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Alan Zweig is a Canadian documentary filmmaker whose films span a variety of topics through interviews with subjects – record collecting, curmudgeons, single women, ex-convicts, ‘reasons to live’ and Jewish humour – though each retain a degree of autobiographical investigation interwoven into the film.
His first three films (Vinyl, I, Curmudgeon and Lovable) form an ‘autobiographical trilogy’ and the unique formal device of Alan’s monologues into a mirror, though his presence is felt strongly in subsequent films. His latest film, When Jews Were Funny (the Best Canadian Feature at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival), equally engages in the history of Jewish Comedians, the notion of Jewish humour, and Zweig’s own Jewish culture.
Alan was kind enough to spend an hour with us at Kensington Market’s Embassy Bar, where we discussed When Jews Were Funny in-depth, the expectations of audiences coming to his films, the trajectory of his career and subjects, and the realities of making documentaries in Canada.
Special thanks to our friends for help in releasing Issue #17: Frederick Wiseman, Alan Zweig, Lucy Walker, Aaran Hughes, Christina Koutsospyrou, Ryan Bruce Levey, Daniela Ponce, Nina Fotis, Clare Anne Darragh, Suzan Ayscough, Liam Crockard, Julian Higuerey Nunez, Vincent Van Cooten, Lucy Brandon, Jason Charters, Liam Romalis, William F. White, Signs of Toronto and Williams Design.