Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me
Directed by Samuel D. Pollard · USA · 2017 · 100 min ·English
Sammy Davis, Jr. had the kind of career that was legendary, so vast and multi-faceted that it was dizzying in its scope and scale. And yet, his life was complicated and contradictory. Davis strove to achieve the American dream in a time of racial prejudice and shifting political territory. He frequently found himself bracketed by the bigotry of white America and the distaste of black America. He became the most public black figure to embrace Judaism.
Featuring new interviews with Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg and Kim Novak, never-before-seen photographs from Davis’ vast personal collection and excerpts from his electric performances
Directed by Rachel Myers· USA · 2017 · 14 min · English
For these Jewish senior citizens, Shabbat dinner is at Wendy’s fast food restaurant. Together they say prayers and light candles over hamburgers and French fries.
Co-sponsored by Abbe & David Sherbin and family
Indecent // On Broadway
Directed by David Horn · USA · 2018 · 100 min · English
Indecent is inspired by the true events surrounding the controversial 1923 Broadway debut of Sholem Asch’s God of Vengeance—a play seen by some as a seminal work of Jewish culture, and by others as an act of traitorous libel. The play charts the history of an incendiary drama and the path of the artists who risked their careers and lives to perform it.The New York Times called it “superbly realized and remarkably powerful” and critics have hailed it as one of the best plays of the year.
Co-sponsored by SAJE and IRP
Directed by Roee Florentin · Israel · 2016 · 103 min · Hebrew with subtitles
Adi has always been the “good boy,” at home, at school, in the military and in his marriage. Or, to put it in other words, Adi became a “sucker” who was exploited by nearly everyone he ever met. Things change radically when he meets Natalia, who entices Adi into a life full of emotions, of passion and romance.
Directed by Fiona Murphy · UK, Iraq, Israel · 2016 · 72 min · English
On the hundredth anniversary of the British invasion in 1917, Remember Baghdad is the untold story of Iraq, an unmissable insight into how the country developed from a completely new perspective – through the eyes of the Jews who lived there for 2,600 years until only a generation ago. With vivid home movies and archive news footage, eight characters tell their remarkable stories, of fun that was had, and the fear that followed as Iraq laid foundations for decades of unrest. Amid the country’s instability today we follow one Iraqi Jew on a journey home, back to Baghdad.
Co-sponsored by Anti-Defamation League and Nancy & Sam Shamie & Family
Directed by Ofir Raul Graizer · Germany, Israel · 2017 · 104 min · Hebrew, German with subtitles
Thomas, a young German baker, is having an affair with Oren, an Israeli married man who has frequent business visits in Berlin. When Oren dies in a car crash in Israel, Thomas travels to Jerusalem seeking for answers regarding his death. Under a secret identity, Thomas infiltrates into the life of Anat, his lover’s newly widowed wife. The encounter with the unfamiliar reality will make Thomas involved in Anat’s life in a way far beyond his anticipation, and to protect the truth he will stretch his lie to a point of no return. Nominated for eight and won three awards from domestic and international film festivals, including two wins for Best Editing and the Lia Van Leer Award to the director of the film at the 2017 Jerusalem Film Festival.
Co-sponsored by National Council of Jewish Women and ORT America Michigan Region
Doing Jewish: A Story from Ghana
Directed by Gabrielle Zilkha · Canada · 2016 · 84 min · English
A tiny community in rural Ghana recently discovered that the religion they have been practicing for centuries is Judaism. Filmmaker Gabrielle Zilkha explores their story from isolation to global connection and the challenges and rewards they face along the way.Made over the course of five years, Doing Jewish: A Story from Ghana is a work of love. The affection between the filmmaker and the Sefwi shines as an unspoken part of the story. This is a fascinating study of Judaism and belonging.
Co-sponsored by JCRC/AJC, Hazon, Repair the World, Downtown Synagogue
Directed by Amichai Greenberg · Austria, Israel · 2017 · 88 min · Hebrew, German, English, Yiddish
Yoel, an international expert in Holocaust research, has spent over fifteen years diligently studying the Nazi’s methods of annihilating Jews in Austria and Hungary. In the course of his research he discovers classified documents which hint to the fact that his mother is living under an assumed identity. The further he plunges into his research the more he doubts his mother’s Jewish identity. The Testament is a riveting mystery about a man who is willing to risk everything to discover the truth.
