Filmmakers

 
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Judah-Lev Dickstein

As a child my fantasy was to one day become a cartoon character. I spent thousands of hours watching every cartoon from Care Bears to J.E.M. to Looney Tunes in an effort to fully immerse myself in the magic, the colors, the sound, and the movement that made up the animated world.

Many years and even more movies later, I can't say my passion for cartoons is as fervent as it once was, though my current love and understanding of cinematic storytelling couldn’t be more influenced by it. What the moving picture offers us – and what cartoons put in the starkest relief – is not a way of capturing a world that exists, but of creating one that doesn't. While most worlds are not as vibrant as “Daffy Duck's Quackbusters,” within five minutes of watching Jeff Malmberg's documentary “Marwencol” you're unquestionably aware that you're in another, more beautiful, more tragic universe than the one you see when you wake in the morning.

With every project I direct I try to create a new world, one that's fresh and specific to the topic at hand. Influenced by The Coen Brothers, Hayao Miyazaki, and the photographs of Philip-Lorca diCorcia, I hope for every interaction with my work to be an introduction into a new reality.

An editor, I’ve collaborated on such documentaries as Academy-Award-Winner Barbara Kopple's "Shut Up & Sing," the mischievous art world film "The Art of the Steal," and the third film in Gary Hustwit’s design trilogy “Urbanized.” Currently I am reunited with famed sports film editor David Zieff on new film for ESPN Films directed by Dan Klores.

 
 
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Justin Liberman

When you grow up on the road, traveling around the country from one dusty flea market to the next with two adoring yet eccentric parents and helping them sell either bootleg pocketbooks, or t-shirts with images of Tweety Bird on them, you develop a profound fascination with characters and place. While most kids went to summer camp I wandered around forgotten drive-ins from the 1950’s large country fair grounds, and small, any-town USA festivals, spending time with a ragtag group of hustlers like the toothless, kindhearted man from Maine who sold tarnished antiques, the hot-blooded Israeli electronic dealer, and the biker-jacket clad airbrush artist. When I look back at those years, I realize all these characters shared a commonality that intrigued me: a tremendous sense of hard work, curiosity, adventure, and independence. 

Coming full circle, I found myself reliving my childhood days in that carney-like world of the absurd, and hard working eccentrics in Los Angeles. I spent three years working under acclaimed filmmakers Michael Mann and David Mamet before directing my first film, Y Nada Mas. Soon after, working with @Radical Media, I started to direct commercials and learn the craft of creating micro worlds wrapped inside a brand’s integrity. In commercial filmmaking, I found that fast-paced, adventurous, and hard-working  environment that I knew best. 

As a filmmaker, I remain inspired by those qualities and seek out projects that embody them. Words like idiosyncratic, texture, and unpredictable excite me, as does the work of Walker Evans, Steven Soderbergh, Richard Price, and 2 Chainz.