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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
Documentary: 18 film(s)
100 Voices: A Journey Home100 Voices: A Journey Home

Danny Gold & Matthew Asner | USA | 2010 | 91m

Categories: Documentary, Poland

Buy Tickets: Thu Jan 19: 1:00pm
Buy Tickets: Thu Jan 19: 6:00pm

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.
DIRECTOR DANNY GOLD, FILM SUBJECT CANTOR NATE LAM, AND PRODUCER MICHAEL LAM WILL ATTEND.

Watch the trailer

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.

Deaf JamDeaf Jam
New York City Premiere

Judy Lieff | USA | 2011 | 70m

Categories: Documentary

Buy Tickets: Tue Jan 17: 1:00pm
Buy Tickets: Thu Jan 19: 8:30pm

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.
DIRECTOR JUDY LIEFF AND FILM SUBJECTS ANETA BRODSKI AND TAHANI SALAH WILL ATTEND. CO-PRODUCER STEVE ZEITLIN WILL ATTEND JAN 17 SCREENING. BOB HOLMAN, FOUNDER OF THE BOWERY POETRY CLUB, WILL ATTEND JAN 19 SCREENING.
Both Q&A sessions will be sign language interpreted.

Watch the trailer

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.
DIRECTORS STEVEN FISCHLER AND JOEL SUCHER WILL ATTEND.

Watch the trailer

preceded by
OrbitOrbit
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.

Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu StoryFollow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story
World Premiere

Jonathan Gruber & Ari Daniel Pinchot | USA | 2012 | 80m

Categories: Documentary, Israel

Buy Tickets: Thu Jan 12: 8:15pm
Buy Tickets: Mon Jan 23: 6:00pm

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.
CO-DIRECTORS JONATHAN GRUBER AND ARI DANIEL PINCHOT WILL ATTEND JAN 12 SCREENING. PINCHOT WILL ALSO ATTEND JAN 23 SCREENING WITH EXECUTIVE PRODUCER MARK MANSON.

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.

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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.

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.

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.
DIRECTOR TOMER HEYMANN WILL ATTEND.

Watch the trailer

preceded by
GrandmothersGrandmothers
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.

Shoah: The Unseen InterviewsShoah: The Unseen Interviews
New York Premiere

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum | USA | 2011 | 55m

Categories: Classic, Documentary, Israel

Buy Tickets: Sun Jan 15: 3:30pm

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 U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, will discuss the painstaking process of preserving the 16mm film and editing these segments for viewing.

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.

Welcome to Kutsher's: The Last Catskills ResortWelcome to Kutsher's: The Last Catskills Resort
World Premiere
CLOSING NIGHT
Caroline Laskow & Ian Rosenberg | USA | 2012 | 73m

Categories: Documentary

Buy Tickets: Thu Jan 26: 3:45pm
Buy Tickets: Thu Jan 26: 8:30pm

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.
DIRECTORS CAROLINE LASKOW AND IAN ROSENBERG WILL ATTEND.

Watch the trailer

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.
DIRECTOR JOEL KATZ AND COMPOSER AND MUSICIAN DON BYRON WILL ATTEND.

Watch the trailer

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.

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.