Jewish Film Archive Online
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The Sandak - The Grandfather

TITLE: The Sandak - The Grandfather
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Sharon Amrani / Cinissiima - Nissim Levi
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English Subtitles
TIME: 45
SOURCE: Cinema Factory in Israel, or contact Sephardichouse.ORG in NYC
TEXT: Episode I of Israel Television Channel 2 Series called "Sadeh Magnetti." Director: Sharon Amrani, Producers: Cinissiima - Nissim Levi; Cinema Factory - David Mandil; Gesher Multicultural Film Fund - Udi Lion, Suri Druker. The series portrays the intimate side of a traditional Sephardic family whose primary focus is to maintain a Jewish life, to instill Jewish identity and continuity to future generations within a modern, mostly secular, Ashkenazi - Israeli society. The episode, The Sandak(The Godfather) presents the dramatic confrontation between the father, Shimon, and his very religious eldest son, Efraim, who is trying to recapture his Sephardic and rabbinic roots. There is a peaceful resolution with the coming together of the three generations, the grandfather, father and son at the naming ceremony of Efraim's baby boy. In another episode, the father Shimon, who made Aliya in the 60's as a young man with Yechiel, his father, a highly respected rabbi from Jherba, a small island off the coast of Tunisia, built himself up from nothing to become one of Israel's most successful building contractors. The episode relates the tensions in the family and the rejection of the father's ideals when two of his sons join together to stop one of his ambitious building projects. Screened at 6th Annual Sephardic Film Festival, December 2001, NYC. Sephardic House info: 212/294-6170, fax: 212/294-6149

The Shealtiels

TITLE: The Shealtiels A Family Saga
YEAR: 1999
DIR/PROD: Ilan Ziv
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: English, Hebrew, Ladino, Spanish, Dutch, German w/ English voiceover
TIME: 95
SOURCE: or contact Sephardichouse.ORG in NYC
TEXT: Ron Shealtiel, a Holocaust child survivor in Holland, after the death of his mother found a box of photographs that she had saved. For Ron, it opens the door to almost 900 years of the Shealtiel family history. He traces the family's fascinating history from the alleys of medieval Spain to a 1997 reunion which brought together more than 500 family households from 27 countries. The story of the Shealtiel family is also the saga of the Jewish diaspora in the last millennium. Screened at 6th Annual Sephardic Film Festival, December 2001, NYC. Sephardic House info: 212/294-6170, fax: 212/294-6149

Shadows of Memory

TITLE: Shadows of memory
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Claudio von Alemann
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE: Women Make Movies, 462 Broadway, New York, NY 10013 212-925-0606 x360 Email: orders@wmm.com
TEXT: Shadows of Memory http://www.wmm.com/catalog/pages/c569.htm
Filmmaker Claudia von Alemann embarks on a journey to uncover her family's painful history and erroneous relationship with the Third Reich during World War II. In an attempt to reconcile this unsettling past, the filmmaker, her 84-year old mother, and her 17-year old daughter, reunite in the small East German village of Seebach, the location their family fled from to the west after being expropriated. The ensuing intergenerational dialogue reveals a disturbing, but rarely heard point of view on Nazism: that of an average German citizen and mother of six and housewife, believing in Hitler, who later radically changed her beliefs with deep regret and guilt for her past affiliations.

Sister Helen

TITLE: Sister Helen
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Rebecca Cammisa andd Rob Fruchtman
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 90 Minutes color
SOURCE: Contact directors. Screened at Sundance 2002
TEXT: Sister Helen is not your average nun. In fact, there is nothing average about this story. After the death of her husband and two sons, Helen got herself sober and joined the Benedictine order of nuns. Though in her late sixties, she opened a private home for recovering addicts and alcoholics in the South Bronx, where she lives, along with 21 men. To live there, they must obey her rules, including on-demand urine samples, adhere to strict curfews, participate in community service, and attend house meetings at her discretion. No ifs, ands, or buts. Call it tough love. The men respect and fear her, for she is one tough lady. The film's fly-on-the-wall technique succeeds in capturing the day-to-day existence of Sister Helen and various residents of the home. They range from Indian-born Ashish, who has had multiple alcohol relapses and has run out of last chances, to another man, who lost everything he had to his crack addiction and is slowly trying to rebuild his white-collar life. We see Sister Helen interviewing potential residents with her acerbic tone and the "my-way-or-the-highway" mantra she adopted as a diehard Sinatra fan. Her health is not good, and she often lies awake worrying about those who are losing the fight against using. In this emotionally compelling film, directors Rebecca Cammisa and Rob Fruchtman invite the viewer into a world which otherwise might be forgotten. Once we've come inside, Sister Helen will continue to resonate long after the film has ended

