Trembling Before G-d (2001) - News Poster

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What Makes A Great Interview? Filmmakers Share Tips on Securing Great On-Screen Dialogues

At “What Makes a Great Interview,” a November 12 panel at Doc NYC, moderator Sandi DuBowski (Trembling Before G-d) offered his reflections on interviews: “People want to have a cathartic experience, a soul journey… to take a breath out of the everyday rush and really sink into their life. I think interviews are very holy and they are gorgeous and there is something about life in them that is special.” Three filmmakers joined DuBowski on the stage to reflect on their process for conducting great interviews, from their personal theories to little tricks in the tool bag (like dropping a […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »

‘Diamond Diplomacy’ Explores Baseball’s Historic Influence on Japan-u.S. Relations

Here’s your daily dose of an indie film, web series, TV pilot, what-have-you in progress, as presented by the creators themselves. At the end of the week, you’ll have the chance to vote for your favorite.

In the meantime: Is this a project you’d want to see? Tell us in the comments.

Diamond Diplomacy

Logline: Devotion to baseball has been tossed between the U.S. and Japan since the late 1800s, and mirrors profound shifts in diplomacy between the two nations. “Diamond Diplomacy” charts this story revealing pivotal moments of often-controversial duality.

Elevator Pitch:

Baseball is the national pastime of two very different countries. “Diamond Diplomacy” is the never-before-told story about the dramatic ups and downs of U.S. and Japan diplomacy, since 1872, through the lens of a shared love of baseball. Several players and managers (including Babe Ruth and Lefty O’Doul) have been important ambassadors through baseball.
See full article at Indiewire »

Recipients of 2015/2016 Tfi New Media Fund Announced

Tribeca Film Institute (Tfi), in partnership with Ford Foundation’s JustFilms initiative, has announced the grant recipients of the 2015/2016 Tfi New Media Fund. Grantees were selected by an advisory board comprised of Just Vision’s Julia Bacha, director Malika Zouhali-Worrall (Call Me Kuchu), director-producer Sandi Dubowski (Trembling Before G-d), Google’s Lisa Steiman and Chicken & Egg Pictures’ Jenni Wolfson. The fund provides monetary grants and support to nonfiction, transmedia projects which tackle a social issue. Each of the three selected projects will receive $50,000 in funding as well as expert mentorship for producers to help them develop their projects and build engagement with audiences. You […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »

Cannes Isa of the Day: Philippa Kowarsky of Cinephil

The Isa of the Day segment of SydneysBuzz resumes for the Cannes Film Festival 2015. ISAs, or International Sales Agents, help to bring films into global distribution by selling distribution rights to distributors worldwide. Topics include new trends in distribution and sales, inspirational success stories, film slates and more. A worthy read for any serious filmmaker looking to have a better understanding of the chain of business between producing a film and sharing it with the world.

Philippa Kowarsky is the Managing Director of Cinephil, an international sales company that is renowned for securing financing and distribution for documentaries from all around the world. Kowarsky started Cinephil 18 years ago on the first of January in 1997.

Cinephil has a solid history of working with award winning films including Academy Award nominee, “The Gatekeepers“ (for which Kowarsky was a nominee, with Cinephil as the producer); the 2014 Academy Award nominee, “The Act of Killing, and Dror Shaul’s “Sweet Mud”, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.

Kowarsky, the first ever film sales agent of Israel, shares more about her background and the success of Cinephil:

I’ve was doing sales, marketing and production before I started Cinephil. I worked for some studios in Israel, and got into sales because there were no companies dedicated to sales only. I was representing films at the previous company I worked at — when I left, people just kept coming to me, saying “Will you take my film?” I started Cinephil and we got a film into Rotterdam’s mocumentary section. It was the first Cinephil festival. I didn’t even have a proper concept or mission for my company, but I did meet sales agents from around the world, and thought, “Perhaps we could have some sales agents in Israel!” Then it became a bit more formal.

