Jurors’ Awards for the 2019 Joyce Forum Jewish Short Film Festival

Best Animated Short: Lost and Found, Ofer Winter and Shimon Engel, Writer and Director

This animation and score feel like the 60's. A four year-old Yuval and his father go shopping in the mall. Yuval is dizzy at all the glitz and glamour and gets lost on a voyage and discovers new worlds. Meanwhile, his father is looking for him, crazy with worry. The animation gives the viewer the feeling of impending doom. Eventually, Yuval finds a very inventive way to reunite with his father amid great relief and joy. and then loss, again . The story is symbolizing death in war showing moments of separation and loss. The animation is a collaboration of two creative artists, Both are graduates of the esteemed Bezalel Academy.

Joyce Axelrod

Best Short Documentary: Beneath the Ink, Cy Dodson, Filmmaker

Stemming the tide of anti-semitism is a daunting task. Those who have had a change of heart, but still bear the marks of anti-semitism on the outside in the form of tattoos, can struggle to find jobs, meaningful relationships, and forgiveness. 'Beneath the Ink' showcases Oho tattoo artist Billy Joe White. He embraces those whose hearts and minds have changed by helping them cover the marks that no longer reflect their beliefs. By reaching out rather than pushing away he is able to hear stories, heal wounds, and share experiences that bring all of us closer together instead of widening the divide. This documentary is well-crafted and addresses the public face of change, which is often as difficult as the personal change.

 – Robyn Sarvis

Best Short Narrative: How to Swim, Noa Gusakov, Writer and Director

How to Swim was a unanimous choice for BEST SHORT NARRATIVE ( Narrative: noun. A spoken or written account of connected events; a story)

 A young pregnant woman with a deceased mother, befriends a strong older woman, a mother-figure, under false pretenses. They have a shopping adventure together and the somewhat hardened elder shares a few life lessons with the soon-to-be mother. The day together is an adventure filled with vulnerability and humor,both heart wrenching and heartwarming. The film builds a portrait of the characters in short order, professionally filmed with well chosen background music.The last seconds of the film perfectly capture its tone and leave a lasting mark on the audience—a smile and with a good feeling .

– Joyce Axelrod 

Best Short Director: Terror, Yonatan Shehoah, Director

Post-traumatic stress often does more damage than the trauma itself — emotional injuries that can scar a lifetime. Yonatan Shehoah’s TERROR chronicles the impact of tragedy on one Israeli, whose days have become futile exercises in anxiety management since surviving a terrorist attack. When more attacks strike Jerusalem, the supermarket employee worries his wife may be a victim, triggering an uncontrollable chain of anger and paranoia that is as understandable as it is unjustified. The brilliance of Shehoah’s direction is that his camerawork immerses you not only in the lead character’s world, but also in his head. Cinematically, you are engaged in his escalating fear and heartbreaking recognition of its intractable repercussions. TERROR serves as a metaphor for the greater Arab-Israeli tinderbox, itis a short that allows viewers to experience PTSD with both sympathy and horror, a feat indicative of the filmmaker’s intelligence and compassion. This is why Yonathan Shehoah is the jury’s selection for our Best Director Award.

– Warren Etheridge

Special Jurors’ Award: Nazi VR, David Freid, Director

Justice and memory often prove fluid. We want to grasp them, only to feel them slip through our fingers. Virtual reality offers the chance to solidify both, making memory near-tangible, and thus, justice within reach. Those who committed ancillary war crimes during the Holocaust may have once escaped condemnation for decades due to the vagaries and prevarications of time, but no longer. Director David Freid tracks the evolution and consequences of leading-edge technology and its ability to bring Germans, complicit in the world’s worst genocide, to trial. Somehow, Freid finds beauty within the bleak, hope within the horror. His camerawork complements assured storytelling that makes fact as compelling as fiction. NAZI VR, winner of our award for Best Short Overall, is a stone in the pond of collective trauma, its ripples expand long after it is witnessed, conjuring myriad positive possibilities in our actual reality, at a time when it is most important we... never forget. 

– Warren Etheridge

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