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Mike Burstyn
Feb 17, 2024
In LATEST NEWS
ZDF Studios Takes ARD Degeto Film’s ‘Die Zweiflers’ for International (EXCLUSIVE)  By Variety John Hopewell, Callum McLennan(https://variety.com/author/callum-mclennan/) BERLIN — In a bellwether deal on one of the cutting edges of European TV, ZDF Studios (https://variety.com/t/zdf-studios/)has taken distribution worldwide on drama series “The Zweiflers,” produced by Turbokultur for ARD Degeto Film and Hessischer Rundfunk (HR).  Created and showrun by David Hadda, the six-part series will premiere in Germany on ARD’s Mediathek streaming service in the spring and also be shown on Das Erste, ARD’s main linear channel, in the near future. In an age of spiraling costs and a large need to cut through a still immensely crowded market, Europe’s public broadcasters –ZDF Studios, not ZDF in this case – are looking to partner. The most obvious partners are other state TV networks, even in their own country if the co-operation works.  “We have already added ARD Degeto Film projects to our portfolio before. And there will be more in the future. There are no limits to our choice of partners,” Dr. Markus Schäfer, ZDF Studios president and CEO, told Variety.  “But there is one basic principle that we follow,“ he added. “We want to bring together the best set of partners for each specific project. For ‘The  Zweiflers,’ the combination of production company Turbokultur, commissioning broadcaster ARD Degeto Film and international distributor ZDF Studios is a perfect fit,” he added. What’s notable about this deal, closed by ZDF Studios and Turbokultur, is the high-profile and subject of “The Zweiflers.”  Series about Germany’s Nazi past are legion. Most Germans, however, may be hard pressed to remember a German series which describes the life of a Jewish family in contemporary Germany. It now has one, and one which looks set to be a conversation driver from its bow, turning on family legacy in the broadest sense – in terms of culture, emotions, trauma  connections and forging a sense of belonging in a fast-changing world. Such themes are brought sharply into focus by the main events of Ep. 1.  In one, Symcha Zweifler, the grandfather, announces he is selling the family delicatessen business he founded after WWII. In another, Samuel, the grandson, 30, an artists agent, meets Saba, a young British Caribbean woman and realizes in just the first hours of  knowing her, that she could be the love of his life. Saba is dazzled by the delicatessen and understands well the diaspora experience, but grates at Samuel’s prejudices about Black women and aims to go to study in Kyoto, before she becomes pregnant by her and Samuel’s unplanned child. Floating over the series fro its earliest going is the question of whether Symcha should close the business or Samuel take it over, bringing it into the modern world…. “’The Zweiflers’ is an outstanding series in many ways. It’s a great family story spanning three generations, and it’s a look at Jewish life in contemporary Germany,” said Schäfer.   “At a time when growing anti-Semitism is becoming an issue in very different parts of the world, this series, from its fictional basis, is an important contribution to the very real discourse we need to have,” he added. “Crime thrillers are a staple at ARD Degeto Film but we excel in delivering outstanding family films, comedies, thrillers, and dramas,” said Thomas Schreiber, managing director ARD Degeto Film.  “Drama is not just a genre within Degeto; it’s a cornerstone of our identity and will remain a pivotal focus moving forward,” he added. “We hold ‘The Zweiflers’ in high regard, a project that fills us with immense pride, and we extend our heartfelt gratitude to the dedicated teams in front and behind the camera for their exceptional work.” Hadda has also put together a high-caliber cast. Aaron Altaras, star of Netflix Emmy Award winning series “Unorthodox,” plays Samuel;  Saffron Coomber, who broke out in “Three Little Birds” and “Small Axe,” is Saba Henriques. Sunnyi Melles, Mimi Zweifler in the series, starred in Ruben Ostlund’s “Triangle of Sadness.” Eleanor Reissa, seen in “The Walking Dead: Dead City,” is Lilka Zweifler, the grandmother.  The series also stars the award-winning singer and actress Ute Lemper (“Chicago, Cabaret”) as Tammi and Mike Burstyn (“Kuli Leml,” “Judah”), the first Israeli to perform on Broadway, as grandfather Symcha Zweifler.  Written by David Hadda, along with Juri Sternburg and Sarah Hadda, the series is directed by Anja Marquardt (“The Girlfriend Experience” Season 3, “She’s Lost Control”) and Clara Zoë My-Linh von Arnim (“Feelings,” “Echt”). Turbokultur is an award-winning production house (Deutscher Fernsehpreis, Grimme-Preis) which focuses on telling stories of previously underrepresented individuals and cultures. “The Zweiflers” is studded with knowing detail. When Samuel takes Saba back to the restaurant, he prepares sponge cake, dosing it with vodka.  In another scene, the family discusses the virtues of flavoring artichokes with lemon. This is inside track fiction and all the more affecting.   Variety talked to David Hadda in the run-up to Berlin.   