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Introducing a New Blog, Shiksa in Hollywood

by Joy Bennett

June 26, 2013 | 9:49 am

Actor Josh Berger Photo by Joy Bennett

Hi, I’m the Shiksa, Joy Bennett.  I have been writing a blog on and off since 2000, mostly on my own website joybennett.com.  Now I get to share my musings with you all!  I love all things cultural in this town, and often finagle press passes to local events that I'll share and review for you here.  I adore music, film, theatre, the arts, and also adore writing about them.  I'm a UCLA graduate, and am married with two dogs, one cat, and one teenaged daughter.  I'm not Jewish, but am married to a Jewish fellow and have many lovely Jewish friends and family.  So here goes, enjoy, and feel free to drop me a line, post a comment, or come up and say hi if you see me in the movie line!  

The performing arts are one way we can all express our humanity, engage in community, and, when it all works, lift ourselves into magic.  

Recently, I covered extensively on my writer's website the LOS ANGELES JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL, which ran from June 1st to 6th and was outstanding. This gem of a film festival had terrific films, wonderful events, delicious food, and some of the nicest folks you'd ever hope to meet. Visit joybennett.com to read all my coverage from the festival, and see many more photos!  I highly recommend the festival, you can visit lajfilmfest.org to find out more. 

One event from the festival was "An Evening of Food and Film" on Tuesday, June 4th, which was held at the Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.  First, they had a reception with delicious Jewish food and desserts, and I got to mingle with the filmmakers and attendees.  Then we all moved to the screening room, and saw several outstanding short films by emerging young filmmakers.  This was followed by a Question and Answer session with several of the filmmakers and cast.  The films were outstanding, of particular note was Negative directed by Yoav Hornung; Gambling Mensch, directed by Jason Zavaleta, Dr. Gutman's Eulogy, directed by Melanie Wainberg, and my favorite Jew, directed by Michael Carney. 

Jew is a longer short film that explores hate crimes and how we all need to overcome our rage and love and accept each other, despite our differences.  It comes to a shattering climax that had many in the audience sniffling, myself included.  It stars Josh Berger, photo above.  After the screening I had an opportunity to briefly interview Mr. Berger, who was most accommodating and polite.  

The film is wonderfully made, with powerful acting, and there are also extensive fight scenes.  I asked Mr. Berger if he was a fighter before the filming, or did he train.  He said he trained for it, and also said that although he is Jewish but not an Orthodox Jew, he spent a month living as one to prepare for the role, which was quite involved.  I also asked him how does one emotionally recover from filming such a dark section of the movie.  He said he was depressed for about a week, but has studied acting extensively, and that is one of the jobs of an actor, to be able to go to those dark places but not stay there.  Look for more exceptional films from Mr. Berger and others participating in this screening, as the quality of films shown was quite high, and in some cases, breathtaking.  

More photos on my Flickr page here:  flicker.com/joybennett (scroll down a bit).  More information about the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival is available here lajfilmfest.org.  

A note about the photos. Most of them are taken by the Shiksa, and are free to borrow for non-commercial use, but if you would like to use some commercially, please contact Joy at joy.bennett@yahoo.com, thank you. 

I will be posting here at SHIKSA IN HOLLYWOOD at least once or twice a week, so keep reading, and keep supporting the arts, it's the heart and soul of Los Angeles!  

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Joy Bennett lives in Santa Monica, California and is the author of Under a Quarter Moon, a poetry and short story collection; and a novel called Cruise.  She has also been...

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