2011 WJFF GUIDE TO FILMS
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36 RIGHTEOUS MEN 
Argentina, 2010, documentary, 67 minutes, English and Spanish with English subtitles,
Director: Daniel Burman


Every year, a group of Orthodox Jewish friends from Argentina journeys 2,500 miles to Russia, Ukraine and Poland to visit the graves of the 36 righteous men, the Tzadikim, who are said to live on earth to do good anonymously in each generation. Joining the group one August...  More information and tickets    

 

THE 36 
USA, 2011, short,
7 minutes, English, Director: Nic Weinfeld

Spring, 1945. When a young Jewish girl is attacked outside her window, an old Polish woman is given the opportunity to do nothing…or the right thing. The filmmaker, 16 years old at the time he made the film, explores the Jewish concept of Lamed vav Zaddkim, that there are 36 people placed on earth in each generation to do what is right and good...More information and tickets
 
BETWEEN TWO WORLDS
USA, 2011, documentary, 70 minutes, English, Directors: Deborah Kaufman and Alan Snitow

Filmed in the US and Israel, this first-person documentary begins with a near riot over the screening of a particular film at the 2009 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. It reveals the agonizing battle over divestment from Israel on a university campus and shows... More information and tickets               
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BOTH SIDES OF THE CAMERA:
IN CONVERSATION ABOUT WHO SHOT MY FATHER? THE STORY OF JOE ALON
 

More than 30 years after Joe Alon, Air Force Attaché at the Embassy of Israel, was murdered on the lawn of his Chevy Chase home, his daughters try to uncover the secrets behind his unsolved murder.  What was it like for the daughters to have their courageous...More Information and tickets

 
 
BREATH MADE VISIBLE
USA/Switzerland, 2009, documentary, 80 minutes, English, Director: Ruedi Gerber

For seven decades, American dance icon Anna Halprin has been at the forefront of a new era of experimentation in theater, music and performance art. Halprin’s belief in the power of dance to teach, heal and transform has helped to redefine the role of modern art. Beautiful dance ...More Information and tickets 
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DAVID
USA, 2011, feature, 80 minutes, English, Director: Joel Fendelman

As the son of the Imam of a Brooklyn mosque, 11 year-old Daud has to juggle the high expectations of his father with his own feelings of isolation and his struggle to fit in in his own family, community and the wider world. An innocent act of good faith leads Daud to inadvertently...More information and tickets
 
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DOLPHIN BOY
Israel, 2011, documentary, 72 minutes, Arabic, French and Hebrew with English subtitles,
Director: Dani Menkin and Yonatan Nir

Morad, a teenage boy from an Arab village in northern Israel, is brutally beaten by some of his classmates. He suffers from severe post-traumatic shock, unable to talk and disconnecting himself from the world around him. When doctors tell Morad’s devoted father that dolphin–assisted ...More information and tickets
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EICHMANN'S END: LOVE, BETRAYAL, DEATH
Germany/Israel, 2010, docu-drama, 90 minutes, German, Hebrew and Spanish with English subtitles, Director: Raymond Ley
 

Two years after the end of WWII, Adolph Eichmann lived undetected as a chicken farmer in northern Germany. Then he disappeared. This unknown story of finding Eichmann in Argentina is actually a love story between Silvia, a Jewish girl, and Eichmann’s son. 
When Silvia’s blind... More information and tickets
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  AN ENCOUNTER WITH SIMONE WEIL
USA/Italy/Sweden, 2010, documentary, 85 minutes, English, French with English subtitles,
Director: Julia Haslett


French philosopher, teacher and activist Simone Weil fought in the Spanish Civil War, debated Trotsky and was part of the French Resistance.  Weil spent her short life advocating for the disenfranchised...More information and tickets
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  ESTHER AND ME
USA, 2010, short, 32 minutes, English, Director: Lisa Geduldig

Esther Weintraub is a funny, feisty, politically-minded former model and stand-up comedian who comes back to life when a spring chicken in her 40s--lesbian comedian Geduldig--befriends her...More information and tickets
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  FIREFLIES 
Israel, 2009, documentary, 82 minutes, English and Hebrew with English subtitles,
Director: Gili Meisler


