Oded Turgeman, director of the new short film "Song of David," doesn't do things the easy way.
"Eight in 10 Americans know two all-beef patties are in a Big Mac, but just over four in 10 -- 41% -- can't name 'Thou shall not kill' as one of the Ten Commandments," according to a 2007 study. Those not-too-surprising results reported by Kelton Research is why producer Frank Yablans is convinced that this is a critical time to have a studio producing educational, faith-based films. "We hope to educate young people and families as to where all civilization came from," explained the 72-year-old Hollywood veteran. Yablans, born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, said he had a "typical New York Jewish upbringing." For more than 50 years, he has toiled in the film industry, steadily rising through the ranks to president of Paramount Pictures in the early '70s. "The Godfather," and "Chinatown" are just a few of the titles that made it one of the most critically acclaimed and profitable studios of that period. But now, he has turned his focus and passion to his new company, Promenade Pictures, whose first production, a computer-animated film, "The Ten Commandments," is scheduled for release Friday, Oct. 19.
Sixteen-year-old Hassan is deeply frustrated because he was caught by Israeli police before he could blow himself up, together with the targeted Israeli civilians. "If I had been killed, my mother would call it a blessing," he says. "My family and 70 relatives would have gone to paradise, and that would be a great honor for me."
While Hollywood has always concentrated on escapist entertainment, many filmmakers yearn to go against the grain and make movies that address urgent social and political issues. They have to fight the industry's perennial fear of alienating audiences with stories that hit too close to home. Yet during periods of national turmoil, politically charged movies have shared the spotlight with comic book fantasies and screwball comedies.