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    HBO Press

    August 18th, 2009

    In A Dream premieres on HBO2 tomorrow night at 8pm (and is already available OnDemand). Director Jeremiah Zagar spoke with the Wall Street Journal Speakeasy Blog about the film.

    An excerpt:

    What kind of dream are you depicting in your movie?

    My parents were living in a dream and everything was collapsing around us and things weren’t so perfect.

    Their dream was like the Adam and Eve dream: Adam and Eve are in the garden of Eden and everything is honkey dorey, suddenly they eat this apple, gain this knowledge and have to go out to build the world together.

    My parents were 1960s hippies, left their safe life in New York and went to a dilapidated part of Philadelphia to build the world together.  I think that’s what you aim for when you fall in love and get married.

    I’m trying to use the building as a metaphor. The building is half done; they’re half done. And what he has built is monumental.

    The film was also featured in Sunday’s New York Times Arts & Leisure Section.


    Museum of Fine Arts Boston

    July 1st, 2009

    In A Dream screens five times from July 3rd to the 12th

    In A Dream opens this Friday, July 3rd at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. We began this film while going to school in the area—Emerson College & Boston University—so it is exciting to finally show the film in town.

    The full screening schedule is below:
    Friday, July 3rd, 8pm (director, producer & subjects in attendence)
    Sunday, July 5th, 2pm
    Thursday, July 9th, 12:30pm
    Saturday, July 11th, 12pm
    Sunday, July 12th, 10:15am

    Buy tickets and then RSVP on Facebook.

    Gerald Peary’s Boston Phoenix review is out today.

    For seven years, Jeremiah Zagar has had the camera rolling as his hippie parents keep their symbiotic marriage afloat — though Isaiah, his fragile painter dad, teeters on the edge of lunacy. Julia, the doting wife, stands by while Isaiah, a bearded, red-eyed Old Testament prophet, sublimates his semi-madness into obsessive art.

    He’s pledged to transform South Philadelphia, the cheese-steak capital, into a mosaic-covered palace. So far, he’s rehabbed seven eroding buildings; they’re now, every inch, a bejeweled, broken-mirror mosaic land, basement to attic. Tourists go wild!

    All of this is weird but harmless, but then a house-wrecking young thing enters the picture. Zagar, the brave son, keeps filming as his bold, visionary dad turns out to have feet of clay. There are lots of filmmakers out there making documentaries about their parents. In a Dream is one of the most unusual, and most probing and honest.

    The reviewer is a filmmaker himself. Below is his trailer for For The Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism.

    YouTube Preview Image

    Chicago Review

    June 29th, 2009

    A review from the Sun-Times by Bill Stamets:

    “In a Dream” is filmmaker Jeremiah Zagar’s documentary portrait of his father. Although the father scatters allusions to his muses and demons in his artworks, the son composes this poetic biopic with more legible through-lines about his passions. “In a Dream” reveals that Jeremiah inherited Isaiah’s aesthetic of delicacy. Both artists delight in small illuminating details.

    Instead of dwelling on his father’s career as an outsider artist, Zagar delivers an insider look into a past that includes boyhood sexual encounters with a fisherman, a suicide attempt and a stint in a mental hospital. Meanwhile, during the film’s six-year shoot, Zagar’s older brother goes into rehab. When their father reveals his infidelity, their mother kicks him out. “In a Dream” turns into a chronicle of a creative family in crisis.

    The film is still playing at the Gene Siskel Film Center. There are three days left! Go see it.


    Salt Lake City & Key West

    May 8th, 2009

    In A Dream opens today at the Tower Theatre in Salt Lake City, Utah and the Tropic Cinema in Key West, Florida. It will play all week at both theaters.

    An excerpt from Sean P. Means review in the Salt Lake City Tribune:

    Jeremiah Zagar — who directed and co-edited the film, and shot much of the internal family footage — doesn’t shy away from the tougher questions about his father’s past, his parents’ relationship, and his mother’s willingness to bury her own dreams to support her husband’s unique vision. And, yet, his camera never feels intrusive or unwelcome, because Jeremiah’s presence makes the viewer a part of the family.

    As troubled as the Zagars’ family life is, the other marvel of “In a Dream” is how Jeremiah captures his father’s mosaics. Father and son have a lot in common; both of them take the small pieces of a chaotic life and turn them into something beautiful.

    Jeremiah and Executive Producer Geralyn White Dreyfous were interviewed by the paper. A brief excerpt:

    “You knew you were in the presence of somebody really original — and a discovery,” Dreyfous said.

    Dreyfous, executive director of the Salt Lake City Film Center, is bringing Jeremiah to Salt Lake City for tonight’s premiere — part of a 16-city tour of the film, before it debuts on HBO in August.

    Read the entire article.