The Inner Tour

TITLE: The Inner Tour
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Ra'anan Alexandrowicz / Raed Andoni, Liran Atzmor
COUNTRY: Israel, Palestine
LANGUAGE: Arabic and Hebrew w/ English Subtitles
TIME: 97
SOURCE: Screened at Sundance 2002
TEXT: Music: George Yosof Semaan, Noam Halevi, Ehud Banai, Muhssein Abed al-Hamid. There's no question that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is both volatile and intransigent. But media coverage of the region, which overwhelmingly dwells on violent extremism, rarely breaks down the wall that keeps one side from truly understanding the other. The documentary Inner Tour innovatively probes the human side of the crisis, bringing to light with unparalleled grace and sensitivity stories of loss and displacement told from the Palestinian perspective. Together with his Palestinian-Israeli production team, director Ra'anan Alexandrowicz follows a diverse group of Palestinians on a three-day sightseeing tour of Israel, once considered home by many of the passengers. With the visitors' eyes riveted on the prosperous Israeli towns rushing by, the tour almost immediately takes on disturbing and heart-wrenching overtones. Small moments speak volumes about the complexity of the situation. Twin brothers excitedly yet tentatively splash in the Mediterranean; though they live just an hour away, it is their first time at the sea. Separated from his family for eight years, a young man momentarily reunites with his mother through a fence at the Lebanese border. A middle-aged passenger pays respect to Itzhak Rabin at the Tel Aviv site of his assassination. An elderly gentleman finds the village he was forced to vacate in 1948, and, amongst the brush, prays at the ruins of his father's grave. The encounter with Israel prompts each passenger to reflect on harsh realities of the present and to recollect a vanished past. As they look outside, we in turn are given a precious window into the soul of Palestinian society. Alexandrowicz has fashioned a luminous, indelible verité poem that moves us to profound insight and subtle catharsis.

Better Luck Tomorrow

TITLE: Better Luck Tomorrow
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Justin Lin / Julie Asato, Ernesto M. Foronda, Justin Lin
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 101 minutes
SOURCE: Screened at Sundance 2002
TEXT: Principal Cast: Parry Shen, Jason Tobin, Sung Kang, Roger Fan, John Cho, Karin Anna Cheung. Capturing the frustration of kids who grow up in a society that forces roles and identities onto volatile minds seeking to create their own image, Better Luck Tomorrow unspools a kinetic high school fable that shatters the stereotype of the bookwormish, passive, Asian male. It introduces, instead, fresh and complex Asian-American characters within a suburban landscape on the verge of a moral collapse. The story follows the fateful rise of four friends in a Southern California high school. Driven by a desire for scholastic achievement, Ben is sole-bent on getting good grades and going to college. He, his best friend Virgil, and the streetwise Han execute perfectly planned, petty thefts that ultimately lead them down the "slippery slope" to Daric, president of the academic decathlon team. The team turns out to be a cover for a cheat sheet scam that propels the foursome into the high school elite. Now the envy of the school, Ben begins a frustratingly innocent relationship with Stephanie, whom he has had a crush on. As the parties and drugs take their toll, his grades begin to slip, and he realizes what is important to him and wants out, but is talked into doing one last job. Bursting with fresh dialogue, innovative cinematography, and dynamic, ultracool performances, the film Justin Lin has created obliterates stale preconceptions and presents an uncompromising journey into the dark side of a misunderstood community.

