12th Annual San Diego Jewish Film Festival

All My Loved Ones

Inspired by the real-life experiences of English stockbroker, Nicholas Winton, who rescued 669 Czech children from the Holocaust in 1939, this warm and poignant film focuses on a happy Jewish family in pre-war Bohemia. The father is an eternal optimist who believes that honesty, decency, and tolerance will prevail in the face of the Nazi threat. As grim reality sets in, he sends his son, who is destined to be the family's sole survivor, on one of Winton's kindertransports to freedom.

Director: Matej Minac

Czech Republic, 1998; 35mm, 95 min., Color; Czech/Hebrew w/subtitles

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Blue And White In Red Square

Israeli-born filmmaker Elan Frank takes us behind the scenes as 1000 members of 11 youth philharmonic orchestras from around the world gathered in Moscow to perform together before a worldwide television audience in July 1998. Many of the young Israeli Philharmonic members were born in the former Soviet Union, and were returning to their birthplace for the first time.

Director: Elan Frank

USA, 2000; 16mm, 60 min., Color; English/Hebrew/Russian w/subtitles

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Brother Born Again

Filmmaker Julia Pimsleur and her brother Marc were raised by their widowed mother in a secular, Jewish, New York household. When Marc joined a fundamentalist Christian sect and moved to its remote Alaska compound, his sister and mother were stunned. After 10 years of estrangement, Julia took a film crew to Alaska and made this painful and intimate documentary of siblings reconnecting while facing a chasm of irreconcilable differences. Humor balances tension as the film explores family dynamics, sexual politics, and the search for spiritual meaning.

Director: Julia Pimsleur

USA, 2000; BETA, 76 min., Color; English

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Brownsville Black And White

This documentary, lovingly completed by Richard Broadman's supporters after his death in 2000, traces 60 years of Black/Jewish relations in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. Years of mutual political support and cooperation were shattered by the Ocean Hill Brownsville School Wars that destroyed the inter-ethnic coalition and pitted the minority community against a predominantly Jewish teachers' union. Today's reality finds members of the old Brownsville Boys Club holding a reunion, but in segregated black and white parts of the city.

Director: Richard Broadman

USA, 2000; 16mm, 88 min., B/W & Color; English

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Company Jasmine

Former IDF officer and now filmmaker Yael Katzir presents an in-depth look at a training course for female field officers. Five women were followed over their 17-week course, and many hundreds of hours of video were edited into this absorbing 55-minute documentary. In her diary, Katzir writes, "I was driven to make this film for the love of my country, my belief in young women, and my desire to document a very formative experience."

Director: Yael Katzir

"Never a dull moment… authentic… dynamic and complex film..will definitely provoke public discussion" - Nissim Dayan, Israeli film critic.

Israel, 2000; BETA, 56 min., Color; Hebrew w/subtitles

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Daring To Resist: Three Women Face The Holocaust

Renowned filmmaker Martha Lubell tells the story of three Jewish women from different countries who choose resistance -- against terrible odds -- during Hitler's reign of terror. In this gripping documentary, including home movies and never-before-published photographs, the Jewish women recall their separate lives as teenagers in occupied Holland, Hungary, and Poland. They were among the many who found unique ways of fighting back. Knowing they were marked for death, they shared an overriding conviction that surviving genocide was a form of moral superiority.

Directors: Martha Lubell & Barbara Attie

USA, 1999; BETA, 57 min., B/W & Color; English/Polish/Hungarian/Dutch w/subtitles

First Prize, Judah Magnes Museum of International Jewish Video Competition

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Gripsholm

Set in 1932, this beautifully-shot autobiographical film tells the story of pugnacious German writer Kurt Tucholsky as he tries to evade the growing political and legal pressure aimed against his pacifism. Together with his girlfriend Lydia, he retreats to Sweden's Gripsholm Castle. He finds distraction from the rise of Nazism at home by caring for a runaway child for the summer and sharing erotic adventures with Lydia and her friend Billie. Ultimately, his attempt to evade reality only leads to exile and isolation.

