Berlin 36

Coming to light only recently this unbelievable but true account of German Olympic high jumper, Gretel Bergmann, is a beautifully crafted tale of courage against all odds. Because Nazi racial laws bar her from German sports, Gretel competes and trains in the UK. When the USA insists that Jewish athletes be included in the Berlin Olympics. Gretel must now compete for Germany to protect her family’s safety. Once the Americans are air-bound, though, Hitler hijacks the games to further Nazi propaganda, and a second-stringer replaces Gretel. After other team members question her replacement’s strange behavior, the two outcasts develop a close friendship and work together to disrupt the Nazi’s sick ideals. Whether a sports enthusiast or a political drama fan, you will be caught up in the raw emotion that trumps both sports and politics.

Kaspar Heidelbach | Germany | 2009 | 103 min. | German | Digibeta | Drama


“Life can give you a surprise at any turn.” Anita Feldman, a young woman with Down Syndrome, lives with her widowed mother in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her warm, carefully structured life changes in an instant following an unforeseen tragedy. Anita is inadvertently plunged into a strange unfamiliar world where she interacts with many, receives help from some, and profoundly affects others. Marcos Carnevale’s film makes the larger tragedy personal. Anita—acted affectingly by Alejandra Manzo—is a young woman you will not soon forget.

Marcos Carnevale | Argentina | 2009 | 104 min. | Spanish | Digibeta | Drama

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Arab Labor

“Israeli-Arab journalist Sayed Kashua marries Seinfeld to All in the Family set in the Middle East. Kashua’s wildly popular Israeli TV series is loosely based on his own middle-class Arab family in Jerusalem. Arab Labor hilariously explores the predicament faced by upwardly mobile, Israeli-Arab citizens. Though criticized by the Arab press for “airing our dirty laundry in public,” the sitcom is the first primetime program to feature Arab protagonists speaking Arabic. Kashua’s alter-ego Amjad is self-deprecating enough for the borscht belt, but he is an equal opportunity dart thrower, poking fun at every flawed character, even his “best Jewish friend.” Come laugh with us at this sidesplitting comedy whose universal themes transcend politics. Who says the Arab-Israeli conflict can’t be funny?

Ron Ninio & Shai Capon | Israel | 2007 & 2010 | 75 min. | Hebrew | Beta | Comedy

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Army of Crime


In the early days of the Nazi occupation, French citizens largely capitulated to German rule while foreign immigrants risked their lives for the French ideals of “liberte´, egalite,´and fraternite´.” Based on a true story, this band of eclectic resistance fighters advances to a valiant assassination plot. Once the rebels demonstrate that resistance is indeed possible, the Nazis use their force as an unforgettable lesson to the French people by presenting these brave men (and one woman) as criminals. Red propaganda posters proclaim, “Liberators? Liberation by the Army of Crime!” With standout performances by Simon Abkarian (Casino Royale) as group leader Missak Manouchian and the luminous Virginie Ledoyen as his wife, this spellbinding drama is a thriller not to be missed.

Robert Guédiguian | France | 2009 | 139 min. | French/Armenian | Digibeta | Drama

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An Article of Hope

The story of Ilan Ramon, Israel's first astronaut, and of the tiny Torah that traveled from the depths of despair to the heights of hope. Combining historical and ethical inquiry, the film reaches across faiths and nationalities to tell a truly human story.

Daniel Cohen | USA | 2010 | 54 min. | English | DVD | Documentary

Shown with:
Born to Fly

Born to Fly intertwines the incredible story of pilot Danny Shapira’s adventuredriven life with the history of Israel and its Air Force. Israel’s #1 pilot has a long record of aviation firsts.

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Bride Flight


Twenty-six post-WWII refugee brides-tobe fly KLM in the 1953 air race from London to Christchurch, New Zealand. There they will begin life with their awaiting fiancés far away from atrocities of war and memories of lost families. On board, three women are befriended by a handsome young man. Fifty years later, Esther, Marjorie, and Ada reunite at his funeral and reflect on life, love and loss. In dramatic revelations, they discover how intertwined their lives have truly been. Breathtaking photography of the New Zealand landscape, an authentic portrayal of life at the time, and a storyline that spans five decades make Bride Flight a sweeping romantic saga that demonstrates the inextricable link between past, present, and future.

