Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Dare You to Drink Every Time You See the Word “Jewish” in This Post

Perhaps as the Universe’s response to my working on production for the National Christmas Tree Lighting last year, this one ended up being chock full of Jewish-oriented clients and projects.

The most exciting of these is my new documentary, currently titled Battle For Jerusalem. I started production in Israel this past summer, thanks to a seed grant from—surprise!—a Jewish organization focused on innovation. The project is in very early stages but is intended to showcase art and activism in Jerusalem in the face of the city’s growing ultra-Orthodox population. They city is at a crossroads and its future is being determined now, so I think I am really onto something with this story.

I have been and will continue behind-the-scenes blogging for the film here, but meanwhile here’s a teeny tiny glimpse of some footage from this summer in a piece I put together on the Israel Museum’s re-opening.

After finishing my film Jericho’s Echo: Punk Rock in the Holy Land, I was concerned about being pigeonholed as a “Jewish filmmaker” and forever relegated to that niche. I made extra efforts to distance myself professionally while staying connected personally. And then this year rolled around, and I did work for The Joshua Venture Group, a Jewish social enterprise incubator; Reboot, a Jewish cultural organization; Repair the World, a Jewish nonprofit; and MyJewishLearning.com. I also did video trainings at Tablet, a Jewish cultural magazine, and the Jewish National Fund.

Jewish, Jewish, Jewish! It’s like that old joke: How many Jews does it take to employ Liz Nord? It feels good to come to a place where I feel comfortable having my feet (or rather, my camera) in both worlds. After all, I am a Jewish filmmaker and I bring my cultural history and sensibility with me to every project.

On that note, here are two of my favorite pieces from my big, fat, Jewish year:

(“What is a Sukkah?” A fun, educational piece for MyJewishLearning.com, filmed at the Sukkah City Design Competition in Union Square.)

(“How Do You Unplug?” A project for Reboot and the Sabbath Manifesto’s National Day of Unplugging, which ended up getting loads of press, from The New York Times to Katie Couric on the CBS News.)

So now that it is officially the Jewish New Year holiday season, I want to thank the Jewish community for providing me more than just income in 5770, but inspiration, as well. May 5771 be sweet, productive, and creativity-filled for all of us.