Artist Spotlight:
‘Dudu Tassa & the Kuwaitis’ filmmaker Tal Hake

Leading up to the 2019 JxJ, we asked our filmmakers and artists a few questions about their featured programs.
In this edition, director Tal Hake talks Dudu Tassa & the Kuwaitis: Don’t Be So Modest, You Aren’t That Great!

What inspired you to tell the story depicted in your film?

When we began touring with Radiohead we didn’t know if we will be able to produce a documentary. We decided to film our journey primarily for ourselves as we were not even certain that we will be allowed to film on Radiohead’s stage. When we arrived we were treated very kindly and were told it’s fine to document the tour. As the tour went on we filmed more and more. There are many music films that are primarily focusing on the music and less about the story behind it. I think our inspiration was to let the music speak for itself and to allow the story privide the background.


Filmmaker Tal Hake

What was a particular obstacle you faced while making this film?

The obstacle in producing the film was the ongoing equation between how much emphasis is given to the Al Kuwaiti brothers, their musical career, journey from Iraq to Israel, hardships they faced upon their arrival to Israel and their entire story in general- and how much emphasis is given to the music. I think the difficulty we faced was how much informative facts to provide about them and to what extent we are focusing on documenting our journey as artists and musicians on tour.


What do you want audiences to walk away with after screening your film?


The main insight I would like the audience to experience and walk away with from our film is that music is timeless and even when artists pass away, their work and creations can be rediscovered even after decades and still be relevant.

The power of creations and the meaning of leaving something behind, even if it seems that it disappeared in the immediate phase, is that with time you will discover that music it timeless.


Why do you think Washington, DC is a valuable location to screen your film?

As the Washington Jewish Film Festival is about to conclude its third decade, it is a big honor for us that the film will be screened at the festival. Even more so, it is important for us that the film will be screened to Jewish audiences around the world and since the Jewish community in Washington DC is the third-largest in the United States, it is an amazing opportunity to expose the story behind the music of Dudu Tassa & the Kuwaitis to such an important crowd.

Still from ‘Dudu Tassa & the Kuwaitis: Don’t Be So Modest, You Aren’t That Great!’

What films or filmmakers have been the most influential to you?

Fatih Akin is a German film director, screener and producer of Turkish decent who produced many films, among them is ‘Crossing the Bridge’ and ‘Head on’. In his films he incorporates a lot of  Turkish Music and there’s a very strong statement in his art.


Why are Jewish-interest films important today?

Jewish- interest films such as our film are very important nowadays since we must know our cultural history in order to impact our cultural future. It is vital to know the background of the Jewish people in order to better understand, preserve and strengthen Jewish identity, heritage, tradition and values.  Since the film portrays our USA tour with Radiohead and the journey of reviving the music of the Al Kuwaiti brothers who had a vital role in shaping the musical heritage of Jews in the Arab world between 1930s-1950s, it is a wonderful closure to have their music and story shared with Jews all over the world, particularly in the United States where we had the honor to preform with Radiohead.

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