Be a part of the second annual international, stand-alone Jewish short film festival. After many years as a successful single day event, the Joyce Forum has blossomed into its own two-day festival offering 32 imagination-stretching films from across the globe and from almost every cinematic genre: documentary, drama, comedy, animation, and more. With over 130 submissions from 21 different countries, the expansion of the Joyce Forum Jewish Short Film Festival was a given. This two-day festival will include Q&As and discussions with renowned filmmakers and other special guests.

General Admission Seating

Tickets per program: $16.25 | JCC Members: $14.25 | Student with Valid ID: $10 

Festival Pass: $65

In partnership with the Murray Galinson San Diego-Israel Initiative and the Jerusalem Film Workshop. 



Program 1 | Saturday, September 21, 8 PM

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Beneath the Ink

In a time when society's belief systems are seemingly changing, or even reverting in time, one Ohio tattoo artist Billy Joe White is challenging his community by saying: "bring me your mistakes". Beneath the Ink is a timely look at hate and racism in the western foothills of the Appalachian region that reveals heartfelt stories of change and redemption.

Cy Dodson | Documentary | USA | 2018 | English

*Q&A to follow with filmmaker Cy Dodson

Black Hat

At first blush, Shmuel is a pious Hasidic man leading a fairly simple life. By day he dutifully prays at the local synagogue and manages a busy dry cleaner. But when his wife and daughters leave town for a few days, Shmuel will step out of his simple daily life and into a more complex world lit by the night. When he misplaces his black hat along the way, Shmuel’s two lives will interconnect in a way he never expected.

Sarah Smith | Narrative | USA | 2018| English


Lost and Found

A young boy gets lost in a busy shopping mall, foreshadowing the story of his falling as a soldier in the Israel-Lebanon War of 1982.

Shimon Engel and Ofer Winter | Animation| Israel |2019 | Hebrew |Subtitled


I Have a Message For You

On April 4th 1943, a young woman finds herself on a train. A decision she makes that day saves her life, but leaves a huge burden on her conscience. Until 20 years later, she meets a stranger with a message for her. “I Have a Message For You” is an Emmy-nominated short doc which blends animation, archive and a powerful interview with Klara Prowizor, 92, to tell a story of love, loss, redemption and catharsis.

Matan Rochlitz | Narrative | Belgium, Israel | 2017| French | Subtitled



Artist, fugitive, trailblazer…the incredible true story of Lily Renée, who escaped Nazi-occupied Vienna as a teenager, and went on to become one of the true pioneers during the Golden Age of comics.

Adrienne Gruben | Documentary |USA | 2019 | English


Master of York

A medieval-era comedy that celebrates the lives of a vibrant, but long-forgotten, Jewish community in Britain, with a mischievous tale about what it is that makes us all human.

In 12th century York, Rav Menachem is a dedicated Rabbi and Master of the Law, whose life of study is wrecked when his brother dies. Menachem is obliged by the Law to marry Chana, his brother’s widow, and to meet her sexual needs - a task that plays havoc with his studies. Anxious to get his scholar’s life back, he turns to his knowledge of ancient Jewish magic, and fashions a Golem - a man of clay, who can be animated and reanimated to satisfy his wife’s desires. But Gideon the Golem turns out to be useful in other ways too and soon the servant supplants the master...

Kieron Quirke | Narrative | UK | 2018 | English


Program 2 | Sunday September 22, 10:30 AM

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Margaret Singer: Seeking Light

Born and raised in Frankfurt, Germany, at the age of 17, tragedy and turbulence flung Margaret Singer far from her roots. With courage and purpose, she bent darkness into light utilizing her gifts as an artist and a poet and her innate sense of truth and joy. Following her own compass, Margaret broke every mold of expectation for a woman, an immigrant and a refugee. She has created a body of work that will inspire generations. The art, wisdom and journey of 97-year-old Margaret Singer is celebrated in the film Margaret Singer: Seeking Light.

Louise Palanker | Documentary | USA | 2019 |English

*Q&A to follow with Director Louise Palanker and Producer Jennie Reinish



When a young Hasidic man turns to the study of Kabbalah and Quantum mechanics, his pious young wife doesn't understand why there are suddenly so many unorthodox books in their cramped Stamford Hill flat. What is he trying to tell her? As he increasingly doubts his own identity, his gender and the nature of being, their conflict grows - with irreparable and shocking consequences.

Joëlle Bentolila | Narrative | UK | English, Yiddish



An elderly Kindertransport survivor revisits the scene of his first love. After all these years, it's time to say goodbye.

