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September 12, 2003 - Image 87

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-09-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

weet Georgia Brown showcases Detroit on the move"

Film takes byte out
of cyberspace.

NAOMI PFEFFERMAN
Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles

in Israel," Gorlin says.
Finally, on an impulse, he entered his
picture in the 2002 Slamdance Film
Festival, which has replaced the now-
mainstream Sundance Festival as a
venue for avant-garde, independent
films.
The Holy Land not only was one of
14 feature films accepted out of 1,000
applicants, but walked off with the top
Grand Jury Prize.
Success bred success: Gorlin won the
21st Century Filmmaker Award at the
Avignon/New York Film Festival, and
later was nominated for the
Independent Spirit "Someone to
Watch" award.
After these successes, an American
film distributor, CAVU Pictures, finally
showed up, and signed Gorlin to a con-
tract. The picture, which opened in
New York, is now screening or set to
screen in Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas,
Washington, Denver and a dozen other
cities as well, including Detroit.
In an extended interview, Gorlin
came across as the very antithesis of the
Hollywood self-promoter. He has
indeed kept such a low profile that, dur-
ing months of inquiries, his name drew
an absolute blank among Israel film
mavens in Tel Aviv and Los Angeles.
He was finally discovered teaching
Hebrew classes at the Reconstructionist
congregation Kehillat Israel in Pacific
Palisades, Calif.
Like Mendy, Gorlin keeps struggling
with his religious identity
"We seem to be the chosen people of
an angry God. Maybe we're doing
something wrong," he says.
"Part of me wants to reject God, but I
can't do it."



The Jewish Community Center
Lenore Marwil Jewish Film
Festival in cooperation with
CAVU Pictures of New York and
the Maple Landmark Theatre
present a preview of The Holy
Land7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept.
17, at the Maple Landmark
Theatre on Maple Road, just east
of Telegraph. For free tickets, call
the JCC's Jewish Life and
Learning Department at (248)
432-5577. Seating is on a first
come, first-served basis, and the
doors will open at 7 p.m.
The film, in Hebrew with
English subtitles, opens in Detroit
on Friday, Sept. 19, at the Maple
Landmark Theatre. While not
rated, the film contains strong lan-
guage, nudity and sexual situations.

10'7 "4 "4.5.07:!.

W

hile obsessing over an ex-
girlfriend in 1997, Jed
Weintrob, then an Orion
vice president of interactive media,
turned to the Internet for distraction.
"I got hooked peering into the lives
of strangers," said Weintrob, a self-
described Jewish "techno geek."
"It was both canning and mend
blowing to log on and see Jenni on
Jermicam.org who was also awake at
4:30 a.m., but in the end it was also
kind of alienating. You're watching
this person do the most intimate
things, yet you're never going to
know them or touch them."
It's a sentiment echoed by John
Roth (josh Hamilton), the Internet-
addicted lonely-heart in Weintroli's
acclaimed directorial debut, On Line.
Like Lynn Hershman Leeson's
Thknolus4 the gritty but stylish film is
among the first to probe relationships
in cyberspace.
Weintrob shot his actors in separate
rooms connected by Web cams so
they felt like they were alone with
their computers.
The message is that "-we all need
human contact, so eventually you
have to g-et offline," he said.
Weintrob, 34, first learned about
the importance of human connections
growing up in a dose-lmit Manhattan

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Jewish family where Israeli relatives
often crashed on the couch. His intro-
duction to the Web (and to cybersex)
was the early PC model he received
for his bar mitzvah.
Sex Ed Part II was researching
On Line, co-written with fellow
Harvard alumnus Andrew
Osborne; one inspiration was
man who learned of his wife
detity by reading her Web journal.
He never spoke to her again
except via e-mail, Weintrob said.
"That started me thinking about the
intimate things people were willing to
reveal online and how messed up that
could make you in real life."
The fictional Roth evolved as
Weintrob wondered what would have
happened had his heartbreak-induced
Web addiction escalated. "We've all
felt desperate and depressed, and that
the computer is our only friend,"
said the director, now dating a nice
Jewish girl from Long Island. "But
as personal as it feels, it's completely
impersonal." ❑

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87

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