"We wanted to use four [American] towns as examples to get to know people -- those who fought and those who stayed at home -- and to get to their experiences as it happened."
The result is Burns and co-director Lynn Novick seeing the war as it was unfolding through the eyes of soldiers from Mobile, Ala.; Sacramento; Waterbury, Conn., and Luverne, Minn., to show, in so many ways, the ongoing hellishness of even a necessary war.
Jennifer Westfeldt is gracious, even humble, in accepting the compliment that starts this interview. She has been told that a recent essay on cineastes -- "Jewish Humor, After Woody" -- called her "the most intriguing candidate to forge a career of intelligent, dialogue-driven films about the comic possibilities of modern relationships." In other words, she may be the next Woody Allen.
Eric Roth's impressive resume as a Hollywood screenwriter includes an Oscar (for adapting "Forrest Gump") and a string of reality-based screenplays about the difficulties important people face choosing between realpolitik and personal morality.
"Blood Diamond," among other subjects, focuses on how the worldwide demand for diamonds allowed violent, inhumane rebels in the West African nation of Sierra Leone to fund their atrocities through a smuggling scheme.
It would be easy to assume that director-writer Jeff Lipsky, whose "Flannel Pajamas" intimately chronicles the arduous rise and tragic fall of a Jewish man's marriage to a Catholic woman, is a relative newcomer to independent film. After all, this is but his second movie. His first, 1997's "Childhood's End," was a little-seen coming-of-age story about several young people in Minneapolis. But Lipsky actually is one of the most important names in the indie world. Just not as a director. Not yet, anyway.
In their previous screenplay collaborations, Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy have satirized such offbeat subjects as small-town theatrical productions ("Waiting for Guffman"), championship dog shows ("Best in Show"), and old folk music groups ("A Mighty Wind").But for their latest, "For Your Consideration," they've really gone out on a limb with an obscure target -- Purim movies."For Your Consideration" chronicles the making of a tear-jerking melodrama, "Home for Purim," in which the dying matriarch of a Southern Jewish family, Esther Pischer (Catherine O'Hara), waits for the holiday-season return of her wayward daughter, Rachel (Parker Posey). Both the Yiddish and the southern accents are thick.
"Borat" release - will a mass, mainstream audience get the film's satiric sensibilities, or, rather, be offended by its political incorrectness and by its lead character.
"Eve of Destruction" by P. F. Sloan.
While a student at Columbia School of Journalism, Rachel Boynton saw a film about the history of 20th century nonviolent conflict that included a segment on how American consultants had gone to Chile in 1990 to produce TV ads for a successful campaign to end Gen. Augusto Pinochet's long autocratic presidency.
Filmmaker Tiffany Shlain laughs when asked where she gets her finely honed sense of ironic humor. It comes with being Jewish, she explains -- a group whose number constitutes just one-quarter of 1 percent of the human race and thus makes getting along with others paramount.
Cohen became first an accomplished poet and then, starting with 1967's "Songs of Leonard Cohen" (which contained the oft-recorded "Suzanne") a singer-songwriter. According to Ira Nader's Cohen biography, "Various Positions," Cohen's Judaism has influenced his songs greatly -- "Who By Fire" is based on the melody of a Yom Kippur prayer, "Mi Bamayim, Mi Ba Esh," and "If It Be Your Will" is derived from a "Kol Nidre" phrase.
Not long after Sept. 11, an Egyptian cab driver in New York told filmmaker Marc Levin, whose documentary "Protocols of Zion" is being released Friday in Los Angeles, the act of terrorism was caused by Jews rather than by Muslim fundamentalists.
No Jews had died in the attack, the cabbie said. They all had been warned in advance to stay away, part of the Jewish plan for world domination as spelled out in the "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion."