2019 FILM SELECTIONS
Films categorized by date of screening.

Click on the photos to see each film’s trailer.


THURSDAY, MAY 2


OPENING NIGHT GALA!

CARL LAEMMLE 
Los Angeles Premiere!
Directed by James L. Freedman  
Documentary/USA/2018/91 minutes

LAJFF Gala Event celebrating the history of Hollywood and commemorating Yom Hashoah with a Premiere of “Carl Laemmle”, one of the key founders of the movie industry and an unsung hero.

We will also be honoring a special guest – Hollywood legend, director PETER BOGDANOVICH (The Last Picture Show, What’s Up Doc, Paper Moon, Mask) with the Marvin Paige Hollywood Legacy Award!

He gave us make-believe monsters, and then saved people from a real one! Carl Laemmle is a documentary about the extraordinary life story of Carl Laemmle, the German-Jewish immigrant who founded Universal Studios and later fought to rescue over 300 Jewish families from Nazi Germany. Told through the interviews with family members, historians and luminaries including director Peter Bodganovich; film critic/historian Leonard Maltin; Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center; Ron Meyer, vice chairman of NBCUniversal; and others, and with the voice of Carl Laemmle portrayed by actor Willie Garson.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, Founder & Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center will lead a moment of silence for Yom HaShoah

Special appearance by blockbuster film director Roland Emmerich – recipient of the first ever “Carl Laemmle” Award from the city of Laupheim, Germany, Carl Laemmle’s birthplace.

  • Q&A writer/director James L. Freedman and other special guests, moderated by Stan Taffel, Classic film expert
  • In partnership with the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • Thursday, May 2
  • 7:15 pm – Doors Open for Red Carpet, Dessert reception upon arrival, sponsored by Factor’s Famous Deli 
  • 8:00 pm – Show begins
  • Ahrya Fine Arts Theater, Beverly Hills

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Second screening of CARL LAEMMLE 

  • Q&A with James L. Freedman
  • Sunday, May 5, 5:00 pm
  • Laemmle’s Town Center, Encino

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SATURDAY, MAY 4


SHEPHERD: THE STORY OF A JEWISH DOG

West Coast Premiere!
Written & Directed by Lynn Roth
Drama/USA, Hungary/2019/93 minutes
Starring August Maturo (Girl Meets World), Ayelet Zurer (Man of Steel)
English and English subtitles when needed

Appropriate for ages 11 and above.

Acclaimed writer/director Lynn Roth (The Little Traitor), is back with her second epic feature, based on the award-winning and best-selling Israeli novel, “The Jewish Dog,” by Asher Kravitz. Kaleb is a beautiful German Shepherd who lives with a Jewish family in 1930’s Berlin. When a Nuremberg law passes that Jews can no longer own pets, the family is forced to give Kaleb away and separate him from his beloved 10 year old master, Joshua. He is adopted by an SS officer in a concentration camp and retrained to round up Jewish prisoners. He is well cared for and good at his job until one day when he is distracted by a familiar scent. Joshua, has arrived as captive at the camp. What ensues during this time is seen through the eyes of the dog. 

  • Q&A with award-winning director Lynn Roth and cast

Sponsored by the Goldrich Family Foundation an LA Museum of the Holocaust

  • Saturday, May 4, 8:00 pm
  • Laemmle’s Music Hall

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Second screening of  SHEPHERD: THE STORY OF A JEWISH DOG

  • Q&A with award-winning director Lynn Roth and actor August Maturo (“Girl Meets World”)
  • Sunday, May 5, 2:30 pm
  • Laemmle’s Town Center, Encino

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BACK TO MARACANA 

West Coast Premiere!
Directed by Jorge Gurvich 
Drama, Comedy/Israel, Brazil, Germany/2019/90 minutes
Starring Asaf Goldstien, Rom Barnea & Antônio Petrin
English, Hebrew, Portuguese with English subtitles 

It’s 2014, and Roberto (Asaf Goldstein), a divorced 40-year-old, finds himself on a spontaneous trip from Israel to Brazil for the World Cup with his father and son. His impetuous Brazilian father, a passionate soccer fan, has brought them to cheer on his beloved home team, but Roberto’s 12-year-old son, Itay (Rom Barnea) has no interest in soccer and would rather be anywhere else. What could go wrong? Back to Maracanã is a heartfelt and humorous road trip film featuring three generations of men trying to understand one another and come to terms with their lives that aren’t going quite as they’d hoped.