David Hadda Given the importance of authenticity in depicting Jews in post-war Germany, how did you approach ensuring authenticity and representation in your series, especially considering the challenges of finding actors who could speak Yiddish authentically? Both authenticity and representation were vital. That’s why we included English, Yiddish, Russian—the grandparents only speak Yiddish because that’s how people talked. When we started writing the show, I didn’t know if I could do it because there was no German Jewish actor of the needed age that speaks Yiddish as required. In fact, we created a flyer in Yiddish to send out to Israel, the States, Yiddish theaters, all to find this grandfather. Finding Mike Burstyn was a moment of joy because then we knew we had the justification to do the show. He introduced me to Eleanor Reissa from New York, from the Yiddish theater, and then we knew we could do it. We knew we could tell a story culturally specific but universal in the sense that these characters happen to be Jewish. When you say ‘happen to be Jewish’ do you mean the degree it differs between the family members? I think it is different for all of them. In Germany, a lot of people don’t know much about the Jewish people that live in Germany. Most of the Jewish people living in Germany don’t have a German background for more than three generations. The people that came after the Second World War weren’t German before the war. Mostly they came from Eastern Europe, from Poland, survivors of the death camps like our grandfather from Auschwitz. I was interested in showing a grandfather and grandparents that lost everything and came to Germany because the allies were here. You had the camps, people were stuck here and lost everything, then continued to do whatever they needed to do to continue with life. For me, this was very empowering to focus on and to take this ambivalence and to see what this fact does to the following generations, to the generation of the mother. Considering the innovative aspects of the series, how do you see it fitting into the broader landscape of European television? The series aims to pioneer in storytelling by bringing to the fore a narrative that’s not often explored in mainstream media, especially with its focus on a Jewish family in Germany. It’s about using the unique platform we have to tell a story that’s both specific and universal, leveraging the incredible talent we’ve assembled, including actors known in the international sphere, to bring authenticity and depth to the characters. Casting was not about finding big names but about finding actors who could authentically portray their characters. The fact that we have an all Jewish cast is a testament to our commitment to authenticity. We’ve tailored characters to match the actors’ backgrounds, enriching the narrative with their personal stories and experiences. How involved were you in the writing process, did you bring personal touches to it? I was deeply involved, co-writing the series with my wife, Sarah Hadda, and Juri Sternburg, both of whom bring their own Jewish backgrounds and personal experiences into the storytelling. This collaborative process allowed us to create a narrative rich in authenticity and diversity of perspectives. From my own life, I drew on family traditions and cultural nuances into the story which not only add depth but also provides viewers with a glimpse into the characters’ lives beyond the surface level, making the storytelling more relatable and engaging. When discussing legacy, it’s crucial to consider how past experiences shape current identities and future decisions. The series explores this through the story of the grandfather. The series seems to challenge and expand on traditional narratives? Absolutely. By focusing on specific cultural experiences while addressing universal themes, the series aims to broaden viewers’ perspectives, encouraging empathy and understanding across different cultures and experiences. The series not only explores identity through the personal stories of its characters but also examines how these identities evolve and intersect, highlighting the importance of understanding and embracing cultural diversity in shaping a more inclusive society. As the series progresses, it continues to explore the intricate balance between honouring one’s heritage and embracing the future, all while dealing with the complexities of family, love, and identity, paving the way for deep, meaningful storytelling that resonates with audiences worldwide. Source(https://variety.com/2024/tv/global/ard-degeto-zdf-studios-the-zweiflers-1235913508/)
This is all about my new German TV series in which I play the family patriarch content media
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Mike Burstyn
Aug 23, 2021
In LATEST NEWS
Mike released new albums on iTunes presenting the complete collection of the songs of the great Yiddish songwriter Mark Warshavsky, and The Colors Of My Life counting 11 songs he used to perform in his various roles in the theater. Cover story source iTunes - Zingt Mark Warshavsky iTunes - The Colors Of My Life
Maariv Magazine Cover Story content media
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Mike Burstyn
Apr 15, 2021
In LATEST NEWS
Go to Amazon Prime
AZIMUTH NOW ON AMAZON PRIME! content media
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Mike Burstyn
Feb 23, 2021
Mike has been recently directed the English version of Below Zero on Netflix content media
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Mike Burstyn
Feb 23, 2021
Special Purim Edition, now streaming on YouTube, Happy Purim! content media
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Mike Burstyn
Nov 23, 2020
Mike's Podcast: "Mike Burstyn & Friends" content media
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Mike Burstyn
Nov 23, 2020
In LATEST NEWS
With Norman Lear, talking about his inspiring career and his friendship for over 40 years with Mike Burstyn Play
Mike Burstyn & Friends with Norman Lear content media
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Mike Burstyn
Aug 09, 2020
In LATEST NEWS