Kinder is a poignant story about a Kindertransport boy now in his eighties. Soon after his arrival in England as a fifteen-year-old boy, Ralf Newman buried his Jewish identity in Bournemouth and then left the South Coast nursing a broken heart. This story follows him back to the seaside town where he is compelled to dig up his roots. Beneath this simple tale of lost love is a universal story of memory and identity.

Krysten Resnick | Narrative| UK | 2017| English



An 85 year old Holocaust survivor named Janine and a young American rapper named Kapoo collaborate to deliver a Hip Hop message to the youth of the world. A poignant and uniquely challenging fusion of prose, music and rap. For the first time, one of the world's darkest stories is told in an entirely new way.

Malcom Green | Documentary, Experimental, Music Video | UK | 2018 | English


Absolutely No Spitting

“So, you know how I told you to never spit? And that you’re not allowed to spit and you shouldn’t spit? SO... I need you to spit...” And thus begins a very quirky, sometimes self-deprecating, and always heymish spit-driven DNA-journey-turned-love-letter between Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Judith Helfand, a fifty-something new old mom, and her much beloved and very spunky four- and-a-half-year-old adopted daughter, Theo. And thank G-d they call NYC home – because it’s the perfect place to embrace life as a multi-racial, multi-cultural, pan-global Jewish family.

Judith Helfand | Documentary | USA | 2019 | English



After her recent move to Vienna, Rachel is overcome by the inherited trauma of her family’s Holocaust past when her life intersects with a homeless Syrian refugee family. With the philosophical guidance of a former Ethiopian refugee, she learns that true healing can begin with a single act of compassion.

Sara Hofstein | Narrative | Austria | 2019 | English, German


YidLife Crisis: The Double Date

A blind date for Leizer with the perfect woman turns into a battle of nebbish proportions.

Jamie Elman| Narrative | Canada | 2016 | English, Yiddish | Subtitled

Program 3 | Sunday September 22, 1:30 PM

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Wise Children

Impoverished children who are underserved by their community meet affluent Jewish community volunteers in a unique pro-bono summer school. As we learn more about the hard lives of these children we realize that the benefits of the program don't only affect them. Moving, sweet and shining a light on the positivity of Tikkun Olam ('Repair the World')

Daniel Brea | Documentary | USA | 2019 | English


A Night at the Garden

In 1939, 20,000 Americans rallied in New York’s Madison Square Garden to celebrate the rise of Nazism – an event largely forgotten from American history. A NIGHT AT THE GARDEN, made entirely from archival footage filmed that night, transports audiences to this chilling gathering and shines a light on the power of demagoguery and anti-Semitism in the United States.

Marshall Curry | Documentary | USA | 2018 | English



Dan, who suffers from PTSD after being wounded in a terrorist attack, finds himself thrown together with his Arab co-workers when multiple terror attacks hit Jerusalem again.

Yonatan Shehoah | Narrative | Israel | 2018 | Hebrew | Subtitled


The Fiddle (Der Fidle)
On a lonely slanted roof, a hunched figure plays the fiddle for the people of Anatevka. But this fiddler did not always sit on the roof. Come to think of it, he didn’t always have a fiddle to play either. Based on Sholem Aleichem’s short story “The Fiddle”, this is the story of Sholom, the boy that was destined to become the Fiddler on the Roof.

Asher Schwartz | Animation | Israel | 2018 | English, Yiddish| Subtitled

A Wish and a Half

Two fisherman on the Haifa shore. One is an Arab, the other - a Jew. Both are hoping for a lucky day. Then they happen to catch the same fish.

Elad Keidan | Narrative | Israel | 2018 | Hebrew |Subtitled


Jerusalem Film Workshop:

Arguably, Ein Kerem is the most magical neighborhood in Jerusalem. Through three short stories, the film takes the viewers for a hand-in-hand walk with fascinating local characters: Pnina, a blue-haired social activist who re-invents herself after leaving the IDF; Salah, the gardener and personal friend of a local musical legend, Alexander Tamir, and Hadar, an orthodox 'newly born mother' who leads a local ancient crafts workshop. The film is a product of The Jerusalem Film Workshop and was created by 24 up and coming filmmakers from all five continents of the world. Three local San Diegan filmmakers were chosen to be part of the JFW 2019 Experience with fellow filmmakers from Israel, the US, Brazil, China, South Africa, Australia, Uzbekistan, Poland, and Canada.
*Q&A to follow with the San Diego participants


Program 4 | Sunday, September 22, 4:30 PM

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No Bad Endings

Moments before the traditional Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony, the members of Kibbutz Seridim realize that the last sane Holocaust survivor on the kibbutz has no intention to come and share her personal story. A 70 year long streak is at stake! In order to save the day, and the ceremony, a young kibbutz member and the survivor's granddaughter head to the library, in which the survivor is entrenching herself. They are determined to change her mind, but very quickly – they discover that between the library shelves lie stories they have never heard before.

