2015-2016 Film Festival Lineup
November 18, 2015
Running Time: 50 minutes
Hosted by Alan Bell and his father, Aron (Bielski) Bell, the youngest Bielski Brother and last surviving brother of his generation.
The Bielskis were the only Jewish family in their tiny village of Stankevich, and while Jews in Belorussia were persecuted under tsarist rule, the family managed to maintain a successful mill. In June 1941, when Nazi Germany invaded its former ally the Soviet Union, conditions for Jews worsened immediately. Jewish ghettos were established in the nearby cities of Novogrudek and Lida, which early in the war were the sites of several mass killings of Jews. Nazis combed the countryside, and the Bielski parents and two siblings were taken to their deaths. As the gravity of the situation dawned on them, three Bielski brothers, Tuvia, Asael and Zus, who had been finding shelter with sympathetic gentiles, decided that their only hope for survival lay in the dense surrounding forests that they knew so well. Once they gathered their remaining relatives, the brothers, under Tuvias leadership, staged daring rescues in Novogrudek and Lida in an effort to bring as many Jews as possible to the forest with them. While they procured weapons and supplies to kill enemy soldiers and sabotage their operations, the Bielskis priority was the preservation of their people.
December 16, 2015
Running Time: 86 minutes
Hosted by Barrie Brett
This heartfelt drama follows the story of a family drawn into crisis after the parents discover their child is secretly a cross-dresser and kick him out of the house. Years later, when the father is dying of cancer, the mother hires a private detective to track him down. Instead of the son they remember, the detective finds a woman who earns her pay dancing at gay cabarets. Will the daughter now manage to overcome the past and forgive her parents? Will the parents be able to adapt to their new daughter?For the first time in the history of Israeli cinema, a feature film dealing with parents coping with their transgendered child. “Melting Away” was conceived after the brutal murder at the Tel Aviv LGBT Youth Center and the deep shock felt by Doron Eran, director, and his partner, screenwriter Bili Ben Moshe, after hearing of parents refusing to visit their injured kids at the hospital.
January 13, 2016
Running Time: 90 minutes
Hosted by Rabbi Robert Silvers
The 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann held in an Israeli courtroom and broadcast around the globe, was a benchmark event in the historiography of the Holocaust, especially in Israel where the trial proved a watershed experience for survivors and citizens of the new Jewish state. Employing new video and broadcast technologies, the trial was also a milestone in media and journalism coverage.This absorbing, comprehensive documentary features detailed accounts of Eichmann’s capture, the drama in the courtroom and behind the scenes, and reactions to the trial from around the world.
February 10, 2016
Running Time: 80 minutes
Hosted by Matt Weisbaum, Producer of the film and Managing Director of Jerusalem U.
Beneath the Helmet: From High School to the Home Front is a coming-of-age story which follows the journey of five Israeli high school graduates who are drafted into the army to defend their country. At the age of 18, away from their homes, families and friends these young individuals undergo a demanding, inspiring journey, revealing the core of who they are and who they want to be. From the creators of the PBS-featured documentary film Israel Inside: How a Small Nation Makes a Big Difference, Beneath the Helmet illustrates how these young men and women are defending not only their homes, but also the values of peace, equality, opportunity, democracy, religious tolerance and women’s rights. The lessons they learn along the way are lessons that can be appreciated, understood and internalized by the film’s main target audience.
March 16, 2016
Running Time: 90 minutes
Hosted by Rabbi Marci Bloch
Fill the Void tells the story of an Orthodox Hassidic family from Tel Aviv. Eighteen-year-old Shira is the youngest daughter of the family. She is about to be married off to a promising young man of the same age and background. It is a dream-come-true, and Shira feels prepared and excited. On Purim, her twenty-eight-year-old sister, Esther, dies while giving birth to her first child. The pain and grief that overwhelm the family postpone Shira’s promised match. Everything changes when an offer is proposed to match Yochay -the late Esther‘s husband-to a widow from Belgium. Yochay feels it‘s too early, although he realizes that sooner or later he must seriously consider getting married again.When the girls’ mother finds out that Yochay may leave the country with her only grandchild, she proposes a match between Shira and the widower. Shira will have to choose between her heart’s wish and her family duty.
April 13, 2016
No cost-special event, registration is required
In 1939, Waitstill and Martha Sharp left behind the safety of their home in Wellesley, Massachusetts and flew to war-torn Europe. In Nazi-occupied Prague and Paris, in the grim detention camps of Vichy France and on hidden trails through the Pyrénées, they risked their lives to help feed, shelter, and rescue thousands of refugees, including anti-Nazi dissidents and Jews.Through moving film clips and an interactive discussion, join Rabbi Robert Silvers, Artemis Joukowsky, the grandson of the Sharps, and a panel of United States Holocaust Memorial Museum experts as we explore questions such as: Why did this Unitarian minister and his social worker wife undertake such a demanding mission? How did they help those in need, and what are their legacies today?
May 4, 2016
Running Time: 85 minutes
Hosted by Rabbi Marci Bloch
Defiant Requiem, a feature-length documentary film,highlights the most dramatic example of intellectual and artistic courage in the Theresienstadt (Terezín) Concentration Camp during World War II: the remarkable story of Rafael Schächter, a brilliant, young Czech conductor who was arrested and sent to Terezín in 1941. He demonstrated moral leadership under the most brutal circumstances, determined to sustain courage and hope for his fellow prisoners by enriching their souls through great music. His most extraordinary act was to recruit 150 prisoners and teach them Verdi’s Requiem by rote in a dank cellar using a single score, over multiple rehearsals, and after grueling days of forced labor.