Worlds Apart

TITLE: Worlds Apart
YEAR: 1976
DIR/PROD: Ilan Tiano / Israel Film Service
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English Subtitles
TIME: 30 minutes each
SOURCE: Israel Film Service in Jerusalem. or contact Sephardichouse.ORG in NYC
TEXT: Worlds Apart is a series that was produced for Israel television in 1976, and capure on film a lost world of immigrant folkloric practices is Israel. The film was split into life cycle events such as birth or marriage. In "Birth (Layda)" we see the Traditions of Kurdish and Yemenite Jews accompanied by typical music and dance. In Adolescence (Bagrut). The Traditions of Kurdish, Yemenite,Libyan and Georgian Jews accompanied by typical music and dance. The videos are grainy and rough, but enlightening. In Marriage (Nissuim). the Traditions of Kurdish, Yemenite, and Libyan Jews accompanied by typical music and dance. Screened at 6th Annual Sephardic Film Festival, December 2001, NYC. Sephardic House info: 212/294-6170, fax: 212/294-6149

Salaam Shalom

TITLE: Salaam Shalom
YEAR: 1999
DIR/PROD: Vanessa Laufer
COUNTRY: Canada
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 50 minutes
SOURCE: email to the director at CyrusMusic@Hotmail.com or contact Sephardichouse.ORG in NYC
TEXT: The film describes the survival of the Jewish communities in India. The director portrays India, Israel and the Jewish Diaspora to reveal several distinct Indian Jewish communities, some of whom are thriving, some on the brink of disintegrating. Today, out of a population of 950 million Indians, there are 5,000 who follow Jewish practices. Includes portraits of Indian Jews in India, Canada, and Israel, including members of Cochin, Bene Israel, Baghdadi, and Bnai Menasha communities. The Bene Israel are believed to have lived in India for 2000 years, after they were shipwrecked off the coast of what is now Maharashta State. They speak Marathi in addition to other languages. Their caste is Shanwaar Tellis (Saturday Oilmen), reflecting their past refusal to work on Shabbat Saturday. The Cochini Jews of southern India were "black Jews" who spoke Malayalam. The "white Jews" of Cochin came from Europe. The two castes did not intermarry. The Baghdadi Jews fled to India in the 1830's primarily to Calcutta, Pune and Bombay. Today they number less than 200 in India. In Israel there are over 50,000 Jews of Indian origin. SPOILER- - - > At the screening I attended, when it was learned that one of the subjects of the film was denied immigration entry to Israel on the grounds that they didn't consider him Jewish, there were cries from the audience of Israeli bureaucratic racism. Curiously, the Israeli Consul to NYC skipped that screening. Screened at 6th Annual Sephardic Film Festival, December 2001, NYC. Sephardic House info: 212/294-6170, fax: 212/294-6149

CAFÉ NOAH

TITLE: CAFÉ NOAH
YEAR: 1996
DIR/PROD: Duki Dror
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 27
SOURCE: see ZygoteFilm.com
TEXT: Café Noah. After its independence in 1948, Jewish musicians from Baghdad and Cairo immigrated to Israel. They were masters in Arabic music, but their music was not valued in the new homeland. The Arab-Israeli wars put them in conflict with their cultural identity as Arabs. Café Noah was the one place where their music continued. This film explores their history and a reunion concert at the site of the old Café Noah. Screened at 6th Annual Sephardic Film Festival, December 2001, NYC. Sephardic House info: 212/294-6170, fax: 212/294-6149

WARP AND WEFT

TITLE: WARP AND WEFT
YEAR: 1997
DIR/PROD: Duki Dror
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 26
SOURCE: see ZygoteFilm.com
TEXT: Dror examines the decay of the company town Dimona populated mainly by Morocccan Jews, and mostly known as the home of Israel's atomic program. The film explores the fate of those residents who were left without jobs and without a viable future when the main employer, a textile factory, closes. Screened at 6th Annual Sephardic Film Festival, December 2001, NYC. Sephardic House info: 212/294-6170, fax: 212/294-6149

