There is a moving, somewhat entertaining scene in the recently released film “Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel” where Moshe Abutbul, the mayor of Bet Shemesh, invites the 10 visiting American baseball players from Team Israel and their significant others to help him dig a hole in the ground on the site of a future baseball field and stadium. He shares that in the Chassidic tradition, “If you want something to grow, you plant seeds.” Hopeful that the team’s success and baseball’s popularity in Israel will continue to grow, he and the Team Israel players “plant” a fresh white baseball in the ground.
During last year’s World Baseball Classic, after Israel defeats a team from a country with a more storied baseball history, a reporter from that country sends a line drive at the Team Israel manager at a press conference: “What is your opinion on a team that should represent Israel but actually represents the United States?”
“It’s a face-saver … ‘Well, we didn’t really lose to Israel, we lost to just another USA team,’ ” Israel manager Jerry Weinstein says later. “Well that’s B.S. You lost to Israel, brother.”
In fact, there is some validity to the reporter’s charge. The Israel team is composed of Americans, some of whom were not raised Jewish but had a Jewish parent or grandparent. (The World Baseball Classic requires only that players be eligible for citizenship in the country they represent, and Israel is not unique in recruiting players from other countries.)
That means another description for the squad could be “Team Birthright,” as in the free trip to Israel for Jews under age 26. And in the documentary “Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel,” we get to follow the players with Jewish ties and a healthy sense of humor on an unexpectedly successful trip through Israel, Seoul and Tokyo.
The film, directed by Seth Kramer, Jeremy Newberger and Daniel A. Miller, reminds us that no matter how many times you hear an account of a first trip to Israel or an underdog team done good, there is always an opportunity for a new, compelling version.
Remember Team Israel from the 2017 World Baseball Classic, a group that earned national attention by making it out of the qualifying stages and, as the 41st ranked team in the world, stunned the likes of Korea, Chinese Taipei, and the Netherlands to advance out of the round-robin round of the tournament?
A documentary was made of the team's journey entitled, "Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel." The award-winning doc makes its New York City debut on Tuesday at the JCC Manhattan.
MLB.com reporter Jonathan Mayo hatched the idea for the film about a group of Jewish major leaguers traveling to Israel to discover their roots. Except it became more than that when the team outplayed expectations.
"When we first began the project," Mayo said. "we really thought it was going to be about all these Jewish baseball players exploring what it means to be Jewish by exploring Israel. While that's obviously still a large theme in the movie, their run in the WBC made it much more about baseball and their Cinderella Story than any of us could have ever imagined."
Former Met Ike Davis, who starred on Team Israel, will be among the players on hand at the screening in Manhattan.
The new film, “Heading Home,” about Team Israel’s Joe Hardy-like ride through victory after victory in the Major League’s 2017 World Baseball Classic, is a sports documentary, of course, but a love story all the more. As unlikely as their on-field success, even more unlikely was the Jewish and Zionist pride that percolated among the American-born players who, when first recruited, had only the most tenuous ties to anything Jewish, let alone to Israel, the country they were representing.
Americans usually consider baseball to be a quintessentially American pastime. But the documentary Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel (directed by Seth Kramer, Jeremy Newberger, and Daniel A. Miller, and written by Miller), looks at national pride among other “boys of summer.”
The baseball caps come off, but the kippot stay on the heads of Team Israel. (Photo via IMDB.com.)
Heading Home focuses on Team Israel, the formation of its 2017 roster, its experiences in Israel, and its rapid rise to international stardom, culminating in the World Baseball Classic. This underdog team wasn’t expected to succeed but exceeded all expectations.
It’s a classic underdog story. The team of plucky misfits come up big and wins the whole thing. Well, not quite in this case but Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel is about more than baseball. It’s geopolitics on the scale of a baseball tournament.
"Heading home:" Team Israel's Cinderella run in last year's World Baseball Classic gets the documentary treatment in a film packed with light moments and triumphant action. But the most compelling scenes come before the tournament starts, when the team of Jewish Americans — most of whom grew up playing ball rather than praying on Saturdays — travels to Israel to learn about the country they are about to represent. In a particularly gripping exchange, two players engage in friendly baseball banter with a Palestinian merchant in Jerusalem, but the laughter stops when they ask whether he could support their team. The Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival screens the documentary Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at the Laemmle Town Center, 17200 Ventura Blvd., Encino.
