Since Matisyahu shaved his beard last year, the former Chasidic reggae musician has been suffering all sorts of blowback.
For Israel fans, it's all pain and anguish this year at the Sundance Film Festival.
Israeli filmmakers Erez Kav-El and Talya Lavie received awards at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.
Hey, Jewish filmmakers! If you've done everything you can to try to get to Park City this week for the Sundance Festival, or its increasingly popular avant-garde cousin, the Slamdance Festival, but haven't made the cut, next year try the SchmoozeDance Festival. Created five years ago by film aficionado Larry Mark, a 44-year-old living on the Upper West Side in Manhattan, SchmoozeDance might not be the biggest Jewish film fest in the world, but it is the only one that takes place next to the most prestigious festival in the world.
We were late for the movie because of Shabbat dinner. With fresh sectional challah imported from Zomick's bakery in Long Island, N.Y., and kosher Cabernet Sauvignon brought from California, a few other traditional Jews gathered at our bicoastal condo for Friday night dinner just as the Sundance Festival was ticking away its last movies of the 2004 season.
The first images of Ed Solomon's thought-provoking film, "Levity," came to the writer-director while tutoring in a maximum-security youth prison in Calabasas two decades ago. "One inmate kept a photograph of the boy he had shot, and he kept touching it, fingering it," he said, speaking quietly and intensely in a Santa Monica cafe on a recent afternoon. "He was struggling to understand that it was a human life he had taken, but he was only 17 and serving the first year of a life sentence. And that haunted me. I began wondering, 'What would he be like as an adult? Where would he go if he were let out of prison and what would he do with the photograph?'"
Debut filmmaker Darren Aronofsky manages to sound incredulous about the Jewish sci-fi flick that has made him a star. "You don't think God, math and bad-ass Jews makes for a Hollywood movie?" he quips of "PI," which won the director's prize at Sundance and a $1 million distribution deal.