Sid Yiddish

Expect the Unexpected

Sid Yiddish Film by Ryan Buckley

In the months before his 50th birthday and in the aftermath of an appearance on network TV, Chicago punk performance poet Sid Yiddish looks to the public for greater acceptance while he works to reconcile his bohemian persona with a tormented past.


SID YIDDISH is a short documentary about a recovering manic depressive whose discovery of performance art saved him from the brink of suicide. Sid may very well be Chicago’s best-studied Tuvan throat singer, and his improv symphonies are well-known underground. He even recently appeared alongside Nick Cannon on national TV, auditioning for America’s Got Talent.

As his 50th birthday draws near, Sid (along with his closest friends and fellow performers) reflects on the journey that turned Charles Bernstein, reporter, into Sid Yiddish, performer. The director draws on live performance footage, interviews and situational material to sketch a portrait of a man caught between two lives: Only if Sid can reconcile his past with his present will his 50th birthday party be a success.

About the filmmakers

RYAN BUCKLEY (director / editor) – Ryan’s work explores fringe society and the perversion of the American dream. His outsider-looking-in approach attempts to build modern definitions for cultural signifiers like “success” and “family.”

A native Kentuckian, Ryan Buckley attended the University of Kentucky in Lexington where he majored in German and Economics. He has traveled and lived abroad extensively including time spent in Europe and the Middle East. A former diplomat in training, Ryan eschewed his political calling to chase a dream (though he dabbled in education and design, too).

As a branded content producer, he has worked with brands like Charles Schwab, Chevron and ESPN. He freelances with Chicago production outfits like Kartemquin Films and has worked with directors like Steve James and Ken Burns. In addition to developing long-form doc and fiction material, he will shoot his graduate thesis film in June.

ZACH MEHRBACH (director of photography) – Zach grew up in Lyme, New Hampshire and attended Eastern Connecticut State University where he earned a BA in Communications and English. After making several educational documentaries for Dartmouth’s Psychiatric Research Department, Zach relocated to Chicago to complete his MFA in Film and Video at Columbia College. He’s currently an instructor at his Alma Mater and a freelance editor and shooter while developing personal documentary and narrative projects. His films have screened at numerous festivals, and he was recently selected as a finalist in the 2015 Fusion Doc Competition. His short doc on glitch art will premiere at Slamdance.


JANUARY 14, 2015 – Aarhus, Denmark. Slagtehal 3.

Find out more


We’d love to hear from you! If you have questions about the film or would like an electronic press kit, email Ryan Buckley or follow him on Twitter.


Find out more about the man behind the mask. Visit Sid’s Facebook or learn more about his upcoming radio show on Q4 Radio in Chicago.

Copyright 2014 Ryan Buckley