This is a story of two brothers: Giora, the most talked about MIA of the Yom Kippur War, and Gili, the one who has been searching for Giora and himself ever since. As a 12-year-old boy, Gili must deal...More information and tickets
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I SHOT MY LOVE 
Israel, 2010, documentary, 56 minutes, German and Hebrew with English subtitles, Director: Tomer Heymann

Seventy years after his grandfather escaped from Nazi Germany to Palestine, Israeli director Tomer Heymann returns to the country of his ancestors to present a film at the Berlin International Film Festival. There he meets a man who will change his life. A 48-hour love affair...
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  IN ANOTHER LIFETIME 
Austria, 2010, feature, 94 minutes, German with English subtitles, Director: Elisabeth Scharang

Near the end of WWII, 20 Hungarian Jews walk wearily through the countryside, en route to a death camp under the watchful eyes of their somewhat reluctant Nazi keepers. A young SS officer casually shoots a captive and locks the remaining 19 Jews in a barn. Hoping to... More information and tickets
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  IN CONVERSATION ABOUT "JEWISH FILM I WOMEN FILMMAKERS"

Join filmmakers Anna Justice, Aviva Kempner and Nina Shapiro-Perl in a lively discussion of women behind the camera. Is there such a thing as a “women’s touch” that differentiates these films from those made by their male counterparts? What draws female filmmakers to Jewish stories and are women in any way uniquely able to investigate or reflect certain parts of those stories?  Moderated by Susan Barocas, WJFF director and a documentary filmmaker...More information and tickets
 

IN CONVERSATION WITH FILMMAKER BEVERLY SIEGEL

Join us for a wide-ranging conversation with filmmaker, writer and public relations pro Beverly Siegel, covering everything from trends in successful exhibition of Jewish film--she co-founded and co-directed Chicago’s Jewish Film Foundation--to the challenges she faced making her documentary, Women Unchained. The program will include...More information and tickets

IN CONVERSATION WITH FILMMAKER BRITTA WAUER

Wauer is building a career as a director/producer focused on history, current affairs and biographies. What is the responsibility of the documentary filmmaker when presenting historical topics, especially those focused on contemporary history? Join the filmmaker in a discussion about the role of the filmmaker as historian and other topics...More information and tickets

IN CONVERATION WITH FILMMAKERS DEBORAH KAUFMAN AND ALAN SNITOW

Deborah Kaufman and Alan Snitow are dedicated to producing film, video and educational media on social issues including race relations, environmental issues, the internet revolution and globalization. In their latest film, Between Two Worlds, they take on current divisions in identity and politics in the American Jewish community.
The program will include...More information and tickets

 

IN HEAVEN UNDERGROUND
Germany, 2011, documentary, 90 minutes, German, Russian and English with English subtitles, Director: Britta Wauer

As hard as it may be to believe, this is an enchanting, uplifting film about a cemetery. Not just any cemetery, but the largest active Jewish burial ground in Europe, 100 acres of splendid wooded...More information and tickets
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INCESSANT VISIONS—LETTERS FROM AN ARCHITECT
Israel, 2011, documentary, 70 minutes, German and Hebrew with English subtitles, Director: Duki Dror

German Jewish architect Erich Mendelsohn was a visionary who created striking buildings that even today seem to pulse with energy. Fleeing the Nazis, he arrived in London’s Victoria Station...More information and tickets
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  JE T'AIME, I LOVE YOU TERMINAL 
Israel/Czech Republic, 2010, feature, 80 minutes, English and Hebrew with English subtitles, Director: Dani Menkin

Ben, a 29-year-old Israeli, can never make up his mind. Talk about commitment phobia!  He finally gets himself on the plane to New York to begin a new life with his girlfriend only to meet the charming...More information and tickets
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KADDISH FOR A FRIEND 
Germany, 2011, feature, 94 minutes, Arabic and German with English subtitles
Director: Leo Khasin

