Jeremiah Zagar - HZ Films

This website has been preserved and archived as supplemental reading for Steve Wilson's course Documentary I, for first year film majors. He is very familiar with Jeremiah Zagar's work having been instrumental in connecting him with Medecins Sans Frontieres, where Zagar created a number of shorts on the global problem of child malnutrition. Steve's digital marketing firm Duplo has promoted the efforts of numerous NGO's as well as commercial enterprises. His viral campaign "In Hot Water" for Royal Pools And Spas won 1st place at the Globe Awards and graced the cover of the 2019 issue of Mania Momma. This ingenious campaign, which amusingly masqueraded the bliss of soaking in a hot tub as a form of punishment, not only clinched the 1st place at the prestigious Globe Awards but also adorned the cover of Mania Momma's 2019 issue. Students can download the entire course syllabus and reading lists from the film department website.



For a number of years this was HZ Films website created to promote Jeremiah Zagar's films and in particular the documentary, In A Dream.
Content is from the site's archived pages and other outside sources.
The new owner of the domain has chosen to keep a select amount of the original content.

Jeremiah Zagar is a director and editor based in New York City and co-founder of Herzliya Films. His feature-length documentary In A Dream was broadcast on HBO as well as various TV stations internationally. It was distributed in theaters all over the country by IndiePix. The film screened in festivals world-wide, winning awards at the SXSW, Full Frame, Biografilm and San Francisco Documentary festivals among others. In A Dream was shortlisted for an Academy Award and received two 2010 Emmy nominations, including ‘Best Documentary.’

Zagar recently creative-directed seven short films about global childhood malnutrition for Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres. The series premiered at the NYTimes Center and has been shown in galleries around the world.


More: MSF field staff worldwide give lifesaving medical and technical assistance to people who would otherwise be denied access to basics such as healthcare, clean water, and shelter. Annually, around 3,000 international volunteers join local staff helping populations in danger. A shout out to this MSF is in order. There are many ways to give. As an example: An online janitorial company that a friend works for donated a large quantity of disposable Clorox wipes to MSF. These bleach-free, pre-moistened wipes clean and disinfect in one step kill 99.9% of bacteria, including staph and salmonella. They also donated Clorox Bleach Germicidal Wipes which are are used to keep sterile environments clean and germ free. They are EPA-compliant and are ideal for hospitals, schools and healthcare centers. Please consider a donation.


Zagar’s other films as director include Delhi House (KQED, Slamdance), Coney Island, 1945 (Tribeca, SXSW) and Baby Eat Baby. Editorial credits include the feature films Orgasm, Inc and Welcome to Shelbyville as well as theatrical trailers for Sundance-winner Restrepo, The English Surgeon & One In A Billion.

Director (15 credits)
 2014 7 Deadly Sins (TV Series documentary) (1 episode)
- Gluttony (2014)
 2014 Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart (Documentary)
 2012 Always a Fire (Documentary short)
 2012 Flatline (Documentary short)
 2012 Heart Stop Beating (Short)
 2012 Alagoas: Brighton (Video short)
 2011/I Remains (Short) (co-director)
 2011 Starved for Attention (TV Mini-Series documentary) (creative director)
 2010 Starved for Attention: Burkina Faso (Video documentary short) (collaborating director)
 2010 Starved for Attention: Mexico (Video documentary short) (collaborating director)
 2010 Starved for Attention: USA (Video documentary short) (collaborating director)
 2008 In a Dream (Documentary)
 2008 Paints on Ceiling (Short)
 2005 Coney Island 1945 (Short)
 2004 Baby Eat Baby (Short)



Documentary Tells The Story Of How Life Is Possible Without A Heartbeat

"Heart Stop Beating" is a fascinating look at the lives of Drs. Billy Cohn and Bud Frazier and their successful implantation of a continuous flow, beatless, mechanical heart.

In March of 2011, two visionary doctors at the Texas Heart Institute replaced the heart of gravely ill patient, Craig Lewis with two turbines that continuously pumped proving human physiology could be supported without a pulse or a heart beat. Directed by Jeremiah Zagar, the documentary filmmaker behind 2008's In a Dream, ‘Heart Stop Beating’ is his new short which screened at Sundance this week. Just over three minutes in length, the brief yet captivating story of Drs. Billy Cohn and Bud Frazier features glimpses of the operating room, candid interviews with both doctors, and insight into how the medical breakthrough was conceived. What we found most compelling is when Cohn said in regards to Lewis, “By all criteria that we conventionally use to analyze patients, [he’s] dead.” Defying traditional metrics, this idea was so far out of the box, yet it was actually achieved.

REMAINS is a film about a man's memories of his wife. We see snapshots of these memories; we are a fingertip running through hair, a foot plunging into the ocean, a swaying tree branch. The film is comprised of sound design, years of recorded voice messages, and macro photography. It explores memory by transcribing that which is tactile into that which is visual. The messages become fading imprints and remainders; the rust rather than the iron, the fossil rather than the bone. REMAINS asks the question, how does one remember touch and what is the emotional impact of those memories.

