By Zev Brooks & David Alpern
For much of the last ten years David & Zev Brooks, two brothers from Orange County, California, have put in a tremendous amount of effort, resources, sweat equity, and every other resource available to them to craft, produce, film, and now ultimately (hopefully) release their feature film called “The Yankles”.
As they sat in a movie theater in Atlanta, Georgia in January 2010 enjoying what would be three sold out screenings of their film at the second biggest Jewish film festival in the USA they finally had the opportunity to see the reactions and joy their movie delivers onto its audience. The film is a comedy about a Jewish, orthodox academy (yeshiva) baseball team named – you guessed it – The Yankles. As the story unfolds on the silver screen, the brothers anticipate each joke. They anxiously await the punch-line. As laughs and guffaws fill the theater on cue, they broadly smile and relax. By now David and Zev enjoy watching the audience just as much as the movie which they’ve seen countless times.
Tonight is the second sold out screening of “The Yankles”, the first, being the night before, and it won’t be the last. The film screens one more time – the following evening – another sellout.
The credits conclude. The lights come up, and David and Zev rise from their seats and prop themselves into the directors chairs assembled at the front of the theater. David is introduced as the director, and Zev the producer. They are both the writers, and as they answer questions, they can’t help but feel they have come so far, and yet have so far to go. The making of “The Yankles” was like climbing a mountain – clearing one peak only to see even more in the horizon. With production behind them, David and Zev look down at the dangerous terrain they have climbed and can scarcely believe that “The Yankles” didn’t slip and fall to a premature death. Somehow, these first time filmmakers wrote a script that worked, found the money they needed just in time, and sometimes not fast enough, found a cast that clicked, hired a crew that knew what they were doing, and managed the film through post production as their own post production supervisors.
It is 1:30 a.m. in Atlanta. The audience that saw “The Yankles” that night is fast asleep, but Zev sits in a car on his cell phone having finished celebrating that night’s screening. “Hello, Orem!” he shouts.
Orem, as in Orem, Utah where “The Yankles” just screened to an audience of 400 at the Mormon Film Festival. Zev does his best to do a Q&A remotely as he fields questions through a speaker phone at the other end of the line. David and Zev wrote “The Yankles” to be a mainstream film that all audiences would enjoy. “The Yankles’” success at the Mormon Film Festival feels especially gratifying. “The Yankles” was also selected as one of five comedies at the International Family Film Festival in Hollywood, CA. Their dream is coming true.
It has been a week since David & Zev returned from Atlanta, but they are not at home. They are watching “The Yankles” in Las Vegas with a crowd of 345 anticipating another Q&A. They will get many of the same questions, but it never feels routine, not yet, because David & Zev are still on a mission: Distribution. The most important peak to climb. It has been years since David and Zev arrived at base camp, but now they are propped up on four sold out screenings, with rave reviews, and have sales agents calling them. At last, the summit finally seams attainable.