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    Santa Fe, New Mexico

    April 29th, 2009
    In A Dream opens in Santa, Fe!

    In A Dream opens in Santa Fe!

    Starting this Friday, May 1st, In A Dream will be playing at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

    It’s run continues at the Ritz At the Bourse in Philadelphia as well and the Zagars will be doing a Q&A at the 7:20pm showing on Saturday, May 2nd. Go see it.

    An now, an excerpt from a recent review of the film from Reverse Shot:

    By his own admission, Zagar the Elder’s project is one of turning “the city of Philadelphia, PA, USA, into a labyrinthine mosaic museum that incorporates all my varied knowledge and skills,” and he does so through an astonishing collage of paint, tile, mirrors, language, color, portraiture, abstraction, architecture, and bricolage. Zagar’s work is autobiography writ large onto buildings owned, rented, or inhabited by him and his wife Julia in their home city. And throughout In a Dream, we watch the artist at work—it is one of the great films about artistic process, both physical and psychical—constructing his massive, varicolored maze, which partly documents his life: the sexual abuse he suffered as a boy, his institutionalization, his love for his wife, the birth of his sons, and beyond. It is a life story to be read and decoded from broad strokes of color, thick swatches of plaster and intricate pixel-patterns of ceramic and glass.

    In its own way, too, Jeremiah Zagar’s film is a grand gesture, an exercise in epic biography that explodes the intimate details of Isaiah’s life and its effects on his family onto the screen. But unlike so many recent documentaries about artists and their work, or indeed so many recent documentaries about families and their perhaps inadvertent dysfunction, Jeremiah brings to his subject the kind of loving skepticism that seemingly only a son could have. To be sure, he documents and follows his father’s work, holding a mirror to his process of artmaking and self-mythologization, echoing his father’s fascination with “giganticness” with bold animations of Isaiah’s work, cinematography in nearly every format imaginable, and an intricate sense of montage, which recalls nothing less than the mosaic, maze-like complexity of Roeg’s Don’t Look Now.

    Read the rest.

    Los Angeles + New Dates (Updated!)

    April 25th, 2009
    Playing All Week in Los Angeles, CA

    Playing All Week in Los Angeles, CA

    We wanted to thank everyone who came out for opening night in LA yesterday. The film will be here all week, tell your friends.

    We also have a number of new cities where you can see the film to announce (including an engagement at the Ritz Showcase in New Jersey that started yesterday!).

    The latest theatrical schedule is as follows:

    Landmark Ritz at the Bourse
    Philadelphia, PA
    Starting Friday, April 17th
    Extended through May 7th

    The Roxie
    San Francisco, CA
    Starting Friday, April 17th
    Extended through April 30th

    Procrastinator Theatre
    Bozeman, MT
    Thurs, April 23rd – Tues, April 28th

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

    Showcase at the Ritz Center
    Voorhees, NJ
    Starting Friday, April 24th

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

    County Theater
    Doylestown, PA
    Monday, May 4th @ 7pm

    Bryn Mawr Film Institue
    Bryn Mawr, PA
    Tuesday, May 5th @ 7:30pm

    Ambler Theater
    Ambler, PA
    Thursday, May 7th @ 7pm

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

    Tropic Cinema
    Key West, FL
    Starting Friday, May 8th

    Webster University
    St. Louis, MO
    Friday, May 15th – Sunday, May 17th

    Northwest Film Forum
    Seattle, WA
    Starting Friday, June 12th

    ACME Screening Room / Nickelodeon Nights
    Lambertville, NJ
    Saturday, June 13th

    Museum of Fine Arts
    Houston, TX
    Friday, June 19th – Sunday, June 21st

    Gene Siskel Film Center
    Chicago, IL
    Starting Friday, June 26th

    Northwest Film Center
    Portland, OR
    Saturday, June 27th – Sunday, June 28th

    In A Dream opens in LA

    April 22nd, 2009
    Opens Friday, April 24th at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles

    Starts Friday, April 24th in Los Angeles

    IN A DREAM opens this Friday, April 24th in Los Angeles, CA at the Laemmle Music Hall. Director Jeremiah Zagar will be there for Q&A’s after the 7:20pm screenings and an introduction to the 9:45pm screenings on Friday and Saturday. Same goes for the 5:10 & 7:20 screenings on Sunday, April 26th.

