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The Socalled Movie (Hour Magazine, cover)

Socalled Life: Filmaker Garry Beitel takes a kaleidoscopic approach to Josh Dolgin in The Socalled Movie

It sounded like a great idea for a documentary: In 2007, the Montreal rapper and producer Socalled, a.k.a. Josh Dolgin, along with his parents, organized a klezmer/heritage cruise down the Dnieper River from Kiev to Odessa. On the chartered boat, Jewish Russian and Ukrainian immigrants revisited their once-vibrant homeland and traced their ancestral roots in the towns and shtetls they left in the 1930s and ’40s. At night, they danced, sang and communed with some of the brightest lights on the contemporary klezmer scene.

While selling the cruise at a klezmer night at Oscar Peterson Hall, Josh ran into filmmaker Garry Beitel and invited him to come along and film the voyage. Beitel agreed. But it didn’t take long to decide that Dolgin was a better subject than the cruise.

And that’s how the world missed out on a Ukrainian klezmer-cruise Up the Yangtze-style doc and got The Socalled Movie instead. Read article