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The Jewish Museum
Anne Scher/Alex Wittenberg

The Film Society of Lincoln Center
Jeanne R. Berney
Gabriele Caroti

Press Release: December 10, 2008


Presented by The Jewish Museum and The Film Society of Lincoln Center, Jan. 14-29

Press screenings on Dec. 15, 16, 18 and 19

NEW YORK, Dec. 10, 2008—The Jewish Museum and The Film Society of Lincoln Center will present the 18th annual New York Jewish Film Festival at The Film Society’s Walter Reade Theater, The Jewish Museum, and two other New York venues, Jan. 14-29, 2009. The festival’s 32 features and shorts from 17 countries—28 screening in their world, U.S., or New York premieres—present a diverse global perspective on the Jewish experience. Several filmmakers and special guests will join in onstage discussions following the screenings.

The 2009 edition of this celebrated annual festival includes new works by Academy Award-winner Moshe Mizrahi, visual artists Gay Block and Susan Mogul, actors Susan Sarandon, Christopher Plummer, Max von Sydow, Gabriel Byrne, and Emmanuelle Devos, and many others. It also honors Yiddish theater and film actor Solomon Mikhoels in a special sidebar tribute.

The festival opens on Wednesday, Jan. 14, with “At Home in Utopia,” director Michal Goldman’s moving documentary examination of the United Workers Cooperative Colony, a prominent ’20s-era, Bronx-based housing collective whose residents often had Communist leanings. It joins the Closing Night film, “Waiting for Armageddona world premiere documentary investigating the political influence of radical Evangelicals who believe that Israel and the Jewish people are leading the world toward apocalypse —among the powerful new political and historical documentaries that distinguish the festival.

Festival documentary screenings will include the U.S. premiere of “A Road to Mecca: The Journey of Muhammad Asad,” Georg Misch’s insightful biography of Austro-Hungarian Leopold Weiss, who, as Muhammad Asad, became a leading Islam scholar, one of Pakistan’s founding fathers, and an early Pakistani ambassador to the U.N. Lukás Pribyl’s meticulously researched “Forgotten Transports: To Estonia” follows several Czech woman who banded together to survive a series of concentration camps. In “Our Disappeared,” filmmaker Juan Mandelbaum returns to his native Argentina to uncover the whereabouts of several friends who were kidnapped, tortured or murdered during the country’s military dictatorship. German conceptual artist Gunter Demnig’s Stolpersteine sculptures, commemorating the last-known residences of Jews and other victims of the Nazis, are debated in Dörte Franke’s “Stumbling Stone,” screening with Jacob Dammas’s humorous short “Kredens,” a wild goose chase for a family heirloom.

The pressing concerns of Israel and the Middle East are examined in a documentary double bill featuring “Facing the Wind,” about an Israeli teenage bombing victim’s struggle for a normal life, and “My Father’s Palestinian Slave,” in which filmmaker Nathanel Goldman befriends his Israeli father’s Palestinian groundskeeper. The theme is continued in two films screening in their U.S. premieres: Nir Toib’s “Every Mother Should Know,” offering several Israeli reservists’ reflections on the failures of the second Lebanon War, and PeÅ Homquist and Suzanne Khardalian’s “Young Freud in Gaza,” the compelling story of northern Gaza’s only field psychologist.

Jewish identity around the globe is an essential topic in this year’s New York Jewish Film Festival, captured in “Being Jewish in France,” “In Search of the Bene Israel” and “The Fire Within: Jews in the Amazonian Rainforest.” Three other documentaries, “Mr. Rakowski,” “A Refusenik’s Mother” and “Yideshe Mama,” explore troubled interpersonal relationships between parents and children. One of Apartheid South Africa’s most cutting and courageous satirists is spotlighted in Australian filmmaker Julian Shaw’s “Darling! The Pieter-Dirk Uys Story,” which screens with Ella Alterman’s dramatic portrait of inter-faith compassion in the midst of war, “The Woman from Sarajevo.” Additionally, the world premiere of acclaimed visual artist Gay Block’s film “Camp Girls,” reuniting her with the girls featured in a series of photographs she took in 1981, is paired with “Driving Men,” artist Susan Mogul’s road trip face-to-face with the men who have influenced her life.

Susan Sarandon, Christopher Plummer Max von Sydow and Gabriel Byrne star in the first of The New York Jewish Film Festival’s distinguished fictional features: Paolo Barzman’s “Emotional Arithmetic,” about the tempestuous reunion on three World War II prisoners. Karin Albou’s “The Wedding Song” and Rustem Abdrashev’s “The Gift to Stalin” also offer ’40s narratives, while “Two Lives Plus One” stars Desplechin-favorite Emmanuelle Devos as a Parisian schoolteacher whose desire to become an author leads her to imagine conversations with her deceased father. Daniel Burman’s “Empty Nest,” about an Argentine couple in midlife crisis, will receive its U.S. premiere.