  • Q&A with the lead actor Asaf Goldstien in person!
  • Sponsored by the Consulate General of Israel
  • Saturday, May 4, 8:00 pm 
  • Laemmle’s Town Center, Encino

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THE PASSENGERS

Los Angeles Premiere!
Directed by Ryan Porush
Documentary/Ethiopia, Israel, USA/2019/70 min
English, Hebrew, Amharic with English subtitles
   

For centuries, there was a thriving Jewish community in Ethiopia. After the establishment of Israel, thousands relocated there, and now thousands more are fighting to join their families and friends. The Passengers tells the story of the Ethiopian Jews and the struggle to immigrate to Israel. The film follows the amazing journey of two young men, best friends Demoz and Gezi, as they represent their abandoned community on a fateful mission in America. With intimate access and detailed historical context we follow the unlikely spokesmen, out of Ethiopia for the first time in their lives, as they deal with intense pressure, homesickness and ups and downs of a grassroots campaign, while growing personally from the life-changing journey. When the pressure of representing its desperate community builds, the pair must reconcile unexpectedly diverging paths with an uncertain, critical future closing in.

  • Q&A with Ryan Porush

Preceded by

SHMELKY
Short/Israel, USA/2018/20 min
Directed by Raanan Rosenbaum
Hebrew with English subtitles
 

Children’s TV star Shmelky the Jewish Puppet comes to the realization that he wants to make a change and become a serious, respected theater actor. After his dream doesn’t go as planned he embarks on a journey of self discovery. 

  • Sponsored by Congregation Beth Shalom of Santa Clarita
  • Saturday, May 4, 8:00 pm
  • Congregation Beth Shalom of Santa Clarita

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WHO WILL WRITE OUR HISTORY

Written/Directed by Roberta Grossman
Produced by Nancy Spielberg
Documentary/Docudrama/USA, Poland/96 minutes
English, Yiddish and Polish with English subtitles

In commemoration of Yom HaShoah

Featuring the voices of: Three-time Academy Award® Nominee Joan Allen and Academy Award Winner® Adrien Brody

In November 1940, days after the Nazis sealed 450,000 Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, a secret band of journalists, scholars and community leaders decided to fight back. Led by historian Emanuel Ringelblum and known by the code name Oyneg Shabes, this clandestine group vowed to defeat Nazi lies and propaganda not with guns or fists but with pen and paper. Now, for the first time, their story is told. Written, produced and directed by acclaimed filmmaker, Roberta Grossman (Hava Nagila, Above and Beyond) and executive produced by Nancy Spielberg (Above and Beyond).

  • Sponsored by Temple Adat Elohim, Thousand Oaks
  • Saturday, May 4, 8:00 pm

  • Temple Adat Elohim, Thousand Oaks

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SUNDAY, MAY 5


HENRI DAUMAN: Looking Up

West Coast Premiere!
Directed by Peter Kenneth Jones
Documentary/USA/2018/88 minutes
English, French with English subtitles

Henri Dauman has been called one of the greatest photojournalists of the 20th century. Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Miles Davis, Edith Piaf, Yves Saint Laurent, Marcel Marceau, Andy Warhol, Elvis Presley, JFK & Jean-Luc Godard have all found a home inside his archive of one million negatives. But for all his achievements, few know the details of Henri’s remarkable origin story. Orphaned at thirteen in the midst of the Holocaust, he set out to rebuild his family at any something more: an artistic legacy for the generations.

Official Selection of Hamptons International Film Festival

  • Q&A with director Peter Kenneth Jones and special guests
  • Sponsored by Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center
  • Sunday, May 5, 11:00 am 
  • Laemmle’s Playhouse, Pasadena 

BuyTickets


VOICES OF HOPE: LAMOTH Student Film Showcase  

Shorts/2018-2019/70 minutes
Multiple directors

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust Student Film Showcase is partnering with the LA Jewish Film Festival’s for a student film showcase, featuring works by middle and high school filmmakers passionate about social justice, genocide awareness, memory and oral history, and acting as an upstander. Join us as we celebrate young filmmakers at Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust for the Voices of Hope: Student Film Showcase.

