Monday, December 18, 2017

How my Leonard Cohen photo went a little viral...

"Leonard Snowin'" by Ezra Soiferman 
Though my films and photos are regularly shown online and on TV, it's rare for a project of mine to take off as quickly and widely as has happened with my shot "Leonard Snowin'" over the past few days. 

So, I thought I'd share a behind-the-scenes peek at this little adventure with you...

I'd known throughout the Fall, that it would be fun to photograph the evocative and much-talked-about Leonard Cohen mural overlooking Crescent St. during a snowfall. 

So, this past Wednesday, during Montreal's first storm of the season, I zipped through the Musée des beaux arts (located a block and a half away from the mural), hustling from floor to floor and window to window, snapping various vantages of the new mural painted by artists EL_MAC and Gene Pendon and produced by MU, the city's foremost mural collective. The 18-storey-tall work is based on a touching photo taken by Leonard's daughter Lorca. 

When I was done shooting, I turned around to leave and my place at the atrium window was quickly taken by a couple of wide-eyed twenty-somethings who stared out at the mural and revelled in it. 

I told them what I was doing and asked if I could take a photo of them in silhouette with the mural and snowstorm as a backdrop. They kindly obliged and in a quick moment, I had captured the shot above. I knew right away it was a bit of a keeper. When I showed it to them on the screen of my camera, they agreed. 

The rest of this tale is a bit of a blur, but I'll try to recount it here...

I excitedly trotted down the infamous deep-depth steps of the museum, noticing how the nearby guard was far better at his trot than I was at mine. He had his down to a science, making him appear to descend in a way somewhere halfway between a pro hockey player and ballerina. I estimated that those kooky staircase were either his favourite part of the job or a complete nightmare that he had opted to master rather than succumb to. 

Either way, he hopped off the staircase at the café floor and I continued bumbling down the steps carefully clutching my camera thinking to myself, "please don't let me wipe out and accidentally hurl my camera down the atrium onto the installation that looks like a giant hand grenade. I'll never get that Leonard shot again."  

On my way out of the building intact, I showed the photo to the woman taking tickets at the front door and simultaneously tested my idea for the "Leonard Snowin'" title on her. Her eyes lit up and she gave me an enthusiastic "Wow!" I took that as a good sign. Always trust the gatekeeper's intuition, they say, so I did, further confident in the shot, and left the museum, braving my way back out into the sideways-blowing snow.   

I found my car, hopped inside, cranked the heat and emailed the photo to the twenty-somethings featured in it. I then hit the gas, skidded out of the snowbank and crossed town past stranded accordion-buses wrapped around telephone poles, back to my neck of the wintry woods. 

Early the next morning, with the snow still falling, I uploaded the shot to my Facebook page and Instagram page and watched as interest in it mounted unusually quickly. Within an hour, I was contacted by the Musée and asked by them for permission to feature the shot on their Instagram page. Total honour and another good sign.

I then watched as the photo got even more attention, now from complete strangers and not just my own loyal Facebook friends who were still generously piling on the likes. Later in the afternoon, a popular Leonard Cohen fan page had reposted the image and its members were excitedly chattering about it and how much they missed the grand bard. I further shared with them the story of when I happened to meet Mr. Cohen under strange circumstances

By now, my iPhone was gingerly buzzing with Facebook and Instagram alerts and comments. This was kinda cool to see, though a bit unnerving due to the volume of dings and buzzes. 

The next morning was when the nutsola-ness really kicked into overdrive. 

I awoke to learn that Sony Music Canada had just reposted my original Facebook post, referring to the photo as 'stunning.' They had placed it right smack dab on their official Leonard Cohen Facebook page. This is when my iPhone lit up like a proverbial Christmas tree and began buzzing and flashing non-stop. For hours and hours. And hours. 2 full days of craziness. 

As I write this a few days later, the snowstorm and Facebook-storm have fairly subsided and the tally is in: The photo now has more than 10,000 likes and 1500 shares on Facebook. I'm also pleased to say that it has also become the Musée des beaux arts' Instagram post with the most likes in the 5-year history of their Instagram page. 

