2011 Film Selections Online Tickets Now Available!

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2011 Highlights

2011 Film Categories






He’s My Girl (La Folle Histoired’Amour de Simon Eskenazy)
Los Angeles Premiere!
Comedy/France/100 minutes/2009
Written & Directed by Jean-Jacques Zilbermann
Starring Antoine de Caunes, Mehdi Dehbi and Elsa Zylberstein
French with English subtitles

Based on the director’s own life, this intelligent and uplifting film tells the very funny story of Simon Eskenazy, a divorced gay Jewish Klezmer clarinet player. Simon’s hypochondriac Holocaust survivor mother and the ex-wife he has not seen in years, along with his 10 year old son he never met, all arrive on his doorstep. In his private life, he falls in love with a transvestite who happens to be an Arab. This kind young man will bring Simon back to his own true self. Ultimately, the story is one of redemption brought about by kindness and caring.

  • Sunday, May 8, 7:00 pm
  • Laemmle’s Music Hall
  • Buy tickets for He’s My Girl
  • Invited guest, Mehdi Dehbi
  • Sponsored by the Drasin Family
  • In cooperation with Temple Beth Chayim Chadeshim

Precious Life
Documentary/Israel/90 minutes/2010
Written & directed by Shlomi Eldar
Produced by Ehud Bleiberg
Hebrew with English Subtitles

Can Israelis and Palestinians put aside their differences to save the life of a child? Chronicled by Israeli journalist, Shlomi Eldar, this film tells the story of a four-month old Palestinian boy who will die without a bone marrow transplant, a procedure which can only be performed in an Israeli hospital. Help for the Palestinian family comes from a bereaved Jewish father who donates $55,000 to help save the child. A friendship is formed between mother, doctor, and filmmaker. This powerful reflection on Middle East politics through a very personal lens was shortlisted for an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary.

  • Sunday, May 8, 7:00 pm
  • Laemmle’s Town Center
  • Buy tickets for Precious Life
  • Invited guest, Ehud Bleiberg
  • In cooperation with the Consulate General of Israel

The Tailor
Los Angeles Premiere!
Short/USA/7 minutes/2010
Written & Directed by Gordon Grinberg

A delightful short comedy with influences of Buster Keaton – it is crafted as an homage to the past with a present day twist. Culture and confusion meet on a Brooklyn street in this hilariously charming tale.

Followed by:
Polish Bar
Los Angeles Premiere!
Drama/USA/96 minutes/2010
Directed by Ben Berkowitz
Starring Vincent Piazza, Judd Hirsch, Richard Belzer,
Meat Loaf & Dov Tiefenbach

A gritty drama starring Boardwalk Empire’s Vincent Piazza, Reuben is the wayward son of an Orthodox Jewish family who struggles against the underbelly of Chicago life. He works nights as a DJ at a local strip club and sells drugs with smalltime gangsters. Reuben freelances at his uncle’s (Judd Hirsch) jewelry shop, but dreams of making it big as a nightclub DJ. In a world of sex and violence, he encounters Ebony, a troubled young girl. When his Orthodox cousin, Moises, (Dov Tiefenbach) arrives he causes Reuben to question his own actions and beliefs as obligations of family, greed, and faith conspire against him. Disclaimer: Adult content and language. Rated R.

  • Saturday, May 7, 8:00 pm Laemmle’s Music Hall Buy tickets for The Tailor/Polish Bar
  • Q & A with Ben Berkowitz and Dov Tiefenbach, moderated by Rabbi Mark Borowitz. Invited guests Richard Belzer and Judd Hirsch.
  • In cooperation with Beit T’Shuvah


Shofar Calling
Animated Short/USA/4 minutes/2010
Directed by Sarah Lefton

This animated hip hop music video shows how the Jewish New Year is WAY more than just a day to spend in synagogue, and how the call of the shofar can be spiritually meaningful in your daily life.

Followed by:
The Socalled Movie
Los Angeles Premiere!

Documentary/Canada/90 minutes/2010
Directed by Gary Beitel

Josh “Socalled” Dolgin is a musician, producer, composer, arranger, magician, filmmaker, photographer, and visual artist based in Montreal. Known for his genre-bending approach and his collaborations with musical giants of funk, klezmer, hip hop, lounge, and classical music, Socalled has performed all over the world. Featuring Fred Wesley, David Krakauer, and Katie Moore.

Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story Documentary/USA/91 minutes/2010
Directed by Peter Miller

Back by Popular Demand!

A portrayal of the contributions of Jewish major leaguers and the special meaning that baseball has had in the lives of American Jews. Beyond sports, this is a story of Jewish assimilation, heroism, passing on traditions, the shattering of stereotypes and Black-Jewish solidarity during the civil rights movement. Spotlighting mythic Hall of Famers Sandy Koufax and Hank Greenberg, the film also profiles legends Al Rosen, Yogi Berra, Norm Sherry, Bob Feller, plus modern day All-Star Shawn Green. With Dustin Hoffman’s narration and script by Pulitzer Prize-winning sportswriter Ira Berkow, this film is a celebration of pride and passion for all ages and faiths. Appropriate for age 11+

A Reuben by Any Other Name
Comedy Short/USA/4 minutes/2010
Written & Directed by Jeremy Lanni
Starring Anita Barone, Alanna Ubach, Paul Ben-Victor, Larry Cedar

A humorous look at the argument between Jews in New York and Los Angeles in terms of the differences in their versions of the Reuben sandwich. Performed by an ensemble cast of familiar faces.

Followed by:
Mending the Torn Curtain
World Premiere!
Documentary/Canada/70 minutes/2011
Directed by Raphael
Levy Produced by Ben Gonshor

In 2009, Yiddish theatre companies from around the globe convened in Montreal for the first ever International Festival of Yiddish Theatre, held in celebration of the 50th anniversary of that city’s famed Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre. This documentary chronicles the nine days of sold out theatrical productions, musical events, and joyous celebration in the quest to keep Yiddish theatre alive and thriving for generations to come.

When Israel Went Out
US Premiere!
Documentary/Israel/80 minutes/2010
Written & Directed by Meni Elias
Hebrew & Amharic with English Subtitles

Between 1983-1985, thousands of ‘Falasha’ Jews marched 200 kilometers from Gondar, Ethiopia toward the Sudanese border, with the hope of reaching the land of Israel. These immigrants suffered from starvation, dehydration, and political persecution during the hard trek. Almost 2,000 died along the way. Those who survived were taken under top-secret cover to Israel. In 2009, a camera crew followed a group of 8 Israelis for 11 days of walking, three of whom are Ethiopian Jews, who marched 25 years ago on the same route.

  • Wednesday, May 11 7:00 pm – Reception of Ethiopian specialty foods
    8:00 pm – film screening Westside JCC
  • Buy tickets for When Israel Went Out
  • “Sponsored by The American Friends of the Ariela Foundation”
  • In cooperation with the Little Ethiopia Cultural & Resource Center

An Evening of Kosher Film, Photography and Music Presented by ATID & Birthright Israel NEXT LA The entire community is welcome to join us for an evening of “Jewish Culture” with food, music, Jewish-themed photography, and short films made by emerging artists and filmmakers in their 20s & 30s.

Buy tickets for An Evening of Kosher Film and Photography

  • Discussion with special guests: David Rogers, Emmy Award Winning Editor of The Office and Sherrie Pollack, Emmy Nominated Animation Writer/Director (Disney, Nickelodeon)
  • Sunday, May 8 6:00 pm – exhibit with wine & cheese and live music

6:30 pm – film screenings
Sinai Temple


La Rafle (The Round Up)
Los Angeles Premiere!
Drama/France/120 Minutes/2010
written & Directed by Roselyne Bosch
Starring Mélanie Laurent & Jean Reno
French with English subtitles

This award-winning epic depicts for the first time on screen the French police operation responsible for the mass arrest of some 13,000 Parisian Jews, including more than 4,000 children, in the summer of 1942. Detained in a stadium under hellish conditions, a Jewish doctor (Jean Reno, The Da Vinci Code) aided by a Protestant nurse (Mélanie Laurent, Inglourious Basterds) struggles to minister to the doomed deportees.

