Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Sukkah City Film Captures Competition that Explored New Twists on an Ancient Structure (VIDEO)

September 19, 2013 7:01 pm 0 comments

Inside the construction of "Fractured Bubble," the "people's choice" winner at the 2010 Sukkah City competition. Photo: Christopher Farber.

When author Joshua Foer conjured up the idea to hold the world’s first international Sukkah design competition, Sukkah City, in 2010, the prospect of 650 people from more than 40 countries, many of them non-Jews, jumping at the chance to enter, or real luminaries in the field of architecture and design, people such as Thom Mayne and Ron Arad, eagerly joining the jury responsible for picking the participants, seemed as equally preposterous as the contest itself.

But, all of it came to pass, and the result of his efforts is experiencing new life with the upcoming release of director Jason Hutt’s eponymous film, centered around Foer’s Sukkah City that went up in New York City’s Union Square.

“We had 200,000 New Yorkers come through during the exhibition. I think this film is a continuation of that and is a great way to share the competition with those who couldn’t witness it in person,” Foer, the author of Moonwalking with Einstein, told The Algemeiner in an interview.

The conceit of the competition was to propose a modern take on the ancient structure, a three-sided booth with a thatched roof that Moses commanded the Israelites to spend time eating and drinking in to enjoy the final gasps of Summer, post-harvest, the week after Yom Kippur, before the heavy-duty agricultural work commenced again.  What Foer wanted to do was create a forum to breathe new life into the ancient Sukkah; the documentary tells that story.

Hutt’s film widens the breadth of the competition, offering depth to what was, for most of those who walked through it, a brief exhibition of craftily-made, and unique Jewish structures, but without much of the added context that the documentary provides.

Foer said, “To most people, the competition was 12 Sukkahs in Union Square. But Jason’s film allows a whole other aspect of the competition to be experienced. Jason really captured the competition. There are scenes in the film that capture moments even I didn’t know about.”

The film follows every aspect of the competition, from the application process to the competition’s final stages— the Union Square exhibit. In between, the process by which the judges chose the winners—a sometimes heated and contentious undertaking, as well as the efforts of the winning contestants to pull off their designs, provides surprising narrative interest.

Hutt told The Algemeiner the opportunity to observe the architects at work was what drew him to the project.

“With the film you really have the opportunity to see how architects approach various design challenges. The film is not only about creativity, but also about how designers and architects approach the creative process,” Hutt said. “This competition had so many interesting and dramatic components involved. I knew a little bit about the history of architecture competitions, and applying the approach to the Sukkah just seemed like an extraordinarily cool idea.”

The film is screening in Union Square on Sept. 22, and at the JCC in Manhattan on Sept. 23 and 24.

Watch the trailer for Sukkah City, below:

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...

  • Book Reviews Opinion The Syrian Virgin (REVIEW)

    The Syrian Virgin (REVIEW)

    The Syrian Virgin, by Zack Love. CreateSpace, 2015. The Syrian Virgin, by Zack Love, is a very interesting novel. Equally a political and romantic thriller, at times a real page-turner, it gets you intimately involved in the dire situation in today’s Syria, as well as in the romantic entanglements of its mostly New York-based characters — whose entanglements just might determine the fate of that dire situation in Syria. Along the way it introduces a really important idea that somehow […]

    Read more →
  • Features Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    JNS.org – Aside from Israel itself, those with a vested interest in the Jewish state are accustomed to tracking developments related to Middle East players such as Iran, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. But much global attention has recently focused on the Caucasus region at the Europe-Asia border, specifically on the suddenly intensified violence between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh area of western Azerbaijan. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, while not taking place in Israel’s immediate neighborhood, does have what one scholar called […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    JNS.org – On Friday, April 22, 196 nations across the world mark Earth Day, the annual day dedicated to environmental protection that was enacted in 1970. Not to be forgotten on this day is Israel, which is known as the “start-up nation” for its disproportionate amount of technological innovation, including in the area of protecting the environment. For Earth Day 2016, JNS.org presents a sampling of the Jewish state’s internal achievements and global contributions in the environmental realm. Water conservation Israeli […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture World New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    Holocaust humor and the role that laughter played in the lives of Jews during World War II are the focus of a documentary that made its world premiere on Monday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. In The Last Laugh, first- and second-generation survivors, as well as famous Jewish and non-Jewish comedians, discuss their thoughts on when joking about the death camps is appropriate or taboo. “Nazi humor, that’s OK. Holocaust humor, no,” Jewish comedic giant, actor and filmmaker Mel Brooks says in the film. “Anything I […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    JNS.org – Sherri Mandell’s life was devastated on May 8, 2001, when her 13-year-old son Koby was murdered by terrorists on the outskirts of the Israeli Jewish community of Tekoa. Yet Mandell not only shares the story of her loss, but also celebrates the lessons she has learned from tragedy. Indeed, “celebrate” is this Israeli-American author’s word choice. Her second book, The Road to Resilience: From Chaos to Celebration (Toby Press), came out earlier this year. The lesson: in every celebration, there is […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    JNS.org – Alan Gross used to be nothing more to me than a tragic headline. When I started my position at this news service in July 2011, Gross had been imprisoned in Cuba since December 2009 for what that country called “crimes against the state.” Gross, a subcontractor for the United States Agency for International Development, went to Cuba to help the Jewish community there access the Internet. After his arrest, he received a trial he describes as a “B movie,” […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Features New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    JNS.org – When I saw the recent Academy Award-winning film “The Big Short,” I was struck by the sheer genius of the financiers who devised the schemes and packaged the loans for resale, but it left me with unanswered questions about how the properties these loans represented were moved. “The Big Short” was largely about paper transactions, big money, and wealthy investors, and it mildly touched on the way the actual end-users — the home buyers and brokers — played into this […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Why do we think so negatively about psychiatrists that we still insult them by calling them shrinks? Some medics might be quacks, but we don’t generally refer to them as witches! Shrinks; The Untold Story of Psychiatry, by Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, is a sobering account of how psychiatry has swung from a marginal, unscientific mixture of weird theories into one of the most common and pervasive forms of treatment of what are commonly called “disorders of the mind.” Is it […]

    Read more →