We started doing everything - features, children’s programming, and documentaries -working with Israeli and Palestinian films. Over the years, we decided to drop children’s programming, and then let go of feature films (which I still love). Now Cinephil focuses on documentaries.

About 8 years ago, we decided to go International to represent films to the world, from the world – everywhere. It doesn’t matter where you’re based: Tel Aviv, Paris, Montreal or New York. Everyone is traveling to all the festivals, and everything is done by emails and phone. Thanks to technology, we have a very international career and life, and to make matters better, we also have Heather Wyer working for us out of Montreal. Having a North American base is great!

How did you enter the film industry?

A lot of this happened to me by chance. I received an Ma in London for communication policy studies. At the end of the day, it’s been helpful, because it has given me a deeper understanding of the media world. That’s been a strong part of Cinephil – being able to strategize with all this know-how.

When I started 20 years ago, there was very little international film and television activity in Israel. In the meantime, the Israeli industry has developed, but getting Israeli films into festivals was a big deal back then. Now our cinema is well received everywhere. There are fabulous agencies based in Israel, including our TV channels which selling product around the world.

How is Cinephil expanding?

We do sales and distribution and act as Ep’s on films. We’ve always been into development and raising finance for films, but recently the films we’ve been working with are of a higher profile. One of the highlights is when we came in as producers for “The Gatekeepers”, for which we were nominated for an Academy Award in 2012. In 2013, we were back in Los Angeles with “The Act of Killing”, which was nominated as well. We are proud to work with Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sorensen again on “The Look of Silence”, which premiered in competition in Venice last year and won the Grand Jury Award on top of four other awards. Since then, it has won countless awards worldwide. We’re now working with Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi on “The 50 Year Argument”.

Please discuss your slate for Cannes.

We‘re thrilled to be working on a Cannes Classics premiere “By Sidney Lumet” by Nancy Buirski. Cinephil will present several films in the market. One is “Invasion”, by Abner Benaim, about the USA’s invasion of Panama.

Another is a film that we just picked up in Tribeca where it made headlines, titled “Among the Believers”, which follows the growth of the Red Mosques in Pakistan. It portrays a system that offers young children free food and accommodation, and, in return, the young adepts are force fed the principles of radical Islam from the moment they can read.

Other films in the Cannes Market include “Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon”, which premiered in Sundance, and “The Yes Men are Revolting”, which will open in the Us this summer.

“Thank You for Playing”, follows a family struggling with a terminally ill boy. Ryan, his Dad, an indie video game developer, is building a poetic, autobiographical video game to document his pain and to tell the story of his baby. It’s sophisticated, touching and timely.

Learn more about Cinephil’s new releases here.

See Cinephil’s full catalogue here.

More About Cinephil:

Cinephil is an international sales and advisory firm, which has a strong reputation for securing international distribution, broadcasting and financing deals for documentaries from all over the world on behalf of film producers and directors.

With a history of selling unique and award-winning films,Cinephil also acts as a strategic advisor and co-producer.

Cinephil has facilitated the sale and financing of well over a hundred films. Cinephil represented (and produced) the 2013 Academy Award nominee, “The Gatekeepers“; the 2014 Academy Award nominee, “The Act of Killing“, executive produced by Werner Herzog and Errol Morris; “Cathedrals of Culture“, a 3D project executive produced by Wim Wenders and including films by Wim Wenders and Robert Redford, and Martin Scorsese’s new documentary, “The 50 Year Argument“, about The New York Review of Books. Managing director, Philippa Kowarsky, has co-produced many films, including 2014 Academy Award nominee, Dror Moreh’s, “The Gatekeepers“, Dror Shaul’s “Sweet Mud”, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and the Crystal Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, “Defamation” by Yoav Shamir, “Watermarks” by Yaron Zilberman and the award-winning “Trembling Before G-d” by Sandi DuBowski.
See full article at Sydney's Buzz »

The Tribeca Film Festival 2013 Juries Feature a Host of Big Names

  • HeyUGuys
The Tribeca Film Festival have announced the juries for each category of competition. A host of actors, directors and journalists have been selected that include Evan Rachel Wood, Paul Haggis, Josh Radnor, Eva Longoria and Bryce Dallas Howard.