  • Q&A with student filmmakers
  • Sponsored by the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust
  • Sunday, May 5, 11:00 am 
  • LA Museum of the Holocaust

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CHEWDAISM: A Taste of Jewish Montreal  

Los Angeles Premiere!
Written & Directed by: Jamie Elman and Eli Batalion (YidLife Crisis)
Documentary/Canada/2018/62 minutes

The hilarious comedic duo behind the viral Yiddish-language web series YidLife Crisis return to their city of birth, Montreal, on a mission. On the verge of middle age, Eli Batalion and Jamie Elman have a hankering for the Jewish Montreal of their youth and its rich culinary heritage. They set out to eat their way through the city in 24 hours; From bagels for breakfast, deli-smoked meats at lunch, to a raucous Sephardi dinner. Along the way they re-engage and discover the storied Jewish community and its mouth-watering eateries, unlocking its intriguing past and marveling at its vibrant present and future.

Preceded by 

EGG CREAM 
Documentary Short/USA/2018/16 minutes
Written and Directed by Nora Miller & Peter Miller

A delightful short film about memory, history, and the enduring meaning of a beloved chocolate soda drink born in Jewish immigrant neighborhoods at the turn of the 20th century. The egg cream contained neither eggs nor cream – it was a product of necessity and hardship, but a source of joy and sweetness. Through a tour of egg cream establishments led by a filmmaker and his young daughter, and rare archival imagery, the film examines the Jewish experience in America and the mythology of a simpler time.

  • Sunday, May 5, 2:30 pm 
  • Laemmle’s Music Hall, Beverly Hills
  • Egg Creams and bagels sponsored by Western Bagels will be served!

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Shepherd: The Story of a Jewish Dog   

ENCORE SCREENING!

West Coast Premiere!
Written & Directed by Lynn Roth 
Drama/USA, Hungary/2019/93 minutes  
Starring August Maturo (Girl Meets World), Ayelet Zurer (Man of Steel)
English and English subtitles when needed  
Appropriate for ages 11 and above.                                                                                                      

Acclaimed writer/director Lynn Roth (The Little Traitor), is back with her second epic feature, based on the award-winning and best-selling Israeli novel, “The Jewish Dog,” by Asher Kravitz. Kaleb is a beautiful German Shepherd who lives with a Jewish family in 1930’s Berlin. When a Nuremberg law passes that Jews can no longer own pets, the family is forced to give Kaleb away and separate him from his beloved 10 year old master, Joshua. He is adopted by an SS officer in a concentration camp and retrained to round up Jewish prisoners. He is well cared for and good at his job until one day when he is distracted by a familiar scent. Joshua, has arrived as captive at the camp. What ensues during this time is seen through the eyes of the dog.

  • Q&A with award-winning director Lynn Roth and actor August Maturo (“Girl Meets World”)
  • Sponsored by the Goldrich Family Foundation an LA Museum of the Holocaust
  • Sunday, May 5, 2:30 pm
  • Laemmle’s Town Center, Encino

BuyTickets


THE TOBACCONIST (Der Trafikant)

Los Angeles Premiere!
Directed by Nikolaus Leytner
Drama/Germany/2018/ 108 minutes
German with English subtitles

Bruno Ganz remembered…
Starring veteran actor Bruno Ganz (
Downfall, Wings of Desire) as Sigmund Freud, in one of his final roles before his death in February. 

Based on the international bestseller by Robert Seethaler, this film is a tender, coming-of-age, heart-breaking story about one young man and his friendship with Sigmund Freud during the Nazi occupation of Vienna. Naïve 17-year-old Franz is sent by his single mother from his lakeside home to Vienna to apprentice with Otto Trsnjek, a kindly World War I veteran in his tobacco shop. There he meets Sigmund Freud (Bruno Ganz), a regular customer, and over time the two very different men form a singular friendship. When Franz falls desperately in love with the music-hall dancer Anezka, he seeks advice from the renowned psychoanalyst. As political and social conditions in Austria dramatically worsen with the Nazis’ arrival in Vienna, Franz and Freud are swept into the maelstrom of events. Each has a big decision to make: to stay or to flee?