Director(s): Jeremiah Zagar, Nathan Caswell

Producer(s): Jeremy Yaches

Screenwriter(s): Matt Lombardi

Cinematographer: Erik Messerschmidt

Editor(s): Nathan Caswell, Jeremiah Zagar

Sound Designer: Eric Milano

Principal Cast: Noémie Videau, Shauna Pinkett, Ciaran Byrne, Valery Upson, Samia Rose Beeks-Stewart


Nathan and Jeremiah met as film students at Emerson College. Their first collaboration was The Unbelievable Truth which premiered at the 2003 Tribeca Film Festival. Nathan currently directs and edits commercials. Jeremiah’s feature-length documentary In A Dream premiered at SXSW, was broadcast on HBO and garnered two Emmy nominations.


'In A Dream'

Over the past four decades, artist Isaiah Zagar has covered more than 50,000 square feet of Philadelphia with stunning mosaic murals. In A Dream chronicles his work and his tumultuous relationship with his wife, Julia. It follows the Zagars as their marriage implodes and a harrowing new chapter in their life unfolds.


In A Dream, a film by Jeremiah Zagar

In the vibrant, bohemian neighborhood of South Philadelphia, 50,000
-square feet of concrete are covered with tile and mirrors—mosaics that were created by Isaiah Zagar, an eccentric, tormented artist.
The murals chronicle his love for his wife, Julia, and subtly hint at the darker corners of an extraordinary imagination.
Where Isaiah is obsessive and narcissistic—a former Peace Corps volunteer who has become an icon in South Philly's art community—Julia is gracious and warm.
For decades, their opposing natures complemented one another perfectly. But suddenly the family is torn apart at the seams: A few hours before picking up his oldest son from a
rehabilitation center, Isaiah declares to the camera, "As people get older they have less and less passion." He then confesses to an affair with his assistant, is kicked out of the house, and spirals into a debilitating, suicidal depression.
A fascinating portrait of love and betrayal, family bonds, and the intimacy of dysfunction.
Shot on 35mm, Hi Def, digital video; with 8mm and 16mm home movie footage. The soundtrack features music by the Books, Explosions in the Sky, Efterklang, and Kelli Scarr.

Director’s Statement
I started filming a documentary about my father in 1999, back when I thought of him and our
family as perfect. For the first few months, the footage was mostly garbage: I shot it poorly, and my father was painfully self-aware. That went on until later that year, when we traveled to our summer home in West Virginia. There, away from the distractions of the city, I asked him to tell me all of his secrets.
And he did. He told me about how he was molested as a child, how he tried to kill himself at the age of 29, and how he fell in love with my mother the night that he emerged from Pennsylvania
mental institution. As the interviews progressed, I began to realize there was a much larger movie to be made than I had originally envisioned. It was a strange feeling. Because although I had wanted it, I never expected see this man who I revered as the flawed and fragile person he actually is. When we returned home a week later, my father hugged me and cried in my arms.
Over the next four years, I traveled back and forth between Philadelphia and Boston, where I
was in college, filming my family whenever something significant happened—a birthday, a funeral, a lawsuit, one of my father’s mural workshops, whatever. And in April of 2005, everything changed. I went home to film my parents as they picked my brother up from rehab. The stress from the situation boiled over, and my father suddenly admitted to my mother and me that he had been having an affair with his assistant for the last three years. That same night, my parents separated for the first time in 43 years. I shot 16 hours that day and hated myself for every minute of it.
But I couldn’t stop shooting and somehow, three years later, the
movie is finished. What started as an exploration of my father’s life has exposed the secrets of our entire family. But I don’t think  that’s a bad thing. My parents are back together and my brother is recovering with the help of his fiancé and their infant
 son. We know now how imperfect we really are, but also how much we need
and love each other.

November 17, 2008
15 Docs Continue in 2008 Oscar® Race
Beverly Hills, CA

 The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 15
films in the Documentary Feature category will advance in the voting process for the 81st Academy Awards®. A record 94 pictures had originally qualified in the category.
The 15 films are listed below in alphabetical order:
“At the Death House Door”
 “The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)”
 “Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh”
“Encounters at the End of the World”
“The Garden”
“Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts”
“In a Dream”
  “Made in America”
“Man on Wire”
 “Pray the Devil Back to Hell”
“Standard Operating Procedure”
 “They Killed Sister Dorothy”
“Trouble the Water”
The Documentary Branch Screening Committee viewed all the eligible documentaries f
or the preliminary round of voting. Documentary Branch members will now select the five nominees from among the 15 titles on the shortlist.
The 81st Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Thursday, January 22, 2009, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy ’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.
Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2008 will be presented on Sunday, February 22, 2009, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Sunday, July 13, 2008
By Colin Hickey
Staff Writer