When the Smoke Clears: A Story of Brotherhood, Resilience and Hope
Directed by Rebecca Shore · Israel · 2017 · 85 min · English, Hebrew with subtitles
When the Smoke Clears tells the true stories of young Israeli soldiers whose injuries leave them fighting
for the strength to live. This film shares the inspiring accounts of Gil, Ofer, and Elad – young Israeli war veterans whose unthinkable battle experiences leave them with lifealtering mental and physical scars. They learn to face their obstacles together and discover that in conquering their pain, they might have more to offer than ever before.
Four By Four
Directed by Shay Kanot · Israel · 2016 · 93 min · Hebrew with subtitles
Three colleagues at a Tel Aviv high-tech company follow their adrenaline-junky of a boss, Motti, on a road trip to the perilous Sinai Peninsula in search of a secret beach resort. The problem is that the beach doesn’t exist. It is the fabrication of one of the junior executives, Oded, who makes it up to impress Motti and secure a long sought-after promotion. But Tal, the nerd from marketing, and Dima, the racist, quirky Russian programmer, are also interested in the same promotion. In the desert, Oded has to confront his friends and admit that he lied and endangered their lives.
Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story
Directed by Alexandra Dean· USA · 2017· 90 min · English
Hollywood star Hedy Lamarr was known as the world’s most beautiful woman, Snow White and Cat Woman were both based on her iconic look. However, her arresting looks and glamorous life stood in the way of her being given the credit she deserved as an ingenious inventor whose pioneering work helped revolutionize modern communication. Combining this newly discovered interview with intimate reflections from her children, closest friends, family and admirers, including Mel Brooks and Robert Osborne, Bombshell (executive produced by Susan Sarandon, Michael Kantor and Regina Scully) finally gives Hedy Lamarr the chance to tell her own story.
Bye Bye Germany
Directed by Sam Garbarski · Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium · 2017 · 102 min · German and English with subtitles
Frankfurt, 1946. David Bermann and his Jewish friends have escaped the Nazi regime and are now dreaming of leaving for America. But how will they get the money in these tough post-war times? The smooth-talking businessman focuses on what the Germans need most: fine bed linens nicely wrapped in amusing stories! The six talented entertainers go from home to home, praising housewives with flashy chutzpah until the flattered ladies have no choice but to buy their irresistible items. Business flourishes and a bright new future can be seen in the horizon. But questions about Bermann‘s past catch up with him. Why does he have two passports? What about his visit to Hitler‘s mountain retreat? Could he have collaborated with the Nazis? The smart and attractive but uncompromising US officer Sara Simon refuses to close the interrogation. She wants to get to the heart of Bermann‘s wartime memories. Sara matches his quick wit with iron severity, but it becomes increasingly difficult for her to escape his charm.
Co-sponsored by All Seasons West Bloomfield
Directed by Daniel Miller, Jeremy Newberger, Seth Kramer · USA · 2017 · 85 min · English
Heading Home tags along on the journey of a group of Jewish major league baseball players representing Israel in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Their line-up included several Jewish American major league players, including former Tiger Josh Zeid. Most of the players had a tenuous relationship to Judaism, and never had set foot in Israel. Their odyssey takes them from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, where they are greeted as heroes, to Seoul where they must debunk their has-been reputations
Co-sponsored by Michigan Jewish Sports Foundation, Temple Israel Brotherhood, Temple Emanu-El Brotherhood, Sandra & Dr. Robert Matthews
Directed by Mel Brooks · USA · 2017 · 95 min · German, Yiddish, and English
In this satirical take on Westerns, crafty railroad worker Bart becomes the first black sheriff of Rock Ridge, a frontier town about to be destroyed in order to make way for a new railroad. Initially, the people of Rock Ridge harbor a racial bias toward their new leader. However, they warm to him after realizing that Bart and his perpetually drunk gunfighter friend are the only defense against a wave of thugs sent to rid the town of its population.
Co-sponsored by Pam & Gene Lumberg and Laurel Swartz & Eric Lumberg
No Ordinary Hero // The Superdeafy Movie
Directed by Troy Kotsur · USA · 2017 · 79 min · English, American Sign Language, Open Captions
SuperDeafy must reveal the man behind the cape to find true love and inspire a young deaf boy to believe in himself. The movie follows the evolution of this unique hero. A beloved character and role model, SuperDeafy has a worldwide following. John Maucere has appeared on NBC’s Law and Order in ABC’s Switched At Birth, and is the creator and host of Live in Hollywood. He founded Deafywood, an ensemble for deaf entertainers and has performed the National Anthem and America the Beautiful with Alicia Keys and Jennifer Hudson as a spokesperson for the National Association of the Deaf.
