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New York Jewish Film Festival 2012

January 11, 2012 - January 26, 2012

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


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.

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


$13 General Public
$9 Student, Senior & Child
$8 The Jewish Museum & Film Society Members
Short Film: 6 film(s)
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.

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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.

Dressing America: Tales From The Garment CenterDressing America: Tales From The Garment Center
New York Premiere

Steven Fischler & Joel Sucher | USA | 2011 | 57m

Categories: Documentary

Buy Tickets: Mon Jan 16: 1:00pm
Buy Tickets: Tue Jan 24: 8:15pm

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.

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preceded by
New York Premiere

Jessica Dorfman | USA | 2011 | 19m

Categories: Romance, Short Film

In this short drama, a young girl ponders her place and develops a crush on a waiter at her father’s second wedding.

Mabul (The Flood)Mabul (The Flood)
New York Premiere
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).

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preceded by
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.

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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.

The Queen Has No CrownThe Queen Has No Crown

Tomer Heymann | Israel | 2011 | 82m

Categories: Documentary, Israel

Buy Tickets: Sun Jan 22: 8:30pm
Buy Tickets: Mon Jan 23: 3:30pm

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.

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preceded by
New York Premiere

Michael Wahrmann | Brazil | 2009 | 12m

Categories: Short Film

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.

White: A Memoir in ColorWhite: A Memoir in Color
World Premiere

Joel Katz | USA | 2012 | 59m

Categories: Documentary

Buy Tickets: Thu Jan 12: 1:30pm
Buy Tickets: Thu Jan 12: 6:00pm

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.

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preceded by
Letters HomeLetters Home
Melissa Hacker | USA | 2010 | 9m

Categories: Germany, Holocaust, Short Film

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.

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.


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.