  • Saturday, May 7, 8:00 pm
    Laemmle’s Town Center
    Buy tickets for La Rafle
  • Q & A with historian Michael Berenbaum, ADL staff, and Holocaust survivors
  • Tuesday, May 10 – 5 pm – Public reception at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust
    7:30 pm – film begins at Laemmle’s Music Hall
  • Buy tickets for La Rafle
  • Q & A with Mark Rothman of the LA Museum of the Holocaust and survivors
  • Sponsored by the Goldrich Family Foundation, Pamela & Randol Schoenberg, and the LA Museum of the Holocaust
  • In cooperation with the Anti-Defamation League

Jewish Soldiers in Blue and Gray
Los Angeles Premiere!
Documentary/USA/90 minutes/2010
Directed by Jonathan Gruber
Produced by David Frank

To coincide with the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War in April, 2011, this first-of-its-kind film reveals the little-known struggles that faced Jewish-Americans both in battle and on the home front during the American Civil War. The film chronicles the sacrifices that Jews made for their beliefs, and how they took up arms to defend their country, both in the Union of the Confederacy. Presented by the Shapell Manuscript Foundation.

Documentary/USA/40 minutes/2010
Directed by Frank Stiefel
English & German with English Subtitles

Frank Stiefel artfully compiles this moving tribute to his mother, Ingelore Herz Honigstein, a deaf Jewish woman who endures unimaginable isolation and suffering in Nazi Germany, only to reclaim her dignity and freedom.

  • Invited guest, Frank Stiefel

Followed by:
Surviving Hitler: A Love Story
Los Angeles Premiere!

Documentary/USA/65 minutes/2010
Written & Directed by John-Keith Wasson German with English subtitles

This would sound like a pitch for a Hollywood blockbuster, were it not all true. As a teenager in Nazi Germany, Jutta is shocked to discover she is Jewish. She joins the German resistance and meets Helmuth, an injured soldier. The two become sweethearts and co-conspirators in the Valkyrie plot to assassinate Hitler.

Playing with David and Goliath

David and Goliath
Dramatic Short/USA/12 Minutes/2010

Directed by George Zaverdas

Based on a true story set in 1943 Czechoslovakia. David, a Jewish resistance fighter, flees for his life as he is being hunted down by Nazis. He finds refuge in a dog house and ultimately a ferocious German Shepherd becomes his savior.

  • Tuesday, May 10, 12:30 pm Westside JCC
  • Wednesday, May 11, 7:30 pm Laemmle’s Playhouse
  • Q & A with George Zaverdas

My Brother’s Keeper
US Premiere!

Documentary/USA/42 minutes/2010
Directed by Ira Feinberg
In Honor of Yom Ha’Atzmaut

A small group of 4,400 volunteers from 56 countries, Jews and Christians, volunteered to join the fledgling Israel Defense Forces. Their stories describe the days in 1947-48 when the fate of Israel and the Jewish People hung by a thread and a prayer. These volunteers flew the planes that brought the armament, aircraft, weapons, and hope to Israel. Playing with David and Goliath

The Decision Maker
Los Angeles Premiere!

Drama/Israel/41 Minutes/2010
Directed by Danny Yagil Hebrew with English Subtitles

The fictitious Prime Minister of Israel, Gideon Harel, is about to take part in a TV election debate and the polls are not showing good results. Taking a break from the preparations, he wanders about the TV studio and finds himself in the tape archive, where he discovers a report that summarizes his life and career, which is being prepared for broadcast in case he dies. Watching the tape will change the way Harel sees himself, his achievements and his life.

  • Q & A with Danny Yagil

Playing with:
Lenin in October
Los Angeles Premiere!

Comedy/Israel/50 minutes/2011
Directed by Evgeny Ruman
Starring Alexander Senderovich
Hebrew & Russian with English Subtitles

Grisha has almost given up on his dream of opening a restaurant until the sudden death of a rich uncle in Russia changes all that. The uncle leaves him money for this very purpose, but there’s a catch. The uncle who was a sworn Communist insists the restaurant be dedicated to the sacred values of Communism. But how do you go about finding a statue of Lenin in Israel?

Who Do You Love
Drama/USA/91 minutes/2009
Directed by Jerry Zaks
Produced by Jonathan Mitchell
Starring Alessandro Nivola, Jon Abrahams, David Oyelowo and a cameo by Keb’ Mo’

How did mainstream America come to know and adore such musical giants as Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, and Bo Diddley? Based on the true story of two Polish Jewish immigrants, Leonard and Phil Chess, who became the driving force behind the transformation of rhythm and blues into classic rock and roll. Risking it all, they created their own successful record label – and musical history was made. Disclaimer: Extreme language and adult content. Rated R.

The Bris
US Premiere!