Growing up in a Palestinian refugee camp, 14-year-old Ali (Neil Belakhdar) learned to hate Jews at an early age. After he and his family escape to a new life in Berlin, Ali longs to be accepted
...
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  THE KISSINGER SAGA: WALTER AND HENRY KISSINGER, TWO BROTHERS FROM FUERTH
Germany, 2008, documentary, 87 minutes, English and German with English subtitles,
Director: Evi Kurz


“I never give interviews about my personal life” Henry Kissinger told the filmmaker in 2003. Eventually she changed his mind and the result is this surprisingly revealing story...More information and tickets

LENIN IN OCTOBER 
Israel, 2010, feature, 50 minutes, English and Hebrew with English subtitles,
Director: Evgeny Ruman


Grisha is a chef with his own very unique ideas about food. He has almost given up on his dream of opening a restaurant when a rich uncle in Russia dies and leaves all of his money to his beloved nephew..More information and tickets
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LETTERS HOME
USA
, 2010, experimental short, 9 minutes, English, Director: Melissa Hacker

Freda left her home in Austria in 1925 to start a new life in America. As a member of the American Army’s Women’s Army Corps, she traveled through Europe immediately after WWII, returning to Germany and Austria. Hacker uses her great-aunt’s letters...More information and tickets  
LIA  
Israel, 2011, documentary, 65 minutes, Hebrew with English subtitles, Director: Taly Goldenberg
 

Lia van Leer has led a remarkable life. Born in 1924 in what is now Moldavia, her parents sent her to live in Israel, where she survived the war, but never saw them again. This compelling portrait traces van Leer’s life and passion for cinema beginning in the 1950s when she and her husband Wim founded several film clubs...More information and tickets
  THE LIFE AND TIMES OF HANK GREENBERG
USA, 1999, 35mm, documentary, 95 minutes, English, Director: Aviva Kempner

On the eve of Hitler’s rise to power in Europe, America embraced its first Jewish sports superstar. Known as “The Hammerin’ Hebrew,” Hank Greenberg transcended religious prejudice to take baseball by storm and become one of the greatest batters in history...More information and tickets 
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  LOVE DURING WARTIME
Sweden, 2010, documentary, 92 minutes,
Hebrew, Arabic, German and English with English subtitles, Director: Gabriella Bier


Jasmin and Assi are newlyweds, but building a life together seems impossible for the Jewish dancer and Muslim artist in this tender, honest Romeo and Juliet story drawn from today’s headlines... More information and tickets
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MABUL
Israel/Canada/Germany/France, 2010, feature, 101 minutes, Hebrew with English subtitles

Yoni’s life is complicated. He's almost 13 and obsessed with becoming bigger, taller and stronger. His classmates bully him every chance they get, and his parents barely say a word to each other. When his autistic brother, Tomer, locked away for years in an institution, returns to live at home with them right before Yoni’s Bar Mitzvah...More information and tickets


 

MAHLER ON THE COUCH
Austria/Germany, 2010, feature, 100 minutes, German with English subtitles,
Directors: Percy Adlon and Felix Adlon


The great composer Gustav Mahler (Johannes Silberschneider) has problems. His beloved, headstrong wife Alma (Barbara Romaner) is having an affair with the young architect Walter Gropius. Tormented...More information and tickets
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THE MOON IS JEWISH
Poland, 2011, documentary, 45 minutes, Polish with English subtitles, Director: Michal Tkaczynski

PaweĊ‚, a former skinhead, built his identity on soccer and hatred, brawling with fans of the opposite teams and bullying minorities. His life suddenly changes when his wife discovers Pawel’s Jewish ancestry which ignites a fierce identity struggle. Eventually he transforms both physically and spiritually becoming an Orthodox Jew. The film title...More information and tickets
 

MY AUSTRALIA
Israel/Poland, 2011, feature, 100 minutes, Polish and Hebrew with English subtitles,
Director: Ami Drozd

Young Tadek and his brother are growing up fatherless, streetwise and Catholic in mid-1960s Poland. They spend their days in a neo-Nazi gang that beats up Jews for fun. When they are arrested, their mother, secretly a Holocaust survivor, reveals to the boys that they are, in fact, Jewish and moving to Australia, the country of Tadek’s dreams...More information and tickets

