The 21st Annual New York Jewish Film Festival presented by FSLC and The Jewish Museum Jan 11-26

Posted by on 12.12.2011

THE 21ST ANNUAL NEW YORK JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL

NY’S PREEMINENT SHOWCASE FOR WORLD CINEMA EXPLORING THE JEWISH EXPERIENCE

NEW YORK, NY—The Jewish Museum and the Film Society of Lincoln Center will present the 21st annual New York Jewish Film Festival at the Film Society’s Walter Reade Theater and Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, Jan. 11-26, 2012. The festival’s 34 features and shorts from 11 countries - 27 screening in their world, U.S. or New York premieres - provide a diverse global perspective on the Jewish experience. Many film screenings will be followed by filmmakers and special guests in onstage discussions.

The festival opens on Wednesday, January 11, with the New York premiere of Guy Nattiv’s “Mabul (The Flood).”  Yoni, almost 13 and smart but physically underdeveloped, faces bullying by classmates, parents who barely say a word to each other, and a 17-year-old autistic brother who returns home from an institution right before Yoni’s bar mitzvah.  Buried secrets come to light, and Yoni’s bar mitzvah Torah portion - Noah and the flood - becomes a metaphor for the family’s fragile and frozen existence.  Nominated for six Ophir Awards (Israeli Academy Awards), “Mabul” features unforgettable performances by Ronit Elkabetz, Tzahi Grad and Michael Moshonov. 

The closing night film, the world premiere of Caroline Laskow and Ian Rosenberg’s “Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort,” focuses on the last surviving Jewish resort in the Catskills, in its heyday one of the legendary “Borscht Belt” hotels.  These resorts were not only a Jewish vacation paradise, they also had significant influence on enter¬tainment, stand-up comedy and sports. This enjoyable documentary features a young Wilt Chamberlain play¬ing ball and working as a bellhop at Kutsher’s, Freddie Roman’s classic comedy routine, ice skating instructor Celia Duffy hopping up on the Zamboni, and an abundance of hearty kosher feasts.

Four other documentaries receive their world premieres.  Jonathan Gruber and Ari Daniel Pinchot’s “Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story” presents a moving portrait of  Jonathan “Yoni” Netanyahu, who was killed at the age of 30 leading Israeli special forces in the 1976 hostage rescue mission at the Entebbe Airport in Uganda. Yoni’s life is explored through his own poetry, prose, and letters.  The film also includes rarely seen footage of the Entebbe raid itself, as covered by journalism legend Walter Cronkite, home movies, and interviews with such figures as Yoni’s brother, Benjamin Netanyahu.  Avishai Yeganyahu Mekonen and Shari Rothfarb Mekonen’s “400 Miles to Freedom” documents the 1984 escape from Ethiopia to Israel of the Beta Israel, a secluded 2,500-year-old community of observant Jews in the northern Ethiopian mountains.  Co-director Avishai Mekonen breaks his silence about the kidnapping he endured as a ten-year-old child in Sudan during the community’s exodus.  Joel Katz explores what it means to be white in America through the story of his own family across generations in “White: A Memoir in Color.”  Katz’s father’s role as a white professor at Howard University, a traditionally black college, during the civil rights era comes to bear on his and his wife’s decision to adopt a mixed-race child.  Sam Ball’s fascinating portrait, “Joann Sfar Draws from Memory,” details the life of graphic novelist and filmmaker Joann Sfar, author of the popular The Rabbi’s Cat series and director of the recent film, Serge Gainsbourg (Vie Héroïque), as he visits favorite Parisian neighborhood spots, and muses on his artistic process and the influence of his Algerian and East European family heritage.

Music plays a large role in four Festival films.  In Eytan Fox’s drama “Mary Lou,” receiving its New York premiere, a young man searching for his glamorous mother, years after she mysteriously disappears, learns about love with the help of the Tel Aviv gay community and Israeli pop music while performing as a drag queen.  A cross between the television series Glee and the musical Mama Mia, by way of La Cage aux Folles, Mary Lou garnered the equivalent of the Israeli Emmy Award for best mini-series.  Gili Gaon’s “Iraq ‘N’ Roll,” also a New York premiere, reveals the story of Salah al-Kuwaiti and his brother Daud, highly acclaimed Jewish musicians in 1930s Iraq considered the creators of modern Iraqi music; and details the efforts of Salah’s grandson, popular Israeli rock musician Dudu Tassa, to remix the old tunes for contemporary listeners.  Danny Gold and Matthew Asner’s “100 Voices: A Journey Home” is a compelling and uplifting documentary that looks at Jewish culture in Poland, past and present, through a unique focus: 100 cantors from around the world who come together for concerts at the Warsaw Opera House and the Nozyk Synagogue.  Richard Oswald’s 1933 musical, “My Song Goes Round the World,” showcases the talents of the great tenor Joseph Schmidt (1904-1942), known as the Jewish Caruso, telling the tale of a talented singer who faces challenges in his career and love life because he is less than five feet tall.

The New York premiere of “Shoah: The Unseen Interviews” offers a rare opportunity to see powerful unused footage from three interviews filmed for Claude Lanzmann’s landmark documentary Shoah - Abraham Bomba, who was a barber in Treblinka; Peter Bergson, who struggled to publicize Nazi crimes against the Jews; and the deeply affecting Ruth Elias.  Following the January 15 screening, Raye Farr, director of the Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, will discuss the painstaking process of preserving the 16mm film and editing these segments for viewing.

A restored version of the archival film, “Breaking Home Ties,” directed by Frank N. Seltzer and George K. Rowlands, will receive its United States premiere.  Long thought lost, this 1922 drama about a Jew who flees pre-revolutionary Russia for America, is a gem of the silent era, presented in a new restoration by the National Center for Jewish Film, with piano accompaniment by Donald Sosin.

Three dramatic works receive their United States premieres.  Adrian Panek’s dazzling period drama, “Daas,” explores the  influence of 18th-century false messiah Jacob Frank.  The film presents a tale of intrigue and conspiracy, showing Frank’s influence as seen through the lives of a Viennese lawyer investigating him as a threat to the Austrian Empire, and a Jewish former disciple seeking justice.   Branko Ivanda’s “Lea and Darija” tells the story of Lea Deutsch, known as the Croatian Shirley Temple, and her friend and dancing partner Darija Gasteiger, talented and exuberant 13-year-old girls who were great stars in Zagreb before World War II.  Nazi persecution of Jews and, later, German nationals’ flight from communists test their friendship.  In Thierry Binisti’s “A Bottle in the Gaza Sea,” a 17-year-old Frenchwoman living in Jerusalem writes a letter expressing her refusal to accept that only hatred can reign between Israelis and Palestinians, and has her brother throw it into the sea near Gaza.  A few weeks later, she receives a response from a mysterious young Palestinian named Naïm. This engrossing and hopeful drama starring Hiam Abbas is based on the award-winning novel by Valérie Zenatti.

The documentary, “The Silent Historian,” receiving its United States premiere, explores the life of director Simonka de Jong’s grandfather, the Dutch historian Loe de Jong, known for his research on the history of the Netherlands during World War II. After his death, the family made a discovery - Loe had concealed personal documents about his twin brother Sally, who didn't survive the war.  Why did Loe never give these letters to Sally’s children, who spent their lives looking for information about the family that was broken apart by the war?

Four other dramas receive New York premieres.  In Katia Lewkowicz’s romantic comedy, “Bachelor Days Are Over,” a young man (Benjamin Biolay) prepares for his wedding, and copes with his fiancée, who has seemingly flown the coop. Faced with a charming chanteuse, demands from family, and workers renovating his apartment, he is forced to decide between marriage or passionate love, family past or marital future.  Ami Drozd’s “My Australia” portrays two brothers in a poor neighborhood in 1960s Łódź, Poland.  Members of a gang with a strong anti-Semitic bent, they are stunned to discover that though raised as Catholics, they are in fact Jews.  Telling the younger brother they are going to Australia, the land of his fantasies, the family boards a ship to Israel.  Inspired by actual events, Anna Justice’s “Remembrance” depicts a remarkable love story that blossomed in a Nazi concentration camp in 1944 Poland, only to end when the lovers are forcibly separated after the war, each convinced that the other has died.  More than 30 years later in New York City, the woman believes she has seen her lover interviewed on television and begins to search for him again.  Joseph Madmony’s sensitive drama “Restoration” depicts a Tel Aviv man struggling to keep his antique restoration business afloat. Featuring outstanding performances by Sasson Gabai and Sarah Adler, the film was nominated for 11 Ophir Awards (Israeli Academy Awards), and won the Dramatic Screenwriting Award at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. 

Also receiving New York premieres are: Steven Fischler and Joel Sucher’s “Dressing America: Tales from the Garment Center,” focusing on the post-World War II heyday of the garment district in Manhattan and the Jewish immigrant roots of the industry; Duki Dror’s “Incessant Visions: Letters from an Architect,” a meditation about architect Erich Mendelsohn, based on his letters and a memoir by his wife Louise, who helped him become the busiest architect in Germany after World War I; and Michal Tkaczynski’s “The Moon Is Jewish” telling the story of a Warsaw skinhead who discovers he has Jewish ancestry and undergoes a complete spiritual and physical transformation to become an Orthodox Jew.

Judy Lieff’s “Deaf Jam,” receiving its New York City premiere, explores the beauty and power of American Sign Language (ASL) poetry through the story of deaf teen Aneta Brodski’s bold journey into the spoken word poetry slam scene.  In a remarkable twist of fate, Aneta - an Israeli immigrant living in New York - meets and then collaborates with Tahani, a hearing Palestinian slam poet.

Other documentaries in the Festival include: Yasmine Novak’s “Lost Love Diaries,” a combination detective story and love saga in which a woman confronts the past when after 65 years she reads a diary sent to her by her first love on the day of her wedding to another man; “My Father Evgeni,” a moving portrait of filmmaker Andrei Zagdansky’s father, who was editor-in-chief of the Kiev Popular Science Film Studio; “The Queen Has No Crown,” Tomer Heymann’s poignant meditation on family and loss, using home movies as well as more recent footage shot over the past decade to navigate the intimate lives of five brothers and their mother; and Ronit Kertsner’s “Torn,” the remarkable journey of  an ordained Polish Catholic priest who discovers that he was born to Jewish parents, and, unable to renounce either identity, finds himself rejected by both religions and the state of Israel.

This year’s New York Jewish Film Festival was selected by Rachel Chanoff, Independent Curator, Scott Foundas, Associate Director of Programming, Film Society of Lincoln Center; Richard Peña, Program Director, Film Society of Lincoln Center; and Aviva Weintraub, Associate Curator and Director of The New York Jewish Film Festival, The Jewish Museum; with assistance from Jaron Gandelman, Curatorial Assistant for Media and Film Festival Coordinator, The Jewish Museum.

The New York Jewish Film Festival is supported, in part, through public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; Northern Trust; The Liman Foundation; Mimi and Barry Alperin; and the Martin and Doris Payson Fund for Film and Media.   Additional support has been provided by The Office of Cultural Affairs, Consulate General of Israel in New York; the French Embassy; and the Polish Cultural Institute New York.

The majority of The New York Jewish Film Festival’s screenings will be held at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater, located at 165 West 65th St. between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway. Two screenings will be at the Film Society’s Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center at 144 West 65th St.

Single screening tickets for The New York Jewish Film Festival are $13; $9 for students and seniors (62+); and $8 for Film Society and Jewish Museum members.

Tickets for New York Jewish Film Festival screenings go on sale January 2, 2012 at the Walter Reade Theater Box Office; and online at www.FilmLinc.com. For complete festival information, visit www.FilmLinc.com, www.TheJewishMuseum.org, or call 212.875.5601. 


About The Jewish Museum
Widely admired for its exhibitions and collections that inspire people of all backgrounds, The Jewish Museum is one of the world’s preeminent institutions devoted to exploring the intersection of art and Jewish culture from ancient to modern times. The Museum organizes a diverse schedule of internationally acclaimed and award-winning temporary exhibitions as well as broad-based programs for families, adults, and school groups.  The Jewish Museum was established in 1904, when Judge Mayer Sulzberger donated 26 ceremonial art objects to The Jewish Theological Seminary of America as the core of a museum collection. Today, the Museum maintains a collection of 26,000 objects – paintings, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, archaeological artifacts, ceremonial objects, and broadcast media.  For more information, visit www.TheJewishMuseum.org.


Film Society of Lincoln Center
Under the leadership of Rose Kuo, Executive Director, and Richard Peña, Program Director, the Film Society of Lincoln Center offers the best in international, classic and cutting-edge independent cinema. The Film Society presents two film festivals that attract global attention: the New York Film Festival, currently planning its 50th edition, and New Directors/New Films which, since its founding in 1972, has been produced in collaboration with MoMA. The Film Society also publishes the award-winning Film Comment Magazine, and for over three decades has given an annual award—now named “The Chaplin Award”—to a major figure in world cinema. Past recipients of this award include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, and Tom Hanks. The Film Society presents a year-round calendar of programming, panels, lectures, educational programs and specialty film releases at its Walter Reade Theater and the new state-of-the-art Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center.

The Film Society receives generous, year-round support from Royal Bank of Canada, 42BELOW, American Airlines, The New York Times, Stella Artois, the National Endowment for the Arts, WNET New York Public Media, the National Endowment for the Arts and New York State Council on the Arts. For more information, visit www.filmlinc.com.


FOR MEDIA SPECIFIC INQUIRIES, PLEASE CONTACT:
The Jewish Museum
Anne Scher, Director of Communications
Alex Wittenberg, Communications Coordinator
212.423.3271 - pressoffice@thejm.org
Film Society of Lincoln Center
Courtney Ott, Director of Marketing and Public Relations, 212.875.5404 - cott@filmlinc.com
John Wildman, Senior Publicist, 212.875.5419 - jwildman@filmlinc.com
David Ninh, Publicist, 212.875.5423 - dninh@filmlinc.com

The New York Jewish Film Festival, Jan. 11-26, 2012
Schedule at a Glance (Detailed Program Information Follows)

Screenings at the Walter Reade Theater unless otherwise indicated.
165 West 65th Street close to Amsterdam Avenue
www.FilmLinc.com

Wednesday, Jan. 11
1:00 Mabul with Howl
3:45 400 Miles to Freedom with Panta Rhei
6:00 Mabul with Howl
8:45 Mabul with Howl

Thursday, Jan. 12
1:30 White: A Memoir in Color with Letters Home
3:30 My Australia
6:00 White: A Memoir in Color with Letters Home
8:15 Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story

Saturday, Jan. 14
6:30 Bachelor Days Are Over
9:00 Mary Lou

Sunday, Jan. 15
1:00 Breaking Home Ties (silent, with piano accompaniment by Donald Sosin)
3:30 Shoah: The Unseen Interviews
6:00 Restoration
8:45 Bachelor Days Are Over

Monday, Jan. 16 (Martin Luther King Day)
1:00 Dressing America with Orbit
3:15 Lost Love Diaries with Iraq ‘N Roll
6:00 Remembrance
8:45 Restoration

Tuesday, Jan. 17
1:00 Deaf Jam
3:15 Remembrance
6:00 Torn with The Moon is Jewish (at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center)*
9:00 My Father Evgeni with Three Promises (at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center)*

Wednesday, Jan. 18
1:00 Torn with The Moon is Jewish
3:30 My Father Evgeni with Three Promises
6:00 400 Miles to Freedom with Panta Rhei
8:30 Lost Love Diaries with Iraq ‘N Roll

Thursday, Jan. 19
1:00 100 Voices: A Journey Home
3:30 My Australia
6:00 100 Voices: A Journey Home
8:30 Deaf Jam

Saturday, Jan. 21
6:30 My Australia
9:00 Daas

Sunday, Jan. 22
1:00 My Song Goes Round the World
3:20 Lea and Darija
6:00 A Bottle in the Gaza Sea
8:30 The Queen Has No Crown with Grandmothers

Monday, Jan. 23
1:00 A Bottle in the Gaza Sea
3:30 The Queen Has No Crown with Grandmothers
6:00 Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story
8:30 Lea and Darija

Tuesday, Jan. 24
6:00 Incessant Visions: Letters from an Architect
8:15 Dressing America with Orbit

Wednesday, Jan. 25
1:00 Incessant Visions: Letters from an Architect
3:00 The Silent Historian with Joann Sfar Draws from Memory
6:00 My Song Goes Round the World
8:30 The Silent Historian with Joann Sfar Draws from Memory

Thursday, Jan. 26
1:00 Daas
3:45 Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort
6:00 Daas
8:30 Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort


*At the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center
144 West 65th Street

Tuesday, Jan. 17
6:00 Torn with The Moon is Jewish*
9:00 My Father Evgeni with Three Promises*

The New York Jewish Film Festival, Jan. 11-26, 2012
Detailed Program and Schedule Information

OPENING NIGHT
Wednesday, January 11

NEW YORK PREMIERE
Mabul (The Flood)
Guy Nattiv | Israel/Canada/France | 2010 | 101m | Hebrew with English subtitles
Everything is complicated in Yoni's life. He's almost 13 and smart, but physically underdeveloped. His classmates bully him and his parents barely say a word to each other. As if all this weren't enough, his 17-year-old autistic brother Tomer returns home from an institution right before Yoni’s bar mitzvah. Buried secrets come to light and Yoni’s bar mitzvah Torah portion—Noah and the flood—becomes a metaphor for the family’s fragile and frozen existence.  Nominated for six Ophir Awards (Israeli Academy Awards), Mabul features unforgettable performances by Ronit Elkabetz (The Band’s Visit), Tzahi Grad (Eyes Wide Open, NYJFF 2010; Someone to Run With, NYJFF 2008) and Michael Moshonov (Tehilim, NYJFF 2008).
PRECEDED BY
U.S. PREMIERE
Howl
Natalie Bettelheim & Sharon Michaeli | Israel | 2011 | 7m | No spoken language
An intriguing hand-drawn animated short featuring a “wild child” wolf girl and her loving mother.
Wed Jan 11: 1:00pm, 6:00pm and 8:45 pm


CLOSING NIGHT
Thursday, January 26

WORLD PREMIERE
Welcome To Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort
Caroline Laskow & Ian Rosenberg | U.S. | 2012 | 73m | English
Kutsher’s Country Club is the last surviving Jewish resort in the Catskills, and in its heyday was one of the legendary “Borscht Belt” hotels. The resorts were not only a Jewish vacation paradise, they also had significant influence on entertainment, stand-up comedy and sports. In this enjoyable documentary, watch Wilt Chamberlain playing ball and working as a bellhop at Kutsher’s; laugh with Freddie Roman as his classic routine still brings down the house; see ice skating instructor extraordinaire Celia Duffy hop up on the Zamboni; and marvel at the abundance of hearty kosher feasts.
Thu Jan 26: 3:45pm and 8:30pm


NEW YORK PREMIERE
100 Voices: A Journey Home
Danny Gold & Matthew Asner | U.S. | 2010 | 91m | English
A compelling and uplifting documentary that looks at Jewish culture in Poland, past and present, through a unique focus—100 cantors from around the world come together for concerts at the Warsaw Opera House and the Nozyk Synagogue. The film traces a lineage from cantorial superstar Moishe Oysher, also star of the Yiddish stage and screen, to contemporary counterparts including Alberto Mizrahi and Jacob Mendelson.
Thu Jan 19: 1:00 pm and 6:00pm


WORLD PREMIERE
400 Miles to Freedom
Avishai Yeganyahu Mekonen & Shari Rothfarb Mekonen | U.S./Israel | 2012 | 60m | English, Hebrew and Amharic with English subtitles
In 1984, the Beta Israel—a secluded 2,500-year-old community of observant Jews in the northern Ethiopian mountains—began a secret and dangerous journey of escape. Co-director Avishai Mekonen, then 10 years old, was among them. In this film, he breaks his 20-year silence about the kidnapping he endured as a child in Sudan during his community’s exodus. This life-defining event launches an inquiry into identity, leading him to other African, Asian and Latino Jews in Israel and the U.S.
PRECEDED BY
U.S. PREMIERE
Panta Rhei
Amos Holzman | Israel | 2010 | 20m | Hebrew with English subtitles
A young Israeli has a meltdown during his army exam. A typical teenager, he is an attractive smart aleck with attitude.
Wed Jan 11: 3:45pm
Wed Jan 18: 6:00pm


NEW YORK PREMIERE
Bachelor Days Are Over
Katia Lewkowicz | France | 2011 | 96m | French with English Subtitles
A few days before his wedding, a young man (Benjamin Biolay) has to make unexpected decisions, and cope with his fiancée, who has seemingly flown the coop. Enter a charming chanteuse (Sarah Adler), his preoccupied mother, critical sister (Emmanuelle Devos, Coco Before Chanel), unintelligible in-laws, patient pals and workers renovating his apartment.  Marriage or passionate love, family past or marital future, balloons or no balloons, flower petals or sugar almonds…how can he deal with such crucial issues at stake?
Sat Jan 14: 6:30 pm
Sun Jan 15: 8:45pm


U.S. PREMIERE
A Bottle in the Gaza Sea
Thierry Binisti | France | 2010 | 90m | French, Hebrew, English and Arabic with English subtitles
Tal is a 17-year-old Frenchwoman who has settled in Jerusalem with her family. She writes a letter expressing her refusal to accept that only hatred can reign between Israelis and Palestinians. She slips the letter into a bottle, and her brother throws it into the sea near Gaza, where he is carrying out his military service. A few weeks later, Tal receives a response from a mysterious "Gazaman," a young Palestinian named Naïm. This engrossing and hopeful drama starring Hiam Abbas is based on the award-winning novel by Valérie Zenatti.
Sun Jan 22: 6:00pm
Mon Jan 23: 1:00pm


U.S. PREMIERE OF RESTORED VERSION
Breaking Home Ties
Frank N. Seltzer & George K. Rowlands | U.S. | 1922 | 78m | B/W, silent with English intertitles and live piano by Donald Sosin
Thinking he has killed his friend Paul in a jealous rage, David Bergmann flees pre-revolutionary Russia for America. In New York he becomes a successful lawyer and woos smart, independent Rose, also the boss’s daughter. Meanwhile, his wealthy parents sell their fancy home in St. Petersburg and emigrate to New York. Unable to find their son, they fall into poverty. Will David marry Rose? Will the Bergmanns be reunited? And what happened to Paul? This drama, long thought lost, is a gem of the silent era, presented in a new restoration by the National Center for Jewish Film.
Sun Jan 15: 1:00pm


U.S. PREMIERE
Daas
Adrian Panek | Poland | 2011 | 102m | Polish with English subtitles
A dazzling period drama, Daas explores the influence of 18th-century false messiah Jacob Frank. Claiming powers of mystical healing and prophecy, Frank promises immortality to his converts. A Viennese lawyer investigates Frank, seeing him as a threat to the Austrian Empire, and a former disciple seeks justice. Adrian Panek brings us a tale of intrigue and conspiracy, conjuring the time and place with a painterly aesthetic.
Sat Jan 21: 9:00pm
Thu Jan 26: 1:00pm and 6:00pm