The JFilm Festival of 2018 has grown by leaps and bounds since it took root as the Pittsburgh Jewish-Israeli Film Festival 25 years ago.
Kathryn Spitz Cohan took over the reins of Film Pittsburgh, with JFilm as the centerpiece, in October 2001 — just after 9/11, she notes. What started as a part-time job has expanded to all-consuming and includes year-round and seasonal staff. The Teen Film program this year brought 8,000 students to share in-theater experiences.
There’s a pervasive optimism baked into “Heading Home,” a film about Israel’s run deep into the 2017 World Baseball Classic, that subverts an entire genre. This is the anti-Woody Allen movie, about Jews who are not self-loathing but celebratory, not full of angst but teeming with mirth, not lamenting what is but seeking what can be. These aren’t guys making the leaflet of Famous Jewish Sports Legends anytime soon. They’re just looking for something beyond what baseball gave to them.
The movie was the brainchild of MLB.com reporter Jonathan Mayo, wanting to combine his love for baseball and his Jewish background into a movie about Jewish major leaguers traveling to discover their roots.
I am not typically late for things. Except, one morning in March of last year, I was running late to a doctor’s appointment for my wife and me. She was already there, having let me sleep in since I had been up late the night before. Not for work or anything. But to watch Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic.
Why would a Catholic kid from Cleveland care about Jewish baseball so much (and more important, why would his wife tolerate the “so much” part)? Answer: Because it was baseball, in the “can you believe this is happening?” sense of it. As an American, I obviously was pulling for Team USA going into the WBC. (Spoiler: We won.) But the qualification of Team Israel into the field of 16 teams was a bit of a surprise. The success it ended up having in the competition—winners of its first four games as huge underdogs, only bowing out the day I arrived tardy at the doctor’s office only to discover my wife would be having twins—was completely shocking.
The documentary "Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel" tells a moving underdog story that should inspire people who attend an upcoming Miami Jewish Film Festival members screening.
The screening takes place at 7 p.m. on April 3 at Temple Beth Sholom , 4144 Chase Ave. in Miami Beach. The screening is free for MJFF Members, and non-members will be able to buy tickets at the synagogue the day of the screening.
Most of the stories Jewish kids learn in Sunday school involve some kind of miracle, so it’s fitting that “Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel,” would never have been made without a few of their own.
The Ironbound Films documentary, which chronicles the journey of Team Israel in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, will be screened three times during the Chicago Jewish Film Festival, which runs through March 18.
The idea for the film came in 2015 — filmmakers Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller and Jeremy Newberger began interviewing Jewish baseball players about their experiences and the stereotypes that come along with that, but they found there wasn’t much of a narrative.
Since he was a child, Jonathan Mayo has had an obsession with learning about Jews in baseball.
He idolized the Jewish superstars of the game such as Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax. Mayo was determined to uncover the stories of the Jewish players who are not just a minority in the world, but in baseball as well.
Today, Mayo is one of the lead writers for MLBPipeline.com and his obsession remains persistent.
His desire to study the small population of Jewish players led him to begin a journey with three friends from Jewish sleep-away camp. Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, and Jeremy Newberger, of Ironbound Films, embarked on this journey with Mayo to create Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel.
“Jeremy and I have been talking for the last eight or nine years trying to think of a project to do together that really made sense,” Mayo told Sports360AZ.com. “And then I had this idea of, ‘what if we brought a group of Jewish baseball players to Israel?’ That’s what the idea was, initially. Kind of like a baseball birthright.”
Another exciting Sundance lineup is right around the corner, and as filmmakers wait for the final word, we've assembled this list of strong possibilities for the 2018 program.
“Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel” Director: Seth Kramer, Jeremy Newberger, and Daniel A. Miller Why We Hope It Heads to Park City: When you think of countries with rich traditions of baseball, Israel probably isn’t the first one that comes to mind. Be that as it may, Jews have been integral to the history of the sport, and a quirk in the rules of the World Baseball Classic allows Jewish-Americans to play for the Israeli team. Despite their 200-1 odds, and being dubbed the “Jamaican bobsled team of the WBC,” Team Israel did shockingly well at the 2017 WBC. How well? That might be a spoiler, but this doc from the team behind “Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie” unpacks the story, and follows the players on an eventful trip to the motherland as many of them get in touch with their heritage for the very first time. —DE
A scene from a reel of half-century-old Super 8 says more than words ever could about what the Talman family of Upper St. Clair often faced.
Woods Garth Talman Sr. is pushing young Woods Jr. – everyone calls him Woody – in his wheelchair through Kennywood Park. The camera catches a passing young lady who stops abruptly, turns and gazes at the boy for a few lingering seconds.
That kind of display never sat too well with Ann Talman.
“When I was a little girl, oh, it made me so mad,” she recalled. “I was like a pit bull. I would just stare down anyone who would stare at my brother. I would have that face of: ‘What are you looking at?’”
After all, Ann always has been Woody’s Order, the nickname she received after he “ordered” a little sister, according to family legend, right around nine months before her arrival. And she is the only sibling of a now-69-year-old man who was born with cerebral palsy, a situation that didn’t deter his parents from helping him lead as normal a childhood as possible.
“They were pioneers in inclusion and mainstreaming before it even existed, because Woody was front and center, and absolutely included in everything,” the Upper St. Clair High School graduate said. “There were a lot of people at that time who just never would have taken a handicapped child out into the world. He was a Cub Scout. We went to church. We went to restaurants, and he had good manners.
A career actress whose credits vary from starring alongside Elizabeth Taylor on Broadway to guest appearances on “Seinfeld” and “Murphy Brown,” Ann has included her brother in her professional career. She wrote and performs a one-woman play, which made its Pittsburgh debut in February, named after herself, so to speak: “Woody’s Order!” explores the special bond the pair have shared through thick and thin since, well, Woody put in his order.
The play, in turn, inspired a 16-minute documentary film of the same name that makes its local debut at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 10 at Southside Works Cinema as part of Pittsburgh’s fifth annual ReelAbilities Film Festival. The event, which runs through Sept. 13, focuses on films that promote awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of individuals with disabilities.
“When I would do readings of it or workshops of it,” Ann said about the stage version, “I never wanted Woody to see me doing it around other people. Because it’s so emotional, I just felt like it was too much for him. And so I thought to myself, maybe it would be really cool if I read it to him sometime, and I’ll have somebody videotape me reading it to him, because his reactions will be so beautiful.”
The idea eventually led her to the filmmaking team of Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller and Jeremy Newberger, who captured the Talmans together on July 1, 2015, before spending the next year on editing toward the final product.
“Then they started submitting it to film festivals, and next thing you know, it’s getting in all these festivals, and now it’s eligible for an Oscar,” Ann said. “And they’ve told me that out of all the documentaries they’ve ever made, they’re most proud of this one.”
In the film, which premiered in April at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, her readings are interspersed with still photos and an impressive assortment of video footage, such as the Kennywood scene, that help illustrate the narrative substantially.
“When I pitched the idea of the documentary to the guys who made it with me, they said, ‘Oh, by the way, do you have any old home movies?’” she recalled. “And I said, ‘Oh, my gosh, do I!’ My mother took home movies from the day she got her camera until the day she died. So I had them from, I’d say, 1950 through 1977. What you see in the documentary is the tip of the iceberg.”
Except for a precious few times, Martha Richardson Talman was behind the camera.
“But she became a presence through those home movies, because as I watched them, I realized how she was looking at me and how she was trying to capture my love of Woody and our incredible bond by what she did,” Ann explained.
Martha, she acknowledged, was prone to depression.
“She was the mother of a handicapped child at a time when there weren’t support groups,” she said. “There wasn’t the internet. There weren’t even psychiatrists who could help you with that, because it was a like a stigma. And she also, I think, would have felt guilty that she needed help because it was so much about him. She was alone, and it really broke her.”
As she relates in her play and the documentary, Ann also has encountered stressful situations, especially during the point of her life in which she was caring for both Woody and her aging father while simultaneously pursuing her acting career.