MY FANTASIA , FANTASIA SHELI

TITLE: MY FANTASIA
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Duki Dror
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 60
SOURCE: see ZygoteFilm.com
TEXT: Grace, wit, patience and persistence characterize this engaging portrait of the directors' father and uncles, the Darwish brothers. Iraqi Jews, they fled Baghdad in the 50s for Israel and established "Fantasia" designing, manufacturing and distributing Hanukah menorahs. The story weaves memories from Iraq and Israel - two homelands, two languages, two identities, and two enemies. Dror awakens to trace his Iraqi roots, only to face the reclusive silence of his father. As he digs for information about the past, he unearths a long kept family secret. This is a video diary that intersperses humorous moments with moving and revealing insights. Dror is the director of the following documentaries; Sentenced to Learn; Café Noah; Radio Daze; Warp and Weft; Taqasim; Red Vibes; A Matter of Faith; Watchman; Raging Dove; and Paradise Lost. Screened at 6th Annual Sephardic Film Festival, December 2001, NYC. Sephardic House info: 212/294-6170, fax: 212/294-6149

OCHO CANDELAS The Story of Mexico's Unwanted Jews

TITLE: OCHO CANDELAS The Story of Mexico's Unwanted Jews
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Sandro Halphen . Ishai Setton
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 12
SOURCE: Contact Sephardichouse.org
TEXT:. In this forthright documentary about a community of Jews-by-choice in Veracruz, Mexico, the director reviews the emotional tale of their struggles to reenter the Jewish community as Jewish converts. Screened at 6th Annual Sephardic Film Festival, December 2001, NYC. Sephardic House info: 212/294-6170, fax: 212/294-6149

Najeeb: A Persian Girl

TITLE: Najeeb A Persian Girl
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Tanaz Eshaghian
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 28
SOURCE: contact Sephardichouse.ORG in NYC
TEXT: A charming autobiography of a young girl from Persia (Iran) about her growing up in New York. The film explores the conflict of generations and the process of acculturation told honestly and with good humor. Screened at 6th Annual Sephardic Film Festival, December 2001, NYC. Sephardic House info: 212/294-6170, fax: 212/294-6149

Blue Vinyl

TITLE: Blue Vinyl
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Judith Helfand / Daniel B. Gold, Helfand, and Julia D. Parker
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 98
SOURCE: Contact Judith Helfand at her office at 200 West 72nd Street, Suite 66, New York, NY 10023. Phone 212 875 0456 fax: 212.501 0889 email: judith@bluevinyl.ORG see sebpage at bluevinyl.ORG Screened at Sundance 2002
TEXT: Music: Marty Erlich, Sam Broussard, Steven Thomas Cavit, Terry Dame and Four Piece Suit. WINNER OF an award at Sundance January 2002. To be screened on HBO in Spring 2002. Activist Judith Helfand, who explored the devastating effects of DES on her own body in A Healthy Baby Girl (1997 Sundance Film Festival), is not one to look the other way when a cancerous toxin looms in her own front yard. So when her parents affix vinyl siding to their suburban Long Island abode, she gets suspicious. Armed with a big blue slab from the home improvement project, Helfand marches straight to the centers of vinyl production to get the skinny on this seemingly benign plastic, used not only to make cheap, durable siding, but also to create flooring, credit cards, I-V bags, cell phones--you name it. Taking a personal, whimsical approach, Blue Vinyl engagingly links unlikely stories and characters across continents, races, and classes to uncover the impact of vinyl manufacturing on the atmosphere, the food chain, and humans. It's not a pretty picture. In Lake Charles, Louisiana, giant petrochemical plants cough out the vinyl by-product dioxin, causing cancer in alarming numbers of residents. In Venice, Italy, vinyl company executives stand accused of manslaughter for knowingly exposing five hundred workers to deadly chemical levels. Still, the industry remains largely unregulated while pouring PR dollars into elevating vinyl's public profile. Using Emily Hubley's and Jeremiah Dickey's playful animations to illustrate the frightening process of vinyl contamination, Blue Vinyl powerfully questions the assumption that environmental health risk is an inevitable component of economic progress. And, as Helfand scours for a responsible way to dispose of her parents' indestructible siding, we're artfully reminded just how personal the political really is. Jewishfilm.com found this film very JEWISH in its approach to social action and tikkun olam .. Note to file... Sundance party was held at Temple Har Shalom in Park City.