Ben Sombogaart | Netherlands, Luxembourg | 2008 | 130 min. Dutch/English | Digibeta | Drama

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The Robbie Ellis Story

From his internationally respected auction house, Rob Elowitch sells great works of art to collectors and museums. Yet this beloved family man and Jewish community leader has a secret life: on weekends he’s a 66-year-old professional wrestler. Fueled by his passion for the mat and respect from opponents one-third his age, Rob teaches us to disregard stereotypic expectations and to follow our heart’s dreams—to do what makes us happiest. Director Gary Robinov says Elowitch has a “rich life—and that has nothing to do with money!”

Gary Robinov | USA | 2009 | 53 min. | English | Digibeta | Documentary

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Grace Paley:
Collected Shorts

JCC Garfield Theatre Wed, Feb 16 Noon

In the 1950's, Grace Paley dreamed of "a world without militarism, racism, and greed, where women don't have to fight for their place." As a combative pacifist, she maintained the delicate balance between the three pillars of her life: activism, writing, and personal relationships when it wasn't fashionable for women to work outside the home. This warmly intimate and richly inspiring documentary tells Paley's extraordinary story in her candid recollections and passionate readings, as well as remembrances by family, friends, colleagues, fellow activists, and literary critics. Grace Paley: Collected Shorts is a well-deserved tribute to Grace. It will make you an avid Paley fan!

Lilly Rivlin | USA | 2010 | 75 min. | English | Digibeta | Documentary

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This heart-rending story attempts to atone for the Nazis disruption of 700 years of peace between Czech and German families in a Sudetenland village. German sawmill owner, August Habermann, is the major employer in his small hamlet. On his wedding day, the SS invades his village, and Nazi Major Koslowski and his soldiers insert themselves into the everyday lives of the townspeople pitting them against each other. Ultimately, long-hidden family secrets are revealed.

Juraj Herz | Germany, Czech Republic | 2010 | 104 min. | German/ Czech | Digibeta | Drama

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He's My Girl


In the 1998 film Man is Woman, homosexual Klezmer clarinetist Simon Eshkenazy left his Jewish wife Rosalie and their 10-year-old son. This hilarious French comedy He’s My Girl flashes forward 10 years. Simon is harangued by his ailing mother to let her move in with him. Then Rosalie shows up at his door – with her fiancé, and son whom Simon hasn’t seen since Rosalie left for NY. Into this messy “tsimmes” enters Naim, a Muslim transvestite who delivers a stunning performance as his female persona Rose.

Jean-Jacques Zilbermann | France | 2008 | 90 min. | French | DVD | Comedy

Preceded by:
Sidney Turtlebaum

Sidney Turtlebaum is an elderly gay conman who likes to visit London area shiva houses to pick the mourners’ pockets. Derek Jacobi’s tour de force performance in this witty black comedy will brighten your day.

Tristram Shapeero | UK | 2008 | 18 min. | English | DVD

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In Search of Memory:
The Neuroscientist Eric Kandel

"Memory is everything. Without it we are nothing." So says neuroscientist Eric Kandel, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Using archival footage, dramatic re-enactments, and current events, Petra Seeger’s documentary explores Kandel’s personal development in both pre-World War II Vienna and later Brooklyn. She paints a vivid portrait of the private man and his vibrant personality – and presents his groundbreaking research into short and long-term memory in easily understandable terms. A dual exploration of the science of memory combined with Kandel's own bittersweet memories of Vienna makes this a unique documentary.

Petra Seeger | Germany | 2008 | 95 min. | English/German | Digibeta Documentary

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Born a deaf Jew in 1924 in Germany, Ingelore Herz Honigstein narrates the events leading up to her escape from the Nazis, in speech and sign, revisiting past experiences with a startling degree of emotional clarity. Filmmaker Frank Stiefel’s portrait of his mother Ingelore, is a loving tribute to her courage and determination. Her amazing life shaped her into an extraordinary teacher and we learn the power of light over darkness.

Frank Stiefel | USA | 2009 | 40 min. | Sign Language/English/German Digibeta-HD | Documentary

Preceded by:
Alien VI

When a young Jewish man appears in a tranquil Polish village he is met with a variety of reactions.

Borys Lankosz | Poland | 2008 | 30 min. | Polish | DVD

Girl from a Reading Primer

Alina Margolis inspired a character in Poland’s most popular reading primer. Married to Warsaw Ghetto leader Marek Edelman, she fled anti-Semitic Poland in 1968 and joined Doctors Without Borders.

Edyta Wróblewska | Poland | 2009 | 28 min. | Polish | DVD

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Inventing Our Life:
The Kibbutz Experiment

Can a radically socialist institution survive now-capitalist Israel with its ideological integrity intact? Inventing Our Life celebrates the illustrious, 100-year history of the kibbutz movement – its glorious past and recent struggles of the tens of thousands of Israelis who call kibbutzim home. Today’s kibbutzniks still believe in the world’s longest running communal experiment and are reinventing the movement in many inspiring ways. This film is optimistic about the future of the kibbutz – with the sincere hope: May it survive and thrive!