“I just hope that people will take from it,” she said about the film, “that whatever challenges you’re facing in your life, particularly love and commitment can really give you strength. And family.”
The new film "Detected" looks at the development of a high-tech undergarment that could save women's lives.
The movie follows the creation and development of the iTBra, a bra that contains an internet-connected patch which can help detect breast cancer.
Narrated by Melanie Griffith, the film examines how Rob Royea, CEO of Cyrcadia Asia Ltd. was able to oversee bringing this technology from the hospital to the home.
"When I was brought aboard, there was a great technology that was devised by really smart physicists and physicians that allowed detection as a wearable device, but in the hospital," Royea said in an interview with Eyewitness News. "My job was to scale it to be able to come out to the population health and find a way that we could create a technology that could get to the individual."
To see the entire interview with Seth Kramer, co-founder of Ironbound Films and Rob Royea, CEO of Cyrcadia Asia, Ltd., watch the video above.
Rob Royea appeared on KCAL9 News on Sunday morning alongside filmmaker Seth Kramer to discuss the documentary, "Detected," which follows his efforts to develop a bra that can detect breast cancer early. Amy Johnson reports.
A documentary focusing on the iTBra, an IoT-connected bra that can help detect breast cancer, will debut in Los Angeles this week. Cisco is one of the major sponsors of the film.
The impact of IoT devices continues to grow, as evidenced by a new device, the iTBra. This connected bra, which could go to market globally in the first half of 2018, is intended for the early detection of breast cancer.
The product is so groundbreaking that tech giant Cisco is a sponsor of Detected, a 16-minute documentary about the struggles of the developer of the bra, Rob Royea, and how his wife's family breast cancer history spurred him to push for the product's creation. The movie will debut in Beverly HIlls on June 5.
While mammograms are the main way that breast cancer is detected, it is more difficult to identify cancer cells in dense breast tissue because it has more tissue and less fat. And 40-50% of women in the US ages 40-74 have dense breasts, according to the Susan G. Komen organization.
From The Culinary Institute of America: As part of their college experience, students at The Culinary Institute of America are challenged to consider global issues that will affect their future. These issues will be front-and-center when the CIA's Dooley Lecture Series brings the thought-provoking documentary The Anthropologist to campus on Thursday, June 1. The film won Le Prix Grand Écran at the Pariscience Science Film Festival in 2016.Producer and director Seth Kramer will lead a discussion following the 6:30 p.m. screening in the Marriott Pavilion on the college's Hyde Park campus. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.The Anthropologist looks at how climate change affects people in locations as varied as Siberia, the South Pacific, and Chesapeake Bay. According to production company Ironbound Films:
The Anthropologist examines climate change like no other film before. The fate of the planet is considered from the perspective of American teenager Katie Crate. Over the course of five years, she travels alongside her mother Susie, an anthropologist studying the impact of climate change on indigenous communities. Their journey parallels that of renowned anthropologist Margaret Mead, who for decades sought to understand how global change affects remote cultures.
A documentary chronicling a man on a mission to develop a product at the intersection of these technologies for early breast cancer detection.
MAY 24, 2017
This is a guest post by Irma Rastegayeva, an innovation catalyst, entrepreneur, and consultant based in Boston. She left a successful 5-year tenure at Google in 2016 to pursue her passion for medical technology and healthcare innovation.
Every 19 seconds, someone in the world is diagnosed with breast cancer"This changes everything!" said women's health nurse practitioner Barbara Dehn. And we desperately need a game-changer. 1 in 8 women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer. Every 13 minutes, one woman dies of breast cancer in the US. Every 19 seconds, someone in the world is diagnosed with breast cancer. The good news is that breast cancer survival is strongly influenced by early and accurate detection: 99% survival with early diagnosis vs only 27% with late diagnosis. We can move the needle on breast cancer by improving early diagnostic capabilities. Here is a story about a man on a mission to combine the power of Internet of Things, temperature sensing wearable technology, and Artificial Intelligence to disrupt the early breast cancer detection.
Traveling to film festivals and taking part in Q&As isn’t a regular part of George Mason University anthropologist Susie Crate’s job, but she’s happy to do it. As the subject of the documentary, “The Anthropologist,” she hopes that sharing her work this way might contribute to the conversation about climate change and to a cultural shift as well.
