Dear Festival Friends,
Heroes and horas, Holocaust and hope, healing and humor. From real to
reel, we proudly present the 17th Annual Mandell JCC Hartford Jewish
Film Festival, representing the best of who we are as a people and
culture. We’re proud to offer 2 New England premieres, 8 Connecticut
premieres and 9 Hartford movie premieres; in all 21 award-winning films
from Argentina, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Ukraine, United Kingdom
and the United States.
The Mandell JCC is honored to once again partner with our generous
funders, the Jewish Federation and the Jewish Community Foundation of
Greater Hartford; our gracious media partners; the Maurice Greenberg
Center for Judaic Studies; Digiplex Destinations and a “Big Tent” filled
with organizations, synagogues and groups. Welcome to our new Opening
Night partner venue, Spotlight Theatres in Hartford.
We begin with Follow Me – The Yoni Netanyahu Story, which brings to life
a true Israeli icon whose heroism, courage and ultimate sacrifice became
a symbol for a generation. Get a behind-the scenes look at another big
Jewish personality with Koch, the bold and brilliant Big Apple mayor.
How are filmmakers righting the wrongs of the past? A student short
examines how The New York Times covered the Holocaust, and
a dentist from Georgia with a flip camera and a mission uncovers a trail
of anti-Semitism at Emory University’s dental school in the 50’s. There
are films from Israel about healing. A father’s love and nature’s serene
creatures bring recovery in Dolphin Boy. Family secrets are revealed in
My Lovely Sister, and Aspen’s ski slopes become lifelines for injured
Israeli soldiers in Beyond the Boundaries. A secret online friendship
between an Israeli girl and a Gaza boy is the hopeful premise of
Bottle in the Gaza Sea, and an idealistic Arab Israeli volunteers to
serve in the IDF in Ameer Got His Gun.
Our popular “Book Meets Film” evening returns with Professor Joy Ladin,
the first openly transgender employee of an Orthodox Jewish institution,
paired with Israel’s Melting Away, a family’s journey after discovering
their teenage son is not who they think he is.
For the fifth year, the Kirstein family presents “Tribute: Observations
on Survival and Spirit.” With Kinderblock 66 – Return to Buchenwald,
we’ll reunite West Hartford’s Abby Weiner with a Florida man who shared
his lucky fate. They were both saved from the Nazis as children by
Communist prisoners on Block 66 at the notorious Buchenwald camp. Two
new Israeli films represent the next generation of Holocaust
storytelling - the stunning and visually poetic Numbered, and
Children, about the descendants of Nazi generals.
Looking for love stories and comedies? The Day I Saw Your Heart is a
frothy French rom-com and All In is a smart Argentinean flick about a
poker-playing single dad and his ex-flame. Sing along with Donny Osmond
in the family classic, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Want more kosher kitsch? Take a bite out of Welcome To Kutshers – The
Last Catskills Resort and relive the golden years of the borscht belt.
Get your hora on when the delightful Hava Nagila – The Movie brings our
fest to a joyous close on Israel’s 65th Independence Day. Eli Furman,
the break-dancing Bar Mitzvah star of B-Boy, performs during our Israel
65 HAVA Dance Party.
Presenting Connecticut’s largest Jewish festival of film, food, music,
dance, receptions, directors and authors requires an enormous supporting
cast of donors, funders, volunteers, committee members and staff. We are
indebted to each and every one of them, without whom the show would not
Our sincere thanks to YOU – our faithful fans – for supporting these
efforts as well as applauding the artistry of our filmmakers by filling
our theaters! If you are a frequent festival-goer or if this is your
first time, please join us this April for ten days that will challenge,
inspire, entertain and enlighten! See you at the movies, and thank you!
Harriet J. Dobin
17th Annual Mandell JCC Hartford Jewish Film Festival