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2009 Film Selections

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2009 Highlights

2009 Film Categories






On the Road to Tel Aviv – LA Premiere


Directed by: Khen Shalem

Hebrew with English subtitles

The story of a young Israeli who finds himself in a tricky situation when an Arab woman enters the same bus as his fiancée. Panic ensues as the realities of war, terror, and enemies are exposed.

Followed by:

The Case for Israel:

Democracy’s Outpost

Documentary/USA/77 minutes/2008

Directed by: Michael Yohay

Produced by: Gloria Greenfield

English and Hebrew with English subtitles

Presenting a vigorous case for Israel — for its basic right to exist, to protect its citizens from terrorism, and to defend its borders from hostile enemies, Alan Dershowitz engages leaders from Israel and North America in discourse on critical challenges facing Israel and the West.

To purchase the DVD, visit www.thecaseforisrael.com

Tuesday, April 28, 7:30 pm

Laemmle’s Town Center

• Panel with Gloria Greenfield and Carrie Menkel-Meadow (peace negotiator)

Sponsored by Mireille and Barry Wolfe

Praying in Her Own Voice

Documentary/Israel/65 minutes/2007

Directed by: Yael Katzir

Produced by: Dan Katzir and Ravit Marcus

English and Hebrew with English subtitles

The courageous struggle of a religious group called “Women of the Wall,” a movement for equality next to the Wailing Wall — perhaps the holiest place on earth for the Jews. The story of the “Women of the Wall” is a test case for the deprived status of women in Israeli public life.

Sunday, April 26, 4:00 pm

Westside JCC

• Q & A with Rabbi Sharon Brous and producers

In cooperation with IKAR

The Lemon Tree

Drama/Israel/106 minutes/2008

Directed by: Eran Riklis

Starring: Hiam Abbas and Rona Lipaz-Michael

Arabic, French, Hebrew with English subtitles

A Palestinian widow, Salma finds her beloved lemon grove – a family legacy – threatened when a stubborn Israeli defense minister moves in next door and declares the trees a security threat. Salma takes her seemingly hopeless case all the way to the Israeli High Court with the help of a young Palestinian attorney. Her legal battle stirs the sympathies of the minister’s wife.

Nominated for seven Israeli Academy Awards.

Sunday, April 26, 2:30 pm

Laemmle’s Music hall


Mr. Rakowski – LA Premiere

Documentary/USA and Netherlands/75 minutes/2007

Directed by: Jan Diederen

Richie Rakowski struggles to bridge an emotional gap with his aging father Sam, a stubborn and stoic Holocaust survivor. The filmmaker unintentionally takes on the role as mediator between two men who have spent their lives struggling against personal traumas and tragedies. This film captures the remarkable transformation of a relationship, and the healing of two souls.

Wednesday, April 29, 8:00 pm

UCLA Melnitz Hall

• Q&A with Jan Diederen

In cooperation with UCLA Hillel and the Center for Jewish Studies at UCLA



Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg – LA Premiere

Short/USA/16 minutes/2009

Directed by: Aviva Kempner

The amazing life and career of Gertrude Berg, the creator, writer and star of The Goldbergs, a radio show that debuted in 1929 and subsequently became a popular weekly TV program (1949-1956). Berg pioneered the family sitcom that was to become TV’s most enduring format.

Followed by:

At Home in Utopia – LA Premiere

Documentary/USA/57 minutes/2008

Directed by: Michal Goldman

English and Yiddish with English subtitles

A home of one’s own: that’s the American dream. But what happens when the dreamers are immigrants, factory workers, and Communists?

Mining a rich, forgotten chapter of New York socialism, At Home in Utopia is the tale of the country’s first experiment in cooperative urban living. Founded by Russian Jewish immigrants in 1925, the United Workers Cooperative Colony – aka the Coops – was an oasis of progressive social values and radical ideals where Yiddish was taught after school and racial integration was not only preached but practiced. An epic tale of the struggle for equity and justice across two generations, the film tracks the rise and fall of one community from the 1920s into the 1950s.

Monday, April 27, 7:30 pm

Laemmle’s Music Hall

• After the screening join the filmmaker, children of the Coops and public housing gurus in exploring the experience — and present-day lessons — of the Coops. With Michal Goldman, the filmmaker; Elissa Barrett, Executive Director of PJA; Hershl Hartman, child of the Coops, Education Director of the Sholem Community and Yiddishkayt’s Vortsman; and Irv Goldstein, child of the Coops. Moderated by Peter Dreier, Professor of Politics and Chair of the Urban & Environmental Policy Program at Occidental College.