Family Fundamentals

TITLE: Family Fundamentals
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Arthur Dong
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 100
SOURCE: Screened at Sundance 2002
TEXT: A timely and incisive film about the untenable conflict between warring American values--religious fundamentalism versus family love. While fundamentalists from outside the Unites States are castigated these days for their social extremism, this film shines a new light on American fundamentalism, a powerful ideological bloc in the U.S. Among the documentary's subjects are a Pentecostal church leader and her gay grandson and lesbian daughter; the gay son of a Mormon bishop in rural Utah; and Brian Bennett, the gay former chief of staff to conservative (and Catholic) Congressman Bob Dornan (R-California), who regarded Bennett almost as a son. It's not surprising that American contempt for homosexuality has strong roots in religious fundamentalism, but as Dong's film demonstrates, family members facing the challenge of warring beliefs require, and summon, great personal resourcefulness in attempting to remain functional families. Attending prayer meetings in which intervention is sought to correct gayness and a son's homecoming that becomes a family intervention, Dong traces tortuous tactics undertaken by parents and children, including sham marriages and other forms of self-abnegation. Such contortions are shown for their dubiousness as cultural solutions for families or society, with polarization and extremism as conceivable outcomes. (Indeed, the intelligent and articulate Dornan is stretched thin by the pain of his conflict over Bennett, finally appearing to resolve his conflict without resorting to compromise). Noting the false comforts of negotiated silence, this film frames a message of caution and issues a call for the sort of open debate that respectfully allows citizens, and families, to agree to disagree.

The Kid Stays in the Picture

TITLE: The Kid Stays in the Picture
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Brett Morgan / Graydon Carter, Brett Morgen, Nanette Burstein, Kate Driver, Chris Garrett, Sara Marks
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 91
SOURCE: Screened at Sundance 2002
TEXT: Adapted for the screen by:: Brett Morgen, based on the novel The Kid Stays in the Picture by Robert Evans. There are three sides to every story: my side, your side, and the truth. -- Robert Evans
Intimate, gripping, revealing, uncensored, and fascinating are only a few of the adjectives big enough to describe this cinematic adaptation of Robert Evans's no-holds-barred autobiography. The Kid Stays in the Picture tracks the rise, fall, and rise again of the giant and legend who was labeled the "bad boy" of Hollywood. The first actor ever to run a motion picture studio, Evans reigned supreme for more than half a decade as studio chief and independent producer at Paramount. He was responsible for such revolutionary films as The Odd Couple, Rosemary's Baby, Love Story, The Godfather, and Chinatown. His personal life was equally sensational: infamous marriages to Ali McGraw and Phyllis George, a cocaine addiction, and half-a-dozen close calls with personal and financial disaster. Filmmakers Brett Morgen and Nanette Burstein have constructed this amazing hybrid of a documentary using incredible footage and personal photos. They brilliantly keep Evans at the heart of the project, narrating his own life, even reliving important phone calls and imitating some of Hollywood's greatest celebrities. Evans tells all, or at least his version of it. No reputation is left unscathed, even his own. His famed home in Beverly Hills becomes a character in the film. Behind its gates surrounded by 2,000 roses, it's as if the walls really can talk. The Kid Stays in the Picture is sure to become an instant classic. The title of the film is a quote from one of his many great stories, but to find out more, you will simply have to see the picture.

The Laramie Project

TITLE: The Laramie Project
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Moisés Kaufman / Ross Katz, Anne Carey, Ted Hope
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 97
SOURCE: Screened at Sundance 2002
TEXT: Based on the screenplay by Moisés Kaufman and the members of Tectonic Theater Project, based on their play of the same name. Principal Cast: A 56-member ensemble cast, including Steve Buscemi, Jeremy Davies, Peter Fonda, Janeane Garofalo, Laura Linney, Amy Madigan, Christina Ricci. The brutal attack on Matthew Shepard was the kind of wakeup call a society doesn't get very often. It triggered an avalanche of media, a kind of national deathwatch until Shepard died five days later. The Laramie Project is the response of one man, playwright Moisés Kaufman, and his colleagues at the Tectonic Theater Project, who went to Laramie, Wyoming, and conducted more than 200 interviews with townspeople and officials. The result is this inquiry into hate and the thoughts and feelings of an American community. As one local states, Laramie became instantly notorious, "like Waco or Jasper." But The Laramie Project is not an exercise in self-righteous condemnation. It merely attempts to come to terms with what happened. It's a film, based on the play by the troupe, that presents the details of the slaying as revealed by those closest to it, and the truth lies in the details. It's a film about homophobia across the nation, but as one woman deftly points out, "Honey, it's still about Laramie." The cast is sterling, literally a panoply of the top ranks of independent film talent: Christina Ricci, Steve Buscemi, Laura Linney, Summer Phoenix, Nestor Carbonell, Jeremy Davies, Clea Duvall, and Janeane Garofalo. Brimming with resonance and emotion, this chronicle of events is ultimately a cry for tolerance and understanding. Kaufman displays an incredibly apt sense of the way this story should be told. The craft is outstanding; the musical score is faultless. But the Laramie Project is beyond the usual film criticism; if it enhances our understanding, it has accomplished its purpose.

