Michael Levine, the director of Streits: Matzo and the American Dream, was always drawn to the idea of a project that had something to do with the Lower East Side. His father’s family had moved to Rivington Street in 1910 when they came from Russia, and Michael felt connected to the neighborhood.
Wandering through the neighborhood one day, Michael walked by Streits and poked his head in to the factory, only to be handed a piece of matzo. “I was absolutely astounded,” Levine said in a recent interview, “Walking into the factory is walking into another time. I knew that there was a story to be told.”
Telling that story offered up an exciting challenge. While the project took root four years ago, it has only been the past six or seven months that research and filming began. Five weeks ago, Michael turned to Kickstarter for funding. Kickstarter is a website that allows independently created projects to be funded by the public. It is a platform that showcases all sorts of creative ventures. The public can pledge different sums of money – becoming an integral part of the process (and often getting some great incentives).
One of the things that Michael was pleased to discover through his research and filming is the stellar reputation Streits has in the community. “Something that has stood out for me,” Levine comments, ”hearing the workers at the factory and comments through the Kickstarter campaign is to learn about their generosity over the generations, specifically to the neighborhood. People in need, Streits would give them free matzo.”
Streits truly is a global name and phenomenon. Who hasn’t opened up a box of its matzo each Passover? Yet it is the Kickstarter campaign that can help the Streits’ story extend well beyond the Lower East Side to reach a greater audience to share the story of Matzo and the American Dream.
The Kickstarter campaign ends in one week, with the project only being funded if it reaches its $60,000 goal. To learn more about the project or to contribute click here.