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Chooray for Chollywood!

All-Yiddish indie film.

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A pair of Monsey, New York, filmmakers have made the first Yiddish movie in years. “I figured without any competition, this would be a great place to start in the film industry,” director Yakov Kirsh says of A Gesheft (The Deal), his 90-minute drama about a religious-school dropout who turns pious after running afoul of the law. The market gap isn’t surprising—the few remaining Yiddish speakers are mainly ultra-Orthodox, and they shun film and TV. “They’re afraid it will bring unkosher entertainment into the house,” explains Yakov’s brother Mendy, the producer. But A Gesheft is actually a “kosher film.” Meaning? “No foul language, no sexual content, and no females.” (Even a pregnant woman who’s died from fright is played by a man under a sheet.) Editor Roland Millman, who previously produced a Yiddish workout video (Shvitz!), says A Gesheft has been selling like latkes in Monsey and Brooklyn’s Boro Park and Flatbush, with only a few protest flyers appearing. The brothers even think they’ll earn back their $30,000 investment. “The acting is not wonderful,” says Millman, “but the shooting is not bad.”


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