“My whole intention in this is to bring people into this experience,” said Crate, who teaches in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy. “If people can’t travel to these places, we can bring places and the human experience to them.”
“The Anthropologist” will be shown from 4-6 p.m. Monday, April 17, in the Johnson Center as part of the 2017 Earth Week festivities. There will be a Q&A with Crate following the screening.
Documentary film directors Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller and Jeremy Newberger, of Ironbound Films, found Crate through the Arctic Social Sciences division of the National Science Foundation.
Crate was already familiar with the filmmakers’ work. She’s used their 2008 documentary, “The Linguists,” about two linguists who document disappearing languages, in her classes for several years.
The filmmakers wanted to travel with Crate, who specializes in environmental and cognitive anthropology. Since 1991, Crate has conducted research in northeastern Siberia, Russia, working with the Viliui Sakha, a Turkic-speaking horse and cattle breeding group. Since 2006 her work has focused on how climate change is affecting their livelihood and culture.
In the summer of 2010, the filmmakers travelled to Siberia with Crate and her teenage daughter, Katie Yegorov-Crate.
“That summer they realized that my daughter’s father is Viliui Sakha and that that entire side of her family is increasingly challenged by the local effects of climate change—and they said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have her in [the film] to get the attention of young people?’” Crate said.
After much discussion and a formal agreement to protect Katie’s rights as a minor, she became part of the documentary.
At its core “The Anthropologist” is about four women, three of them anthropologists. As viewers watch Crate and her daughter travel to Siberia, Kiribati in the South Pacific, the Peruvian Andes and the Virginia coast of the Chesapeake Bay to meet with people confronting the local effects of climate change, anthropologist (and George Mason professor emerita) Mary Catherine Bateson talks about the career of her mother, Margaret Mead, who popularized cultural anthropology in America, and discusses what an anthropologist does. Bateson was Robinson Professor of Anthropology and English at Mason until she retired in 2004.
“The Anthropologist” was named to Indiewire’s list of 10 Must-See Documentaries at DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary festival. In addition to film festivals, the documentary has been screened at universities around the country.
Crate said audiences have been genuinely moved by the film.
“I agreed to do the film because I want to make a difference. If I were going to be a ‘film star,’ this is the best reason: getting something out there that is extremely critical for the human race. We are causing climate change and we are the only ones who can turn it around.”
15., 16. & 17. Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, Jeremy Newberger
It’s not often you find 3 directors with a consistent history of working together on individual projects but that is the case for Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller and Jeremy Newberger who have worked on multiple documentary projects as a team. The trio returns to Tribeca with their latest short documentary Woody’s Order, which follows actress Ann Talman as she finally performs the solo show she wrote for her muse: her brother with cerebral palsy. The directors have scored numerous accolades in the nearly 10 years of working together including multiple News & Documentary Emmy nominations for previous works like The New Recruits (2010) and The Linguists (2008).
Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, two other Brewers Minor Leaguers were already nearing action. Catcher Cody Decker and Team Israel were set to open the tournament against Korea in Seoul at 3:30 a.m. CT on Monday. Israel plays pitcher Wei-Chung Wang's Chinese Taipei team at 9 p.m. CT on Monday.
For Decker, it is a particularly personal experience. He visited Israel with his fiancée, Jenn Sterger, and a group of other players as part of a promotional tour in January. A crew from Ironbound Films followed the 10 players on their trip, which will be chronicled in a documentary called "Heading Home."
"It's one thing to know what you're playing for, but then to actually see it firsthand, be a part of it firsthand, seeing how everyone got behind us, you get a sense that this is bigger than any of our careers," Decker said. "Baseball is just a kid's game, but it has such a power to connect. This is going to end up being something pretty big."
THIS year Tyneside Cinema celebrates turning 80 years old in 2017; a landmark achievement for any cultural venue. Originally built to bring local, national and international news to the people of Newcastle, the cinema is now reflecting on its status as a cultural ‘elder’, using its position as a place where people can explore other cultures through film, to engage audiences with the most pressing societal issues that we see ourselves confronted with.