Moshe Mizrahi, an Academy Award-winner and a pioneer of modern Israeli cinema, offers his newest drama “Weekend in Galilee,” an intimate ensemble interpretation of Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya.” German television director Anna Justice presents her second feature film, “Max Minsky and Me,” a charming, family friendly adaptation of Holly-Jane Rahlens’s best-selling novel about a bookish bat mitzvah candidate who agrees to do a jock’s homework in exchange for basketball lessons. Finally, shtetl sensibility meets European sophistication in the New York premiere of a specially restored print of the 1937 musical comedy, “The Jester.”

The festival’s 2009 sidebar, A Tribute to Solomon Mikhoels, is presented in conjunction with The Jewish Museum’s current exhibition, “Chagall and the Artists of the Russian Jewish Theater, 1919-1949.” It honors the actor and longtime artistic director of GOSET (Moscow State Yiddish Theater)—who also was a victim of Stalin’s post-World War II anti-Semitic purges—through two films, the silent classic “Jewish Luck” and a restored print of the only Russian-Yiddish “talkie” from Soviet Russia, “The Return of Nathan Becker.”

This year’s New York Jewish Film Festival was selected by Rachel Chanoff, Independent Curator; Andrew Ingall, Assistant Curator, The Jewish Museum; Richard Peña, Program Director, The Film Society of Lincoln Center; Aviva Weintraub, Associate Curator and Director of The New York Jewish Film Festival, The Jewish Museum

The New York Jewish Film Festival is sponsored, in part, by The Martin and Doris Payson Charitable Foundation. Generous funding was also provided by The Liman Foundation, The Jack and Pearl Resnick Foundation, Mimi and Barry Alperin, and other donors. Additional support has been provided through public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency; and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Israel Office of Cultural Affairs in the USA, the French Embassy, the Austrian Cultural Forum New York, Czech Airlines, the Swedish Film Institute, and others provided travel assistance. Time Warner Cable is the media sponsor of The New York Jewish Film Festival. Partnership support has been received from Nextbook > a new read on Jewish culture.

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. Four additional screenings will be held at The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave. at 92nd Street; The JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave. at West 76th Street; and 92YTribeca, 200 Hudson St. at Canal.

Single screening tickets for The New York Jewish Film Festival are $11; $7 for Film Society and Jewish Museum members, students and children (6-12, accompanied by an adult); and $8 for seniors (62+). No Walter Reade Theater series pass is available for this series.

Tickets for screenings at the Walter Reade Theater and The Jewish Museum are available at the Walter Reade Theater box office and online at Tickets for screenings at The Jewish Museum, The JCC in Manhattan and 92Y Tribeca are also available at those venues.

For complete information, visit,, or call (212) 875-5601.

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 an important collection of 26,000 objects—paintings, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, archaeological artifacts, ceremonial objects, and broadcast media. Widely admired for its exhibitions and educational programs that inspire people of all backgrounds, The Jewish Museum is the preeminent United States institution exploring the intersection of 4,000 years of art and Jewish culture.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center was founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international cinema, to recognize and support new directors, and to enhance the awareness, accessibility and understanding of film. Advancing this mandate today, The Film Society hosts two distinguished festivals—The New York Film Festival and New Directors/New Films—as well as the annual Gala Tribute, celebrating an actor or filmmaker who has helped distinguish cinema as an art form, and a year-round calendar of programming at its Walter Reade Theater. It also offers definitive examinations of essential films and artists to a worldwide audience through Film Comment magazine.

Please note: Due to construction work taking place around Lincoln Center, access to the Walter Reade Theater is near Amsterdam Avenue. Once there, take the escalator, elevator or stairs to the upper level.

The New York Jewish Film Festival, Jan. 14-29
Press Screening Schedule

Please join us for an advance press screening at The Walter Reade Theater, 165 W 65th St. close to Amsterdam Avenue, take the escalator, elevator or stairs to the upper level.

RSVP to Gabriele Caroti, 212-875-5625 or

Monday, Dec. 15
10:00 a.m. – 11:14 a.m.:
Waiting for Armageddon
Kate Davis, David Heilbroner and Franco Sacchi, USA, 2008; 74m

11:30 a.m. – 12:42 p.m.:
The Return of Nathan Becker / Nosn Becker Fort Aheym
Boris Shpis and Rokhl M. Milman, USSR, 1932; 72m

Tuesday, Dec. 16
11:00 a.m. – 12:32 p.m.:
A Road to Mecca: The Journey of Muhammad Asad / Der Weg nach Mekka - Die Reise des Muhammad Asad
Georg Misch, Austria, 2008; 92m

Thursday, Dec. 18
10:00 a.m. – 11:31 a.m.:
Empty Nest / El nido vacío
Daniel Burman, Argentina/Spain/France/Italy, 2008; 91m

12:00 Noon – 1:24 p.m.:
The Wedding Song / Le chant des mariées
Karin Albou, France, 2008; 84m

Friday, Dec. 19
10:00 a.m. – 10:52 a.m.:
Darling! The Pieter-Dirk Uys Story
Julian Shaw, Australia, 2006; 52m

11:00 a.m. – 12:26 p.m.:
Two Lives Plus One / Deux vies... plus une
Idit Cebula, France, 2007; 86m

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New York NY 10128