Co-sponsored by Congregation Shir Tikvah, jFamily, PJ Library
Across the Waters
Directed by Nicolo Donato · Denmark · 2016 · 95 min · Danish, German with subtitles
The year is 1943. Arne Itkin is a famous Jewish jazz musician living in Copenhagen with his wife Miriam and their son Jakob. Rumors are starting to spread that the Germans are planning to deport all Danish Jews. As the raid on the Jewish community begins, the family barely manages to escape from their central Copenhagen apartment. They are told they could sail across the strait to Sweden by local fishermen, but collaborators and the Gestapo are soon on their track. Now it is all about survival for this small family.
Co-sponsored by Hidden Children and Child Survivors of Michigan, Fox Run Novi, Steve and Lori Weisberg
A Woman’s Story
Directed by Azra Rashid · Canada, Bangladesh, Poland, Rwanda · 2015 · 56 min · English
In 1948, the United Nations defined genocide as acts committed with intent to destroy and cause bodily and mental harm to members of a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group. This was triggered by the Holocaust and as an attempt to stop a genocide before it happened anywhere again. But what transpired during the Holocaust was repeated again – in Bangladesh in 1971, and in Rwanda in 1994.A Woman’s Story looks at genocide from a temporal lens – 60, 40 and 20 years apart – and examines the survival, and physical and cultural continuity through the eyes of three women, putting women at the front and center of the narrative and transcending their victimization by highlighting their resilience and survival.
Co-sponsored by WISDOM (Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in Metro Detroit), Bookstock
The Wedding Plan
Directed by Rama Burshtein · Israel · 2016 · 110 min · Hebrew with subtitles
At 32, Michal is finally looking forward to the comfort and security of marriage, when she is blindsided by her fiancé’s decision to call off the wedding with only a month’s notice. Unwilling to return to lonely single life, Michal decides to put her trust in fate and continue with her wedding plans, believing Mr. Right will appear by her chosen date. Nominated for eight and winner of four awards, including Best Actress, Best Screenplay, and Best Costume Design from the 2016 Israeli Film Academy.
Co-sponsored by Carol & Ronald Fogel, Lenore & Sheldon Leemon
Muhi // Generally Temporary
Directed by Rina Castelnuovo, Tamir Elterman · Israel, Germany · 2017 · 89 min · Hebrew, Arabic with subtitles
Muhi, a young boy from Gaza, has been trapped in an Israeli hospital for over eight years. Rushed there in his infancy with a life-threatening immune disorder, he and his doting grandfather, Abu Naim, are caught in an immigration limbo and only permitted to reside within the constraints of the hospital walls. Made by two filmmakers from Jerusalem, this documentary lays out the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in human terms, documenting the impact these paradoxical circumstances have on individual lives.
Co-sponsored by Patti Finnegan Sharf
Directed by Matan Yair · Israel, Poland · 2017 · 90 min · Hebrew with subtitles
17-year-old Asher has always been the impulsive troublemaker at school. While his strict father sees him as a natural successor to his scaffolding business, Asher forges a special connection with his literature teacher Rami and begins to see new possibilities for himself. Nominated for nine and won four awards from domestic and international film festivals, including winning Best Israeli Feature at the 2017 Jerusalem Film Festival.
Co-sponsored by the Uzansky Family
Look About You
Directed by Amit Shalev · Israel · 2017 · 81 min · Hebrew with subtitles
et out on a fascinating journey through Israel with one family who is trying to understand what it takes to truly live together. Squeezed in a tiny RV, they meet and live with people from all walks, traversing hope and despair, collecting the slivers of an ancient dream from among the fragments of contemporary reality. A sensitive video journal, it paints a painfully touching picture of real life in Israel, portraying the subtle interdependence between family and society, and the need to overcome separation.
Co-sponsored by JCC Center Travel
An Israeli Love Story
Directed by Dan Wolman ·Israel, USA, UK · 2017 · 93 min · Hebrew with subtitles
The film is set during the turbulent period of pre-state Israel. Margalit meets Eli on a bus and falls in love with him instantly. She tries to get close to him but he’s too busy with the Palmach. Finally, the barriers come down, and Margalit moves in with Eli. They set a date for their wedding, but Israel’s harsh reality intervenes. Based on the true story of the love affair between Pnina Gary and Eli Ben–Zvi, son of Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, the second president of the State of Israel.
