AMS.
SPOILER SPOILER ---- In February 2002, The New York Times reported that Tom Herman, 31, and Kaleil Isaza Tuzman, 30, reconciled and started a new business together, The Recognition Group. They do "corporate recycling" or they wind-down companies that are failing.

[startup dot com] Picture at left:
Scene from startup.com in which Kaleil rallies the troops in a scene for Spanish television, which is secretly being produced by his girlfriend.






Pornstar: The Legend of Ron Jeremy

TITLE: Pornstar. The Legend of Ron Jeremy
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Scott J. Gill
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: minutes
SOURCE: Contact Maelstrom Entertainment. Screened at NoDance.com, January 2001. It opened at Cinema Village in December 2001.
TEXT: a documentary about the man known as Ron Jeremy, a nebbishy, overweight lonely Jewish man with large genitals who has starred in hundreds of porn videos. Ron Jeremy is probably the most famous Jewish porn star, and has done wonders for the psyche of Jewish men in America. He appeared in over 1600 porn films, and directed over 100. He once tried to get several Jewish porn stars together to make a kosher porn film, but that's another story. Born Ronald Jeremy Hyatt in Flushing Queens, he is the son of a cryptography mom and physicist dad. Sadly his mom died soon after his bar mitzvah from Parkinsons, but he brought her such nachas from his bar mitzvah. Ron Jeremy actually has a Masters degree from Queenns Collge/CUNY, and taught special education for several years and appeared in off off off off Bway productions until he was discovered by a porn filmmaker after his girlfriend sent in t nude pic of his prodigious genitals to Playgirl magazine.

Saving Silverman

TITLE: Saving Silverman
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Dennis Dugin
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 100 minutes
SOURCE: Sony Pictures Entertainment
TEXT: Jason Biggs stars in this teen oriented comedy. Principal photography began on June 7 on the Columbia Pictures/Village Roadshow Pictures co-production Saving Silverman, a comedy directed by Dennis Dugan (Big Daddy) and starring Jason Biggs (American Pie), Jack Black (High Fidelity), Steve Zahn (Happy, Texas), Amanda Peet (The Whole Nine Yards) and Amanda Detmer (Final Destination), with a cameo appearance by Neil Diamond as himself. The film traces the misadventures of buddies J.D. (Black) and Wayne (Zahn), who begin to suspect that their best friend, Darren Silverman (Biggs), is going to allow himself to be badgered into marrying Judith (Peet), a woman he doesn't love. They decide to reunite him with his long lost love from their school days (Detmer)-even if they have to kidnap Judith to do it.

SCHUSTERMAN LEVINE: A BOXING FABLE

TITLE: SCHUSTERMAN LEVINE: A BOXING FABLE
YEAR: 1999
DIR/PROD: Evan Jacobs / Hill Holland Noah Geary and Darren Doane
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 47 minutes in video and 35mm
SOURCE: anhedenia@hotmail.com (Evan Jacobs)
TEXT: A mock documentary about the worst amateur fighter EVER.

MOOSH

TITLE: MOOSH
YEAR: 1999
DIR/PROD: Erez Tadmor
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 28 minutes in 16mm
SOURCE: EREZ TADMOR, YEODA HANASI 23, NeTANYA, 42444 , ISRAEL TELEPHON: 09-8340475 E-mail: cheres@bezeqint.net
TEXT: A 32-year-old policeman named Moosh has a crumbling marriage with absent wife. One night he finds an abandoned baby in an alleyway and must take the child home until Social Services opens. Taking care of the infant brings about a touching reconciliation between husband and wife.

POLLOCK

TITLE: POLLOCK
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Ed Harris
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE: video
TEXT: The life of hard living artist Jackson Pollock, who died an early death nearly 40 years ago. Nominated for an Oscar for Marcia Gay Hardin's portrayal of Pollock's long suffering Jewish wife

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