by Todd Felderstein
As an American who gets his news from many of the growing media sources that currently bombard our consciousness and shape our psyches, it was very important for me, both as a filmmaker and as a human being, to travel to Israel to experience the conflicting energies within such a small yet remarkable land. What I found was that all of the people throughout the country couldn't have been more hospitable and eager to discuss both the joys of Magic Michael and the anxieties of the landscape's current tensions. Yes, Israel is at a state of constant heighten security yet somehow, the joy of life can be found on every street corner. That's one of the most amazing things about the land: their shared passion for life. What I think would be considered a paralyzing time in any other region of the world is dealt with almost in a matter-of-fact approach. People long for a resolution yet do their utmost not to allow the surrounding circumstances to prevent them from living a life half lived. The hectic six-day workweek fuels the fervor of the Tel Aviv nightlife. Israelis hunger to have fun. Perhaps it's to counter the pressures that have become such a governing facet of their psyches. My experience found that from their waking moment till the conclusion of their very long day, life is pursued with intention. I can only assume that this is why the this tiny country continues to have such a dominant stamp on the rest of the world.
My objective as a storyteller was to convey the tale of the human spirit in a very difficult circumstance. The other aspect was to explore the essence that drives man to war. Yes, the cultural backdrop has many facets all with their own varied philosophies and opinions. The one-shared belief is that there is no simple solution to achieving peace, especially during these difficult times.
Many, many thanks to all of the people throughout Israel for being so incredibly hospitable in the making of MAGIC(S). A very special thank you to Magic Michael and his amazing family for allowing me to invade their home and privacy with my small bevy of production equipment. I continue to ponder their wonderful love and support for one another, a process that astounded me from one day to the next. What a joy it was to witness this family of seven (now eight) share their day-to-day responsibilities in a routine that has all but vanished in the west. Their incredible capacity to care for one another, from the youngest to the oldest, never ceased. You would think that the addition of one needy filmmaker would surely upset this balance yet, somehow, it hardly caused a stir. To me, that ploy is hardly a deception and is one of the purest forms of the Tulkoff family's magic. If asked, I am happy to reveal the secret of that trick with hopes that it will not be considered mysterious but instead the norm.
If only the rest of the world was so cooperative and loving and would take the time to master the art of balloon animals, the result would be nothing short of magic.