The members selected will be judging the films that fall within their respective categories, and you can check out the list below. Make sure to check back with us for all the latest from Tribeca including reviews, interviews and more! The festival runs from April 17th – April 28th in New York City.

World Competition Categories

The jurors for the 2013 World Narrative Competition are:

Kenny Lonergan: Academy Award®-nominated playwright, filmmaker and screenwriter. Credits include You Can Count On Me,Gangs of New York, and Margaret. His stage credits include Lobby Hero, The Waverly Gallery and This is Our Youth. He is a member of the Naked Angels Theater Company in New York.
See full article at HeyUGuys »

Tribeca 2013: Eva Longoria, Whoopi Goldberg, Josh Radnor among festival jurors

The Tribeca Film Festival announced today that it has selected 42 jurors for this year’s festival. The jurors include members of the filmmaking community — including Bryce Dallas Howard, Whoopi Goldberg, Paul Haggis, Taraji P. Henson, Kenneth Lonergan, Eva Longoria, Josh Radnor, and Evan Rachel Wood — as well as policy makers and entertainment business leaders.

According to a press release, the seven juries will award $180,000 in cash and prizes during the Festival (April 17-28). Tribeca All Access (Taa) Creative Promise Awards will award an additional $20,000 — $10,000 for narrative and $10,000 for documentary. All winners will also receive a work of original art by
See full article at EW.com - Inside Movies »

The 25 Greatest Gay Documentaries

  • The Backlot
Looking for a must-see list of great gay documentaries? We've got you covered. We recently asked our readers to nominate up to five of their favorite documentary films via write-in vote. Thousands responded and we tabulated the results to bring you the top 25 here. All of these films are definitely worth a look and to help you learn more about titles you might not be familiar with, we've included trailers, links to reviews, official film websites and more. Plus, for three of the titles we've even embedded the full movie thanks to the Logo Docs library.

So here they are, the 25 Greatest Gay Documentaries. Which ones have you already seen? Which ones do you need to see?

25. Saint of 9/11

Summary: Sir Ian McKellen narrates this inspiring portrait of Father Mychal Judge, a New York City Fire Department Chaplain who wrestled with his sexuality, his genuine dedication to life as a priest,
See full article at The Backlot »

Sundance Institute Names 27 Recipients of Documentary Grants; '99%,' Films from Sandi DuBowski and Amy Berg Among Recipients

  • Indiewire
The Sundance Institute announced 27 recipients of its development, production and audience engagement documentary grants.  Included in the list are: "99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film," "The Amichai Film Project" from Sandi DuBowski ("Trembling Before G-d"), "West of Memphis" director Amy Berg's "This is America," and Tfi honoree Berit Madsen's "Stargazing."  Grants for audience engagement went to Sundance alums "The Invisible War" and "The Law in These Parts" as well as "Town of Runners." The complete list of grant recipients is below: Development 99 % - The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film (U.S.) Directors: A. Ewell, A. Aites, L. Read, N. Krstic, K. Teague, A. Martin, P. Leeman, K. Kerhwald The story of the Occupy Wall Street movement is told from many perspectives, but woven into a single, resonant portrait with an unprecedented and...
See full article at Indiewire »

Cinema Eye Honors Nominees for Genre-Bending Award Include 'Beginners,' 'My Joy'

The Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking have announced the five nominees for their second annual Heterodox Award, which honors a narrative film that "imaginatively incorporates nonfiction strategies, content and/or modes of production." Last year's winner was Matt Porterfield for "Putty Hill." This year's winner will be chosen by a jury of documentary filmmakers: Natalia Almada ("El Velador"), Sandi DuBowski ("Trembling Before G-d"), Shannon Kennedy (editor, "A Walk Into the Sea"), Alrick Brown ("Kinyarwanda") and Kimberly Reed ("Prodigal Sons"). The winner will be announced at the Cinema Eye ceremony at the Museum of the Moving Image on January 11. The nominees follow. Descriptions provided by Cinema Eye Honors. "Beginners." Drawing from autobiographical elements, including his relationship to his dying father, Mike Mills has made a sensitive, insightful, and whimsically...
See full article at Indiewire »

Making A Living As A Filmmaker

A Tribeca Film Institute Panel at the New School this week mulled over just this topic. From the program:

You’ve completed your school work and made a few films in school, and now you need to figure out your next steps. What career options exist for filmmakers? How can you develop and raise money for a film project and still cover your living expenses? This panel addresses these questions and provides examples and answers relevant to all makers of film and other media.

The panelists:

Sharon Badal (Moderator) is head short film programmer for the Tribeca Film Festival.

Sandi DuBowski is the Director/Producer of Trembling Before G-d, Producer of A Jihad for Love, and Co-Producer of Budrus.

Macky Alston is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, an educator on issues of media and religion, an organizer within the worlds of philanthropy and media-making, and a regular writer and reviewer on film and religion

Moon Molson?
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »

SnagFilms' New iPad App Allows Free Streaming of Indie Docs

  • The Wrap
SnagFilms' New iPad App Allows Free Streaming of Indie Docs
SnagFilms, which distributes ad-supported indie documentaries online, announced Thursday a new iPad application that will users to stream more than 50 docs, many of them festival winners – including “Super Size Me,” “Trembling Before G-d” and “Heavy Metal in Baghdad” – for free. SnagFilms said it plans to regularly refresh the slate of films available on the app -- sponsored by American Express’ Members Project -- from its relatively extensive library (the company already offers more than 1,800 films for streaming online). "So you want full length movies on your iPad, but
See full article at The Wrap »

Eyes Wide Open reveals the homophobia of Orthodox Judaism

The important yet depressing Eyes Wide Open is true to life: it shows a Hassidic community that preaches sexual intolerance and a terror of difference

Eyes Wide Open may be sensitively filmed and movingly narrated, but it is also profoundly depressing. Set in a fundamentalist religious community in Jerusalem, it tells the story of two men who fall in love and embark on an illicit affair. Same-sex relationships within any conservative religious community are generally forbidden. Orthodox Judaism, for its part, teaches that men and women should marry young, have lots of babies and live as purely and God-fearingly as possible. This film follows on the heels of Sandi Simcha DuBowski's fascinating 2001 documentary Trembling Before G-d, which interviews lesbian and gay Orthodox Jews trying to come to terms with their sexuality. The fascination for me was the subjects' allegiance to their religion rather than their sexuality. Why do they
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Support Your Social Issue Documentary

Sandi Dubowski (Trembling Before G-d, A Jihad for Love) whose Budrus is now premiering at the Panorama section of the Berlinale (where a total of 54 films from 29 countries have been selected, of which 31 are world premieres and 18 directorial debuts) spoke at Sundance Ff's panel discussion on new modes of distribution entitled Is There A Doctor In The House moderated by IndieWire's beloved Eugene Hernandez, unselfishly offered these links to organizations which support social issue docs:

Active Voice (link), Bavc Producer’s Institute for New Technologies (link), Brave New Films (link), Channel 4 Britdoc Foundation (link), Chicken and Egg Productions (link), Cinereach (link), The Fledgling Fund (link), The Good Pitch (link), Impact Partners (link), the Sundance Documentary Fund (link), Tribeca All Access and the Tribeca Gucci Documentary Fund (link), Workbook Project (link), and many more.
See full article at Sydney's Buzz »

Snag This: Trembling Before G-d

Is it possible for gay and lesbian ultra-Orthodox Jews to reconcile their sexual orientation with their devout religious beliefs? Director Sandi Simcha DuBowski examines the question carefully and quietly in Trembling Before G-d, a documentary available for free online viewing at SnagFilms.