Toby Perl Freilich | USA, Israel | 2010 | 77 min. | Hebrew | DVD | Documentary

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Jewish Soldiers in Blue and Gray

“Jews are hereby expelled from the department...” read Major General Grant’s December 17, 1862 order. Within 24 hours, all Jews were to leave all the Union Army-controlled land in Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. Jewish Soldiers in Blue and Gray reveals what happened that day, and many other little known struggles Jewish Americans faced during the Civil War on the battlefield and at home. Sam Waterson is the voice of Abraham Lincoln in this fascinating compilation of personal narratives of Jewish involvement in both the Union and the Confederacy. Some Jewish war heroes received the Congressional Medal of Honor; some Jews worked in the Underground Railroad movement. Well documented by their descendants and by historical experts, their incredible stories are often tragic – but always stirring.

Jonathan Gruber | USA | 2010 | 86 min. | English | Digibeta | Documentary

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Jews and Baseball:
An American Love Story

To Jewish immigrants, baseball was both a fanatical pastime and a crack at the American dream. This lively documentary, narrated by Dustin Hoffman, includes interviews with Yogi Berra, Hank Greenberg, Sandy Koufax, Kevin Youkilis, Ron Howard, Larry King, and two baseball-loving rabbis, as well as a musical score featuring Benny Goodman, Yo-Yo Ma and Rush. Director Peter Miller’s tribute to the 160 Jews who have played in the major leagues portrays both the players’ pride in their heritage and their encounters with anti-Semitism. This all-American Jewish story hits a home run – and you don’t have to be a baseball nut to join in the fun!

Peter Miller | Canada, USA | 2010 | 91 min. | English | Digibeta | Documentary

Preceded by:
Seltzer Works

Seltzer deliverymen once schlepped glass bottles of fizzy water to thirsty customers. Today, third-generation seltzer filler Kenny Gomberg fends off a takeover by supermarket seltzer. Will his Seltzer Works survive?

Jessica Edwards | USA | 2010 | 7 min. | English | Digibeta

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Joyce Forum

Shorts in Winter

A Collection of short films from talented emerging filmmakers.

Johnatan Geva | Israel | 2009
18 min. | Hebrew | DVD

The Little Duke
Nathan Levine-Heaney | USA | 2007
8 min. | English | Digibeta

Sour Milk
Amit Gicelter | UK,Israel | 2007
10 min. | English | Digibeta

Banana Bread
Barton Landsman | USA | 2010
9 min. | English | Digibeta

Memory Game
Naor Gilad | Israel | 2009
14 min. | Hebrew | Beta-SP

Written in Pencil
Yaron Bar | Israel | 2010
8 min. | No dialogue | Digibeta

Last Respects
Omri Shenhar | Israel | 2010
21 min. | Hebrew | DVD

My Father Joe
Nikila Cole | Canada | 2010
9 min. | English/French/Yiddsh | DVD

Joann Sfar Draws from Memory - Discussion of a Work in Progress

Meet distinguished, award-winning, filmmaker Sam Ball

Sam Ball’s documentaries have been exhibited by many of America's most prestigious venues for independent film, from the Sundance Film Festival to The Museum of Modern Art -New York. Ball has made several films about art, including his recent project Balancing Acts: a Jewish Theatre in the Soviet Union, commissioned by The Jewish Museum, New York for the exhibition Chagall and the Artists of the Russian Jewish Theater, 1919-1949. He is also creating a series of videos about Jewish immigration to the Bay Area for San Francisco's Contemporary Jewish Museum.

Joann Sfar Draws From Memory follows a celebrated graphic novelist on a whimsical journey through the Algerian-Jewish heritage that inspires his work, culminating in a delightful blend of storytelling and outrageously inventive philosophical musings.

Joann Sfar Draws From Memory (directed and produced by Sam Ball) is one of this years recipients of the Foundation for Jewish Culture's Lynn and Jules Kroll Fund for Jewish Documentary Film.

Over 90 and Loving It

Meet distinguished, award-winning, filmmaker Susan Polis Schutz

A Valentine treat, this uplifting film will inspire everyone of all ages to be exhilarated about the future. Featuring people in their 90s and 100s living extraordinary and passionate lives. Acclaimed local filmmaker Susan Polis Schutz introduces us to some of the most incredible seniors you can imagine. People who aren’t aware of chronological age at all, but live as though youth springs eternal.