NEW YORK CITY PREMIERE
Deaf Jam
Judy Lieff | U.S. | 2011 | 70m | Spoken English and American Sign Language, fully subtitled
This high-energy documentary explores the beauty and power of American Sign Language (ASL) poetry through the story of deaf teen Aneta Brodski’s bold journey into the spoken word poetry slam scene. In a remarkable twist of fate, Aneta—an Israeli immigrant high school student living in New York—meets and then collaborates with Tahani—a hearing Palestinian slam poet. Poetry, friendship and respect transcend politics as the two young women create a hearing/deaf duet.
Tue Jan 17: 1:00pm
Thu Jan 19: 8:30pm



NEW YORK PREMIERE
Dressing America: Tales from the Garment Center
Steven Fischler & Joel Sucher | U.S. | 2011 | 57m | English
From the directors of From Swastika to Jim Crow (NYJFF 2000) comes this fascinating documentary exploring the post-World War II heyday of the garment district in Manhattan.  Mavens of the “shmatte” business pay tribute to the Jewish immigrant roots of the garment industry, when Sam, You Made the Pants Too Long was a top musical hit and American designers challenged the hegemony of Paris fashion.
PRECEDED BY
NEW YORK PREMIERE
Orbit
Jessica Dorfman | U.S. | 2011 | 19m | English
In this short drama, a young girl ponders her place and develops a crush on a waiter at her father’s second wedding.
Mon Jan 16: 1:00pm
Tue Jan 24: 8:15pm


WORLD PREMIERE
Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story
Jonathan Gruber & Ari Daniel Pinchot| U.S.| 2012 | 80m | Hebrew and English with English subtitles
Jonathan “Yoni” Netanyahu, then a commander in the Israeli army, was killed at the age of 30 leading the 1976 hostage rescue mission at the Entebbe Airport in Uganda. In Follow Me, co-directors Jonathan Gruber (Jewish Soldiers in Blue and Gray, NYJFF 2011) and Ari Daniel Pinchot (producer, Paper Clips) present a moving portrait of Yoni’s life through his own poetry, prose and letters. Ultimately a portrait of a young country through a young man, the documentary also features fascinating rarely seen footage of the 1967 war and the Entebbe raid itself, as covered by journalism legend Walter Cronkite. An Ari Daniel Pinchot Film.
Thu Jan 12: 8:15pm
Mon Jan 23: 6:00pm


NEW YORK PREMIERE
Incessant Visions: Letters from an Architect
Duki Dror | Israel | 2011 | 70m | Hebrew and German with English subtitles
A cinematic meditation about architect Erich Mendelsohn, based on his letters and a memoir by his wife Louise.  As a young man, he drew sketches on tiny pieces of paper and sent them, from the trenches, to the young cellist waiting for him in Berlin. She believed in his genius and after World War I helped him become the busiest architect in Germany. When she planned to leave him for a communist poet, he built a perfect house for her.  When the Nazis came to power, the couple escaped the house and Germany, and he turned his talents to creating buildings in the U.S. and Israel.
Tue Jan 24: 6:00pm
Wed Jan 25: 1:00pm



U.S. PREMIERE
Lea and Darija
Branko Ivanda | Croatia | 2011 | 101m | Croatian with English subtitles
A captivating drama tells the story of Lea Deutsch, known as the Croatian Shirley Temple, and her friend and dancing partner Darija Gasteiger. The two talented and exuberant 13-year-old girls were great stars in Zagreb on the eve of World War II. They played to sold-out houses around Europe, were filmed by Pathé Paris and Berlin’s UFA and lived in the rarefied world of the 1930s Croatian National Theater’s “Children’s Realm.” The Nazi persecution of Jews and later, German nationals’ flight from communists, tests their friendship.
Sun Jan 22: 3:20pm
Mon Jan 23: 8:30pm


Lost Love Diaries
Yasmine Novak | Israel | 2011 | 53m | Hebrew, English and Dutch with English subtitles
On the morning of her wedding day, Ellis receives a package in the mail. It contains a diary kept by the first love of her life, Bernie, during his time underground in World War II. When Bernie did not return, Ellis married another man and moved with him to Palestine. She kept the diary hidden for 65 years until her historian daughter prevailed upon her to read it and try to find out what happened to Bernie. This gripping documentary is a combination detective story and love saga.
PRECEDED BY
NEW YORK PREMIERE
Iraq ‘N’ Roll
Gili Gaon | Israel | 2011 | 52m | Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles
Popular Israeli rock musician Dudu Tassa embarks on a mission to revive his grandfather’s traditional Iraqi songs by remixing the tunes for contemporary listeners. Salah and his brother Daud al-Kuwaiti were the highly acclaimed Jewish musicians in 1930s Iraq.  They arrived in Israel in the 1950s and found they were unknown and unappreciated.  In this musical documentary, Tassa engages in a labor of love to research and perform his family’s musical past.
Mon Jan 16: 3:15pm
Wed Jan 18: 8:30pm


NEW YORK PREMIERE
Mary Lou
Eytan Fox | Israel | 2010 | 150m | Hebrew with English subtitles
Acclaimed Israeli director Eytan Fox (The Bubble, Walk on Water, Florentine) brings to life a modern fable with a catchy musical message and a story based on the songs of Israeli pop legend Svika Pick.  Meir, a young man whose glamorous mother mysteriously disappears, searches for her in Tel Aviv. He learns about love with the help of the gay community and Israeli pop music while performing as a drag queen named Mary Lou.  A cross between the TV series Glee and the musical Mama Mia, by way of La Cage aux Folles Israeli style, Mary Lou garnered the equivalent of the Israeli Emmy Award for best mini-series.
Sat Jan 14: 9:00pm

NEW YORK PREMIERE
My Australia
Ami Drozd | Israel/Poland | 2009 | 100m | Polish and Hebrew with English subtitles

In a poor neighborhood in 1960s Łódź, Poland, 10-year-old Tadek and his brother are in a gang with a strong anti-Semitic bent. When they are arrested, their mother, a Holocaust survivor, has no choice but to reveal that though raised as Catholics, they are in fact Jews. Telling the younger boy they are going to Australia, the land of his fantasies, the family boards a ship to Israel. This tender and humorous drama is based on the filmmaker’s own experiences.
Thu Jan 12: 3:30pm
Thu Jan 19: 3:30pm
Sat Jan 21: 6:30pm


My Father Evgeni
Andrei Zagdansky | U.S./Ukraine | 2010 | 77m | Russian with English subtitles
Andrei Zagdansky (Interpretation of Dreams, NYJFF 1992) returns to the NYJFF with a moving portrait of his father, who was editor-in-chief of the Kiev Popular Science Film Studio.  Father and son worked in the same studio for 11 years, until Andrei immigrated to New York with his family.  Evgeni’s letters to Andrei and Andrei’s narrative of his father’s life intertwine, creating a portrait of the man and a particular moment in Soviet culture.
PRECEDED BY
WORLD PREMIERE
Three Promises
Edward Serotta | Serbia/U.S. | 2011 | 19m | Serbian with English subtitles
Through family photographs, sisters Breda and Matilda Kalef take us into the world of Sephardic pre-World War II Serbia and the dramatic story of their flight to safety.  The family photo album, containing 169 pictures, remained in Belgrade. When the Kalefs returned after the war, the album was still there, but nearly all those in it had been killed.
Tue Jan 17: 9:00pm at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center
Wed Jan 18: 3:30pm


My Song Goes Round the World
Richard Oswald | England | 1933 | 85m | English
A musical film showcasing the talents of the great tenor Joseph Schmidt (1904-1942), known as the Jewish Caruso.  Paralleling Schmidt’s own life story, this drama by Richard Oswald (Different from the Others, NYJFF 2000) tells the tale of a talented singer who finds challenges in both his career and his love life because he is less than 5 feet tall.  Schmidt, who also performed as a cantor and radio star, sings with great power and passion in this charming and humorous film set in Venice.
Sun Jan 22: 1:00pm
Wed Jan 25: 6:00pm



The Queen Has No Crown
Tomer Heymann | Israel | 2011 | 82m | Hebrew and English with English subtitles
Tomer Heymann (Paper Dolls) brings us this poignant meditation on family and loss using 8 and 16mm home movies and more recent footage he shot over the past decade to navigate the intimate lives of five brothers and their mother. Three of the Heymann sons take their families and leave Israel for "better" lives in America. They fulfill their own dreams, but shatter those of their mother.  She is left in Israel with her two bachelor sons—one straight and the other, Tomer, gay. Exploring the politics of belonging, displacement and sexuality, the film examines the hard decisions one family has to make and the intractable bonds that unite them in the face of difficult life choices.
PRECEDED BY
NEW YORK PREMIERE
Grandmothers
Michael Wahrmann | Brazil | 2009 | 12m | Portuguese with English subtitles
Do all grandmothers give socks and underwear as birthday presents? 10-year-old Leo is much more intrigued by his grandpa’s gift—a Super-8 movie camera.
Sun Jan 22: 8:30pm
Mon Jan 23: 3:30pm


NEW YORK PREMIERE
Remembrance
Anna Justice | Germany | 2011 | 105m | English, German and Polish with English subtitles
Inspired by actual events, Remembrance depicts a remarkable love story that blossomed in the terror and squalor of a Nazi concentration camp in 1944 Poland. In a daring escape, Tomasz, a young Polish prisoner, rescues his Jewish lover, Hannah. In the chaos of the end of the war, they are forcibly separated and each is convinced that the other has died.  More than 30 years later in New York City, Hannah believes she has seen her Tomasz interviewed on television and she begins to search for him again. Anna Justice (Max Minsky and Me, NYJFF 2009) directs this powerful and artfully crafted drama.
Mon Jan 16: 6:00pm
Tue Jan 17: 3:15pm


