Friday, January 19, 2007

Local Filmmaker Marc Israel Encounters John of God in "Nearer My God To Thee":

Under the weight of a failed long-term relationship, the loss of hand use due to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and growing mental afflictions, local filmmaker Marc Israel's life falls apart, and he considers suicide. In this state of desperation, and on a whim, he travels to Brazil to seek famed healer John of God after viewing a television documentary about this 'miracle man'. In a manner both deeply personal and universal, Marc Israel focuses intense scrutiny on both John of God's community and his own suffering existence. With surprising honesty and humor, utilizing flashbacks from years of filmed self-surveillance, and a variety of storytelling techniques, "Nearer My God To Thee" emerges as a film in which the very process of filmmaking is perhaps the ultimate medicine:


"...Nearer My God to Thee" is such a great, expressive, special film by a wonderful filmmaker. While it’s about the filmmaker himself it’s something very approachable for everyone - everyone learns something. It’s fascinating to me that he can turn his own life into a film and make it such a rich experience for everyone else.”
- Jean Tait, Jacksonville Film Festival Director of Programming, Former Sundance Film Festival Director

"...Nearer My God to Thee" relentlessly pursues Israel stripping himself down for the camera, examining himself moving as a naked human in space-time. Tempered with humor, the film just pulls you in, and, with perfect timing, presents a direct imprint of suffering on the viewer that somehow moves beyond the pain and desire and into some kind of tentative, elusive grace.”
- Scott Webel, Curator, Museum of Natural & Artificial Ephemerata Austin, Texas

"Marc Israel's comedic documentary Nearer My God To Thee is one of the highlights of this Filmmaker's Festival"
- Liz Braun, Toronto Sun

Click here for more reviews.

For more information email phenomenalworld at gmail dot com.

For the entire 86-minute DVD, send $15 to:

Marc Israel
62 West St. #3
Northampton, MA 01060

..or you can Paypal Marc at marcisrael70 at yahoo dot com.


stacy said...

This looks fun, but you should really make it available for digital download rather than just DVD. Join the digital age!

Dana Herbert said...

From Marc:

I mentioned this on the latest film screening post but I thought I'd reprint here:
I can mail out DVDs of the film to anyone who will kindly send $15 (or whatever you can afford - don't be shy to skim a couple dollars off the top if it's too much) to me via snail mail:
Marc Israel
62 West St. #3
Northampton, MA 01060

..or you can Paypal me at marcisrael70 at yahoo (.com).

Marc said...

you've come out of nowhere & become my publicist! lucky me!
sorry for my delayed response - i've been on a fact-finding mission. only i found no facts. perhaps there are none.
i have to say, i look pretty good up there on your website, tears and all.

i've thought about joining the digital age, but according to some leading social-anthropologist-historian-prophets, we might be back in the stone age soon enough anyway. and then i'll fit right in. i already live in a cave. also, the film is feature-length - do people download such large files? if so, count me in & tell me where how & when. it's still playing at festivals, & the orders roll in slowly...
one last plug: everybody should get on th'bus & head to DC January 27th for the giant anti-war protest ( unless, of course, you're for the which case you should still come and oppose us -it'll be fun. life's a stage...

Dana Herbert said...

You are very courageous and just adorable....I especially loved the tears!
Your movie sends some pretty clear messages about our current healthcare system!
Thank you.

stacy said...

Marc, You can upload large files to google video . . . and charge anything you like. Or you can upload it to a bit torrent site for people to share for free. I think actually the guys behind skype might even have a new bit torrent site where you can also charge. There is also where you share in the ad revenue or veoh where you can do the same thing. So, yes,there are loads of options out there for you. And people are willing to watch a more compressed file, so it doesn't need to be a whole 20 gig file, you can get people do download a smaller movie file.

I will be rooting for you down in DC this weekend. The momentum is with you.

Anthropositor said...

Well Dana and Marc,
I just stumbled over the "next blog" button and wound up serendipitously here.

My interest is certainly piqued to see "Nearer..." Rather odd actually, considering my agnostic temperament. On my new and Spartan blog, I teach people, among other things, How To Prevent Viral Infection. You are both welcome to learn how. No cost. It is a labor of love. I do hope you will both visit.

If I am ever in a position to get your movie Marc, I will certainly review it there.

I am currently writing a pilot episode about a hobo who is also a gourmet cook. As he travels the country he teaches the poor and homeless how to eat sumptuously with their limited resources. The hobo has but one slight extravagance. He wears a tuxedo. The crux of the story is that you can live well whatever your circumstances. My guess is, this is something you two already know a lot about. A portion of it should be up on the blog in March. I need to let it breathe a little before the edit and rewrite.
Bon chance,

Marc said...

i apologize for my tardy response. i was overtaken with duties in d.c. re: the protest. also, my hands still have repetetive stress injury, so's i can't type too much.
stacey, thanks for pointing me towards the future. now all i need is to get rid of my dial-up internet! it's been a long time coming, many a busy signal when friends trying to call me, some suicide-thought-inducing slow downloads, etc, but it's time to make some sacrifices & finally figure out a way to steal my neighbor's wireless service once & for all. then i'll hit the bigtime!

your hobo sounds like a real charmer. i'd like to meet more of him, so keep us informed of his ramblings. maybe put a tracking system in his tuxedo pocket.

"Nearer..." is as much agnostic as it is "religious", if not more. only once i am seen praying, but several times i am in a god-forsaken state.


Dana Herbert said...


I went to your blog. It is great! I think that it is legal to name names regarding your dentist (and I would love to know who it is). The authorities name known rapists and child molestors on the internet, so why not crooked dentists? You could also go to which is a site dedicated to exposing bad doctors.


Thank you for heading down to DC and protesting for us!


Anthropositor said...

Hello again Marc and Dana

The Hobo pilot script is, for now, on the back burner. My emphasis now is to get my eye surgeon up to speed on what to do with my eye since the operation is only two weeks away and I have only met her once.

So glad you enjoyed your time at Eureka Ideas Unlimited.
I just put up the letter to the above eye surgeon on the blog.

The dentist will remain anonymous for a while, but I'm pretty steamed. His behavior is perhaps slightly more underhanded than that of many, many dentists. I do not mean to imply that dentists are universally... like this one, but certainly he and his kind do the ethical dentists a disservice.

They would do well to curb the predators among them. This particular one does not serve his profession or his patients well.

When my eye is done I will decide what next to do about the dentist/merchant/predator. Until then, he retains his privacy.

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