51 Birch Street screens at the Jerusalem Film Festival next week, and it figures that just as I'm preparing to visit Israel for the first time ever, Israel seems to be preparing for full-scale hostilities with Hamas.
Probably because everyone’s starting to get worried, I keep getting asked if I'm worried. (Well, a bit, I suppose, but I'm a pretty fatalistic New Yorker.) Marjorie's trying to be cool about it, but today she forwarded a New York Times article on the situation in an email with a one word subject header: Oy!
Given my erratic recovery from the Australia trip, I'm personally far more terrified by the prospect of another really long plane ride. On the other hand, I’m also very excited. The Israeli docmakers I’ve met on the festival circuit tell me Jerusalem is fantastic. The kick-ass distributor we've just brought on to handle our non-theatrical screenings, Ravit Turjeman of Dragoman Films, is Israeli (in fact, 51 Birch is her first non-Israeli film), and she'll be there to introduce me around. The festival puts the filmmakers up at the spiffy Mount Zion Hotel, which has a spectacular view of the old city, they say. And, as an admitedly lapsed Jew, at least in practice, I'll be interested to see if I feel any kind of spiritual connection to the holy homeland.
Meanwhile, the film continues to make strong connections all around the world. I've done a lot of press for the New Zealand Film Festival, including a long, late night phone interview with New Zealand's leading critic (according to the festival publicist, at least), who, partly because of an intense experience with his own dying mother, was "blown away" by the film.
I was blown away today by a call from the BritDoc publicist wanting to arrange a time on Monday for an interview with a journalist from the London Times. The unusual part is the Times wants to fly her out to do the interview with me in person, then have her fly down to Florida the next day to interview my father and Kitty. I'll actually be out in Amagansett for the holiday weekend, so the poor woman is flying in from London, then taking a 3-hour Jitney ride out to the Hamptons. She'll probably fall asleep mid interview.
Wednesday, we travel up the coast for a few days for a screening of 51 Birch at the Martha's Vineyard Summer Film Series. Thomas Bena, who heads the series, emailed the other day to say that none other than Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes will be moderating our Q&A. He’s a part-time Martha's Vineyard resident, I guess, and apparently was given a list of all the films playing there and picked a few to moderate based on their descriptions. Anyway, they aren’t advertising his appearance (only mine), so that ought to be fun.
Finally, speaking of strong connections, at 4:43am on June 26, David Morgan Michael Silver entered the world – 8.5 lbs, and off the charts in length. He's my step-son Josh’s son (his wife Margaret is rumored to have had something to do with it, too).
The adorable fella had to put up with a video lens in his face for about 10 minutes before he finally met his grandfather, or step-grandfather (or whoever it is I am) face to face. All I know is it’s the first footage I’ve specifically shot for my next film and he’s the star of the scene.
Hey, the kid has to get used to this sometime.