Preceded by

A THOUSAND KISSES

Los Angeles Premiere!
Directed by Richard Goldgewicht 
Animated short/Brazil/Ireland/Uruguay/USA/2018/16 min
Voices of Elke Sommer and Christian Oliver
                           

A short animated film that tells the story of a young Jewish couple in Berlin who, separated by the fear of prosecution in 1933 Nazi Germany, make loose plans to reunite on the safe tropical shores of Brazil. The film is based on actual correspondence recovered by their grandchildren 80 years later. The film presents a peculiar love story tainted by the harsh historical context of its time, with a light touch and real-life poetry.

  • Q&A with Elke Sommer, Christian Oliver and director Richard Goldgewicht
  • Sponsored by the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • Sunday, May 5, 4:30 pm
  • Laemmle’s Music Hall, Beverly Hills

BuyTickets


CARL LAEMMLE 

Los Angeles Premiere!

Directed by James L. Freedman  
Documentary/USA/2018/91 minutes

He gave us make-believe monsters, and then saved people from a real one! Carl Laemmle is a documentary about the extraordinary life story of Carl Laemmle, the German-Jewish immigrant who founded Universal Studios and later fought to rescue over 300 Jewish families from Nazi Germany. Told through the interviews with family members, historians and luminaries including director Peter Bodganovich; film critic/historian Leonard Maltin; Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center; Ron Meyer, vice chairman of NBCUniversal; and others, and with the voice of Carl Laemmle portrayed by actor Willie Garson.

  • Q&A with director James L. Freedman
  • Sunday, May 5, 5:00 pm
  • Laemmle’s Town Center, Encino

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BLUE NOTE RECORDS: Beyond the Notes
Los Angeles Premiere!
Directed by Sophie Huber
Documentary/Switzerland, USA/2018/85 minutes

The iconic jazz label Blue Note Records, founded in New York by two German Jews who fled Berlin became the home to Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Herbie Hancock, Norah Jones and so many more. In 1939, Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff, both with a passion for jazz, a musical genre banned in Nazi Germany, established Blue Note Records. Blue Note’s history goes beyond the records, encompassing the struggle of black artists to be heard, fair royalties, and the idea of music as a revolutionary force. It would become the most influential jazz label of the post-war era. Everyone who mattered in jazz recorded for Blue Note. This film looks back to the glory days while showing how the label, now under the supervision of master producer Don Was (produced The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, John Mayer), remains socially and musically relevant. No jazz lover will want to miss this revelatory and thrilling musical feast.

  • Q&A with Don Was, President of Blue Note Records and filmmaker Sophie Huber, moderated by Rabbi Naomi Levy of Nashuva 
  • In partnership with Nashuva
  • Sponsored by Elke & Larry Ereshefsky
  • Sunday, May 5, 7:30 pm
  • Laemmle’s Music Hall, Beverly Hills 

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MONDAY, MAY 6

THE ACCOUNTANT OF AUSCHWITZ  
Directed by Matthew Shoychet
Written/Produced by Ricki Gurwitz 
Documentary/Canada/2018/78 minutes

This film reconstructs the controversial war crimes trial of an elderly Nazi underling, which made headlines worldwide. A former Auschwitz guard responsible for collecting the stolen loot of Jewish prisoners, Oskar Gröning was 94 when charged by German prosecutors as an accessory to mass murder. As the frail old man faces death camp survivors, a debate rages over his complicity and fitness to stand trial. Was Gröning just following orders, a mere cog in a large killing machine? Racing against time, a new generation of investigators seeks to atone for past sins, pursuing charges against the last living perpetrators of the Holocaust while testing the limits of international law and historical reconciliation. Interviews with Efraim Zuroff, Alan Dershowitz, Ben Ferencz among others.


Preceded by:

Hope Dies Last
Los Angeles Premiere!
Directed by Ben Price
Short/UK/2018/7 minutes

Based on the story of Józef Paczynski, a Polish political prisoner at Auschwitz who became the personal barber to camp commander Rudolf Höss

  • Q&A with Efraim Zuroff, Chief Nazi-hunters, Simon Wiesenthal Center
  • Sponsored by Councilmember Paul Koretz and the Department of Cultural Affairs
  • In partnership with the Museum of Tolerance
  • Monday, May 6, 7:00 pm
  • The Museum of Tolerance

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SKIN  
Los Angeles Premiere! 