Comedy Short/Australia/15minutes/2010
Directed by CJ

Called to his elderly father’s deathbed, Marcus learns that his father is not only uncircumcised, he’s not born a Jew! Unless he can get circumcised before he dies, he won’t be able to be buried next to his wife in the Orthodox cemetery.

Followed by:
Mordecai Richler: The Last of the Wild Jews

Documentary/Canada/52 minutes/2010
Directed by Francine Pelletier

Mordecai Richler was one of a generation of gifted, angry Jewish writers among peers like Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Norman Mailer and others. A natural agitator, provocateur, and the author of such classic novels as The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz and Barney’s Version, he left an indelible mark on society.


An Article of Hope
Los Angeles Premiere
Documentary/USA/60 minutes/2010
Directed by Dan Cohen
English & Hebrew with English Subtitles

The remarkable story of Israel’s first astronaut and the journey of a tiny Torah scroll into outer space. Israeli Air Force Colonel Ilan Ramon and six other astronauts perished on February 1, 2003, when the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon reentry. The son of an Auschwitz survivor, Ramon felt a deep sense of obligation to Holocaust memory. Among the few objects he took into space was a miniature Torah that survived Bergen-Belsen. The film parallels the fateful journey of this singular artifact and its profound symbolism with the life story of Colonel Ramon and his close bonds with fellow astronauts.

  • Opening Night Gala
  • Thursday, May 5, 8:00 pm
  • Doors open/red carpet at 7:00 pm
  • WGA Theater, Beverly Hills
  • Buy tickets for An Article of Hope
  • Q & A with Dan Cohen and guests
  • Wednesday, May 11, 7:30 pm
  • Playing with The Decision Maker
  • Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills
  • Buy tickets for Decision Maker/An Article of Hope
  • Dessert sponsored by Mickey Fine Pharmacy & Grill and Hansen’s Cakes
  • 9107 Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212
  • (310) 271-7858
  • Wine and Cheese
  • Get a special 10% discount for being a part of the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival!

Strangers No More
Documentary/USA & Israel/41 minutes/2010
Directed by Kirk Simon and Karen Goodman
Hebrew with English Subtitles
Winner of the 2010 Academy Award for Best Short Documentary!

In the heart of Tel Aviv, there is an exceptional school where children from forty-eight different countries and diverse backgrounds come together to learn. Many of the students arrive at Bialik-Rogozin School fleeing poverty, political adversity and even genocide. Here no child is a stranger. Appropriate for age 12+

Delicious Peace Grows in a Ugandan Coffee Bean
West Coast Premiere!

Documentary/USA & Africa/41 minutes/2010
Directed by Curt Fissel
Produced by Ellen Friedland

Living in the wake of the Idi Amin reign of terror, one Ugandan coffee farmer organized a group of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish neighbors to challenge historical hurdles by forming Delicious Peace Coffee Cooperative to enhance peaceful relationships and economic development. Partnering with a Fair Trade US distributor, the standard of living of the farmers is improving, peace is flourishing, and their messages of peace and fair wages are spreading to coffee customers in the US. Narrated by Ed O’Neill.

  • Monday, May 9, 7:30 pm
  • Muvico, Thousand Oaks
  • Wednesday, May 11, 7:30 pm
  • Laemmle’s Town Center
  • Q & A with Curt Fissel & Ellen Friedland moderated by Jewish World Watch staff

A Small Act
Documentary/USA/88 minutes/2010
Directed by Jennifer Arnold

Can a single act of generosity change the course of a person’s life? Chris Mburu, a rural Kenyan, found poverty blocking his path to education. But his prospects changed when Hilde Back, a Jewish schoolteacher living in Sweden and a refugee from Hitler’s Germany anonymously contributed a few dollars a month to sponsor Chris’s education. His world opened: Unbeknownst to his benefactor, Chris went on to become a Harvard-educated human rights lawyer, determined to return to his village and pass on the gift of education to a new generation.

  • Monday, May 9, 7:00 pm
  • Playing with Strangers No More
  • Melnitz Hall, UCLA
  • Sponsored by UCLA Hillel, the Center for Jewish Studies at UCLA and IKAR

Shalom Sesame

For families with children ages 3 – 8…Come celebrate Israel’s 63rd Birthday! Bring your own picnic dinner, enjoy an arts and craft activity and view the brand new film Welcome to Israel from the Shalom Sesame series. The night will end with a special “birthday” dessert.