    Homecoming

    April 16th, 2009

    In A Dream opens today at the Ritz at the Bourse in Philadelphia. The Inquirer featured director Jeremiah Zagar on the cover of the Magazine section for a story by Steven Rea called Family Film.

    An excerpt:

    NEW YORK – When Jeremiah Zagar was a chubby, awkward kid (his description – he’s neither anymore), he and his father, Isaiah, marched from their house on South Street to the Ritz to watch Terry Gilliam’s eye-popping fabulist fantasy, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.

    Afterward, Jeremiah insisted they stay and watch it again. And again.

    Two decades and innumerous movie marathons later, Zagar has applied that same obsessive passion to his own films. In a Dream, his documentary feature debut, opens tomorrow at the Ritz at the Bourse after spending a year on the festival circuit, nabbing prizes from San Francisco to Woodstock, N.Y., Austin, Texas, to Philadelphia. In August, it premieres on HBO.

    Read the the whole article. And now an excerpt from the Inquirer review, also by Steven Rea:

    Isaiah Zagar’s art is all over Philadelphia’s South Street corridor. And his restless spirit – and painful secrets – are all over In a Dream, a stunning, deeply personal documentary portrait by the muralist’s youngest son, Jeremiah Zagar.

    Mixing old home movies, wonderful animated sequences derived from Isaiah’s art, and scenes of Isaiah at work, of Julia in agony, and of their eldest son, Zeke, grappling with his own demons, In a Dream captures a family in a state of implosion.

    The Zagars’ lives are laid bare, in broken bits, like the ceramic Isaiah uses for his art. And they come together in In a Dream in a mosaic of sadness and beauty, rage and insight.

    Jeremiah and his folks were also interviewed yesterday by Marty Moss-Coane on WHYY’s Radiotimes. You can hear the whole interview here.


    Philadelphia & San Francisco Reviews

    April 15th, 2009

    In A Dream opens tomorrow in Philadelphia at the Landmark Ritz at the Bourse. The reviews are starting to trickle in and here’s what Shaun Brady at Philadelphia City Paper had to say:

    City paper grade: [A]

    Jeremiah trained his camera on Isaiah at his mother Julia’s urging, and even in the early going manages to capture both his warmth and the darker shadings of someone who others may dismiss as an eccentric…Jeremiah strikes a delicate balance between empathy and honesty, exposing the family’s darkest secrets — his brother’s drug addiction, his father’s memories of molestation, attempted suicide and madness — but never losing sight of their basic humanity.

    Read the rest. And if you want to go more in-depth, you can read Brady’s feature Truth Be Tiled from last year’s Philadelphia Film Festival issue of the paper.

    The film opens tomorrow at The Roxie in San Francisco as well and this is from the San Francisco Bay Guardian:

    The Zagars aren’t anybody’s idea of a standard-issue nuclear unit, but this quietly engaging portrait transcends train-wreck fascination because for all their quirks, they are functional — close, loving, and supportive. Also, because Isaiah’s epic mosaics of tile, paint, and embedded detritus are so remarkable, you’ll want to book the next flight to Philly to see them first-hand.

    Read the whole review.


    The Chosen Film

    April 15th, 2009
    Extended through April 23rd!

    Extended through April 23rd!

    First things first: In A Dream has been extended at the Cinema Village in New York City through April 23rd. Thank you to everyone who came out and made the opening weekend a success. Please spread the word and let your friends know the film is still in theaters through the weekend and into next week.

    Next: In A Dream, as some of you may know, is about a Jewish family. The Jewish press have been paying attention and a review by George Robinson was published today in The Jewish Week.

    My late mother-in-law had a saying: “Who knows what goes on with couples?”

    She would have loved “In a Dream,” a new documentary now playing at Cinema Village. The film traces the lives of a seemingly happy Jewish artsy-bohemian family, as told by the youngest son, filmmaker Jeremiah Zagar. And two-thirds of the way through the film, everything – and everyone – starts to fall apart. Mind you, in a film in which all the family members seem unusually proud of dad’s eccentricities (which include being a victim of sexual molestation as a boy and a stint in a mental hospital as a young husband), the seeming disintegration is less than totally unexpected.

    What is a surprise, though, is how warm, funny and, finally, affirmative “In a Dream” turns out to be.

    And lets not forget the great Jewish Exponent article from Michael Elkin the other week:

    The Moses of mosaics, with South Street his Sinai, Isaiah Zagar, zigging while other artists zag, has also broken a commandment or two.No burning bushes to bemoan, but a number of burned bridges by an artist whose creativity has also cratered his own life, beset by beauties and beasts, and brushes with the bathetic, as well as greatness.

    All of which suffuses his son’s moving movie — and reverie of remembrances — “In a Dream,” a commanding and iconic inquest into the heart and art of his famously familiar father, whose mosaics molt and meld Philadelphia history from every shingle and roof from which they hang.