Directed by Guy Nattiv
Drama/USA/2019/120 minutes
Starring Jamie Bell, Danielle Macdonald, Bill Camp, Vera Farmiga.

After a difficult childhood drives him into the grasps of a white supremacist gang, Bryon Widner (Jamie Bell, delivers a visceral, explosive performance) tries to escape to a new life, questioning whether he’s capable of undoing the evil he’s done. Turning his back on hatred and violence means undergoing painful and expensive operations to remove the tattoos that signified his terrible past — a process only possible with the support of a Black activist. The true story of Widner’s excruciating transformation inspired this startling chronicle of redemption from Israeli writer-director Guy Nattiv, whose short film version of this tale just won him an Oscar.

Winner of the FIPRESCI Award – Toronto International Film Festival

  • Q&A with Academy Award Winner®, Guy Nattiv and producer Jaime Ray Newman, moderated by Ariella Loewenstein, Deputy Regional Director of Anti-Defamation League
  • In partnership with the Anti Defamation League
  • Monday, May 6, 7:30 pm 
  • Laemmle’s Music Hall, Beverly Hills 

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STOCKHOLM

West Coast Premiere!
Directed by Daniel Syrkin 
Comedy TV Mini-series/Israel/2019/155 minutes
Starring Sasson Gabai, Doval’e Glickman, Liora Rivlin, Tikva Dayan, Noa Koler
Hebrew with English subtitles                                                                                              

In this critically-acclaimed and darkly comedic four-part mini-series, Avishai, a leading contender for the Nobel Prize for Economics is found dead by his lifelong friends just days before the award is to be announced. Concerned that his potential legacy as a Nobel laureate is at risk, they decide to keep him “alive” for just 5 days until the announcement is made. It seems like a relatively simple task. But, as their quest to keep Avishai’s death a secret unfolds, it quickly turns into an overwhelmingly complicated challenge. Based on the book by Noa Yedlin and featuring a who’s who of Israeli actors, this funny and endearing portrait of friendship is reminiscent of The Big Chill with all the macabre slapstick antics of Weekend at Bernie’s.

Official Selection — Toronto International Film Festival

  • Sponsored by the Consulate General of Israel
  • Monday, May 6, 7:30 pm 
  • Laemmle’s Town Center, Encino 

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TUESDAY, MAY 7


100 FACES
Los Angeles Premiere!
Directed by Benjamin Till
Short/UK/2018/13 minutes
English, Hebrew, Yiddish with English subtitles

One hundred Jewish Brits—one born in every year between 1917 and 2018—sing their shared story of Jewish diversity and memorable milestones, in this charming and uplifting musical. 

Winner – Pears Short Film Fund at UK Jewish Film Festival 2018! 

Playing with
AMERICA
Directed by Nadav Arbel  
Animated short/Israel/2018/15 min
Hebrew, Russian, Yiddish with English subtitles

In 1950 in Tel Aviv, a mother and her son receive a telegram with an invitation for a phone call from America. The prospects of the call spark hope for a better life in the mother’s heart while her son is busy in his own fantasy world inspired from his life in Israel.

And

THE CHEESEBURGER 
Short/USA/2018/5 minutes
Directed by Hillary Nussbaum

Three Jewish roommates debate their different views on religion as one contemplates a very big, very not-kosher decision: eating a cheeseburger.

  • Community Partner: Cafe Europa
  • Sponsored by Chana & Phil Bell in honor of Sophie & Max Lazar
  • Tuesday, May 7, 12:30 pm
  • National Council of Jewish Women

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WHO WILL WRITE OUR HISTORY
Written/Directed by Roberta Grossman
Produced by Nancy Spielberg
Documentary/Docudrama/USA, Poland/96 minutes
English, Yiddish and Polish with English subtitles
In commemoration of Yom HaShoah

Featuring the voices of: Three-time Academy Award® Nominee Joan Allen and Academy Award Winner® Adrien Brody

In November 1940, days after the Nazis sealed 450,000 Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, a secret band of journalists, scholars and community leaders decided to fight back. Led by historian Emanuel Ringelblum and known by the code name Oyneg Shabes, this clandestine group vowed to defeat Nazi lies and propaganda not with guns or fists but with pen and paper. Now, for the first time, their story is told. Written, produced and directed by acclaimed filmmaker, Roberta Grossman (Hava Nagila, Above and Beyond) and executive produced by Nancy Spielberg (Above and Beyond). 

