making Jewish videos part of their
repertoire. Direct Cinema Limit-
ed has been a distributor of docu-
mentary films for over 15 years.
Two years ago, the Santa Monica-
based firm sent out a four-page
mailing touting 16 Jewish titles in
its video library.
"It took time to pull people in,"
The creators of Jewish videos said Brian Sullivan, head of mar-
know that it often takes a few keting for Direct Cinema. "But
years for their products to gain a since then, the interest has been
foothold in the market. Thus, in- pretty consistent."
stead of speaking enthusiastical-
Mr. Sullivan noted that Holo-
ly about their latest releases, they caust and World War II films have
take the long view.
always done well for them. They
Eric Goldman, president and released the controversial film,
founder of Ergo Media, Inc., a sev- Liberators: Fighting on Two
en-year-old mail-order video com- Fronts in World War II, about
pany based in Teaneck, N.J., said, African-American battalions lib-
"Jewish videos have a long life. erating concentration camps. A re-
Our films sell better in their third cent release, From Hawaii to the
Holocaust, tells the story of a
and fourth years of life."
Word-of-mouth, play on Public Japanese-American battalion that
Broadcasting Stations and articles helped to liberate Dachau. Clas-
usually stir up interest in the sic Yiddish films re-released on
video are also gaining a foothold
films, Mr. Goldman said.
Videos about the Holocaust in the video market. Each year,
continue to dominate the Jewish the National Center for Jewish
video market. "It's a strange Film, located at Brandeis Univer-
phenomenon that preceded sity, in Waltham, Mass., restores
[the award-winning movie] "lost" Yiddish films to video tape.
The center circulates a catalog
Schindler's List," said Mr. Gold-
man, who estimated that Holo- filled with documentaries, shorts .
caust videos represent about 20 and feature films, according to
;--) percent of Ergo's video offerings.
Miriam Krant, associate director
"Around the time the Holocaust of the center.
Museum opened in Washington,
Like the music industry, the
D.C., the interest really surged. I've children's segment of the video
been flabbergasted by the number market is gaining strength. Ms.
of individuals buying Holocaust Abelson of Contemporary Designs
films for themselves," he said.
said she sees a great deal of inter-
Spurred by the interest in the est in videos for children and her
museum, Atlas Video, a Maryland- firm is currently working on a
based independent film produc- video version of David Sokoloffs
er, released "For The Living," an "Ten Little Rabbis" book series.
<D account of the museum's planning
This year, the first nationally
and creation that has aired re- released Chanukah videotape will
peatedly on PBS stations through- appear in stores like K-Mart and
out the country. Another popular Target. "Hanukkah Tunes and
release from Atlas is "Lodz Ghet- Tales" features the music of well-
to," a documentary that tells the known children's singers Dan
story of the longest surviving con- Crow, Debbie Friedman and
centration of Jews in Nazi Europe. Caren Glasser and is part of the
David Sostman, a producer and `Tunes and Tales" series that was
media consultant who works with introduced last year.
Atlas, said, "These two titles have
California-based producer Amy
really taken off. It's real power- Weintraub was asked to release a
Christmas "Tunes and Tales" and
Non-Jewish companies have insisted on doing a Chanukah tape
jumped on the bandwagon and are at the same time. But even Ms.
Weintrauf, who also created the
hugely popular "Baby Songs" se-
For Jewish music and
ries 10 years ago, expects the
Atlas Video - (301) 907-0030
Chanukah video to be "a tiny mar-
We hope to sell 20,000 [of
Contemporary Designs - (515)
them], which is about one-quarter
of what the other tapes in that se-
Direct Cinema Limited - (310)
ries will do."
Ms. Weintraub said she pushed
for this tape because she saw it as
Ergo Media - 1-800-695-3746
another source of good, original
Hanukkah Tunes and Tales
Jewish music for children. "My
order hot-line - 1-800-786-8777
children go to a Jewish day school
and I heard the music of Debbie
The National Center for Jew-
Friedman and thought, 'Here are
ish Film - (617) 736-2070
some great, new, upbeat songs,"'
The Source for Everything
she said. "What we needed was a
Jewish - 1-800-426-2567
good way to present those songs.
Yiddish Video Wholesaler -
So we created a secular, contem-
porary Chanukah video." ID
diverse. True, Mr. Leib said, "you
aren't going to have reggae
Chanukah songs. But [children's]
Jewish music is no longer all sa-
cred-based. It's much more pop-
oriented. There's enough for
everybody out there who wants it."
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