 

MY CHAMPION
Israel, 2010, documentary, 50 minutes, English and Hebrew with English subtitles,
Director: Ari Davidovich       

Merhav Mohar wants to make it big. With a one-way plane ticket, he heads to the US to realize his dream of becoming the world boxing champion. The film follows this golden boy of Israeli from his first...More information and tickets 
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MY MOTHER WAS A COAST GUARD SPAR
USA, 2010, short, 8 minutes, English, Director: Marilyn Johnston

The SPARS (Semper Paratus, Always Ready) were Coast Guard Women Reservists recruited during WWII so that men could go to war. One of the initial twelve recruits, the filmmaker’s mother remembers the experience including discriminatory policies of the time...More information and tickets

 

MY SWEET CANARY
Israel/Greece/France, 2011, documentary, 90 minutes, English, Greek, Turkish, Ladino and Hebrew with English subtitles, Director: Roy Sher

Roza Eskenazi sang the way she lived with passion, fire and love. At one time, her posters were displayed in every gramophone store. Three contemporary musicians embark on an exciting journey to...More information and tickets
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OMER 5769
USA, 2010, documentary, 10 minutes, English, Director: Jonathan Skurnik and Doni Silver Simons

This film offers an intimate and compelling portrait of an artistic process that has profound cultural and social relevance beyond its religious underpinnings. The work by Doni Silver Simons creates a meditation on art, change and the temporary nature of things often considered...  More information and tickets

ORDERS OF LOVE

UK, 2004, experimental documentary, 10 minutes, English, Director: Jes Benstock

 Armed with a camera, humor and a warm heart, Benstock (The Holocaust Tourist) explores his family history of murder, migration, suicide and survival in an attempt to free his young son from his family’s complex legacy. Poignant and funny, this documentary brings to light some simple but elusive truths about love in troubled families...More information and tickets

 
PARTISANS OF VILNA
USA, 1986, 35mm, documentary, 130 minutes, English, Yiddish and Hebrew with English subtitles, Director: Josh Waletzky, Producer: Aviva Kempner

Their motto was, "We will not allow them to take us like beasts to the slaughter." This riveting tale of the Vilna Ghetto’s Jewish armed resistance explores the struggle to organize under anarchic conditions, and the successes and failures of the movement...   More information and tickets
 
REMEMBRANCE
Germany/Poland/US, 2011, feature, 105 minutes, English,
German and Polish with English subtitles, Director: Anna Justice


Inspired by actual events, this is a film about courage, survival, loss and love. A remarkable love story blossomed in 1944 in the middle of the terror of a German concentration camp in Poland. Hannah and...More information and tickets
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THE RESCUERS
USA, 2011, documentary, 94 minutes, English, Director: Michael King

In the 20th Century, over 100 million people died in genocides. This alternately heart-wrenching and heart-warming film traces the emotional journey of Stephanie Nyombayire, a young Rwandan anti-genocide activist who lost 100 members of her family in her country’s 1994 genocide. Traveling across 15 countries and three continents, Nyombayire...More information and tickets
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RESTORATION
Israel, 2011, feature, 105 minutes, Hebrew with English subtitles, Director: Joseph Madmony

Seventy year-old Yaakov Fidelman (Sasson Gabai, The Band's Visit) has spent his life restoring antique furniture, but repairing the relationships in his life is far more difficult. After his long-time business partner passes away, Fidelman believes that with the help of his mysterious...More information and tickets
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REUNITING THE RUBINS
UK, 2011, feature, 97 minutes, English, Director: Yoav Factor

Lenny Rubins (Timothy Spall) is an uptight lawyer finally beginning to relax on a much-needed retirement cruise when his ailing mother (Honor Blackman) emotionally blackmails him into a reunion with his estranged children. They may be peas from the same pod, but in Lenny’s...More information and tickets 
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 Work in Progress
THE ROSENWALD SCHOOLS