  • Q&A with Roberta Grossman
  • Sponsored by Temple Israel of Hollywood
  • Tuesday, May 7, 7:30 pm 

  • Temple Israel of Hollywood

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LEONA 
Los Angeles Premiere!
Directed by Isaac Cherem
Written by Isaac Cherem & Naian González Norvind
Starring: Naian González Norvind & Christian Vazquez
Drama/Mexico/2018/95 minutes
Spanish with English subtitles 

Leona is an intimate, insightful, and moving film that tells the story of a young Jewish woman, a street muralist from Mexico City who finds herself torn between her family and her forbidden love with a non-Jewish man. He helps her discover the world outside her tight-knit community. Ripe with all the drama of a Jane Austen novel, watching her negotiate the labyrinth of familial pressure, religious precedent, and her own burgeoning sentiment is both painful and beautiful – there are no easy choices to be made and the viewer travels back and forth with her as she struggles with her heart to take the best path.

  • Sponsored by Ellie and Mark Lainer and CSUN Jewish Studies Program
  • Tuesday, May 7, 7:30 pm
  • Laemmle’s Town Center, Encino  

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HENRI DAUMAN: Looking Up
West Coast Premiere!
Directed by Peter Kenneth Jones
Documentary/USA/2018/88 minutes
English, French with English subtitles                              

Henri Dauman has been called one of the greatest photojournalists of the 20th century. Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Miles Davis, Edith Piaf, Yves Saint Laurent, Marcel Marceau, Andy Warhol, Elvis Presley, JFK & Jean-Luc Godard have all found a home inside his archive of one million negatives. But for all his achievements, few know the details of Henri’s remarkable origin story. Orphaned at thirteen in the midst of the Holocaust, he set out to rebuild his family at any something more: an artistic legacy for the generations.

Official Selection of Hamptons International Film Festival

  • Q&A in with director Peter Kenneth Jones and special guests
  • Tuesday, May 7, 7:30 pm
  • Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills

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WEDNESDAY, MAY 8


WALTER ARLEN’S FIRST CENTURY
US Premiere! 

Directed by Stephanus Domanig
Documentary/Austria/2018/94 minutes
English, German with English subtitles  

Exile music is not written by those who life left unchallenged. Walter Arlen is almost 100 years old, and the entire century comes to life in his stories and in his music; from the blue light of the last streetcar of his youth in Vienna to the golden sunsets in Los Angeles. Arlen was forced to flee Vienna in 1938 and immigrated to the United States, a journey that began as one of loneliness and depression. What kept him afloat was his musical talent. He took a job as the music critic for the Los Angeles Times, and stopped composing his own music. He only returned to it years later his works were first recorded and released when Arlen was 92. This sensitive film captures the complex story of a musician exiled, but who finally got to see his works performed late in life. 

  • Q&A with Walter Arlen, director Stephanus Domanig, Austrian Consul General Andreas Launer and Randy Schoenberg (grandson of two Austrian composers: Arnold Schoenberg and Eric Zeisl)
  • Sponsored by the Consulate General of Austria
  • Co-sponsored by Pamela & Randol Schoenberg
  • Wednesday, May 8, 7:30 pm
  • Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills

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THE PASSENGERS

Los Angeles Premiere!
Directed by Ryan Porush 
Documentary/Ethiopia, Israel, USA/2019/70 min
English, Hebrew, Amharic with English subtitles
 

For centuries, there was a thriving Jewish community in Ethiopia. After the establishment of Israel, thousands fled there escaping persecution. Today in Ethiopia, there is a community of nine thousand Jews. They speak Hebrew and keep kosher and have relatives in Israel. The community survives within a temporary, difficult reality, dreaming of one day living fully as Jews in Israel. The Passengers tells their struggle to immigrate to Israel. The film follows the amazing journey of two young men, best friends Demoz and Gezi, as they represent their abandoned community on a critical mission in America. With intimate access and detailed historical context we follow the unlikely spokesmen, out of Ethiopia for the first time in their lives, as they deal with intense pressure, homesickness and ups and downs of a grassroots campaign, while growing personally from the life-changing journey. When the pressure of representing its desperate community builds, the pair must reconcile unexpectedly diverging paths with an uncertain future closing in.

