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Michael Morgenstern
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Michael is a film director and activist who has directed music videos, commercials, and a feature documentary. His latest short film,
Shabbat Dinner,' is playing at over 30 film festivals worldwide. He has traveled with the nonprofit FilmAid to teach film production in the Kenyan refugee camps and screen the national presidential debates in Haiti. Michael is releasing four music videos in November and is in development on a feature film. His photos on Manhattan after losing power have been published in Gothamist.

Entries by Michael Morgenstern

Eight Selected Short Films: A Mini Film Festival

(0) Comments | Posted December 18, 2014 | 9:35 AM

An early holiday present!

I'm looking for scripts, hard. In addition to developing two features with co-writers and a few myself, I set out to find and connect with talented writers and see what they have cooking. We've set out to watch nearly every short film from 2012, 2013, and...

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Would Regulated Warranty Plans Help Save the Environment?

(0) Comments | Posted November 14, 2014 | 5:30 PM


I was talking to Nick about what I'll call The Ikea Problem: cheaper, poorly made products appear to be more cost-effective than more expensive ones. When the expensive ones will last many times longer, the nicer products are often cheaper.

Ikea furniture is...

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'Citizenfour' Review: An Incredible Documentary About Edward Snowden

(0) Comments | Posted October 22, 2014 | 1:38 PM

Laura Poitras and Ruby Rich and discuss time exploding through the frame (h/t @twendywendy)

I went to the bathroom once during the screening of Citizenfour. It took about a half hour before I felt comfortable leaving to miss...

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Definitive Guide to DIY Film Festival Distribution: 10 Steps

(8) Comments | Posted October 3, 2014 | 3:05 PM

Hanging out with Michael Gamilla, Pat Dwyer, and Aaron Tone at the Rochester Film Festival

I was at a San Francisco Film Society party last night speaking to someone who had just had to do a festival distribution for a friend's...

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Ello Isn't Going to Work: 6 Things It Doesn't Address

(35) Comments | Posted September 25, 2014 | 4:16 PM


Why are people excited about Ello? Because they can't wait to leave Facebook. Why do so many people want off Facebook? That's the problem: Everybody has a different reason.

Ello is a new social network that has caught fire with a...

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Why Ideology Is Not the Only Way to Approach Political Discourse

(0) Comments | Posted July 5, 2014 | 1:42 AM

I watched the fireworks after watching monster trucks and motocross racing in Pomona, surrounded by many people who think differently than I do. In this time, I had occasion to think about ideology. While it is easy to disdain blind nationalism and patriotism, I think it's important to remember a...

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Nametag Day NYC Is Back June 7 -- and It's Spreading

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2014 | 7:28 PM

Last June we handed out over 10,000 nametags in an effort to make NYC a friendlier place for a day. It was an incredible day of joy as thousands of new connections were made and a whole swath of the city thought about their neighbors in a slightly different light....

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Leading a Thanksgiving Seder (Rendelez)

(0) Comments | Posted November 28, 2013 | 6:55 AM

In honor of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah coming on the same day (and because Passover is just so friggin' cool), I'm leading a Thanksgiving Seder tomorrow night. It's called the Thanksgiving Rendelez, and I've created a Gagadah just for the occasion.

We'll be conducting a terrorist attack drill, asking the four...

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Different Shot Sizes for Different Screens: Film in the Modern Age

(0) Comments | Posted October 15, 2013 | 7:12 AM

One of the great casualties of modern viewing is the Wide Shot. Because many filmmakers expect viewers to be watching work on their laptops or (even... god forbid) cell phones, shooting stunning wide landscapes or shots that contain many people is avoided. Cinema has become tighter and more constrained, which...

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Gravity Review: In Space, Nobody Can Hear Your One-liners

(55) Comments | Posted October 11, 2013 | 1:44 PM

I don't usually post movie reviews, but this film was so spectacular and at the same time disturbing that I felt compelled to. tl;dr: You must see Gravity in IMAX 3D, but the script has flaws. (Warning: this post contains spoilers AND criticism. Don't read it if you don't want...

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Why Software As a Service Will Kill Accountability

(0) Comments | Posted July 30, 2013 | 6:18 PM


I just downloaded the trial for Adobe Premiere Pro 7.0, which is available only as part of their Creative Cloud system. As explained by Wired, Creative Cloud isn't really a cloud; it's a fancy way of repackaging subscription-based software.

A four-year...

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Nametag Day Is Coming on June 1 -- With a Documentary

(0) Comments | Posted May 11, 2013 | 3:11 PM

It's coming on June 1, and I can't wait.

We've been talking for the past month to everybody who will listen about Nametag Day (and it's been on CBS New York, Channel 12 News, and Gothamist.) Every time I discuss it, I remember our...