I'm INCREDIBLY grateful for all the interest in "Leonard Snowin'" and I'd like to thank everyone who liked, commented on and shared the image. Facebookers around the world are still sharing it as I write this. Thank you! The feedback and support means so much, and the way this all happened was a total thrill. 

Big thanks to the folks who appear in the shot too. You guys rock. I'd especially like to thank the Musée des beaux arts, Sony Music Canada, MU, the supremely talented mural artists, and especially Leonard who's looking down from on high with that awesome smile. You are the true star of this whole escapade. We miss you. 

As a 'mural-themed' bonus, here's "The Walls of Montreal", a short video I made for my Tweed residency, about the murals of my hometown:

Click image to play "The Walls of Montreal

Best to all from Montreal!


Ezra Soiferman
Filmmaker & photographer

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Rustique Salée - First customer

New Rustique Salée mini-pies
This Tuesday, I went for a few heavenly, creamy, desserty pies at Rustique on Notre-Dame West near de Courcelle. Been a very fave spot of mine since they opened a few years back and warmed Montreal’s heart and sweet tooth.

Cashier Jess told me a little secret that they were opening Rustique Salée right next door the next morning. Savoury take-out pies in the same flakey, buttery crusts. Be still my eating heart.

So, I showed up there the next morning, five minutes before the doors were unlocked and got my wish... I was the very first customer at Montreal’s newest outstanding eatery. Big honour.

Scarfed down three gorgeous mini-pies in the car as soon as I left. Incredible stuff.

Congrats to Ryan Bloom, Chef Ali, Sophie, Judith, Melissa, Jess and the entire team of sweet and savoury pie geniuses at Rustique. Home run outta the gate (or outta the oven, as it were).

Go pie! Go yum! Go Montreal food!


Friday, November 10, 2017

My new short: "The One To Dream"

(Click image to watch the video)

New short film out today! Using Kat Goldman's stellar tune “The One To Dream”, I created a ‘music photeo’ that tells the tale of a wayward piece of hemp rope in search of... something more. Enjoy!

Kat, based in Toronto, is one of Canada’s very finest voices, and a dear friend. Plus, she survived being pinned under a car that crashed through a bagel shop window. True story. I’m honoured to have been given her blessing to create this short video and thrilled share it with you all today!

Pick up Kat’s brand new CD "The Workingman’s Blues" here or listen on Spotify and iTunes.

Support awesome Canadian music and dig hemp rope movie stars.

Hope you like the new short film and can help share it with friends, young or old, you think might love it.  Thanks!

There's hope in this rope. Do knot let 'em tell you otherwise.


P.S. The hemp rope dude in the video... his name is Xoosher.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Goodbye, Gord

In 1992, as a freshman college student in NYC, I caught a glimpse of a Village Voice ad for a show by The Tragically Hip taking place in the East Village. 

Knowing how big the Hip were in Canada at the time, I figured the venue would be a fairly big one. When I arrived, I discovered that it was a tiny, second-floor walk-up club that could hold no more than 150 people or so. There were no more than 25 people there for that show. 

I stood there, in awe, snapping photos of the shvitzing, screaming Gord Downie performing exuberantly, tormentedly, and at times quite contentedly, as if to a packed stadium. Here are a few of those shots from the front row, dug up from my archives and shared here for the first time, in honour of Gord's passing. 

My condolences to his friends families and to my fellow longtime fans. Another legend gone. More music and memories to revisit. 

Enjoy the photos above. 

Rock on and on, Gord. 

Love to all,


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Goodbye, Michael Bond

I was saddened this week learning Paddington Bear author Michael Brown had died in England at the age of 91. Here's a new tribute self-portrait featuring me and my collection from over the years. Yes, I was, and will remain, a bit of a fan.

Raise a jar of marmalade, friends. Dark day in Darkest Peru.*

The night Mr. Bond had died - and before his passing was announced - before putting Lulu to bed, I was looking through old archival boxes and happened upon a small grey alpaca sweater I'd randomly purchased in Peru 10 years ago "on spec." I had the brainwave to put it on 'Stissy McGhee,' my 40-year-old, favourite Paddington (wearing it, hatless, in centre of pic). Also in the box was his original jacket and hat which I hadn't seen in many years.

