Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Film Director Goes to the Fans for Hebrew Hammer Sequel

January 22, 2013 2:07 am 1 comment

Hebrew Hammer DVD cover. Photo: Wikipedia

When Jonathan Kesselman wrote the script for The Hebrew Hammer , he couldn’t have imagined the following it would attract. Filmed in 2002, and released in 2003, it’s initial acceptance to Sundance Film Festival, and subsequent release in a handful of theaters across the country would signal a success for most any filmmaker. But it was soon plucked from possible obscurity by TV executives. Ask anybody about the film now and, even if they haven’t watched it, they’re likely to at least remember seeing a commercial or advertisement for the film from its five-years on the Comedy Central television network. This cemented its cult status, which was great, but didn’t exactly mean Hollywood was jumping at a sequel. Fast forward ten years and a lot of fruitless discussions with production companies and distributors and Kesselman’s follow up, titled The Hebrew Hammer vs. Hitler may finally be getting the green light, albeit with the help of some new fundraising tactics.

“It was like mission impossible,” Kesselman told The Algemeiner of trying to get Hollywood to produce the film. “I’ve had multiple movies that have fallen apart and I realized there’s a big fan base for this movie over the last ten years and I just figured why not just go to the fans. I thought ‘Why am I going to a bunch of people who are paid to say no?’ I knew there was the big fan base and I knew crowd funding was a new way of making movies and getting a film going and getting attention and the reaction has been amazing.”

What Kesselman did was start a campaign on the Jewish crowd funding site Jewcer. Individuals are able to donate money, and in return, besides getting the pleasure of helping to finance the film, receive prizes.

Thus far the film is nowhere near the $200,000 it initially set as its goal, but with the deadline date of January 28th close at hand Kesselman isn’t fretting about that figure: that’s because $50,000 is the key number. At that point the fundraising is activated and Kesselman can collect donations. Anything below that and it’s as if the campaign never even happened. Right now he’s about $5,000 away.

“Once I get to $50,000 I’ll be relaxed, I’ll be calm,” He told the Algemeiner.

Kesselman hasn’t simply relied on new media either. Last Thursday he held a fundraiser at an apartment in Manhattan. A mint Jewlip (vodka, white wine Manishewitz—some other fun stuff) was the drink of choice, a stiff libation meant to loosen up everyone’s bidding hand. The silent auction featured original props from the first film, signed photo stills and original scripts. One attendee had flown down from Edmonton for the day to join in on the fun. He was representative of the type of fan Kesselman is hoping will offer support to the movie. Having personally donated $10,000 to the drive, the Canadian insisted that he’d spent the ten years since the release of the Hebrew Hammer checking the internet nearly every day in the hopes of finding any news he could about a sequel.

Lucky for him, having almost given up on the film Kesselman figured he’d give it one last shot. “It’s the best script I’ve ever written in terms of comedy,” Kessleman told The Algemeiner. He says he’s lined up most of the principle cast members from the Hebrew Hammer. Adam Goldberg, who played the eponymous lead, and Judy Greer, who played the love interest, have both committed to the film. The other major role to fill will be that of Hitler. At the fundraiser the overwhelming favorite was Sacha Baron Cohen.

Kesselman isn’t out of the woods just yet, but the sense of relief he feels at not having to rely on Hollywood to get his film made is palpable. Instead, there’s a certain joy and excitement one can detect when Kesselman speaks of the whole crowd funding process. “My analogy,” he said,  “is jumping off a cliff and hoping that the fans would catch me. And I think they have.”

1 Comment

  • The reason no one really wants to do this, other than Kesselman and hardcore devotees, is because the first one was fairly terrible. Sure there was an amusing scene or two, and maybe someone else could do better with a sequel, but in Kesselman’s hands most everyone seems to know how bad Hebrew Hammer was. And that wouldn’t bode well for a sequel. Given the abundance of directions he could have gone, he couldn’t even conjure up close to a winner the first time. Shabbat Shalom, MF.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Author of New Book on Connection Between Jews, Punk Rock Describes Bands Flinging Gefilte Fish, Bagels at Audience (INTERVIEW)

    Author of New Book on Connection Between Jews, Punk Rock Describes Bands Flinging Gefilte Fish, Bagels at Audience (INTERVIEW)

    Some punk rockers integrate their Jewish identity into their music through food, the author of a new book on the topic told The Algemeiner on Wednesday. Michael Croland, author of Oy Oy Oy Gevalt! Jews and Punk, described the way different musicians express this connection. “One band is known for throwing gefilte fish in the mosh pit, and people at its concert slide around on it while dancing,” he recounted. “Another used to drink Manischewitz [sweet kosher] wine out of a shofar [the ram […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Scottish Soccer Club Manager Hails ‘Fantastic’ Jewish-State Visit After Victory Over Israeli Team (VIDEO)