Directed by Eran Riklis · Germany, Israel, France · 2017 · 93 min · English, Hebrew, Arabic with subtitles
The film is set during the turbulent period of pre-state Israel. Margalit meets Eli on a bus and falls in love with him instantly. She tries to get close to him but he’s too busy with the Palmach. Finally, the barriers come down, and Margalit moves in with Eli. They set a date for their wedding, but Israel’s harsh reality intervenes.Based on the true story of the love affair between Pnina Gary and Eli Ben–Zvi, son of Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, the second president of the State of Israel.
Co-sponsored by Temple Israel Sisterhood and Ameinu Detroit
Directed by Miya Hatav · Israel · 2016 · 90 min · Hebrew, Arabic with subtitles
Bina and Meir, an Orthodox couple from Jerusalem, arrive at the hospital after their son Oliel is severely injured in a terror attack. At the hospital, Bina and Meir meet Amal, a young Arab woman, who claims she is there to attend to her dying father. While Meir searches for answers to revive Oliel, the two despondent women bond with one another. As the truth unfolds, they all struggle to accept the circumstances that have brought them together.
Directed by Claus Räfle · Germany · 2017 · 110 min · German with subtitles
In June 1943, Germany infamously declared Berlin “judenfrei”—“free of Jews.” But at that moment there were still 7,000 Jews living in the Nazi capital: hiding in attics, basements, and warehouses, protected by courageous Berliners while desperately trying to avoid deportation. Only 1,700 lived to liberation. The Invisibles tells the stories of four survivors, interweaving their testimony with highly accomplished dramatizations, an unusual hybrid approach that brings edge-of-the-seat suspense to their years spent underground.
Co-sponsored by Adat Shalom Synagogue , C.H.A.I.M., Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus
An Act of Defiance
Directed by Jean van de Velde · South Africa, Netherlands · 2017 · 122 min · English, Afrikaans with subtitles
In South Africa in 1963 apartheid is rampant. When ten men are arrested on a farm in Rivonia for conspiring to commit sabotage and violent acts against the repressive S. African government, tenacious lawyer Bram Fisher steps up to the challenge as lead counsel. He soon finds that political leader Nelson Mandela is also on trial. Mandela urges his fellow defendants to plead not guilty and shine light on the systemic corruption against the African people. As the outcome of the trial looks bleak, Mandela gives his famous “I’m Prepared to Die” speech, discussing how the ANC’s resistance is justified.
Directed by Tomer Heymann · Israel, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands · 2015 · 100 min · English, Hebrew with subtitles
Ohad Naharin, artistic director of the Batsheva Dance Company, is regarded as one of the important choreographers in the world. Meeting him at a critical turning point in his most personal life, this spirited and insightful documentary will introduce you to a man with great artistic integrity and an extraordinary vision. Filmed over a period of eight years, director Tomer Heymann mixes intimate rehearsal footage with an extensive unseen archive and breathtaking dance sequences. This story of an artistic genius who redefined the language of modern dance.
Sponsored by StandWithUs Michigan
At Eye Level
Directed by Joachim Dollhopf, Evi Goldbrunner · Germany · 2017 · 98 min · German with subtitles
Michi, 11, has been living in a group home since the death of his mother. He has never known his father, but becomes determined to locate “Tom” after discovering a lost letter his mother wrote. An online search leads Michi to his father’s doorstep, where he waits for a while before leaving a note. A neighbor tells Michi that Tom is usually rowing at that time of day, so Michi makes his way to the water – where his excitement is replaced with shock when he sees that Tom is the same height as him, shattering the vision of his father he had constructed. This film is a testament to the remarkable relationships that are possible when perspectives are broadened and individuals embrace each other’s differences. Danny Woodburn is best known as Mickey Abbott, Kramer’s friend, on NBC’s Seinfeld. Danny has appeared in 30 films and 140 TV shows. He is the recipient of the 2016 Norman Lear Lifetime Achievement Award. Danny raises awareness of the need for inclusion and understanding of people with disabilities
Directed by Ferenc Török · Hungary · 2017 · 91 min · Hungarian, Russian with subtitles
On a summer day in 1945, an Orthodox man and his grown son return to a village in Hungary. The townspeople
are suspicious, remorseful, fearful, and cunning. They expect the worst and behave accordingly. The town clerk fears the men may be heirs of the village’s deported Jews and expects them to demand their illegally acquired property back. Director Ferenc Török paints a complex picture of a society trying to come to terms with the recent horrors they’ve experienced, perpetrated, or just tolerated for personal gain. Lustrous black and white cinematography, and historically detailed art direction contribute to this eloquent drama.
Co-sponsored by the University of Michigan-Dearborn Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive & the Mardigian Library, Cohn-Haddow Center for Judaic Studies – Wayne State University