Community Sponsor: Yiddishkayt LA, Arbeter Ring/Workmen’s Circle, Progressive Jewish Alliance, and the Sholem Community

Letters for Jenny (Cartas Para Jenny) – LA Premiere

Drama/Argentina, Israel, Spain/96 minutes/2007

Directed by: Diego Musiak

Spanish with English subtitles

Having lost her mother to a terminal illness, Jenny enters her teenage years after a bittersweet Bat Mitzvah. A series of letters left for her from her late mother are her only comfort in times of major crisis and help her on the path of self-discovery. Traveling from South America to Israel, she reconnects with her Jewish identity, and a handsome childhood friend.

Wednesday, April 29, 7:30 pm

Laemmle’s Town Center

Sponsored by the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles

Evening of Kosher Film & Art

Presented by ATID

Join us for an evening of “Jewish Culture” with food, music, Jewish-themed art and short films made by emerging artists and filmmakers in their 20s & 30s.

Wednesday, April 29, 6:30 pm (art show opens)

7:00 pm (film screenings)

Sinai Temple



Jump – LA Premiere

Drama/Austria/102 minutes/2007

Directed by: Joshua Sinclair

Produced by: Lilly Berger

Starring: Patrick Swayze, Ben Silverstone, Martine McCutcheon, Stephanie Powers and Sybil Danning

A psychological drama revealing the extraordinary circumstances behind the unjust murder trial of the young Jew, Philippe Halsman, who would later become the most sought after celebrity portrait

photographer of his generation. Set in 1928 Austria during the rise of fascism, the film documents the troubled relationship between Philippe and his father, the events leading to his father’s death and the relationship with his Jewish attorney (Swayze). It focuses a sharp but delicate eye upon the anti-Semitic atmosphere that quickly led to Philippe’s conviction.

Opening Night Gala!

Writers Guild Theater

Thursday, April 23, 8:00 pm

Doors open at 7:15 pm

• Q&A with Joshua Sinclair and Lilly Berger

Sponsored by the Robert & Annette Lichtenstein Family Trust

Sunday, April 26, 7:30 pm

Laemmle’s Town Center


• Q&A with producer

Where I Stand: The Hank Greenspun Story – LA Premiere

Documentary/USA/98 minutes/2008

Portrayed by: Anthony Hopkins

Produced, Written and Directed by: Scott Goldstein

Hank Greenspun, a real-life Zelig, was the last of the “give ‘em hell” newspaper men. Hank is on the winning side of every battle, whether risking his future to run guns to the new state of Israel, standing up against Joseph McCarthy, or getting Howard Hughes to relocate to Las Vegas to buy out the mob. Includes interviews with gangsters, movie stars, his family, “Bugsy” Siegel, Richard Nixon, Shimon Peres and Steve Wynn.

Saturday, April 25, 8:00 pm

Laemmle’s Music Hall



Following Doctor Schneider

Wednesday, April 29, 7:00 pm

Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills

• Panel with Scott Goldstein, Brian Greenspun

Broken Promise – World Premiere

Drama/Slovakia/129 minutes/2009

Directed by: Jiri Chlumsky

Slovakian with English subtitles

Based on the true story of Martin Friedmann, a talented Jewish soccer player from a small Slovak town who had to make risky lifetime decisions in order to survive in WWII. When Friedmann sees his family taken to Poland one by one, he voluntarily goes to a work camp where he finds out that he is not safe anywhere. He survives the last selection for Auschwitz, and through a series of events joins up as a partisan under the new name “Petrasek,” with a band of Soviet-led-guerillas that are even bigger anti-Semites than the Germans.

Saturday, April 25, 7:30 pm

Laemmle’s Fallbrook


• Q & A with Martin Petrasek

In cooperation with the Consul General of Slovakia and El Caballero Country Club

Toyland (Spielzeugland) – Encore Presentation

Short/Germany/10 Minutes/2007

Directed by: Jochen  Alexander Freydank

German with English subtitles

To protect her son from the horrors of 1942 Germany, Marianne tells him that his Jewish best friend and his parents are packing for a journey to ‘Toyland’. He begs to go along until one morning her

son and the neighbors have disappeared.

Winner of 2008 Academy Award®

Followed by:

Not Idly By: Peter Bergson, America and the Holocaust – World Premiere

Documentary/USA/40 minutes/2009

Directed by: Pierre Sauvage

Most Americans — even many American Jews — believe that we didn’t know. Many assume that we couldn’t have done anything even if we had known that European Jews were being massacred by Hitler. Meet Peter Bergson, a militant Jew from pre-Israel Palestine, who led a controversial American effort to fight the Holocaust. This is his testimony.

