Opening at Cinema Village in NYC on November 20th, 2009
“An incredibly bold and brave film.” –MICHAEL MOORE
DEFAMATION, the controversial documentary about anti-Semitism from Israeli director Yoav Shamir, will have its highly anticipated North American theatrical premiere on November 20th at New York’s Cinema Village, following a year of high-profile festival screenings.
In the tradition of films such as Roger & Me and Sherman's March, Shamir embarks on a provocative and irreverent quest to answer the question, “What is anti-Semitism today?” Is it an immediate threat on the verge of coalescing into a second Holocaust? Or is it a scare tactic used by right-wing Zionists to discredit their critics? Speaking with the head of the Anti-Defamation League, controversial author Norman Finkelstein, and others, Yoav Shamir sets out to discover the realities of anti-Semitism today. His findings are shocking, enlightening and, surprisingly, often wryly funny.
Winner of the Stanley Kubrick Award for Bold and Innovative Filmmaking at Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival and awarded with a Special Jury Prize at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival for “addressing such a controversial subject with a humorous touch that allows people to ask serious questions,” DEFAMATION also has received praise, exuberant audience response and a provocative reputation at the Berlin Film Festival, Toronto’s Hot Docs and the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.
Filmmaker Yoav Shamir was born and lives in Tel-Aviv where he attended Tel-Aviv University, receiving a B.A. in History and Philosophy and an MFA in Cinema. He has made several films that explore modern Israeli life (Checkpoint, 5 Days, Flipping Out) and is regarded as being enormously provocative because of his critical views of Israeli policies toward Palestinians. “Anti-Semitism is the ultimate 'sacred cow' for Jews,” Shamir wrote recently. “While I did not set out to slaughter that cow, even the most sacred of cows needs to be shaken up every once in a while.”
2009, 91 minutes, digital/video, color, English & Hebrew w/English Subtitles
Writer / Director / Cinematographer: Yoav Shamir
Producer, Copenhagen: Karoline Leth
Producer, Los Angeles: Sandra Itkoff
Producer, Tel Aviv: Philippa Kowarsky
Producer, Vienna: Knut Ogris
Composer: Mischa Krausz
“An ace slice of provocative, timely docu-making… at once intelligent, wry and -- there's no way around it -- quintessentially Jewish, in the best sense.” –LESLIE FELPRIN, VARIETY
“An incredibly bold and brave film.”–FILMMAKER MICHAEL MOORE
“Soul searching, startling…[Shamir is] dazzlingly skilled at capturing characters in humorous and emotional situations that allow viewers to reach their own conclusions.”
–BERNARD DICHEK, THE JERUSALEM REPORT
“A surprisingly effective and daring road movie.”
–ERICA MARCUS, SAN FRANCISCO BAY TIMES
“A must-see for thoughtful friends and critics of Israel.”
–DAVID LAMBLE, BAY AREA REPORTER
“Alternately sweet-tempered and outrageous … will spark long arguments deep into the night among Jewish and non-Jewish viewers alike.” –ANDREW O’HEHIR, SALON
“Bracing, daring.” –SEÁN MARTINFIELD, SAN FRANCISCO SENTINEL
“Fascinating, infuriating …vital and timely. If you want to understand something about this relationship between modern middle-class American Jewry and the current (sorry) state of the Jewish Homeland, you should see this film. Take your children, and your children’s children, with you when you do.”
–PAMELA COHN, HAMMER TO NAIL
“A well-researched, unapologetically subjective doc on contemporary anti-Semitism.”
–HOWARD FEINSTEIN, INDIEWIRE
“Biting and highly entertaining.” –ALI HAZZAH, EYE FOR FILM (UK)
More information, including the press kit, photos, and additional playdates, is available at www.firstrunfeatures.com.