Ushpizin

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4 Responses

  1. menachem petrushka says:

    Dear Rabbi Menken

    I hope you saw the film at a retreat In Israel or in a theater. The producers of the film claim that any viewing of the film in the United States outside of the theaters that liscensed to show it violates US and Jewish Law. I am not sure if they are correct but I think it is someting to look into.

    Here is a copy of a letter they sent to me as a member of am OU mail list.

    An Important Note from the Filmmaker and Distributor of Ushpizin
    The Creators of the Award winning movie Ushpizin call for your assistance. Please support the filmmakers and enjoy Ushpizin in movie theaters, and avoid illegal screenings. The movie is still in theaters in the USA and any DVDs of Ushpizin are unauthorized. Piracy is against both civil and Jewish law.

    Ushpizin is now playing in theaters in select cities throughout the country, and opens in many additional cities on Wednesday, November 23rd. Click here for a list of local dates to find out when Ushipizin will be in a theater near you. For group sales, please call 1-866-311-4040.

    You can also enter your zip code here for showtimes and to buy tickets online.

  2. Yaakov Menken says:

    Menachem, their announcement may hint to this, but saying that there’s piracy going on is more than a bit disingenuous.

    They are selling the DVD in Israel. As far as I know, it’s not against any law to transport a purchased DVD from Israel to the United States. All the standard rules about private showings still apply — e.g. you can’t charge admission, it has to be for a private group, etc., but those are standard for any use of a legally purchased or rented tape or DVD. University clubs have to deal with this all the time.

    UPDATE: OK. I think the distributors hurt themselves by attempting to insinuate that all copies are “pirated.” They should have pointed out that copyright law allows any DVD to be shown in a private home but not in a group setting outside a home. It is true that University clubs have to deal with this all the time… and as a result many of them have stopped showing movies! There were a few recent news stories about people showing Ushpizin for money and that was clearly a mistake, and they paid the distributor, but to my knowledge they didn’t go collect from those who showed it for free.

    There’s a Talmudic saying that “you can’t grab too much.” By implying that all the copies are pirated they get those with legal copies to say, oh, ok, ours is legal, we can show it. But that’s apparently not true. A friend sent me the following:

    Someone who showed it on a college campus recently was called from NY and told that if they show it again they need to pay the producers. They found out about the showing (outside of NY) from the internet.

    Netanel, I thought about the fact that I’m not a Breslover and not very familiar with how they pray; at first I thought it an unrealistic element of the film since it’s so foreign, but considered the possibility that I’m not sufficiently familiar with Breslov. So here’s another example of how the film can teach about the broad tapestry of Jewish observance…

  3. Netanel Livni says:

    What you describe as “extreme praying” is actually one of the central teachings of Breslev Chassidus. I commented to my wife that this scene will not go over well with the American public since they tend to be much more emotionally reserved.

  4. Jessica Rosner says:

    As a distributor who often has to deal with same issues that the owners of USHPIZIN, a few comments. It is perfectly legal for someone to bring to the United States a copy of a DVD purchased in Israel however many pirated ( dubbed ) copies where being sold on the internet. It is also a violation of their rights for anyone to sell the film on the web to or from the United States but that is an issue for the distributor to handle directly.

    However there seems to be a common misconception that DVDs can be shown if a group is non- profit and not charging admission. As per above ANY time a film is being shown to an audience you must clear this with the rights holder and in the majority of cases there will be a fee. You can not imagine how frustrating is it for a distributor who has spend tens of thousands or perhaps hundreds of thousands ( studios of course in the millions) to find that some orginization is showing their film to an audience. It is a struggle to distribute small Jewish themed and Israeli films in the United States and if we don’t get paid for showings we won’t be able to distribute them at all. Also be very, very careful when purchasing something on the web which is not available from standard places ( Amazon, Netflix etc) this is usually a sign that it IS an illegal copy such as the many copies of the film GLOOMY SUNDAY that have been on the web.

    Regards

    Jessica Rosner
    Kino International

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