USA, documentary, English, Director: Aviva Kempner

Early in the 20th Century, philanthropist Julius Rosenwald partnered with Booker T. Washington to build 5,300 schools for rural African American communities in the South at a time when few African Americans received any public education. Born in Springfield, Illinois, Rosenwald was the son of German Jewish immigrants who rose to become...More information and tickets

 
 
SALSA TEL AVIV 
Israel, 2011, feature, 100 minutes, Spanish and Hebrew with English subtitles,
Director: Jorge Weller

Vicki, a Mexican salsa dancer and poor single mom, leaves her young son at home with her mother and flies to Israel dressed as a nun in order to sneak into the country. She plans to find work and is also following Beto, her boyfriend and the father of her child. On the plane, she ...More information and tickets
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SINGING IN THE DARK
USA, 1956/2011, feature, 86 minutes, English, Director: Max Nosseck

Leo, a Jewish war refugee suffering from amnesia, makes his way to America where he falls under the influence of Joey, a two-bit comedian. While intoxicated, Leo discovers that he can sing and becomes an overnight sensation at Luli’s Gyspy Paradise.  Suddenly...More information and tickets
 
 
STANDING SILENT
USA, 2010, documentary, 81 minutes, English, Directors: Scott Rosenfeld and Malachi Leopold

When Phil Jacobs, then editor of the Baltimore Jewish Times, (and now editor of the Washington Jewish Week), found what he believed to be clear evidence of sexual abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community, he began writing and publishing a series of articles. Fear had ...More information and tickets
 
 
TACKLING PEACE
Australia, 2009, documentary, 55 minutes, Hebrew, Arabic and English with English subtitles, Director: Marc Radomsky

It began as a crazy dream of Tanya Oziel, an Australian mum passionate for Australian football and Middle East peace.  This dynamic woman inspires a rag-tag group of Israeli and Palestinian men...More information and tickets
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THROUGH THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE
THE ART OF ESTHER NISENTHAL KRINITZ
USA, 2011, documentary, 30 minutes, English, Director: Nina Shapiro-Perl

Esther was determined to share childhood memories of family, loss and Holocaust survival in Poland with her children and grandchildren. But it is the way she told her story—through 36 panels of fabric collage and embroidery—that makes it all the more...More information and tickets
 
WHO SHOT MY FATHER? THE STORY OF JOE ALON
Israel, 2011, documentary, 71 minutes, English and Hebrew with English subtitles,
Director: Liora Amir Barmatz

In 1973, Colonel Joe Alon, the Israeli Air Force Attaché at the Embassy of Israel, returned home from a party with his wife and was shot and killed in front of his Chevy Chase home while his daughters slept inside. More than 30 years later, this is still a story of international... More information and tickets

 
WOMEN UNCHAINED
USA, 2011, documentary, 60 minutes, English, Director: Beverly Siegel

The struggles of six women to obtain a “get,” a Jewish divorce, are chronicled in this wry, informative primer on agunot, women trapped in dead marriages to spouses who refuse to grant them a religious divorce. Some of these women use expensive, risky and even outrageous...More information and tickets
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WUNDERKINDER
Germany, 2011, feature, 100 minutes, German with English subtitles,
Director: Marcus O. Rosenmüller

Living in Ukraine, in 1941, three exceptionally talented children develop deep friendships that overcome their different religions, nationalities and social classes. Together, their world is one of curiosity, joy and talent. But when the Nazis invade the Soviet Union...More information and tickets  

YIZKOR
USA, 2010, short, 23 minutes, English, Director: Ruth Fertig

Ruth’s grandmother never talked about the Holocaust. But after her death, the filmmaker discovers her grandmother’s memoir. Using animation, home movies, historic footage and super8 film, Fertig lovingly breathes life into her grandmother’s story of survival, resignation and...More information and tickets
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YOO-HOO, MRS. GOLDBERG
USA, 2009, documentary, 92 minutes, English, Director: Aviva Kempner

Kempner presents a gift to her audience with this loving portrait of Gertrude Berg, an American Jewish heroine who pioneered the family-based sitcom format that has proven to be television's most durable genre.  Most surprisingly, she accomplished this by presenting America...More information and tickets
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