Lev Syrkin was a successful artist in Moscow who dreamed of pursuing artistic and personal freedom in Israel. He abandoned his reputable status in Russia and moved to Israel with his entire family, only to be welcomed by indifference toward the mosaic art he practiced. Director Daniel Syrkin takes a journey through Israel, lovingly tracing his tenacious immigrant father’s struggles, accomplishments and hopes as an artist. Along the way, his father’s biggest dream becomes Daniel’s own: the creation of a huge mosaic portraying the dove of peace in the heart of Jerusalem. As this dream is revived, father and son encounter apathy and disappointment, but with a twist of optimism, which only fuels their dedication to public art.
From 2008 Festival: Director, United States
Lauren Shweder Biel is a Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology at New York University. She received a B.A. in Religion from Princeton University in 1998, and completed the Graduate Program in Culture and Media at NYU in 2003. From 2005-2007, Lauren was the Graduate Assistant to the Jews/Media/Religion Working Group at NYU's Center for Religion and Media. She currently works as an Educational Content Specialist for Sesame Workshop (the creators of Sesame Street) in the International Education and Research Department. In 2007, she launched Kavanah Productions, a documentary production company dedicated to creating films on Jewish themes. Her first film, Abraham’s Daughters: A Bat Mitzvah Story, was completed in 2003, and is used as an educational tool in B’nai Mitzvah preparation classes across the country., From 2008 Festivall: Director, Israel
Daniel Syrkin was born in Moscow in 1971 and grew up in Jerusalem. He graduated the Tel Aviv University film school and worked as Director and Studio Director for various television shows, and as a Journalist interviewing artists like Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Angelina Jolie, Sophia Loren, Nicolas cage Robert Altman, and many others.
My father, Lev Syrkin, is a Moscow-born artist. He left an illustrious career in the USSR to realize his dream and come to Israel with his entire family in 1972. In Israel, he created dozens of public art works: mosaic murals, sculptures, and prints portraying Jewish and biblical subjects – something that was virtually impossible in the USSR. But his freedom of expression came at a great price – he remained outside the local art establishment, the critics ignored him, his salaries were almost minimal, and my mother became our main breadwinner.
Throughout the film, I undertake a double mission, to tell my father’s story and help him realize his life’s dream: the creation of a huge mosaic portraying the dove of peace in the heart of Jerusalem. This film is a journey throughout Israel, connecting my father’s work, his career, and the agony of fulfilling the dream of one artist and one son ¬– a fool’s dream. Only during the journey, as we come across his public works and the people living among them, do I begin to understand my father. The viewers become acquainted with a man who is a fighter and a dreamer, an uninhibited humanist and optimist who lives to fulfill his ideal of public art for the Israeli nation. And yet, this nation just glances at his works and continues on its way…