YIVO Summer Series, Wheeling, IL (2015)
Ashkenaz Festival, Toronto (2014)
Israel Film Festival, Los Angeles (2012)

Israel Film Festival, Los Angeles (2012)
Toronto Jewish Film Festival (2011)
National Yiddish Book Center (2011)
DocAviv Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival (2010)




Israel, Channel 8

This clever and heartfelt mockumentary unfolds like a detective story exploring the disappearance of a fictional Yiddish actor 25 years ago. The only clue: a mysterious inscription on the door of his house reading "schund".

Along the way, we meet the very real colorful characters who made up Israel's vibrant Yiddish theater scene during the country's first decades. Yiddish theater thrived even as it drew ire from an Israeli establishment bent on suppressing what it felt was a threat to the primacy of Hebrew culture.


Nirit Anderman on SCHUND in Haaretz:

“Mockumentary films appear like any other documentaries in all aspects concerned, however, the storyline itself is purely fictional. "Schund," however, doesn’t quite meet this definition. Creators Yael Leibovitz Zand & Ido Zand have in fact created a sub-genre of film which has not yet been awarded a name of its own, and so, for the time being, it is referred to as a “Doco-Mockumentary film.” Their film combines truth, fiction, reality and imagination.

“‘Of course it's ficticious story, right?’ Asks Leibovitz Zand during our interview. She feels its important that the journalist who sits before her understands that this is in fact a fictitious character which never existed in reality. But where exactly does the line that separates reality from fiction pass within the film? ‘The line is very clear,’ she explains, ‘everything that relates to the particular story of the character is fictitious, and everything that describes the period and the Yiddish theater of the time is completely true.’

“Schund is indeed a fascinating film to watch. By presenting various interviews with a host of individuals – most of which were true Yiddish theater actors during the heyday of this genre – the film is able to paint a vivid, vibrant and enlightening picture of those days. Katsaf's melodramatic story is sweepings, and no less are the ups and downs that characterized the local Yiddish theater. Even viewers who do not understand Yiddish and had never seen a show in this language are able to immerse themselves in this passionate and fascinating story about the Yiddish theater in Israel. And that is one objective that is not easy to achieve.

“The film tells the story of the Israeli ban on Yiddish theater until 1951. A ban that was imposed as a result of national concerns perceiving such theater as a threat to the emerging Hebrew society. It recalls the golden age of this theater, an age where huge crowds would line up at the ticket stands and performances were held in front of full audiences. It emphasizes how the Yiddish theater not only failed to receive support from the state, but also had to pay a special tax. It reminds us of the contemptuous attitude held by the Hebrew theater towards Yiddish speaking actors, and it also revives the word "Schund" – an inferior theater for simple folks, entertaining but poor in quality - a derogatory term that was often was cast upon the local Yiddish theater.

"’Documentary films about the Yiddish theater always portray old men dozing off on their chairs,’ adds Ido Zand who filmed, produced and was an active partner in creation of the film. ‘We searched for a way that would enable us to present the movie in a young, vibrant and accessible format – definitely not old. And the characters we met also won us over. Highly artistic and very passionate people who lived this world. Old-school Bohemians. We searched for a way to tell their story in a more mischievous, suspenseful manner. One that would let us go a little wild.’"


Director & Editor: Yael Leibovitz Zand
Producers: Ido Zand, Yael Leibovitz Zand
Cinematographer: Ohad Milstein, Ido Zand
Research: Asaf Galay
Music: Gil Nagel


In 2008, Yael Leibovitz Zand co-directed, with Ido Zand, the documentary Good Shabbes Vietnam which was broadcast on Israel and German TV. She has edited programs and documentaries for documentaries for Israel’s channel 10, 2 and 1 in and for the Israeli National Geographic Channel. She is a graduate of Tel Aviv University’s film school.


Feature stories on Schund, Haaretz and Jerusalem Post (PDF)

Home Use DVD:

Does not include Classroom or Library Use Rights or Public Performance Rights. More Information

Classroom/Library Use DVD: $195

Does not include Public Performance Rights. More Information

Digital Site Licensing (DSL) available - Contact us

Step down pricing for K-12 & public libraries may be available - Contact us

Arrange a screening - Contact us


Back to Top


Israel, 2010, 56 minutes, Hebrew & Yiddish with English subtitles
Directed by Yael Leibovitz Zand

Buy Now

Public Exhibition formats: Beta, DVD





Join our mailing list!