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New York Jewish Film Festival 2012

January 11, 2012 - January 26, 2012

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The 21st annual New York Jewish Film Festival, a preeminent showcase for world cinema exploring the Jewish experience, is presented by The Jewish Museum and the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

2012 NYJFF Trailer

Venues

Walter Reade Theater: 165 West 65th Street
Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center: 144 West 65th Street
All screenings are at the Walter Reade Theater unless otherwise noted.
directions

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Tickets

Online
filmlinc.com
or follow the links below

In Person
Walter Reade Theater Box Office
165 W 65th Street, hours

Admission

$13 General Public
$9 Student, Senior & Child
$8 The Jewish Museum & Film Society Members
400 Miles to Freedom400 Miles to Freedom
World Premiere

Avishai Yeganyahu Mekonen & Shari Rothfarb Mekonen | USA/Israel | 2012 | 60m

Categories: Documentary, Israel

Buy Tickets: Wed Jan 11: 3:45pm
Buy Tickets: Wed Jan 18: 6:00pm

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.
DIRECTORS AVISHAI YEGANYAHU MEKONEN AND SHARI ROTHFARB MEKONEN WILL ATTEND.

Watch the trailer

preceded by
Panta RheiPanta Rhei
U.S. Premiere

Amos Holzman | Israel | 2010 | 20m

Categories: Israel, Short Film

A young Israeli has a meltdown during his army exam. A typical teenager, he is an attractive smart aleck with attitude.

Incessant Visions: Letters From An ArchitectIncessant Visions: Letters From An Architect
New York Premiere

Duki Dror | Israel | 2011 | 70m

Categories: Documentary, Germany, Israel

Buy Tickets: Tue Jan 24: 6:00pm
Buy Tickets: Wed Jan 25: 1:00pm

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.
DIRECTOR DUKI DROR WILL ATTEND.

Watch the trailer

The Lost Love DiariesThe Lost Love Diaries

Yasmine Novak | Israel | 2011 | 53m

Categories: Documentary, Holocaust, Israel, Romance

Buy Tickets: Mon Jan 16: 3:15pm
Buy Tickets: Wed Jan 18: 8:30pm

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.

Watch the trailer

preceded by
Iraq 'n' RollIraq 'n' Roll
New York Premiere

Gili Gaon | Israel | 2011 | 52m

Categories: Documentary, Israel

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 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.
DIRECTOR GILI GAON WILL ATTEND.

Mabul (The Flood)Mabul (The Flood)
New York Premiere
OPENING NIGHT
Guy Nattiv | Israel/Canada/France | 2010 | 101m

Categories: Drama, Israel

Buy Tickets: Wed Jan 11: 1:00pm
Buy Tickets: Wed Jan 11: 6:00pm
Buy Tickets: Wed Jan 11: 8:45pm

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 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).
ACTOR MICHAEL MOSHONOV WILL ATTEND.

Watch the trailer

preceded by
HowlHowl
U.S. Premiere

Natalie Bettelheim & Sharon Michaeli | Israel | 2011 | 7m

Categories: Animation, Israel, Short Film

An intriguing hand-drawn animated short featuring a “wild child” wolf girl and her loving mother.

My Father EvgeniMy Father Evgeni

Andrei Zagdansky | USA/Ukraine | 2010 | 77m

Categories: Documentary

Buy Tickets: Tue Jan 17: 9:00pm [at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center]
Buy Tickets: Wed Jan 18: 3:30pm

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.
DIRECTOR ANDREI ZAGDANSKY WILL ATTEND.

Watch the trailer

preceded by
Three PromisesThree Promises
World Premiere

Edward Serotta | Serbia/USA | 2011 | 19m

Categories: Documentary, Holocaust, Short Film

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.

My Song Goes Round The WorldMy Song Goes Round The World

Richard Oswald | England | 1933 | 85m

Categories: Classic, Drama, Romance

Buy Tickets: Sun Jan 22: 1:00pm
Buy Tickets: Wed Jan 25: 6:00pm

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.

The Silent HistorianThe Silent Historian
U.S. Premiere

Simonka de Jong | The Netherlands | 2011 | 55m

Categories: Documentary, Holocaust

Buy Tickets: Wed Jan 25: 3:00pm
Buy Tickets: Wed Jan 25: 8:30pm

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?
DIRECTOR SIMONKA DE JONG WILL ATTEND.

preceded by
Joann Sfar Draws From MemoryJoann Sfar Draws From Memory
World Premiere

Sam Ball | USA/France | 2012 | 46m

Categories: Documentary, France

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.
DIRECTOR SAM BALL AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER RABBI VALERIE JOSEPH WILL ATTEND.

TornTorn

Ronit Kertsner | Israel | 2011 | 72m

Categories: Documentary, Israel, Poland

Buy Tickets: Tue Jan 17: 6:00pm [at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center]
Buy Tickets: Wed Jan 18: 1:00pm

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
The Moon Is JewishThe Moon Is Jewish
New York Premiere

Michal Tkaczynski | Poland | 2011 | 45m

Categories: Documentary, Poland

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 Swietlicki, tells an extraordinary story of identity and belonging.

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.

Acknowledgements

Susan Barocas, Washington JFF; Natalia Babinski, Polish Cultural Institute, NY; Laurie Cearley, Olli Chanoff, Nadine Goellner, The Office; Nicola Galliner, Berlin JFF; Stuart Hands, Toronto JFF; J. Hoberman, The Village Voice; Andrew Ingall, Foundation for Jewish Culture; Annette Insdorf, Columbia University; Judy Ironside, UK Jewish Film; Aviva Kempner; Joshua Moore, Jay Rosenblatt, San Francisco JFF; Sharon Rivo, Lisa Rivo, National Center for Jewish Film; Sara L. Rubin, Boston JFF; Karen Small, Rutgers JFF; Alla Verlotsky, Seagull Films; Isaac Zablocki, The JCC in Manhattan; The Film Society of Lincoln Center staff; The Jewish Museum staff; Interns: Sophia Grais, Lyudmyla Bua; Volunteers: Marlene Josephs, Linda Lipson.