Susan Polis Schutz | USA | 2010 | 57 min. | English | Documentary | Digibeta

Guest Artist: Director Susan Polis Schutz

La Rafle


A European sensation, this moving true story of a young Jewish boy in France reveals a new slant on a recently revealed part of WWII history. Jo Weisman is eleven. He wears a yellow Jewish star, but his family and friends live a manageable life in Nazioccupied France – or so they think. Reminiscent of the popular novel Sarah's Key, this is an important film that will capture your heart! With a superb cast including Melanie Laurent (Inglorious Basterds) and popular screen star Jean Reno, La Rafle tackles head-on this previously hidden episode in French history and breaks the taboo against France’s acknowledgment of its complicity in WWII Jewish atrocities.

Roselyn Bosch | France | 2010 | 120 min. | French/German/Yiddish | Digibeta | Drama

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The Matchmaker

It is 1968. Sixteen-year-old Arik (Tuval Shafir) journeys from middle-class Haifa to work for Yankele Bride (Adir Miller), a melancholic Holocaust survivor and petty criminal who is also a matchmaker for “difficult cases.” Yankele exposes Arik to a world of Fellini-esque characters – streetwalkers, black marketeers, grifters, and even dwarves running a love-story-only movie house. Yankele’s example of redemption through kindness teaches Arik to be a mensch, while the promiscuous teen, Tamara (Neta Portal), sparks his sexual awakening. In this story of dignity and love, director Avi Nesher (The Secrets, Turn Left at the End of the World) creates a coming-of-age valentine that sparks our optimism for a gentler, more tolerant, and loving world.

Avi Nester | Israel | 2010 | 112 min. | Hebrew | Digibeta | Drama

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Max Baer's
Last Right Hook

Clairemont Reading 14 Sun, Feb 13 3:30 PM

Come laugh with us at Avida Livny’s mockumentary about Baer’s imaginary last right hook. In 1942, hapless Israeli entrepreneur, Yaakov Gendelmayer, organizes a fight featuring Jewish- American heavyweight boxer, Max Baer. Gendelmayer hopes this re-creation of Baer’s bout with Hitler’s Max Schmeling will raise both Jewish morale and funding for Yaakov, himself, to immigrate to the USA. Sixty years later, Yaakov’s son comes to Israel to learn what really happened -- from a journalist, an assassin, an actress, and two gangsters.

Avida Livny | Israel | 2006 | 54 min. | Hebrew | Digibeta | Mokumentary

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Our Disappeared

An innocent Google search for a former girlfriend, drives award-winning director Juan Mandelbaum on his quest to uncover a loved ones fate during Argentina's Dirty War (1976-1983). Mandelbaum, returns to his native Argentina to learn the secrets of the Dirty War and its never-recovered victims. He was compelled to tell the story of the estimated 30,000 disappeared who vanished in the junta’s cold-blooded torture and elimination program. Our Disappeared is highly personal—for Mandelbaum and for those who testify to the lingering mysteries of the Dirty War.

Juan Mandelbaum | USA | 2008 | 99 min. | Spanish/English | Digibeta | Documentary

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Paint What You Remember

How do you remember your hometown? Mayer Kirshenblatt left Opatow, Poland for Canada in 1934 at age 17. More than fifty years later, Mayer began to paint his early life, especially the 5000-strong Jewish community annihilated during WWII. Mayer’s paintings are a rich visual portrait of Opatow’s Jewish community with all its simchot and tsourris. When Mayer returns home to exhibit his paintings to the enthusiastic townspeople, we witness art’s power to both commemorate the past and affect the present.

Slawomir Grünberg| USA | 2009 | 31 min. | English | Beta SP | Documentary

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This retro noir film has a spectacular design and an avant-garde score. In prewar Czechoslovakia, Hana and Emil have an unbalanced relationship - she's a glamorous film star while he is a mediocre news personality. Their positions reverse in 1938 when the Nazis invade and Hana’s Jewishness is discovered. Stuck hiding at home while Emil parties the night away with celebrities, the fiery rebellious Hana embarks on daring escapades of her own. As Hana’s Protektor, Emil represents the flawed everyman trapped by the forces of tyranny and propelled into odious wartime compromises.

