Bringing People Together Through Film

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Judi Beecher with Stephen Mao and Barry Alexander Brown at Cannes (Contributed photo)

Judi Beecher is an award-winning actress, singer-songwriter and filmmaker who grew up in Great Neck. Beecher has always been interested in performing; as a young girl she would put on plays for her whole family in which she would be the star. She studied business and international relations at Cornell, and participated in an internship in Paris, where she became “completely obsessed” with the city.

Despite becoming successful in the worlds of fashion and singing, in Europe, Beecher found herself being pulled toward a career in acting. Now, she has almost forty acting credits to her name. In addition to her acting credits, she also has also directed, written and produced on several projects. Beecher says she never considered filmmaking as a career path, but says that it “came about out of necessity.” When the director for a short film she had been working on at the time dropped out, she was forced to direct it herself and ended up enjoying it. Currently, she is directing a documentary called “Run Ronya: The Kindness of Strangers” about her mother, a refugee from Nazi Germany who escaped across the French-Swiss border alone at six-years old.

Recently, Beecher worked on a film called Tango Shalom, which won the Best World Peace & Tolerance Award for a Narrative Feature Film at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. Beecher explained that the award was so meaningful because “the film brings people and religions together. It has the endorsement of the Vatican, and many religious leaders and organizations around the world.”

Beecher acted in the film and was the executive producer. According to Beecher, the movie, in which she plays the wife of an Orthodox Hassidic Rabbi with a large family, is a heartwarming family comedy. In the movie, “God comes to him in a dream to tell [Moshe Yehuda, the Rabbi] he has to dance the Tango in a televised dance competition to resolve his financial problems. The only problem is, in his religion, he can’t touch a woman that is not his wife, so he goes to all the other religions to ask for advice.” Beecher says that she usually “never sees a movie more than once” but she has seen Tango Shalom fifteen times and that she never gets tired of it.

Beecher, who was raised Reform Jewish says that one of her favorite parts of filming Tango Shalom happened when she was preparing for her role as Raquel, the Rabbi’s wife. She spent time in Williamsburg and Crown Heights, Brooklyn talking with women about their religious beliefs and traditions to help her get into character. “It was so interesting and fulfilling learning about the differences in traditions, customs and beliefs and how beautiful the Hassidic/Orthodox religion really is.”

Beecher said, “Film is such a powerful medium; it educates and makes people reflect on their choices as well as entertains them.” She encourages everyone to see the film in theaters.

The film is coming to theaters in New York and Los Angeles on Labor Day weekend on a limited release. For more information about which theaters it’ll be playing, visit www.tangoshalommovie.com.

—Joseph Vernice is a contributing writer for Anton Media Group

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