Ziv Hermelin-Shadar | Narrative | Israel |2019 | Hebrew | Subtitled


Nazi VR

The High Tech Prosecution of a WWII Nazi Guard

David Freid | Documentary | Germany, USA |English


Division Ave

The fight for justice of a Latina cleaning lady in Hasidic Brooklyn.

A few days before Passover, Fernanda, a young Mexican woman, is hired by a Brooklyn cleaning agency to work in the local Jewish Hasidic community. Despite a prolonged wait for her payment, Fernanda continues to faithfully show up for work each day at Nechama’s house. An unexpected connection between the two leads to a fight for justice against the cleaning agency at fault, bridging the gaps between their very different worlds

Tamar Glezerman | Narrative | USA |English, Spanish, Yiddish


Something to Live For

This story takes place in Jenin, in the West Bank. Nabila, 8 months pregnant, is training with a knife to commit a suicide terror attack in Israel, to avenge her boyfriend’s death. Nabila starts to develop maternal feelings and doubts her decision. When she tries to back out of the deal, Rafik threatens to kill her family. To her surprise, her plan is no longer in her hands.

Adva Reichman | Narrative | Israel |2018 | Arabic, Hebrew | Subtitled



Each year, the Hermelin family of Detroit come together to celebrate Passover —honoring the liberation of the Jews from slavery in ancient Egypt—by eating Gefilte fish, the meal that stars in New York-born director Rachel Fleit’s new film. While simple on the surface, Gefilte is stuffed with history and meaning (just like the recipe itself, which includes a paste of fish, salt, vegetables and egg). However, “Gefilte isn’t about the fish,” suggests the Brooklyn-based writer and director. Instead, “it becomes a lightning rod, in which we project all of our feelings about family, identity, tradition, struggle, loss—and as always, love.”

Rachel Fleit | Documentary | USA | 2018 | English


How To Swim

Abigail is heavily pregnant, but something is missing. Terrified about the imminent birth, she kidnaps an unsuspecting stranger to comfort her for one afternoon.

Noa Gusakov | Narrative | Israel | 2018 | Hebrew | Subtitled


Program 5 | Sunday, September 22, 7:30 PM

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Based on actual events, this film tells the story of 15-year-old Oskar who newly visits a multi-cultural high school. He feels comfortable in his class community and has found a best friend in his seatmate Eren. However, when Oskar, without thinking, reveals in an ethics lesson that he is Jewish, the atmosphere changes. More and more, he is excluded, bullied and even physically attacked by some of his classmates. Eren, too, has to give in to the peer pressure and is forced to betray his friend.
Ashamed, Oskar keeps the attacks secret at home. When his parents finally learn about the bullying, they try to talk to the school's headmaster — however, their pleas are ignored and their worries dismissed. Thus, Oskar is faced with the question: Is he going to further endure the humiliations — or can he find a way to hold his own and to stand by his identity?

Lukas Nathrath| Narrative | Germany | 2018| German | Subtitled



Mark describes in powerful detail the near-death experiences of the Holocaust that left him with haunting memories. "Mark" is one of five episodes in "The Podkamieners," a series of short films that reimagines the Holocaust documentary genre by juxtaposing rich and realistic animation with moving first and secondhand accounts. The series follows a group of related Holocaust survivors who were forced to flee their small town of Podkamien, Poland and hide in the woods at the peak of WWII.

Sarah Kamaras |Animation, Documentary | 2018 |USA |English


Almost Liam

Before leaving for Germany where he will undergo irreversible surgery, Liam reflects on his previous female identity.

Sapir Rockach | Documentary | Israel | 2018| Hebrew | Subtitled


A Hand Sewn Star

On a summer's day, a tree sees a family coming towards it. The children play, the father hums a nursery rhyme to his daughter, the mother sews something on everyone's clothes. When the mother finishes sewing, everyone puts on their clothes, and the tree looks away, the child runs to the tree one last time, but everything is different.

Rebecca Wengrow | Narrative | France | 2018 |


100/100 The Itinerant Portraitist

In 2017 the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, NY turned 100. Over the course of that year, portrait painter Brenda Zlamany painted 100 of the residents. 100 surprising, unique and inspiring stories emerged...

Brenda Zlamany and Laure Sullivan | Documentary | USA | 2019 | English 



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