Love, documentary style, in Syracuse
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Love, documentary style, in Syracuse

Moviemaker Dani Menkin sets his second feature film in the upstate New York town

Alon Aboutboul and Naruna Kaplan de Macedo in 'Is That You,' Dani Menkin's new feature film that was filmed in Syracuse (Courtesy 'Is That You')
Alon Aboutboul and Naruna Kaplan de Macedo in 'Is That You,' Dani Menkin's new feature film that was filmed in Syracuse (Courtesy 'Is That You')

Israeli filmmaker Dani Menkin had a novel idea for attracting an American audience: He filmed his latest movie in English.

“Is That You,” Menkin’s latest film, is a comedic drama that takes place primarily in the upstate New York town of Syracuse. Menkin said he decided to film in English because he’d been influenced by American independent films and wanted to penetrate the US market.

“I love American films,” Menkin told The Times of Israel. “One of my favorite filmmakers is Woody Allen. I grew up with [his] movies. For me, having people get engaged with my work is a big honor and I hope to continue that.”

Best known for his award-winning documentaries “39 Pounds of Love” and “Dolphin Boy,” Menkin’s latest film focuses on serious themes such as regret and love, but is woven with humorous moments. It features veteran Israeli actor Alon Aboutboul playing Ronnie, a man who sets off for New York to find the love of his youth.

Like Menkin’s previous documentaries, this latest project is about a journey of self-discovery.

On Ronnie’s journey to reunite with Rachel, played by Suzanne Sadler, he meets Myla, acted by Naruna Kaplan de Macedo, a young American filmmaker who shows him how to fearlessly acknowledge and overcome regret.

Menkin’s film touches on the complicated nature of relationships, and how everyone has moments when they wish they could have acted differently.

“Is That You” is Menkin’s second feature film — his first was the award-winning “Je Taime I Love You Terminal,” a romantic drama set in Prague and with de-Macedo Kaplan as the female lead — but offers elements of a documentary. Much of the film focuses Myla’s documentary about regret, with the viewer seeing stories unfold through the lens of her camera.

Menkin said he liked the idea of combining both documentary and feature film elements into a single movie.

The film is already playing in Israeli theaters and will be released in the US in 2015. It debuted in the US at the Syracuse International Film Festival in October, following Menkin’s decision to film the movie in the upstate New York town.

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