Published May 2022
Documentary director and Desktop Documentaries scriptwriting instructor Daniel Raim is currently premiering his latest film FIDDLER'S JOURNEY TO THE BIG SCREEN (Zeitgeist Films).
Narrated by Jeff Goldblum, FIDDLER'S JOURNEY TO THE BIG SCREEN captures the humor and drama of director Norman Jewison's quest to recreate the lost world of Jewish life in Tsarist Russia and re-envision the beloved stage hit as a wide-screen epic.
Oscar-nominated filmmaker Daniel Raim puts us in the director's chair and in Jewison's heart and mind, drawing on behind-the-scenes footage and never-before-seen stills as well as original interviews with Jewison, Topol (Tevye), composer John Williams, production designer Robert F. Boyle, film critic Kenneth Turan, lyricist Sheldon Harnick, and actresses Rosalind Harris, Michele Marsh, and Neva Small (Tevye’s daughters).
The film explores how the experience of making Fiddler deepened Jewison as an artist and revived his soul.
My documentaries preserve film history and depict the art, craft, and soul of the movies through intimate portraits of cinema artists.
In 1999, during my final year as a student at the American Film Institute, I met director Norman Jewison when I started making a documentary about my professor, production designer Robert F. Boyle, who collaborated with Alfred Hitchcock on several classics, including "North by Northwest" and with Jewison on major movies like "The Thomas Crown Affair" and "Fiddler on the Roof." I interviewed Boyle and Jewison about their epic collaboration on "Fiddler" for my Oscar-nominated documentary on Boyle, "The Man on Lincoln's Nose" (2000).
The film version of "Fiddler on the Roof" was introduced to me when I was a child, by my grandparents who survived the Holocaust. Jewison's film, including Robert Boyle’s visually stunning and scrupulously researched production design, was a window into the world my grandparents came from, which no longer exists.
I continued exploring "Fiddler" by shooting in-depth interviews with the movie's cast and crew, including the film's star, Topol (shot in 2009), director Norman Jewison (shot in 2016), lyricist Sheldon Harnick (shot in 2017), composer John Williams, film critic Kenneth Turan, and the three actresses who play Tevye's eldest daughters (all shot in 2021).
Making FIDDLER'S JOURNEY TO THE BIG SCREEN has been a true labor of love, years in the making. I wanted to make a documentary about the power of the creative process, exploring Jewison’s artistry, compassion, and humanity as well as his spiritual and creative quest directing “Fiddler on the Roof."
“Since the focus of my documentary work has been the creative process of cinema artists, we must always use lots of archival footage," Raim says.
"On one hand, it’s logical to use music as a guide for the audience, especially if you’re making a documentary about an important musical. But in this documentary, that was just not possible.”
For instance, Raim continues, “often, we wanted to keep the movie soundtrack moving throughout our b-roll and interview clips, but once the subject changed, that music had to fade out in order to keep it legal under fair use. So, on one hand, this limited the kind of editing we could do. On another hand, it sped up the editing process!"
Raim's creativity in the face of these obstacles was duly recognized by The New York Times:
Join us in congratulating Daniel on this achievement and click here to see a list of locations where Fiddler’s Journey is currently playing in theaters!
Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Daniel Raim has made a career directing documentaries dedicated to the art and craft of filmmaking.
He has directed three award-winning and critically acclaimed feature documentaries and numerous documentary short subjects.
Three of those films received impressive theatrical releases, including HAROLD AND LILLIAN: A HOLLYWOOD LOVE STORY (2015, Official Selection Cannes Film Festival + Turner Classic Movies broadcast premiere + Netflix 2018 release).
In 2019, his most recent documentary feature IMAGE MAKERS: THE ADVENTURES OF AMERICA'S PIONEER CINEMATOGRAPHERS premiered on Turner Classic Movies (TCM).
Through Daniel's films and his teaching, he has inspired future generations of storytellers and visual artists around the world.
Daniel is the instructor for the popular Documentary Storytelling & Scriptwriting Course offered exclusively here on Desktop Documentaries.