The human experience is rooted in communal stories. FamJam Productions approaches documentary work with this as a guide, valuing that the stories we tell have the power to bring people together.
During the summer of 2012 Shawn Fogel, Jeff Patlingrao and Josh Cohen spent a week in Southwest Harbor, ME, dedicated to writing new material collectively as Golden Bloom.
For the first time as a band the individual members expose their fears and concerns while trying to navigate the creative process together. Make it a Good Thing captures this uncertainty and excitement of what eventually turns into the No Day Like Today EP.
Continue following Golden Bloom's story at www.goldenbloom.net.
This documentary short captures the spirit and energy of Dan Nichols, a premiere Jewish-rock musician. While on a summer tour, Nichols stopped at the URJ's Kutz Camp to play a camp-wide concert.
Throughout the video Nichols shares personal stories about life at home and on the road. Nichols also reflects on where he finds inspiration and the profound impact of overnight camp on his life.
During the summer of 2011 Seth Kroll taught the Digital Media Major at Kutz Camp. This video was created by Seth and students from that class.
Awards & Recognition:
► Boulder JCC, Special Presentation (2012)
► Jewish Film Festival of Southeast Florida, Official Selection (2012)
► Jersey Shore Film Festival, Special Presentation (2011)
► Israel from Within and From Without: A Collection of Short Films,
Special Presentation at the Rubin-Frankel Gallery (2011)
► Boston Jewish Film Festival, Word Premiere Sponsor (2010)
(Mifgash was also screened at numerous Jewish community events.)
► Filmmaker Brings Birthright Documentary to Boulder by Kathryn
Bernheimer. Boulder Jewish News (2/16/12)
► Happy New Year! by Basil Tsiokos. IndieWIRE (9/29/11)
► Jersey Shore Film Festival in Arts and Leisure. Image (7/5/11)
► Bringing it to Jersey by Jill Gabri. New Jersey Jewish News (7/19/11)
► Birthright, The Movie by Lawrence Bergman. Jewish Advocate (12/3/10)
► Documentary on Birthright Program by Matt Robinson. Shalom Magazine,
Since it was founded in December 1999, Taglit-Birthright Israel has brought over 300,000 young Jews from 52 countries to Israel for a free ten-day tour. Overwhelmingly, participants are from North America and are largely disconnected from the organized Jewish community. Mifgash: Encountering Jewish Identity in the 21st Century tells the story of Bus 740 on their Taglit-Birthright Israel trip. The film highlights the challenging, enlightening, and ultimately life changing moments as the participants question, reflect, and grapple with their own Jewish identity.
Participants share their expectations, concerns and hopes for their experience as they explore the Golan Heights, climb Masada, float in the Dead Sea, excavate ancient ruins, ride camels, and spend Shabbat in Jerusalem. Half way into the trip, eight Israeli soldiers join their Diaspora peers in order for them to learn from each other about what it means to be Jewish today, and what this means for the future of the Jewish people.
The film also features interviews with people intricately involved in establishing and sustaining the program. They include Jewish philanthropists Charles Bronfman, Michael Steinhardt, and Lynn Shusterman; Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston's President Barry Shrage and Associate Vice-President of Israel and Education Cheryl Aronson; Taglit-Birthright Israel CEO Gidi Mark; former Israeli Minster of Diaspora Affairs Isaac Herzog and former Israel Minister of Justice Yossie Beilin; and the Director of the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies Len Saxe.
"Taglit Birthright Israel is one of the greatest Jewish communal success stories of our time. Thanks to Mifgash, everyone can now relive that success through the magic of film. Highly recommended!"
- Jonathan D. Sarna (Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, Brandeis University; Chief Historian, National Museum of American Jewish History)
"This is a very informative and well done documentary showing the substantial value of the Birthright Israel program, the most innovative and repercussive program in American Jewish life in the last twenty years. Well worth seeing."
- Steven T. Katz (Director of the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies, Boston University)
New York Megaphonica
The New York Megaphonica debuted its earth-shattering, mind-blowing sound on the summer solstice, Sunday, June 21, 2009. Avi Wisnia organized this chorus of eclectic musicians as part of the Make Music New York's Mass Appeal series. The various pieces performed were both arranged and improvised, and the performers were armed with only their voices and megaphones. The audience was encouraged to get up, get down and get involved – People, come together to make noise!
Directed by Seth Kroll & Alan Cohen