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Maciej Kędzierski Date: 2015-09-03

Sam Firstenberg; from Poland via Israel to Hollywood (interview)

American director Sam Firstenberg took time out to answer some of my questions. I invite you to read the interview.

 / Fot. www.listal.comSam Firstenberg , was born on 13 March 1950 in Walbrzych. His parents were Jews who lived in Poland. Youthful years spent in Israel. Then he went to the United States , where he graduated from Loyola Marymount University. Sam Firstenberg became famous for directing films including "American Ninja” ( 1985) , "Avenging Force " ( 1986) and " Delta Force 3" ( 1991).

I check on Imdb list with your films. In 2003 you directed your last film. Why you decide to stop filming?


I did not decided to stop directing but the type of films I was directing, medium budget action movies, disappeared from the Hollywood scene at the end of the 90th. The new action movies are all mega budget studio productions or very low budget small independent productions. I was never part of the first kind of major studio scene and I don’t want to be a part of the second kind of poorly looking action movies. As a matter of fact I am trying to distance myself from the action genre and go into drama now.

You made lot of films. What is your favorite film?

In the action group I like Avenging Force the best but at the same time I like the dance movie I directed Breaking 2 Electric Boogaloo. Another movie I am proud of is Riverbend that deals with racial conflict in Alabama in the 60th but never got a dissent distribution.

You directing few films about ninjas for example: American Ninja. Do you like of ninjitsu or other martial arts?

I am not a martial art enthusiast and not too knowledgeable in that field, maybe it was a good thing when I directed the Ninja movies to view it just like another form of action element in a Hollywood action film.

In your films we can see Michael Dudikoff. Why he stop his carrier? Maybe you know?

Michael Dudikoff made many movies in his Carrier so far and hopefully will make many more. The way actors’ carriers are shaped in Hollywood is very unpredictable and influenced by various factors that are not always rational.

I read your biography in Internet. You were born in Poland. Sometimes do you watch polish films? Maybe you have favorite polish actors?

My understanding and ability to speak Polish is very poor only basic few words. I was born in Wałbrzych and immigrated out of Poland at a very young age but when you don’t use a language you lose it, that exactly what happened to my. I can only understand a Polish movie nowadays with English subtitles. Last Polish film I saw was Ida that was a big success here in the US.

In Poland your film American Ninja was very popular. Do you know about it?

It is very interesting but the movie American Ninja is popular almost all over the world except in Japan, the audience there did not like it. It is nice to learn that also in Poland in is popular. Hopefully one day a film festival in Poland will decide to show retrospective of some of the movies I directed and I will be able to come to answer the audience questions and talk about my experience in the Hollywood film industry.

What are you doing now? Maybe you prepare new film?

Recently I am working on several ideas that hopefully mature one day into some interesting movies.