And if that wasn't enough, the next morning, still before his death was announced, I noticed that the vintage boxed set of Paddington books in Lulu's room (she's a fan too) had somehow found itself on the floor, knocked off the bookshelf.

As you may know, my life is filled with with coincidences like these which I love sharing with you. Bittersweet to relay them and this pic. Thanks for 'bearing' with me. :)

My condolences to the family of Mr. Bond and to all my fellow PB fans of all ages.


P.S. In better news, I just learned Paddington Bear 2 is coming soon. Here's the trailer.

Read more about Michael Bond's life and Paddington Bear in this story from The Guardian.

*My sister Maira came up with the 'darkest day' line when she texted me the news. She also saluted my 'bond with Bond.'

Saturday, May 20, 2017

"Canada's Nicest Person" Contest

Click here to watch the video Roots made for the "Canada's Nicest Person" contest.
Nice news... On May 17th, I was the very first nominee to be featured on Roots Canada's Instagram page in support of their "Canada's Nicest Person" contest.  Special thanks to my friend Jerry Golick for nominating me!

Click the photo above to read more and click here to watch the video for the contest.

Stay tuned for more info. If I make it into the final round (June 5th), I'll let you know!


Update (6/5/17): Well, I wasn't selected as one of the 10 finalists in Roots Canada's "Canada's Nicest Person" contest, but I want to say that anything promoting more niceness in this world is brilliant. Kudos to Roots for creating a contest like this. Big thanks once again to Jerry Golick for nominating me and to Roots for having featured me as the first of just three entrants (out of the final tally of 275 entrants) that it profiled on its Instagram page. That was a huge honour for which I am so grateful.

Friday, April 21, 2017

CBC Arts - Article on the residency

So honoured to have had my Tweed residency written up as a feature story on the CBC Arts page. You can read the article here.

Other recent articles include a piece in Civilized and a story in the Times of Israel.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Ez in Res' - New short and an auspicious day...

Click image to watch the short on YouTube

Dear Ez Sez Friends,

To celebrate my 45th birthday today, I’m releasing my new short, Ez in Res', about my year so far as the world’s first artist-in-residence at a cannabis company, namely Tweed, Canada's largest licensed cannabis producer.

By coincidence, today is also the day the Canadian Government has chosen to table legalization legislation in Parliament to officially start the process of ending 94 years of prohibition in Canada.

I am humbled by the auspicious timing. Best birthday present ever. :)

Thanks to Lake of Stew for the use of their classic tune, “Free Medicine,” (available on iTunes, Google Play and Spotify).

Special thanks to Tweed for supporting my career, my travels and my art. A huge honour.

So, hit play on the video, sit back and travel with me via Ez in Res', my new photo-based music short, or music photeo. Enjoy the vicarious voyages to places I visited this year that included: NYC, Nashville, L.A., Denver, Boston, Kentucky, Kingston (Jamaica) and of course, the sprawling old Hershey's chocolate factory in which Tweed grows much of its cannabis in Smiths Falls, Ontario.

Please pass the video along to a friend if you think they'll dig it too. Share it via YouTube or just send up a smoke signal. :)


Ezra Soiferman
Filmmaker, photographer & friend
Montreal - Lots more photography and film info at my site.

Bonus: In case you missed it last August, click this link to watch my other Tweed Artist in Residence music photeo, "The Walls of Montreal" about all the incredible murals around my hometown.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Museum of Jewish Montreal Interview

(Click image to listen to the audio interview, 22 mins)

Here's a new interview with me done by Aviv Milgram, Community Manager at the Museum of Jewish Montreal, for the museum's Oral History Project.

Their description states: "Listen to documentary filmmaker and street photographer Ezra Soiferman talk about his Jewish upbringing in Montreal, his career path as a documentary filmmaker, and his projects as a street photographer, accompanied by a discussion of his artistic approach, outlook on life, and love for Montreal."

Honoured to have been featured as part of this project.

Visit the Museum of Jewish Montreal at their new digs on St-Laurent corner Duluth or online here:

Thanks for listening to the interview.