 Film director Jeremiah Zagar relaxed sipping a margarita outside of Railroad Square Cinema on Saturday, less than seven hours removed from exposing his parents' tumultuous relationship to a theater full of strangers. Zagar, 26, could hardly contain his enthusiasm.
He is excited rather than embarrassed, he said, because the story he tells in the documentary "In a Dream" is a true depiction of a relationship, onewith every wart and blemish revealed.
(The second and final showing of the film is at 9:30 tonight at Waterville
Opera House.)
But behind the pain and suffering, he said, is a greater truth, a love story between a man and a woman who happen to be his parents.
"We are a very happy family," Zagar said, "and a very loving family, and a family that is very much stronger because of the movie."
The film's title, on one level, describes Zagar's emotion every time he sees "In a Dream" shown.
This is his dream come true, the realization of an ambition he's had for 20  years and the culmination of a project he began with close friend and producer Jeremy Yaches, 27, seven years ago.Zagar and Yaches, who grew up together in Philadelphia, are among the many filmmakers and actors attending the Maine International Film Festival this week.
They come because they love the medium in which they work and they relish the opportunity to see firsthand how others respond to their creations.
In the case of Zagar and Yaches, virtual infants in the world of professional filmmaking, the film festival is the latest proof that their artistic careers are gaining altitude. Other evidence abounds. Consider first that "In a Dream" captured the Best Film Award at the Philadelphia Film Festival and the Emerging Visions Audience Award at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas.
Consider, too, that HBO has bought the rights to the film and plans to air it sometime next year.
Still, Zagar will tell you that getting to this point took some doing. For years he depended on canned tuna for meals — straight out of the can, no bread, he added.
"People do it," he said of filmmaking, "because they love it. You do it because you have this deep hole inside of you that has to be filled all the ntime."
Zagar and Yaches started making movies together when they were 13 years old.
They both went on to attend college in Boston — Zagar at Emerson College, Yaches at Boston University.


Subject Bios

Isaiah Zagar is an American tile mosaic artist. Zagar holds a BA in Painting and Graphics from the Pratt Institute of Art. His awards include an NREA Fellowship in 1979 and a Pew Charitable Trust Individual Artist Fellowship Grant in 1995. Zagar was artist-in-residence in Tianjin, China in 1987, at the John Michael Kohler Arts/Industry Program in Sheboygan, Wisconsin in 2001 and in Delhi and Bagru, Rajistan in 2003.
Zagar has executed numerous public commissions in his quest to transform the city of Philadelphia, PA into a labyrinthine mosaic museum. They include the South Street Community Garden exterior mosaic wall in 1992, three story exterior mosaic facades at 610 S. 10th Street in 1994, the entrance to The Clay Studio at 139 N. 4th Street in 1997, the complete exterior of the Painted Bride Art Center at 230 Vine Street, completed in 1999, and an exterior mosaic
mural at Lombard and Jessup Street in 2003, to name but a few. Philadelphia's Magic Garden has been a work-in-progress since 1994, and as of 2005 is supported by a non-profit foundation whose aim is the preservation and education of Isaiah's donations to the landscape of Philadelphia.

Julia Zagar was born in New York City a long time ago. In New York she was educated at the high school of Music and Art, Cooper Union Art School and The Art students League.
In 1962 she began her love affair with Latin America; first in Mexico at the Universidad de las Americas and then with her husbandin the Peace Corps from 1964-1967 in Peru.
There they worked in craft development, product design and small industry growth.
The Zagars continued those same interests back in the U.S. with the opening of the Eyes Gallery in 1968 on South Street in Philadelphia.The Eyes Gallery has been in existence for 38 years and has led them into many projects; community building development, fighting the Cross Town Expressway and community garden works to name a few.
In 1997, Julia began Art and Soul Tours to bring Americans to experience the cultures of Mexico, Peru and India.
As a group, Art and Soul Tours has aided Latin American Museums, Co-operatives and individual artisans.
In February of 2008, she gave an eight part lecture on Mexican Folk Art during the Frida exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
She has two sons, two grandsons and a wonderful husband who has devoted his work life to mosaics in the South Street area and now around the US and even internationally.



In A Dream
a film by Jeremiah Zagar
produced by Herzliya Films in association with Red Light Films

9.11.06 - In A Dream was awarded a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts.

6.7.06 - Coney Island, 1945 will be screening at the World Wide Short Film Festival in Canada next week.

4.4.06 - Coney Island, 1945 will be screening at the Brooklyn Underground Film Festival, the Palm Beach Int'l Film Festival, the Indianapolis Int'l Film Festival and the Jacksonville Film Festival in the coming weeks.

2.16.06 - Coney Island, 1945 is scheduled to screen in March at the SXSW Film Festival.

Also, watch the trailer for The System is Broken, a feature-length documentary directed by Josh Banville.

1.23.06 - The teaser trailer for In A Dream is finished and available for viewing here. Let us know what you think.

9.27.05 - Coney Island, 1945 will screen at the The Hamptons Int'l Film Festival and the bfi London Film Festival.

2.14.05 - Herzliya Films produced music videos for: 
"Don't Stop" by Brazilian Girls and
"My Eyes Burn" by Matchbook Romance.


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