Sunday, April 26, 5:00 pm

Laemmle’s Music Hall

• Q & A with Pierre Sauvage

In Commemoration of Yom HaShoah

Sponsored by the Goldrich Family Foundation

Quilt of Memory

Short/USA/16 minutes/2008

Directed by: Jay Falk

Produced by: Mt. Sinai Memorial Park & Mortuaries

This film features the moving stories of survival and personal reflections of Holocaust survivors from Los Angeles and their families.

Followed by:

Classmates of Anne Frank – LA Premiere

Documentary/Israel/58 minutes/2008

Directed by: Eyal Boers

Hebrew and Dutch with English subtitles

To comprehend fully the events in the life of Anne Frank, one must listen to the voices of the children who were there with her, of those who remember her. Set against their childhood locations in Amsterdam, Westerbork Transit Camp and their current homes in Holland and Israel, Theo Coster and six other former classmates discuss their relationships with Anne and how they survived the war.

Tuesday, April 28, 1:00 pm

Westside JCC

Community Sponsor: Café Europa

Looking for Roots, Finding Flowers – LA Premiere

Documentary /USA and Romania/72 minutes/2008

Directed by: Dan Jacobson

This fascinating and engaging film follows the director’s grandfather, along with other members of his family, on a quest to find their ancestral home in Romania. Join them as they head into the rural countryside to find the home of Jacobson’s great-great grandparents, following distant memories

of a time lost in the turmoil of World War II.


Wednesday, April 29, 7:00 pm

Wilshire Boulevard Temple


Doctor Schneider

Short/USA/9 minutes/2008

Directed by: Tara Hernandez

Nothing can prepare Dr. Schneider for the decision he must face when approached by a longtime Jewish patient with an unusual request. Set against the backdrop of WW II Germany, Dr. Schneider mustcome to terms with the horrors that exist outside his isolated walls.

Followed by:

Where I Stand: The Hank Greenspun Story – LA Premiere (see description above)

Documentary/USA/98 minutes/2008

Portrayed by: Anthony Hopkins

Produced, Written and Directed by: Scott Goldstein

Wednesday, April 29, 7:00 pm

Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills


In cooperation with Hadassah

One Day You’ll Understand (Plus Tard)

Drama/France/90 minutes/2008

Directed by: Amos Gitai

Starring: Jeanne Moreau, Hippolyte Girardot and Emmanuelle Devos

French with English subtitles

Raised Catholic like his father, Victor and his sister knew nothing of their parents’ wartime past or of their maternal grandparents’ deportation to the camps. In 1987, the televised trial of Klaus Barbie, ‘the butcher of Lyon,’ disturbs this legacy of silence and spurs Victor to search for the missing pieces of his family’s history.

Wednesday, April 29, 7:30 pm

Laemmle’s Music Hall


The Brothers Warner

Documentary/USA/90 minutes/2008

Directed by: Cass Warner

Appearances by: Norman Lear, Debbie Reynolds, Tab Hunter, Angie Dickenson and others

An intimate portrait of the four film pioneers who founded and ran Warner Bros. Studios for over 50 years. Told in the voice of Harry Warner’s granddaughter, it includes never before seen photos and footage. This band of brothers rose from immigrant poverty through personal tragedies, persevering to create a major studio with a social conscience, ultimately revolutionizing Hollywood.

Closing Night

Thursday, April 30, 7:30 pm

Laemmle’s Town Center


• Q&A with Cass Warner, Stephen Farber and special guests



Hey Hey It’s Esther Blueburger – LA Premiere

Comedy/Australia/103 minutes/2008

Directed by: Cathy Randall

Starring: Toni Collette and Keisha Castle-Hughes

A quirky comedy about the unending quest for self-acceptance that follows the life trials of a nerdy Australian teen. Scorned by classmates at her snooty private school, and an afterthought in her dysfunctional Jewish home, Esther is an outcast in her own world. But life turns a corner when she befriends a rebellious student and her hip single mother. An experience to be shared by mature teens and adults alike, the film invites audiences to embrace the wonderful weirdness of being true to yourself.