Playing with:
ON MY WAY OUT: The Secret Life of Nani and Popi

Los Angeles Premiere!
Directed by Brandon Gross, Skyler Gross
Documentary/USA/2017/40 minutes

All families have secrets. Having survived the Holocaust and tragically lost family members, Roman and Ruth Blank, affectionately known as Nani and Popi have been married for 60 years. They raised a family in America and built a successful business. Now at age 95, a deeply-held secret is revealed: Popi is gay, and finally free to explore his identity and seek the companionship he craves. But the revelation is not without repercussions, as the news deeply impacts Nani, and their daughters scramble to understand their parents in a new light. The film, created by the grandsons is awkwardly humorous at moments, and filled with tenderness, but one thing is clear; love is complicated.

  • Q&A with filmmakers Brandon Gross and Ryan Porush, moderated by Rabbi Jonathan Aaron of Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills
  • Sponsored by Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills
  • In partnership with Hadassah and Chai Village
  • Wednesday, May 8, 7:00 pm
  • Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills

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POLISH HONEYMOON (Lune de Miel)
US Premiere!
Directed by Élise Otzenberger
Drama-Comedy/France/2019/88 minutes
Starring: Judith Chemla & Arthur Igual
French & Polish with English subtitles 

Anna and Adam, a young Parisian couple with Jewish origins, are about to travel to Poland for the first time. They are just married and technically speaking this will be their honeymoon. They will attend a ceremony in memory of the Jewish community in the village of Adam’s grandfather, which was destroyed 75 years ago. Adam is not enthusiastic, but sees it as an occasion to spend some quality time with his wife, away from their baby boy. Anna, on the other hand, is both extremely anxious and overly excited about the trip to her grandmother’s country. She is hoping to reconnect with her roots and finally uncover more about her own family’s history, which was always a mystery. Filled with stereotypes and innuendo this film is both heartwarming and heartbreaking.

Preceded by 

Hold the Sun in Your Hands: The Erika Jacoby Story
Directed by Talia Abel, Xenia Bernal, Ian Kim, Alejandro Moses, Hank Schoen, India Spencer, Eva Suissa, Michael Zambrano
Produced by C. Lily Ericsson, Cheri Gaulke, Samara Hutman
Animated short/USA/2018/8 minutes 

Mixed media animation and personal testimony illustrate the story of Erika Jacoby, a child survivor of the Holocaust. Created by students in the Righteous Conversations Project, a collaboration of Holocaust survivors and teens, during Harvard-Westlake Summer Film.

  • Q&A with student filmmakers
  • Wednesday, May 8, 7:30 pm
  • Laemmle’s Town Center, Encino  

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CLOSING NIGHT!

GOLDA’S BALCONY
West Coast Premiere!  
Directed by Scott Schwartz, Produced by Dave Fishelson 
Dramatic Feature USA/2019/86 minutes

Celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day) with this LA premiere about Golda Meir, the mother of Israel!

With an appearance by special guest and star of the film
TOVAH FELDSHUH!

Tovah Feldshuh gives a mesmerizing performance as Golda Meir in the final masterpiece written by William Gibson. This film, from a rare, multi-camera shoot from the play’s original run was recently unearthed (literally, from a safe) and assembled into a new but absolutely riveting motion picture. The rise of Golda Meir from Russian schoolgirl to fourth Prime Minister of Israel, is one of the most thrilling and amazing stories of the 20th Century. In this film, her life has been transformed into a cinematic event of overwhelming power and inspirational triumph. Over 500 performances on Broadway were sold out, making this not only the longest-running, one-woman show in Broadway history, but earning accolades far and wide.

* Audience Award – Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival, 2019
* Audience Award – Pittsburgh Jewish Film Festival, 2019
* Audience Award – Charlotte Jewish Film Festival, 2019
* Audience Award – Honolulu Jewish Film Festival, 2019
* Best of the Fest – New Jersey Jewish Film Festival, 2019

  • Q&A with Tovah Feldshuh
  • Thursday, May 9
  • 7:30 PM
  • Ahrya Fine Arts Theater, Beverly Hills

BuyTickets