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Why We're Starting Nametag Day on June 1 in NYC

(7) Comments | Posted March 8, 2013 | 3:54 PM

Watch it and share it! C'mon, you know you want to!

Many times I've looked down, hours after a conference or first-day meet-and-greet, and noticed that I was still wearing a nametag. I've always looked up right away, pretending that I forgot to take it off.

I love nametags, and not only because I'm really bad at remembering names and faces. I love that they invite everyone around to initiate conversation, acting as a green flag saying "come over, I want to talk to you!" They say "you don't even need to ask for my name. Here it is. We are, in some sense, already friends."

A few times I sat on the subway, wondering what the scene would look like if everyone were wearing a nametag. Nicer. Friendlier. "This is something I should propose to the mayor," I thought... or maybe some large bank or other group. Someone ought to do it, that's for sure.

And nobody did. And I didn't meet the mayor.

So (and you've probably guessed this part) I realized that we didn't need the mayor. We didn't need permission. We can start a grassroots movement to put nametags on any New Yorker who wants one. A few months ago I mentioned the idea to five of my closest friends: Alejandro, Pete, Dina, Tim, and Julia, who all got really excited.

In our first meeting, a few principles were established. We're not nametag day, we're just organizing one part of it. It doesn't start and end with our little group; it's an idea that we are letting out into the world. We are radically participatory and welcome anyone and everyone to join in. Our mission is just handing out nametags, not selling anything or throwing other events (but we welcome others to do so!) And we want to see New Yorkers talk to each other more, engage, and share ideas and experiences -- not just for one day, but every day.

We did a test run a few weeks ago, shot the video you see above, and are now looking for a sponsor. And just like that, an idea is on track to being a real thing!

What has been so much fun about the idea is that it gets people excited. People get it, and if they don't, they get it after watching the video. It's easy, at least in concept. It makes people receiving and giving the nametags happy. It's fun. It changes the world around us for the better. The offers for help have been mindblowing for something that only had its kickoff event two weeks ago.

I don't know where this is going or how big or small it will be. Whether we are sponsored or not, on June 1 the six of us are going to hand out nametags. If we have enough of your help, we'll set up 50 (or more) distribution stations and give away 300,000 (or more) nametags to anyone who wants them. Maybe people will throw nametag parties that night. Maybe those in other cities will follow suit. Or maybe it will just be the six of us, handing out nametags and having the time of our lives.

And if you want to find me it won't be too hard. I'll be the guy wearing the nametag on June 2.

How can you help? Sign up at and volunteer -- that's the biggest thing. Then, make some sweet sweet social media love to our Facebook and Twitter pages!

Email us at if you want to get involved on our core team or have other ideas for us.

Nametag Day is June 1 in NYC. For more information visit

Watch my latest music...

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Why I Still Opt Out

(2) Comments | Posted January 25, 2013 | 5:52 PM

After traveling extensively to film festivals with my film this year, I've gotten good at the airport game. A few weeks ago, I arrived at LAX one hour before takeoff, boarding pass already in hand and laden only with the backpack on my back. I faced a nearly...

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Music Video: 'Next To You'

(0) Comments | Posted January 18, 2013 | 12:02 PM

I'm seriously, insanely excited to share some work I'm very proud of. The fruits of my music video collaboration with singer/songwriter Lydia Benecke and her band Blue Kid just hit the Internet this week, so you can now click to watch Lydia's delicious croon explode at you in technicolor.


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Meditate... Now!

(32) Comments | Posted January 18, 2013 | 12:05 AM

I think the problems of the world aren't caused by people coming together and saying "let's make problems." They're caused by people coming together and saying "let's make solutions" without having solved the problem of their own suffering. -- Shinzen Young

Shinzen's words inspire me, because they remind me that,...

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An Open Letter to President Obama on Happiness

(0) Comments | Posted November 26, 2012 | 7:43 AM

Dear President Obama,

I was recently traveling for an extended period of time, which provided me with some distance from our great country and an opportunity to process my feelings on the past ten years. I realized that I have something I want to tell you, and was sad to...

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Mitt Romney... Oh My God

(2) Comments | Posted November 12, 2012 | 10:31 PM

I find that now that the election is over, it's the first time I want to talk about it. I realize now that while I thought I was avoiding politics because it was a theater, there was also another reason. I was shocked that somebody like Mitt Romney could lie...

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A Dispatch From Staten Island

(2) Comments | Posted November 4, 2012 | 5:19 PM

Five of us went to Staten Island on Saturday, and I'd like to report back. I can only relate the small picture we got from the ground, hopefully it will inform people who want to help out.

Four things to know:

  • They don't need canned goods right now, at...

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