Saturday, April 25, 8:00 pm

Laemmle’s Town Center


Tuesday, April 28, 7:30 pm

Laemmle’s Music Hall


Appropriate for age 14+

Beau Jest – LA Premiere

Comedy/USA/98 minutes/2008

Directed by: Jim Sherman

Produced by: Dan and David Newton

Starring: Lainie Kazan, Seymour Cassel, Robyn Cohen, Tony Daly and Willie Garson

A delightful romantic comedy that tells the familiar tale of a Jewish girl whose mother is constantly nagging her to date a nice Jewish boy. Sarah invents the perfect “Beau” and hires an actor to take on the role of her imaginary Jewish suitor. Hilarious antics ensue in this tale of love that starts with a little white lie.

Sunday, April 26, 7:30 pm

Laemmle’s Music Hall


Tuesday, April 28, 7:30 pm

Laemmle’s Pasadena


• Q & A with Lainie Kazan, Jim Sherman, cast and producers at both shows

The Kiddush Man

Short/USA/10 minutes/2008

Directed by: Yitz Brilliant

A coming-of-age drama set in Israel, about 10-year-old Yoni who each Sabbath attempts to sneak past curmudgeonly Mr. Katz into Kiddush before the end of services — but one day Mr. Katz is nowhere to be seen.

Followed by:

Grandpa, Speak to Me in Russian

Documentary/Ireland/54 minutes/2007

Directed by: Louis Lentin

An innovative quest based on memory, conjecture and love, centering on the life of the director’s paternal grandfather who left a repressive Russian regime and arrived in Ireland as a boy of fourteen in the mid-1890s.

Friday, April 24, 1:00 pm

Westside JCC


Student Film Showcase

Shorts/USA/80 minutes/2008

In its second year, this event will showcase Jewish student films from day/high schools throughout Los Angeles. We will present a diverse and exciting range of student work that represents the burgeoning talent of our future generation of filmmakers.

Sunday, April 26, 3:00 pm

Laemmle’s Town Center


• Q&A with student filmmakers

Sponsored by The Jewish Federation Valley Alliance and the Martin F. Witkin Fund

Holy Land Hardball – LA Premiere

Documentary /USA/84 minutes/2008

Directed and Produced by: Brett Rapkin and Eric Kesten

This heartwarming film chronicles the unpredictable journey of the formation of the Israel Baseball League, the first ever professional baseball circuit in the Middle East. Their task is to bring to Israel a sport they have managed to live without for 5,767 years. The ultimate question is, “If we build it, will they come?”

Sunday, April 26, 5:00 pm

Laemmle’s Town Center


• Q & A with Brett Rapkin

Appropriate for age 13+

Making the Crooked Straight – LA Premiere

Documentary/Ethiopia/30 minutes/2008

Directed by: Susan Cohn Rockefeller

The story of one man’s journey to save the world by saving one child at a time. Dr. Rick Hodes has dedicated his life to helping heal the sick and poor of Ethiopia. Dr. Hodes arranges for complex overseas surgeries, often paying at his own expense, and has thus far adopted seventeen children, providing them with not only proper medical care, but a home and an education.

Followed by:

Refugees – LA Premiere

Documentary/Israel/66 minutes/2008

Directed by: Shai Carmeli-Polak

Produced by: Zafrir Kochanovsky

Hebrew with English subtitles

2007 saw a wave of African refugees crossing through Egypt to Israel. Once a major contributor to the Geneva Convention dealing with refugees, Israel instead, sent most back to Egypt. The only help offered came from individuals and private organizations. Among the groups arriving from Africa, the film focuses on two of the refugees from Darfur, Adam and Ismail.

Monday, April 27, 7:30 pm

Laemmle’s Town Center


• Q & A with Zafrir Kochanovsky

Community Sponsor: Jewish World Watch

Nice Jewish Boys – LA Premiere

Short/Canada/3 minutes/2008

Directed by: Janice Shulman

Rendered in hand-drawn 2D animation, the film’s edgy and twisted humor explores dating as seen through the eyes of a modern Jewish woman; an experience shared by all in search of the perfect mate.

Followed by:

Jaffawiye – LA Premiere

Short/Israel/17 minutes/2008

Directed by: Dan Deutsch

Hebrew, Arabic, Russian with English subtitles

System Ali is a fresh, young hip-hop band from Jaffa, who through their music find peace and togetherness in a part of Israel where racial prejudice are on the daily agenda. Singing in Arabic, Hebrew and Russian, System Ali deals with the problems of the young generation living in Jaffa.

“Young Professionals Night at the Knitting Factory”

Tuesday, April 28, 6:00 pm


• Followed by a performance with Moshav and special guest from Israel, Haran Yaffe

In cooperation with GesherCity