Marek Nagbrt | Czech Republic | 2009 | 98 min. | Czech | Digibeta | Drama

Awards: Krzysztof Kieslowski Award Best Feature Film & Best Film, Denver International Film Festival, 2009

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A Small Act

Tiny acts of kindness can have unforeseen consequences. A Small Act follows the path of one such charitable deed. In honor of her life having been saved by the Swedes, Holocaust survivor Hilde Back anonymously sponsors a rural Kenyan boy’s education. Fast forward several years later. Now a Harvard graduate and United Nations Human Rights lawyer, Chris Mburu repays her generosity by starting his own scholarship program to help Kenyan students like himself. But Mburu runs into problems. How will he choose among the many deserving youths? Who will “win” and who will “lose?” And how will he manage when war tears Kenya apart? Director Jennifer Arnold’s film testifies to the ripple effect of one small act of human kindness.

Jennifer Arnold | USA | 2009 | 88 min. | Digibeta | English/Gikuyu/Swahili/ Swedish | Documentary

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Visa al Paraíso

Clairemont Reading 14 Thu, Feb 17 5:30 PM

How would you act in the face of evil? For Gilberto Bosques Saldivar, the Latin American Raoul Wallenberg, the answer is: fight! Visa al Paraíso documents how he saved Jews and Spanish Republicans targeted by Fascists during WWII. While Bosques Saldivar was Mexico’s Consul General in France between 1939 and 1942, he instructed his staff to issue visas to anyone wishing to escape to Mexico. Bosques Saldivar was awarded the Anti-Defamation League Courage to Care Award posthumously in 2008. Abraham Foxman eulogized: Gilberto “possessed the moral courage to face impossible choices of life and death, good and evil, honor and dishonor.”

Lillian Liberman | Mexico | 2010 | 108 min. | Spanish | Digibeta | Documentary

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War Against the Weak


How should we view current genetic science? At the turn of the 20th century, prominent Americans founded the American Eugenics Society advocating state laws mandating mass sterilizations of so-called undesirables. Historical footage is made emotionally personal by interviews with people deemed eugenically unfit. How did Hitler develop his Master Race theory? War Against the Weak documents the 80-year trajectory from America’s false science of eugenics to Nazi atrocities.

Justin Strawhand | USA | 2009 | 90 min. | English | Digibeta | Documentary

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Wrong Side of the Bus

Can one be complicit without actively supporting evil? Sidney Bloch is consumed with guilt because he benefited from Apartheid but did little to combat its inequities. Returning to South Africa for his fortieth medical school reunion, he is discomforted by the frankness of an Afrikaner classmate. Only when Sidney meets one of Nelson Mandela’s former cellmates is he able to fully accept the consequences of his passive role in the Apartheid system.

Rod Freedman | Australia | 2009 | 56 min. | English | Digibeta | Documentary

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The Yankles

Whoever heard of an ultra Orthodox baseball team? That’s what The Yankles delivers. Take Charlie, a recently out of prison, washed-up baseball player whose probation requires community service. Add a gaggle of yeshiva buchers in love with baseball. Put them together in a pot and stir into a sweet dramedy. Against a backdrop of rabbinical supervision and the players’ orthodox practice, Charlie coaxes and cajoles his players into a capable team. Tzitsis and baseball bats do mix! Play ball!

David R. Brooks | USA | 2009 | 115 min. | English | BluRay | Comedy

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Yes, Miss Commander!

The Israeli army has developed a unique program for youth with criminal, drug or disadvantaged backgrounds. Yes, Miss Commander! portrays their training without editing or commentary and depicts young female officers turning these unlikely recruits into contributing members of both the IDF and Israeli society. The success of the program, its students and its commanders, is evident in the final induction ceremony – a conclusion that will pull at your heartstrings.

Itzik Lerner | Israel | 2009 | 95 min. | Hebrew | Beta SP | Documentary

Preceded by:

In the midst of a gun battle, two enemies face each other knowing that only one will survive..suddenly a cell phone will never be the same.

Johnatan Geva | Israel | 2009 | 18 min. | Hebrew | DVD

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Who Do You Love

How did mainstream America come to know and adore such musical giants as Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Bo Diddley, and Chuck Berry? Leonard Chess, a dreamer transfixed by blues music, and his brother Phil, an astute businessman, risked everything to make it happen. After selling their family junkyard business, they daringly opened a night club in the predominantly African-American South Side of Chicago. Amazingly, these two Polish Jewish immigrants became the driving force behind the transformation of rhythm and blues into classic rock and roll. They parlayed their club venture into their own successful record label – and musical history was made. Who Do You Love recounts their story - with a stunning performance by Alessandro Nivola as Leonard – and with a musical score that will have you rockin' and rollin’ in your seat.

Jerry Zaks | USA | 2008 | 91 min. | English | DVD | Drama

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