E.M.I hosting Mike Burstyn the actor, singer, and film director on Zoom | Tuesday, 11.08, at 20:00. Link
Mike hosted a Zoom meeting to benefit his fellow artists in Israel during the Corona epidemic content media
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Mike Burstyn
Jul 02, 2020
In LATEST NEWS
Watch Here Subscribe to my channel
Mike's YouTube channel: "MIKE BURSTYN & FRIENDS"  content media
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Mike Burstyn
May 09, 2020
In LATEST NEWS
A fine article in today’s Maariv, By Dudi Patimer: Press here to read the article
 After directing on FAUDA and returning to JUDA content media
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Mike Burstyn
Apr 18, 2020
In LATEST NEWS
The Amazing 3rd season of FAUDA is now streaming on NETFLIX. I am proud to have co-directed the English version of it along with my co-director Nell Teare. DON'T MISS IT! #FAUDA #NETFLIX
3rd season of FAUDA is now streaming on NETFLIX content media
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Mike Burstyn
Apr 18, 2020
In LATEST NEWS
Mike will participate in Radio's Sol broadcast on April, Sunday, 2020 at 11:00 (Israel, GMT +2 ), with Shlomit Aharon, Michal Tal, hosted by Gidi Levyatn. In collaboration with E.M.I. Radio Sol program Live video
Mike will participate in Radio's Sol broadcast  content media
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Mike Burstyn
Apr 18, 2020
In LATEST NEWS
One week ago, musician Bill Withers' died. Today our friends from Uganda to the United States joined together to turn his song into the anthem for this moment. Take a minute today to share this video with the people who you’ve leaned on. Let them know how thankful you are for them. And let them know, “you can always". #LeanOnMe #Avaaz
Folks from around the world sing Lean on Me with Mike Burstyn content media
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Mike Burstyn
Apr 14, 2020
In REVIEWS
by Richard Stellar, March 20, 2020 Posted at thewrap.com and Yahoo entertainment As I hunker down into my bunker and ride out the coronavirus scare, I find some comfort in re-visiting a film I saw a few years ago called “Azimuth,” Mike Burstyn’s 2017 opus to conflict during the final days of the Six Day War. “Azimuth” opens with a shell-shocked Egyptian soldier (played by Sammy Sheik) stumbling among the bombed-out wreckage of what’s left of his unit. The lone survivor of an Israeli air attack, he picks through the remains of his comrades and searches for anything that can enable his survival in the harsh Sinai desert. He is alone in a vast, dry unknown and not aware of the breaking news of a ratified cease-fire. At the same time, a broken-down Israeli military convoy sends one soul out into the desert to find aid. With the only instruction of “follow the tire marks,” the young soldier (played by Yiftach Klein) follows a path obscured by the shifting sands of the wind-blown Sinai. Both wind up in the same place — a derelict UN outpost where each occupies his own floor in the two-story ramshackle building, directed there by fate and locked into a futile battle that was unknowingly made moot by the surrender, ending the war. Burstyn’s film has stayed with me, and now it seems more relevant than ever. “Azimuth” makes painfully obvious that the isolation of war is a pandemic where social distancing is as much symptom as it is a preventative measure. The outpost provides a three-dimensional edifice of social distancing, with each soldier battling a hidden enemy, obscured only by the floor that separates them. Our perceived enemies are usually hidden. Either behind a joystick and monitor in a Nevada flight-ops bunker, controlling weaponized drones, or lurking in the morning breath of your significant other – ready to make the jump to decimate your pulmonary system. Leave it to the talent of a filmmaker like Burstyn to create a military pas de deux that is evocative of the isolation that has dogged our existence. I won’t spoil the movie’s ending, but it is as satisfying as an all-clear after a COVID-19 swab. At the very least, it gave me hope that I needed to see the whole film again. Understanding our enemy instead of defeating it will be our saving grace. Read original story What the Film ‘Azimuth’ Taught Me About How Isolation Can Be Its Own Virus (Guest Blog) At TheWrap
What the Film ‘Azimuth’ Taught Me About How Isolation Can Be Its Own Virus content media
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Mike Burstyn
Apr 13, 2020
In LATEST NEWS
Special greetings from Mike Burstyn, posted by the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles:
Special holy week greetings from Mike Burstyn content media
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Mike Burstyn
Jun 07, 2019
In LATEST NEWS
Source
Jewish Journal "Juda" content media
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Mike Burstyn
May 24, 2019
In LATEST NEWS
Happy to have received this Certificate of Recognition of the City of Los Angeles from L to R: Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Controller Ron Galperin & Councilmember Paul Koretz at the Israel Independence Day celebration this past Sunday.
Received Certificate of Recognition of the City of Los Angeles content media
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Mike Burstyn
Apr 21, 2019
In LATEST NEWS
We Are In America | אנחנו באמריקה Ayala Or-El April 2019
From Kuni Leml To The Vampires, JUDA is now streaming on HULU content media
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Mike Burstyn
Mar 15, 2019
In LATEST NEWS
I welcome you to listen on iTunes, Deezer and Spotify.
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