NEW YORK PREMIERE
Restoration
Joseph Madmony | Israel | 2010 | 105m | Hebrew with English subtitles
Joseph Madmony (The Barbecue People, NYJFF 2004) returns with this sensitive drama in which a Tel Aviv man struggles to keep his antique restoration business afloat. Amidst conflicts with his son, a stranger comes to town and a complex love triangle complicates his plans. Featuring outstanding performances by Sasson Gabai (The Band’s Visit) and Sarah Adler (Ultimatum, NYJFF 2010). Nominated for 11 Ophir Awards (Israeli Academy Awards), and winner of the Dramatic Screenwriting Award at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
Sun Jan 15: 6:00pm
Mon Jan 16: 8:45pm


NEW YORK PREMIERE
Shoah: The Unseen Interviews
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum | U.S. | 2011 | 55m | English
This program presents a rare opportunity to see powerful, unused footage from three interviews filmed for Claude Lanzmann’s landmark documentary Shoah—Abraham Bomba, who was a barber in Treblinka; Peter Bergson, who struggled to publicize Nazi crimes against the Jews; and the deeply affecting Ruth Elias.  Raye Farr, director of the Steven Spielberg Film & Video Archive at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, will discuss the painstaking process of preserving the 16mm film and editing these segments for viewing.
Sun Jan 15: 3:30pm


U.S. PREMIERE
The Silent Historian
Simonka de Jong | The Netherlands | 2011 | 55m | Dutch with English subtitles
A fascinating documentary about the filmmaker’s grandfather, the prominent Dutch historian Loe de Jong, known for his research on the history of the Netherlands during World War II. De Jong grew to national prominence when the war history of public figures such as Prince Claus came to light. After his death, the family made a discovery—Loe had concealed personal documents about his twin brother, Sally, who didn't survive the war. Why did Loe never give these letters to Sally’s children, who spent their lives looking for information about the family that was broken apart by the war?
PRECEDED BY
WORLD PREMIERE
Joann Sfar Draws from Memory
Sam Ball | U.S./France | 2012 | 46m | French with English subtitles
Sam Ball (Poumy, NYJFF 2005 and Pleasures of Urban Decay, 2000) returns with another fascinating documentary portrait, turning his lens on graphic novelist and filmmaker Joann Sfar, author of the popular The Rabbi’s Cat series and director of the recent film, Serge Gainsbourg (Vie Héroïque). The film follows Sfar to his favorite neighborhood spots, as he muses on his artistic process and the influence of his Algerian and East European family heritage.
Wed Jan 25: 3:00pm and 8:30pm


Torn
Ronit Kertsner | Israel | 2011 | 72m | Hebrew, English and Polish with English subtitles
Can one be a Catholic priest and an observant Jew at the same time? Twelve years after he was ordained as a priest, Romuald Waszkinel discovers that he was born to Jewish parents. This powerful documentary by Ronit Kertsner (The Secret, NYJFF 2002) follows his amazing journey from conducting mass in a church in Poland to life as an observant Jew on a religious kibbutz in Israel. Romuald is torn between two identities.  Unable to renounce either one, he finds himself rejected by both religions and the State of Israel.
PRECEDED BY

NEW YORK PREMIERE
The Moon is Jewish
Michal Tkaczynski | Poland | 2011 | 45m | Polish with English subtitles
Pawel was a skinhead in Warsaw, obsessed with soccer and violence, when his girlfriend discovered he had Jewish ancestry.  He underwent a complete spiritual and physical transformation and is now an Orthodox Jew.  This compelling documentary, which takes its title from provocative poet Marcin Świetlicki, tells an extraordinary story of identity and belonging.
Tue Jan 17: 6:00pm at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center
Wed Jan 18: 1:00pm


WORLD PREMIERE
White: A Memoir in Color
Joel Katz | U.S. | 2012 | 59m | English
In this personal documentary, Joel Katz (Strange Fruit, NYJFF 2002) explores what it means to be white in America through the story of his own family across generations. His father’s role as a white professor at Howard University, a traditionally black college, during the civil rights era comes to bear on his and his wife’s decisions about race and adoption. Original score by Don Byron.
PRECEDED BY
Letters Home
Melissa Hacker | U.S. | 2010 | 9m | English
An elegantly made short based on correspondence from the director’s great-aunt Freda, written as she traveled through Germany and Austria in the American Army Women’s Corps in 1945.
Thu Jan 12: 1:30pm and 6:00pm

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