Director: Xavier Koller

Germany, 2000; 35mm, 102 min., Color; German w/subtitles; Adult Content

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In Search Of Peace Part One: 1948-1967

Michael Douglas narrates this absorbing documentary, which recounts the birth of Israel and the next twenty years of conflict and progress. Academy-Award winning producers Rabbi Marvin Hier and writer-director R~chard Trank (for The Long Way Home) see this film as the first in a trilogy. Produced by Moriah Films, a division of the Simon Weisenthal Center, the film focuses on Jewish history but also touches on the Palestinian experience. Edward Asner, Anne Bancroft, Richard Dreyfuss, and the late Isaac Stern contribute.

Director: Richard Trank

USA, 2000; 35mm, 105 min., B/W & Color; English

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Isa Kremer: The People's Diva

This fascinating documentary brings to life-through rare archival footage and photos as well as interviews-an almost forgotten artistic pioneer, the first woman to bring Yiddish songs to the world's concert stages. From her earliest years in pre-revolutionary Russia through an eventful life in Europe, the U.S., and South America, this portrait of a complex and passionate woman links a vanished past with a continuing artistic legacy.

Directors: Nina Baker Feinberg & Ted Schillinger

USA, 2000; BETA, 56 min., B/W & Color; English

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The Key From Spain: The Songs And Stories Of Flory Jagoda

When the Jews were expelled from Spain at the end of the 15th century, legend has it that they took with them the keys to their homes and synagogues, hoping that one day they would return. They never did, but their Spanish cultural heritage -- of which the keys were a symbol -- has remained in their lives forever. Sharing this heritage through story and song is Sephardic folk singer Flory Jagoda, who grew up on the outskirts of Sarajevo where she returned after the siege of 1992 to deliver a memorable performance.

Directors: Ankica Petrovic & Misha Livingstone

USA, 2000; BETA, 40 min., Color; English/Ladino w/subtitles

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The Komediant

At 15, Pesach Burstein ran away from his small Polish town to join a troupe of Jewish actors. In 1924, he arrived in New York where he became a star during the golden era of Yiddish theater. With his wife, actress Lillian Lux, and later their twins, Susan and Mike, the Bursteins performed around the world after emigrating to Israel after the Second World War. The film uses rare archival footage, clips from musicals, interviews, and home movies.

Director: Arnon Goldfinger

Israel, 1999; 16mm, 81 min., B/W & Color; English/Yiddish w/subtitles

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Louba's Ghosts

This film brilliantly explores female rivalry involving Louba, orphaned teenaged child of French Holocaust survivors, and Jeanie, her non-Jewish stepsister. When they both become attached to the same boy, love and betrayal follow. Years pass, the three meet again as young adults living in Paris. Brilliantly directed by Martine Dugowson (Mina Tannenbaum), this is a psychological thriller and a profound statement on the relationship of the individual to society, the weight of the past, and the cost of lies and silence.

Director: Martine Dugowson

France, 2000; 35mm, 107 min., Color; French w/subtitles

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Nicholas Winton: The Power Of Good

In this warm and inspiring film, director Matej Minac explores the life of Nicholas Winton, the man who inspired his award-winning film, All My Loved Ones. In 1938, as a young, single, stock exchange clerk, Winton traveled to Czechoslovakia and nearly single-handedly saved 669 Czech children from the Nazis by arranging kinderstransports to England. Narrated by well-known Canadian journalist Joe Schlesinger, this film uses archival footage and touching interviews with "Winton" survivors, to show us that one person can truly make a difference in the lives of others and potentially change the course of history.

Director: Matej Minac

USA, 2001; 35mm, 68 min., B/W & Color; English

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One Day In September

Winner of the 1999 Academy Award for Best Documentary, this is an absorbing depiction of the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes by Black September terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Michael Douglas narrates. Director Kevin MacDonald adds rock music, slow- motion, and even includes an interview with the sole surviving terrorist. Nothing is held back in this penetrating examination of what really happened and how the local authorities' ineptitude led to the final debacle at the airport.