Run Ronnie Run!

TITLE: Run Ronnie Run!
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Troy Miller / Mark Burg, Oren Koules, Carl Mazzocone, Troy Miller, Tom Sherren
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 86
SOURCE: Screened at Sundance 2002
TEXT: Principal Cast: David Cross, Bob Odenkirk, Jill Talley, David Koechner, Nikki Cox, Jack Black. "Warning: Those of you not wanting to laugh your asses off should not see this film!" If you took the physical comedy of Buster Keaton, the raunchiness of Benny Hill, and the zaniness of Saturday Night Live sketches, put them in a blender, and frapped them up, you would probably be labeled psychotic and shunned by society. A better idea is to come see Run Ronnie Run!, the highly anticipated feature film from the creators of the ingenious HBO comedy series, Mr. Show. Based on characters from the show, Run Ronnie Run! follows Ronnie Dobbs, an uneducated, unemployed slacker who spends his days in a small Georgia town drinking beer and terrorizing its residents. His life does a 180-degree turn when enterprising TV producer Terry Twillstein discovers him after witnessing one of Ronnie's many arrests on a Cops-style show. As Ronnie becomes a megastar, both he and Terry use their wit, ingenuity, and a little dumb luck to get what they want: in this case, a lost love and a hit TV show. David Cross and Bob Odenkirk, who also wrote the screenplay along with Scott Aukerman, BJ Porter, and Brian Posehn, star in this highly imaginative film. Director Troy Miller does an amazing job of weaving the varied sketches together into a perfectly synchronized fusion of apparent nonsequiturs, brilliantly wrapping up loose ends of the plot into a tight, frenzied knot of pure comedy. Run Ronnie Run! must not, should not, WILL NOT be missed.

Two Towns of Jasper

TITLE: Two Towns of Jasper
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Whitney Dow Marco Williams
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 90
SOURCE: Screened at Sundance 2002
TEXT: Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall during a racially charged conversation? Codirectors Marco Williams and Whitney Dow do the next best thing in this remarkably revealing documentary about a community in which the most vicious, racially motivated murder since the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till took place. Using two separate filmmaking teams--an all-white crew filming white residents and an all-black crew filming black residents--Two Towns of Jasper captures very different views by townsfolk on opposites sides of the racial divide. On June 7, 1998, James Byrd, an African American, was chained to a pickup truck in Jasper, Texas, and dragged behind it for three miles until his body disintegrated. Three local white men, with ties to white supremacist groups, were arrested and convicted of the crime. Over the course of the three murder trials, from January through December 1999, Dow and Williams documented the town of Jasper, speaking to residents in their homes, their churches, and their local meeting places. It is astoundingly sobering to witness the enormous and sometimes shocking racial chasm between the black and white community as residents lowered their guard and revealed, for better or for worse, their true beliefs in the comfort of homogenized company. Dow and Williams's segregated lens provides unprecedented access into the racial views and mores of a Southern community. Some of what is revealed in conversation is as heartbreaking as the murder itself.

