News of the Muse

Baron-Cohen stands in for Borat.

borat 88 (photo credit: )
borat 88
(photo credit: )
Fellowship up for grabs The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA), one of the world's most highly regarded working retreats for artists, has announced the creation of a fully funded, one month residential fellowship to be awarded to an Israeli writer, visual artist or composer. The fellowship includes a private bedroom, studio, and all meals in a community setting in the company of 20 other artists from around the world. Artists are encouraged to apply for a residency as a means of concentrating exclusively on their creative work, free from the distractions of daily life. Applications are currently being accepted for residencies between October 2007 and January 2008. The postmark deadline for applications is May 15, 2007. Past fellows include Naomi Wolf, Gregory Maguire, and the late Yossel Birstein. For an application, go to or call 434-946-7236. Jerusalem Post staff Yoko blocks Lennon film The world premiere of Three Days in the Life, a documentary about John Lennon, was canceled after lawyers for the slain Beatle's widow, Yoko Ono, warned that she had not authorized any public viewing of the film. The documentary was meant to be screened at the Berwick Academy, a private school in southern Maine. Hap Ridgway, the school's headmaster, said he went from worrying about an overflow crowd to wondering if the documentary will ever be shown at all following a flurry of calls and e-mails from Ono's lawyers Monday evening. "We certainly hope the two sides will get together," he said Tuesday. "What we've learned since it all broke loose is that it's a long-running dispute." Ray Thomas, the documentary's executive producer, culled raw footage that was shot inside Lennon's apartment down to a two-hour film covering a pivotal time in Lennon's career. The footage was shot by Ono's former husband, Tony Cox, over a three-day period in February 1970, two months before the breakup of the Beatles. AP Baron-Cohen stands in for Borat "Borat can't be with us tonight, he is accepting an outstanding achievement award at the Hizbullah Film Festival," Sacha Baron Cohen regretfully told over 350 guests at the dinner opening the Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles on Tuesday evening. However, Borat, the faux Kazakhstan journalist portrayed by Baron Cohen in the eponymous film, had sent a message in his native language, which turned out to be Hebrew and was read out faultlessly by Baron Cohen. "How often do I have to tell you that I don't like you, I hate you," was Borat's message to the audience, roughly equally made up of Israelis and American Jews. In a more serious vein, Baron Cohen lauded the Jewish ability to laugh at "a potentially anti-Semitic film," affirmed his pride in Israel, and accepted an Outstanding Achievement in Film award. The British actor was introduced by Dustin Hoffman, who described Baron Cohen as "a character actor and social satirist of the first order." Ehud Danoch, Israel's consul general in Los Angeles, passed on the news that the most popular Purim costume in Israel this year was one depicting Borat. The evening's event kicked off the 22nd annual Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles, which during two weeks will present 11 feature films, 12 documentaries, eight TV films, and six student shorts. The festival, founded and headed by Meir Fenigstein, will move on to Miami and New York in the coming months. Also honored by the bi-national Hollywood crowd - and via video by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert - were actress Gila Almagor, introduced as the "First Lady of the Israeli Cinema," and Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Picture Entertainment. Almagor traced the rise of the Israeli film industry from "a little baby in diapers" to a grown-up medium which gives the world a picture of "a people striving to live as normal lives as possible." Pascal, introduced by Adam Sandler, won praise as an outspokenly Jewish woman "in an industry where everybody is afraid to be too Jewish," as Pascal herself put it. Among the guests were 20 Israeli producers, directors, screenwriters and actors. Included was creative talent from the country's two top films this year, Sweet Mud and Aviva, My Love, both playing at the festival. Tom Tugend