    Plus, due to popular demand and your support, the film has been held over for one more week (at least) in Philly & San Francisco!


    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…

    The Books

    April 13th, 2009

    Fifth in a series of posts from Jeremiah Zagar about In A Dream’s music.

    Paul de Jong & Nick Zammuto are THE BOOKS

    The Books have been, by far, the largest musical influence on In A Dream. I cut our first fundraising trailer to their song Getting the Done Job and in the finished film we use a total of six Books tracks plus an original song composed for the film by Nick.

    It’s important to note that every track is innately cinematic due to the fact that each are built from samples of VHS videos that Nick and Paul find in Salvation Armies across the country. It is wonderful to see them live because they play their music along with their videos; it’s like a concert and a movie in one. You can feel their songs in your guts and in your bones, just listen to 8 Frame or That Right Aint Shit and you’ll understand.

    Last Thursday, Jeremy and I had the pleasure of seeing The Books play Columbia University’s Miller Theatre the night before the New York premiere of In A Dream. In the middle of their set, The Books stopped the show to play the film’s trailer. Nick then asked the whole audience to go see it at the Cinema Village and my heart melted like a little kid.

    I was fortunate enough to meet Nick and Paul three years ago in Philadelphia after a concert they played at the University of Pennsylvania. Although I was too timid to approach them after the show, fate stepped in when the very next day Jeremy and I saw them walking past my parent’s house on South Street.

    “Hey! The Books, The Books!” I shouted. They stopped in their tracks and Jeremy and I ran to them and introduced ourselves.

    “We’re using your music in our movie. It’s about my father. He makes giant mosaic murals just up the street, come on we’ll give you a tour.”

    Perhaps they were a little hesitant, but they came anyway, loved it, and three years later we have the best damn score around!

    Buy their albums on TheBooksMusic.com or iTunes and then watch Classy Penguin from their last release, a wonderful DVD called Playall.

    YouTube Preview Image

    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.


    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

    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

    Friday, April 10th: IN A DREAM Released in NYC

    April 10th, 2009

    Pre-Order Tickets for Opening Weekend: 12:50p, 2:30p, 4:20p, 6:15p, 8:00p, 10:00p

    22 East 12th Street, New York, NY

    RSVP on Facebook and then invite your friends to come too!

    Thumbs UP from The New York Times:

    In a Dream belongs to the dubious subgenre of the aggrandized home movie — but in this case, what a home!

    It’s obvious why the filmmaker Jeremiah Zagar would feel compelled to address the life and emotional legacy of his father, Isaiah, an artist and hardcore hippie gripped by manias of creativity and more destructive compulsions. Briefly institutionalized after a spell of unhinged ranting and several attempts to rip off his own genitals, Isaiah returned to (relative) normalcy after the birth of his first son, Ezekiel.

    Bursting with vivid home movies and loving appreciations of Isaiah’s artwork — frenzied drawings and monumental mosaics in tile and mirror, many of which now beautify his Philadelphia neighborhood — In a Dream abounds in visual pleasure.

    Isaiah Zagar’s obsessive mosaic work lends his son both a colorful subject for his camera and a ready-made metaphor for their tumultuous family narrative: the fracturing of relationships and the effort to assemble the pieces into new forms. Isaiah speaks frankly about his troubled past and rocky relationship to his long-suffering, deeply patient wife, Julia. Ezekiel’s struggle with addiction and Isaiah’s lack of fidelity shatter the family’s bohemian bonhomie.


    Not convinced? Watch the trailer.

    The Village Voice

    April 8th, 2009


    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!