The first stand-alone Jewish Film Festival dedicated to the art of short film with 5 full programs. The Joyce Forum offers 25 imagination-stretching short films from across the globe and from almost every cinematic genre: documentary, drama, comedy, animation, and more. Join us for a two-day event featuring numerous special guests.
The Joyce Forum Short Film Festival Jury awards
Best short film
Ten Bell Tolls
The film shares a story that brings compassion and the connection of its characters from its base to the surface by the end of the film. I was intrigued throughout the film as the story unfolds because there was an element of learning about the roles of each character and at the same time, not knowing what their true purpose until everything comes together. I truly believe a good film should leave the viewer thinking after the end of the film. This film does that. The cruelty of culture and religion was ignorant of how members of a family were connected. The boy and his grandmother were unaware of their connection and it was not until the grandfather, who understood, was missing from the family and they were forced to see each other’s struggle that they realized how strong their connection was. It was then that they came to realize how much they needed each other.
Best short director
This film brought light to the struggle of a woman married to a man who is paralyzed. The director presents the dialogue between the couple through emotions and actions in silence. The viewer is taken through the emotional struggle of both the husband who cannot express himself and his wife who needs to feel loved and cannot be satisfied without it. Her needs are complex and the director is able to share the story in a way that brings the viewer to step into the shoes of the wife and her husband and truly feel compassion for both of them…all the way through the film until it ends and beyond. The scene where he is getting farther away from her as she contemplates whether she should let him go or not is powerful. As she is pondering the question she cannot pause that moment as he is slipping away. I am left wondering if she ever did or could finalize a decision she could live with or if it turned into regret.
Best Short Animation
The Driver is Red
The animation in this film is a parallel of the story being told. The story is unfolding in much detail and brings the viewer through an event told as a first-person narration. The animation of the simple cartoons are evolving and captivates the viewer in each scene. There is a magical entertaining element to this film that parallels in contrast with the nature of the story told. The anticipation is there even though the ending is already known to the viewer. I believe it is hard to keep a viewer engaged and captivated to the details of a story in which the end is already known. This film does that very well and it does that through the animation and the style of animation used. The viewer is brought into the story as if they are a part of it and as if they were there.
Best Short Documentary
The Red House
"The Red House" brought a depth and breadth to history and humanity through its powerful imagery and storytelling. The building itself seemed to come to life in the recounting of all its iterations. From the sacred to the everyday ways the Red House has served the Jewish people, we get a glimpse into its purpose and its lasting legacy. Additionally, the thread of Jewish identity that is woven into the story is proud and bright. First-hand accounts, comprehensive research, and engaging graphics make this film one that we learn from, and will keep in our hearts.
Best Short Narrative
"The Departure" is one of those films that keeps coming back to both surprise and haunt the viewer. The visuals and color in this film are gorgeous, and the acting - with limited but effective dialogue - is so moving that it's easy to forget the film isn't actual footage, but was written in present day. Through the use of ordinary activities the audience is lulled into a sense of calm and only as the story builds are we aware that not is all as it seems. The final scenes of the film awaken us to truths that are difficult to face but are indelible in our memories. Watching "The Departure" is an experience that will not be soon forgotten.
Special Juror’s Award
What began as an engaging documentary project between a father and daughter emerges as a powerful story of culture and history tied together with the thread of the popular drink, the egg cream. Watching, and wanting to taste, the different versions of the famous egg cream as they were shared on-screen was only the beginning of the fun of this documentary. Seeing Jewish history recounted through popular culture brought into very specific relief how culture and food intertwine. Watching the relationship between the daughters and their father evolve over time through the use of original footage and new footage when the project was rejuvenated was heartwarming. "Egg Cream" brings a human touch to a delicious part of Jewish history.