    “In a way,” says son Jeremiah, “Philadelphia has always been his Promised Land.”

    And he lives up to his own promise as fine filmmaker in this stunning work, already the recipient of a cavalcade of acclaim and applause, as well as festival awards — and seven years in the making.

    Read the rest. And remember, In A Dream opens this Friday, April 17th in Philadelphia, San Francisco & Athens, GA. More soon…


    Gay City News Loves IN A DREAM

    April 12th, 2009

    An In A Dream rave by Gary M. Kramer from yesterday’s Gay City News:

    “In a Dream,” a remarkable documentary about the Philadelphia artist/muralist Isaiah Zagar, belongs in the company of “Capturing the Friedmans” and “Tarnation,” two other excellent real-life “home movies.” Although this film does not have the criminal pathology elements of “Friedmans” or the sexual tensions of “Tarnation,” filmmaker Jeremiah Zagar’s portrait of his father battling demons past and present offers its own astonishing originality.

    And:

    Lovingly made, and featuring a haunting score that draws viewers into the beautiful images, “In a Dream” provides a heartrending portrait of a flawed but fascinating artist, father, and husband. This film is not to be missed.

    Read the rest of the review. The film is currently playing at the Cinema Village in New York. It opens next Friday, April 17th in Philadelphia, Athens Georgia & San Francisco.

    Latest screening schedule is below:

    New York, NY
    The Cinema Village
    Starting Friday, April 10th
    RSVP on Facebook

    Philadelphia, PA
    Landmark Ritz at the Bourse
    Starting Friday, April 17th
    RSVP on Facebook

    San Francisco, CA
    The Roxie
    Starting Friday, April 17th
    RSVP on Facebook

    Athens, GA

    Ciné
    Starting Friday, April 17th
    RSVP on Facebook

    Bozeman, MT
    The Procrastinator Theatre
    Thursday, April 23rd – Tuesday, April 28th

    Los Angeles, CA
    Laemmle Music Hall
    Starting Friday, April 24th

    Santa Fe, NM
    Center for Contemporary Arts
    Starting Friday, May 1st

    Salt Lake City, UT
    The Tower Theatre
    Starting Friday, May 8th


    The Village Voice

    April 8th, 2009

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    In A Dream comes out this Friday @ The Cinema Village in New York. Among the major local papers, The Village Voice was first out of the gate with a full review. And it’s a good one.

    An excerpt from Aaron Hillis‘ review:

    Where most documentarians would rest on the laurels of a great subject and riveting present-tense drama, director Jeremiah Zagar has observed too much of his father’s creative logic to cheat us with artless hagiography. In dreamily paced tracking shots, macro close-ups, time-lapse glimpses of Isaiah’s processes (the raking together of paint and cement is especially satisfying), archival footage, and animation, In a Dream exhibits as much beauty and sensuality as Isaiah’s work, while the unabashedly personal nature of the filmmaker-subject dynamic is as candid about familial madness as Tarnation, and captures more insight than those Friedmans did.

    Read the rest and then pre-order tickets for opening weekend!


    IN A DREAM in THEATERS

    April 3rd, 2009

    In A Dream begins its ever-expanding theatrical run next week at the Cinema Village in New York. It starts FRIDAY, APRIL 10TH and will be playing every day until the 16th, perhaps a week longer or more if demand is high enough.

    Tickets are on-sale now and we suggest you pre-purchase some today: 12:50p, 2:30p, 4:20p, 6:15p, 8:00p, 10:00p. We look forward to seeing you all there.

    In the meantime, 34th Street Magazine from the University of Pennsylvania recently profiled Isaiah Zagar in their March 19th issue. It’s a very enlightening article that offers some background on what you’ll see in the film.

    An excerpt:

    Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens sneaks up on you. Walking past 1020 South St., you understand that although “garden” might be a misnomer, you’re not sure what else to call the place. While the epicenter of the project is located here, the mosaic murals cover 33 city blocks with multicolored tiles, thousands of mirror shards, bricks, bicycle wheels and arches made of glass bottles the color of sapphires and Heineken. It’s overwhelming — at once obviously broken and yet perfectly assembled. Stand in the Gardens and you become Alice, falling down the rabbit hole in the phantasmagoric world of artist Isaiah Zagar’s creation.

    One Friday afternoon in February, Zagar is at a private residence at 627 Kamball St. doing grout work on a mural in the backyard. At first glance he comes off as a cross between Doc from Back to the Future and Allen Ginsberg circa 1969 — he’s got a wild beard, a reflective, rambling way of speaking and a tendency toward constant motion. For a man who is almost 70 years old, Zagar moves with surprising agility. He refuses to sit still for an interview.

    Read the rest and check back soon for part four in our series about In A Dream’s music.