Over a period of years, DuBowski interviewed Hasidic and Orthodox Jews in New York, California, Florida, Britain, and Israel, all individuals struggling with their feelings. One man has undergone therapy for more than 10 years in an attempt to "cure" his homosexuality. Others have been ostracized from their families and the communities in which they were raised. Still others prefer to remain anonymous. DuBowski also talked to different medical experts and religious leaders.

In his review for another site, Eric D. Snider commented: "Though the stories are compelling in their humanity and the striking quandaries they present, even for straight viewers, they develop a sameness after a while. None
See full article at Cinematical »

A Jihad For Love

Sandi DuBowski's 2001 documentary Trembling Before G-d dealt soberly and relatively non-judgmentally with the dilemma of gay men and women who identify themselves as Orthodox Jews. Now DuBowski serves as a producer on Parvez Sharma's A Jihad For Love, about the even more tenuous position of observant Muslims who choose to be openly gay. While Jewish homosexuals can at least have long, analytical talks with their rabbis about whether being gay and devout is a contradiction, in some Islamic cultures, coming out means risking a death sentence. Jumping from country to country, Sharma finds gay men and lesbians living in exile from their original homes, and lets them tell their stories about growing up feeling different from their peers, then trying to suppress their desires by getting married, then fleeing their community when the truth comes out. Sharma frames Jihad's subjects tightly, isolating them from their communities, and because.
See full article at The AV Club »

Sex, politics rife in Berlin fest Panorama

COLOGNE, Germany -- Sex, politics and rock 'n' roll are the themes running through this year's Panorama, the Berlin International Film Festival's main sidebar.

Parvez Sharma's A Jihad For Love, which will open Panorama's documentary section, Dokumente, looks at the conflict between sexuality and religion by examining the lives of devout Muslims who are homosexual. The film was produced by Sandi Dubowski, who looked at similar issues among gay orthodox Jews in Trembling Before G-d. That film debuted in Panorama in 2001 and won Berlin's Teddy award for the best film with a homosexual theme.

Sexual politics are at the core of several Dokumente entries including Dondu Kilic's The Other Istanbul, Suddenly, Last Winter from Italian directors Gustav Hofer and Luca Ragazzi, Jochen Hick's East/West and "Dead Gay Men and Living Lesbians" by Berlin's own Rosa von Praunheim.

Middle East politics is the focus of Eran Riklis' Lemon Tree, the drama that opens the Panorama Special section. The film looks at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the eyes of a Palestinian woman who inherits a lemon grove bordering on Israeli territory.

Other high-profile Panorama Special screenings include Brad Anderson's Transsiberian, featuring Woody Harrelson, Thomas Kretschmann and Ben Kingsley, and the world premiere of Madonna's directorial debut, Filth & Wisdom starring Richard E. Grant.

Madonna won't be the only pop star featured on this year's Panorama. Legendary punk princess Patti Smith will give a concert in the German capital to support the Panorama debut of Steven Sebring's documentary Patti Smith: Dream of Life. Ceri Levy's Bananaz follows Britpop regulars Damon Alban and Jamie Hewlett, creators of the virtual band Gorillaz.

Conget to head new Film Movement division

Industry veteran Rebeca Conget has been named vp theatrical distribution of the new created division at distribution company Film Movement.

In her new post, Conget will be responsible for expanding and running the division. She will report to company president Adley Gartenstein.

"We are so pleased that Rebeca has decided to join our team," said Film Movement CEO Stuart Litman. "Her experience will be invaluable to Film Movement during this period of intense growth."

Conget was previously vp of theatrical distribution for New Yorker Films where she was responsible for the national campaigns of Trembling Before God, To Be and to Have, My Architect, Bamako and other titles. Conget also served as a consultant for Cinema Tropical, a non-profit organization that supports Latin American cinema in the U.S.

See also

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