"Making Trouble" to west coast premiere at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

From the Borsht Circuit to Broadway and Beyond, New Documentary Film Pulls Back the Curtain on Three Generations of Funny Jewish Women

Castro Theatre, San Francisco — Thurs, July 26 at 8:30 PM Roda Theatre at the Berkeley Rep — Sat, July 28 at 10:00 PM Aquarius Theatre, Palo Alto — Thurs, August 2 at 8:30 PM Smith Rafael Film Center, San Rafael — Sun, August 5 at 4:30 PM

June 25, 2007, Boston, MA — Making Trouble, the new documentary about legendary funny Jewish women who broke barriers and shook the social order to make us laugh, will have its West Coast premiere at the 2007 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. The film premiered at a sold out screening at the SILVERDOCS/AFI Discovery Film Festival on June 16 and will screen at the Jerusalem Film Festival in early July.

"The film is wonderful, it's history, its comedy, it's narrated by a group of contemporary Jewish standup comediennes at Katz' New York Deli. Every Jewish comedienne working today owes a debt to these women." —Bari Biern, Metro Connection, WAMU

Making Trouble profiles six Jewish women who struggled and sacrificed for their fame, and who turned the old "death is easy, comedy is hard" joke completely on its head. Molly Picon, Fanny Brice, Sophie Tucker, Joan Rivers, Gilda Radner, and Wendy Wasserstein proved that comedy is easy, being a Jewish woman in comedy is hard.

Presented by the Jewish Women's Archive (jwa.org), Making Trouble includes archival footage and photographs from performances by the featured comedians, giving audiences a glimpse into each of their lives and careers over the last century. Each series of snapshots with accompanying commentary illuminates what it meant at the time to be Jewish, to be female, and to dream of making it on the stage and screen.

Sophie Tucker left behind her one-year-old son to make it as a coon vaudeville singer dripping with her own style of brash sexuality; Fanny Brice, a zany clown-like performer who sang with a farcical Yiddish accent that had audiences roaring, got a nose job in 1923 to ward off anti-Semitic attitudes and boost her possibilities for being cast; Molly Picon, a gender-bender who played the roles of fiddle-playing carefree teenagers well into her forties, performed nine shows weekly to meet the demands of the new immigrant population that adored her; Wendy Wasserstein, whose plays featured strong women struggling for autonomy in a man's world, wrestled with her own issues of being a woman and being Jewish in front of Broadway audiences; Joan Rivers worked the comedy clubs of New York City for years, often as the only woman comedian in the club, and with a frank brashness that few women had the courage to express; Gilda Radner was Jewish and glamorous, and found the funny in the pain, openly revealing herself to viewers under the harsh lights of Saturday Night Live in her classic roles as "Roseanne Roseannadanna" and the nerdy "Lisa Loopner."

"These talented women defied cultural expectations and opened doors that ALL women are walking through today. The Jewish Women's Archive made this film to preserve and highlight that legacy," said Gail Reimer, Executive Producer of Making Trouble and Executive Director of the JWA. "They turned the tables on stereotypes about Jewish women comedians and what was appropriate for a comedy routine. They continually surprised their audiences, all while keeping them laughing."

Making Trouble also brings four of today's leading Jewish women comedians — Judy Gold, Jackie Hoffman, Cory Kahaney, and Jessica Kirson — together at New York's famed Katz's Delicatessen to gab about the pioneers who came before them, their work, and their own comedy.

"It's a very big thing among Jews when someone's Jewish," Jackie Hoffman notes in Making Trouble. "So whatever comic or whoever in the performing world was Jewish, it was a huge deal."

Making Trouble is the first film produced by JWA Productions, in association with the Jewish Women's Archive, whose mission is to uncover, chronicle, and transmit the rich history of American Jewish women. The Jewish Women's Archive is nationally recognized as a unique and vital contributor to a more expansive and inclusive vision of Jewish life, past, present, and future. Through its innovative formats and collaborative partnerships, JWA, has for the past two decades, successfully changed the way history is researched, recorded, and taught.

Making Trouble is directed by Rachel Talbot and executive produced by Gail Reimer (Executive Director of the Jewish Women's Archive), with Emmy award winning editor Phil Shane and acclaimed indie Composer Joel Goodman. Making Trouble also features interviews with Wendy Wasserstein, Joan Rivers, Martin Short, author Gary Giddins, Los Angeles Times movie critic Kenneth Turan, and many others passionate about the work and achievements of these pioneering women of comedy.

Comedian Judy Gold, Director Rachel Talbot and Executive Producer/Executive Director of the Jewish Women's Archive Gail Reimer will be in San Francisco for the festival and are available for interviews.

West Coast Premiere of Making Trouble Castro Theatre, San Francisco — Thurs, July 26 at 8:30 PM Roda Theatre at the Berkeley Rep — Sat, July 28 at 10:00 PM Aquarius Theatre, Palo Alto — Thurs, August 2 at 8:30 PM Smith Rafael Film Center, San Rafael — Sun, August 5 at 4:30 PM To purchase tickets, visit www.sfjff.org or call 925.275-9490