    Scottish Soccer Club Manager Hails ‘Fantastic’ Jewish-State Visit After Victory Over Israeli Team (VIDEO)

    The manager of Scotland’s Celtic soccer club lauded Israel, after his team won a match against the Jewish state’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva on Tuesday night. Brendan Rodgers said at a post-match press conference: On behalf of the players, the people of Celtic and Scotland, Israel’s been fantastic for us. We came out here on Sunday, [and from] the hotel, the staff, we’ve been very, very warmly received. The atmosphere at the game was amazing and, obviously, one team has to lose, but you have a wonderful team here, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Second Jaffa Jazz Festival to Reunite International, Israeli Musicians

    Second Jaffa Jazz Festival to Reunite International, Israeli Musicians

    For the second time, Israel will host the Jaffa Jazz Festival, according to Broadwayworld.com. The festival will unite 43 Israeli musicians and eight international artists for a three-day event. The program will include a special performance by an ensemble of top jazz students studying at Belgium’s Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp, the Belgrade Music Academy in Serbia, Israel’s Rimon School of Music and the jazz program of the Israel Conservatory of Music in Tel Aviv. There will also be a jazz show for children led by Israeli saxophonist […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Israel’s First NASCAR Driver Revved Up to Win

    Israel’s First NASCAR Driver Revved Up to Win

    JNS.org – As a young boy growing up in Ashdod, Israel, Alon Day got his first go-kart at age 9. By 15, he was racing them. Less than a decade later, Day has become the first Israeli professional race car driver on the NASCAR circuit. He made history by competing in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 13. “Driving a race car is not like any other sport,” Day told JNS.org. “You are actually almost flying […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Writer of Popular Kids Series to Premiere Autobiographical Solo Show ‘Not That Jewish’

    Writer of Popular Kids Series to Premiere Autobiographical Solo Show ‘Not That Jewish’

    The writer of a popular children’s television series will premiere an off-Broadway solo show called “Not That Jewish,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Written and performed by Monica Piper — the Emmy Award-winning showrunner of Nickelodeon’s “Rugrats” — the show is described as “the autobiographical telling of a Jew…’ish’ girl’s life.” “Not That Jewish” explores Piper’s Bronx upbringing in a show-business family, her comedy-club debut and her “almost” night with former Yankees legend Mickey Mantle. “Audiences can expect to leave laughed-out, a little teary-eyed and […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Scottish Soccer Team Will Fly to Israel on Private Jet Used by Madonna

    Scottish Soccer Team Will Fly to Israel on Private Jet Used by Madonna

    Scotland’s Celtic soccer club will fly to Israel with the same private jet Madonna used while on tour, The Scotsman reported on Monday. According to the report, the team is heading for the Jewish state to compete against Israel’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva on Tuesday night, and will be transported in the customized, luxurious Boeing 757-200 that the pop icon used in New Zealand for her six-month Rebel Heart tour, which wrapped up in March. The plane is on loan from Greece-based GainJet Aviation and can accommodate 62 passengers. The […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Revealed: Actor Jonah Hill Officiated at Wedding of Fellow Jewish Star, Singer Adam Levine

    Revealed: Actor Jonah Hill Officiated at Wedding of Fellow Jewish Star, Singer Adam Levine

    Jewish actor Jonah Hill revealed on Wednesday morning that he had officiated the wedding of good friend and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine. The “War Dogs” actor, 32, was a guest on Sirius XM’s The Howard Stern Show when the conversation turned to Levine’s July 2014 wedding to Victoria’s Secret model Behati Prinsloo. Hill said that after he was asked to officiate the nuptials, he started getting worried about the type of speech he was going to deliver. “I’m writing all these things, and then I […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Music Jewish Indie Rocker Dedicates New ‘Refugee’ Track to Grandfather Who Fled Nazi Persecution

    Jewish Indie Rocker Dedicates New ‘Refugee’ Track to Grandfather Who Fled Nazi Persecution

    Jewish indie singer Ezra Furman released a song on Wednesday that he said was dedicated to his grandfather, who escaped Nazi persecution. Furman told the website Consequence of Sound that the new track, called “The Refugee,” is his “first song entirely concerned with my Jewish background and present, a song dedicated to my grandfather who fled the Nazis, as well as to all of the refugees desperate for a home today.” He added, “May all the wanderers find the homes they seek, and […]

    Read more →