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Pleasantville's Jacob Burns Kicks Off Jewish Festival With Local Talent

Steve Apkon lived in Pleasantville for 20 years before moving to Dobbs Ferry a few years ago.
Steve Apkon lived in Pleasantville for 20 years before moving to Dobbs Ferry a few years ago. Photo Credit: Submitted

DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. -- The Westchester Jewish Film Festival, held at the Jacob Burns Film Center (JBFC), starts Thursday, March 30 and features 34 films from around the world. Among them is the documentary, "Presenting Princess Shaw," a Cinderella story of an artistic collaboration between an Israeli remix artist and an obscure New Orleans–based vocalist.

The film, which kicks off the festival at 7 p.m. Opening Night, was co-produced by Dobbs Ferry resident and JBFC's Founder Steve Apkon.

Daily Voice sat down with him ahead of his post-film Q&A, to get his thoughts on the magic of documentaries and why this film promises to touch audiences of all types.

Daily Voice: How did you get involved with this movie?

Steve Apkon: Ido Haar has been a long-time friend and collaborator, as well as a JBFC International Filmmaker in Residence from Israel. I believe he is one of the most talented documentary filmmakers working today, and after producing his last film "Enlistment Days," it was natural to get involved in what was next.

Daily Voice: Why was it an important project for you?

Steve Apkon: This was an important and exciting project for many reasons. I believe it is a ground-breaking film that explores the kind of collaborative, creative space that is the internet today, in many ways exemplified by the free culture movement.

Daily Voice: What do you hope the audience takes away from film?

Steve Apkon: First of all, it’s a great story, with two amazing characters. You’ll be hard pressed to find two people with bigger hearts. I also believe that the film asks us to reconsider so many things, including what success looks like, our desire to be seen by the world, and the courage it takes to create.

For me, documentary films can have this transcendent quality when they are so well told that you realize that not even a scripted dramatic feature could rival its creativity and wonder.

Tickets are selling fast. Aside from the March 30 date, the movie is also being shown at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 2 and at 1 p.m. Thursday, April 7. Go HERE for more information.

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