Dear Friends,

Welcome to the 22nd Mandell JCC Hartford Jewish Film Festival as we once again explore the many facets of the Jewish experience. Through stories of Jewish history, spirituality, and culture, the power of film entertains, educates, challenges perspectives, and broadens the scope of Jewish life here and around the world.

The curtain will rise on opening night with Itzhak, a celebration of the glorious music of Israeli-born Itzhak Perlman, widely considered the world’s greatest living violinist. This intimate portrait of his life reveals a passion and spirit that will inspire and amaze you. Later in the week, we will tap our toes to the rhythm of the legendary Sammy Davis, Jr. in I’ve Gotta Be Me and still more riveting sounds with the symphonic love story, Harmonia. We’ll dig into history with Act Of Defiance, a thriller set in South Africa’s incendiary segregation era, and Raise The Roof, chronicling the remarkable recreation of the magnificent painted roof and ceiling of Poland’s 18th century Gwozdziec synagogue. Don’t miss the tension of thrillers like The Testament and Shelter and the nuanced drama of The Cakemaker. Warm your heart with the History Of Love and Keep The Change, a tale of two adults with special needs at the JCC in Manhattan. Learn about fascinating people like Steve Ross in the story of his courageous life in Etched In Glass and Gabrielle Zilkha who traveled far from her Canadian home and discovered a rich Jewish culture in Ghana in Doing Jewish. Two different stories of the post-war experience will take the screen in the hauntingly powerful, black and white cinematography of the drama 1945 and the charismatic, entrepreneurial spirit of Bye Bye Germany.

The 2018 HJFF is excited to celebrate Israel’s 70th birthday by shining the light on the best of Israeli Cinema. With a special day of four films in the Farmington Valley and one laugh out loud night at the Mandell JCC, we’ll glimpse Israel through the eyes of comedy, conflict, and conversation. With unprecedented access, The Settlers cracks open the world of settlements in the West Bank, and the wisdom of the past is beautifully and simply spoken in the recently recovered interviews of Ben-Gurion: Epilogue. The changing cultural landscape of modern Israel is told in the edgy taboo-breaking dramedy In Between, while the lighthearted And Then She Arrived tells a more classic boy-meets-girl story. Join in the hilarious road trip comedy of Avi Liberman’s Land Of Milk and Funny, a sidesplitting account of what happens when America’s best comics tour and perform on the Israeli stage.

This year’s Festival will travel from our own backyard and across the world to Hungary, Germany, Ghana, Poland, South Africa, and Israel. Our voyage will end Across The Waters in Denmark. Set in 1943 Nazi-occupied Copenhagen, this gripping story of survival and rescue will be a fitting close for our Tribute evening, LESSONS FROM THE HOLOCAUST. Over 10 days from March 8 to 18, we’ll bring you 20 films and endless opportunities to learn, start conversations, and engage in our community and the world. Read the details about the special guests and enriching programs along the way and mark your calendars accordingly.

From the first Festival to this year’s 22nd, we owe endless gratitude to the generosity of the Mandell JCC Pillars Society and Pacesetters, the Mandell JCC Corporate Partners, the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, the Jewish Community Foundation and agency partners, and the numerous organizations and businesses, large and small, who put all the pieces together.

And, of course, this Festival is a labor of love, hard work, and countless screening hours that brings you the best ten days of movie watching. Thank you to an amazing Committee, our Festival volunteers, and the tireless support of the

Mandell JCC staff.

See you at the movies...

Richard Order
Avinoam Patt
Jennifer Sharp
Jill Ziplow
Festival Director