Director: Kevin MacDonald

UK, 1999; 35mm, 91 min., Color; English

Winner, Best Documentary Features, Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, 2000

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One Of The Hollywood Ten

This powerful film stars Jeff Goldblum as Martin Biberman who, early in the Cold War, was cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to "name names" and recant his communist beliefs during hearings before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. As one of the Hollywood Ten, Biberman was jailed and forced out of the Directors' Guild. His wife, Academy Award-winning actress Gail Sondergaard, portrayed here by Greta Scacchi, was also blacklisted. Nevertheless, Biberman's 1953 film, Salt of the Earth, was among the first one hundred films preserved in the Library of Congress.

Director: Karl Francis

England/Spain, 2000; 35mm, 102 min., Color; English

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Promises

Reaching beyond the daily television images and sound bites, this ground-breaking documentary examines the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - and prospects for peace - by exploring the hearts and minds of Jerusalem's children. These seven youngsters are between the ages of 9-13, a group that has rarely had the opportunity to speak for itself. Less self-conscious and polite than teenagers and adults, they speak directly, and without self-censorship. Winner of numerous awards worldwide.

Director: B.Z. Goldberg

USA, 2000; 35mm, 106 min., Color; Hebrew/English w/subtitles

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Ruth And Connie: More Than A Love Story

The story begins in Brooklyn, NY, 1959. Two Jewish women, Ruth Berman and Connie Kurtz, both married with children, meet, become fast friends, and soon highly respected community organizers. Then, in 1974, the unexpected happens: They fall in love, leave their husbands, and begin a life together. This revealing documentary is primarily aimed at straight audiences, allowing them to understand their own homophobia as Ruth initially struggles with her own anti-gay feelings. Together now for over 25 years, well into retirement and grandmotherhood, Ruth and Connie continue their activism and their abiding love for each other within the Jewish community.

Director: Deborah Dickson

USA, 2001; 16mm, 64 min., Color; English

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Trembling Before G-d

Trembling Before G-d shatters all common assumptions about faith, sexuality and religious fundamentalism. Built around intimately-told stories of Gay and Lesbian Hassidic and other Orthodox Jews, the film, a global project shot over 5 years in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, London, Miami, and San Francisco, portrays the profound dilemma they face: how to reconcile their passionate love of Judaism and G-d with the unequivocal Biblical prohibition that forbids homosexuality.

Director: Sandi DuBowski

Israel/USA, 2000; 35mm, 94 min., Color; English/Hebrew/Yiddish w/subtitles

Winner, Teddy Award for Best Documentary, Berlin Film Festival, 2001

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A Trial In Prague

This documentary, from Emmy Award-winning director Zuzana Justman, captures the ambiguity of the political "show trials" in Communist Czechoslovakia in the early 1950s. Fourteen high-ranking members, including Rudolph Slansky. the former secretary-general of the Communist Party, were convicted of espionage and treason following their forced confessions. Eleven were Jews. Through archival material, including radio broadcasts, film clips from the trial, and interviews with survivors, we understand the paradox of a system in which true believers are transformed from zealots into victims.

Director: Zuzana Justman

USA/Czech Republic, 2000; 16mm, 82 min., B/W & Color; Czech/English w/subtitles

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Waiting For The Messiah

This semi-autobiographical drama by 27-year old Argentinian director Daniel Burman tells the story of Ariel, a young Buenos Aires Jew who sets out in search of something - he's not sure what-as an alternative to what he sees as a stifling, predictable future of Jewish club meetings, his father's kosher restaurant, family Shabbat dinners, and marrying "a nice Jewish girl." He finds a job at a TV station where he meets an exciting, non-Jewish women. Together they document the struggles of an unemployed bank clerk trying to eke out a living on the margins of Buenos Aires.

Director: Daniel Burman

Argentina/Italy/Spain, 2000; 35mm, 98 min., Color; Spanish w/subtitles; Adult Content

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Wanderings: A Journey To Connect

Award-winning Vancouver filmmaker Nikila Cole, joined by her 13-year-old daughter Sarah, set out to explore the remaining traces of 4.000 years of Jewish settlements throughout the diaspora as a means for them to reconnect with Judaism. Their extraordinary adventure takes them to continents and countries as diverse as Southeast Asia, Iceland, Spain, Holland, the Caribbean, and India. As this journey unfolds, mother and daughter find their own relationship transformed as they rediscover their past.

Director: Nikila Cole

Canada, 2001; BETA, 51 min., Color; English

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