HOLY LAND

TITLE: HOLY LAND
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Eitan Gorlin / Matt Candel, Udi Yerushalmi, Ran Bogin
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 96 minutes
SOURCE: contact: Eitan Gorlin 11707 Fulham Street Silver Spring, MD, USA 20902 egorlin@yahoo.com phone: 301-649-1886. Screened at Slamdance, January 2002
TEXT: WINNER OF THE JURY PRIZE FOR BEST FEATURE AT SLAMDANCE JANUARY 2002. A young rabbinical student named Mendy heads to Israel, the Holy Land, in search of "experience," and gets more than he ever imagined. His rabbi is the first to notice his distracted attention and suggests to the boy that he "get it out of his system." That's how Mendy meets Sacha, a prostitute in a Tel Aviv bordello. Through Sacha, he meets another one of her clients, a big, loud American ex-war photographer named Mike. Mike owns perhaps the only scuzzy dive bar in the holy city but a place where Arabs, Christians and Jews drink side by side. It's also where Mendy gets work and meets Mike's friends. Mendy falls into an easy routine at Mike's Place, and falls even more in love with Sacha. The two even begin to talk about a life together in America, but before they can go, Mendy is paid an ominous visit by his old teacher. The threat is simple: return home within a week, or Mendy's parents will find out what he has been doing. Mendy must decide if he can trust Sacha and leave Israel, or if he should return home. Writer/Director: Eitan Gorlin Producers: Matt Candel, Udi Yerushalmi, Ran Bogin. Editor: Josh Apter and Yair Elazar Cinematographer: Nils Kenaston Music: Chris Cunningham Cast: Oren Rehany, Tchelet Semel, Saul Stein, Albert Illooz. contact: Eitan Gorlin 11707 Fulham Street Silver Spring, MD, USA 20902 egorlin@yahoo.com phone: 301-649-1886. Gorlin writes " When people ask me if I'm happy with the film I wrote an directed, I instinctively respond "I'm still in shock that it got made, that there's even an image on the screen." Although I had spent considerable time in Israel, I had no connection whatsoever to its film community and hadn't been there in four years when I told my investors (who, by the way, lost their mini fortunes half-way through production as the NASDAQ crashed), "Sure. I can go to Israel and be back in four months with a coherent film about God, war and prostitution." And although I had spent the previous five years doing on-set jobs in New York and Los Angeles ranging from grip to producer, I had never before directed a feature, let alone on location in the real "Ground Zero" of our millennium's first global war. What you see in the screen is my war story, and with great sadness I suggest, it looks like it's becoming America's war story as well.

The Stone Reader

TITLE: The Stone Reader
YEAR: 2002
DIR/PROD: Mark Moskowitz / Mark Moskowitz, Robert Goodman
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 150
SOURCE: Mark Moskowitz 1035 Davis Lane Chester Springs, PA, USA 19425 email: pov@ix.netcom.com phone: 610-469-2200 fax: 610-469-3281 see also stonereader.net
TEXT: WINNER AT SLAMDANCE JANUARY 2002. In 1972, 18-year-old Mark Moskowitz buys a novel called THE STONES OF SUMMER by first-time author Dow Mossman, because an enthusiastic New York Times review persuades him it is the book of a generation. Despite being an avid reader, Moskowitz can't get past the first 20 pages. Twenty-five years later, Mark re-discovers the book, and this time he can't put it down. Enthralled with its story and wonderful originality, Mark tries to buy copies for his friends and to look for other works by the author. He can't find the book. He can't find a record of the author. He can't find anyone who has heard his name, let alone read the book. This film chronicles filmmaker Mark Moskowitz's search for Dow Mossman. He crisscrosses the country in pursuit of this literary mystery, and comes across writers, editors, and readers, who help him solve it. Included are Robert Gottlieb, editor of CATCH-22, Frank Conroy, head of the Iowa Writers Workshop, and influential critic Leslie Fiedler. Humorous, obsessive and wistful, this cinematic journey is a provocative affirmation of reading and what it means to us. Cast: Mark Moskowitz, Robert Gottlieb, Leslie Fiedler, Frank Conroy. Directed by Mark Moskowitz Mark Moskowitz 1035 Davis Lane Chester Springs, PA, USA 19425 email: pov@ix.netcom.com phone: 610-469-2200 fax: 610-469-3281

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Main Page is www.Jewishfilm.com



http://www.jewishfilm.com -- Revised: 1/15/98, 7/5/98, March 2000, July 2000, January 2002
Copyright © 1996-2002 Jewish Film Archive online website, Larry Mark, webmaster gadol
http://members.aol.com/jewfilm -- Revised: 1/15/98, 7/5/98, March 1999
Copyright © 1996-2002 Jewish Film Archive online website, Larry Mark, webmaster gadol
jewfilm@aol.com

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