When Jews Were Funny – a film by Alan Zweig – World Premiere | Toronto International Film Festival 2013


When Jews Were Funny

A film by Alan Zweig


World Premiere | Toronto International Film Festival 2013



(Toronto – August 7, 2013) When Jews Were Funny is director Alan Zweig’s personal exploration into the roots and manifestations of his Jewish identity, particularly the question of how this Jewishness has persisted though he’s done nothing to maintain it. And it’s a World Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival.


He begins his exploration by trying to answer a question that’s intrigued him since childhood.  Why were all the comedians he watched on TV in the fifties and sixties Jewish? At first he doesn’t get the answers he was hoping for but he trusts in the old saying, “two Jews, three opinions” and eventually some answers start to form.


”My whole filmmaking career I resisted invoking my Jewish background,“ says director Zweig, “but when that resistance broke, perhaps inevitably, I went full Jew.

“To debut my previous film at Hot Docs in the spring and then to be lucky enough to debut my latest film at TIFF this fall is an indescribable thrill. There should be a name for that, the yearly double or a hole in two.”

Featuring interviews with : Shelley Berman, Howie Mandel, Gilbert Gottfreid, Norm Crosby, David Steinberg, Shecky Greene, Jack Carter, Andy Kindler, Elon Gold, David Brenner, Bob Einstein, Judy Gold, Marc Maron.


About Alan Zweig

Alan Zweig has been around the film scene in Toronto for over 30 years. He drove on “Videodrome” and “The Edison Twins”, wrote an episode of Mr. T’s show “T and T” as well as a few other things, and acted in some films including one of Canada’s greatest underground shorts “The Ballad of Don Quinn.” He did some other things including directing a low budget feature in 1994. But he was reborn as a documentary filmmaker in 2000 with the release of “Vinyl”, which went on to become a cult film. Since then he did two other documentaries in a similar style, namely “I, Curmudgeon” and “Lovable”, which collectively became known as his mirror trilogy. In 2009, he completed “A Hard Name” which went on to win an Audience Award at Hot Docs and later the Genie for Best Feature Documentary. In 2011, Zweig was honored with a “Focus On” retrospective at Hot Docs as well as being the subject of a retrospective on TVO.


About Sudden Storm Productions

Sudden Storm Entertainment Ltd. was founded in 2001 by Jesse D. Ikeman and Jeff Glickman. The company produces feature film and television content. The company’s latest projects include the feature documentary When Jews Were Funny and is the Canadian production services company on All is Lost starring Robert Redford and currently in production. Feature films wrapped include Running Mates, George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead and Killing Zelda Sparks,`which had its World Premier at the Montreal World Film Festival, and a US Premier at the San Diego International Film Festival, where it won the Heineken Red Star Award.

Corporately, in 2010 the company acquired the assets of Heroic Film Company and over 60 hours of programming.






Details on dates, venues and times for the TIFF public, and press + industry screenings, will follow shortly.