The 2016 Louisville Jewish Film Festival has been setting attendance records and getting rave reviews for the quality of the selections, and there are still three more first-rate films to come.
On Saturday, February 27, The Fire Bird will be shown at 7:30 at the Village 8. This film was the winner of Best Supporting Actress and nominated for 10 Israeli Academy Awards.
An 80-year-old man’s body is found with three stab wounds to the chest and a number tattooed along his forearm. A police detective and second generation Holocaust survivor, is reluctantly assigned to the case. The detective learns that in the weeks leading up to his death, the victim, sought a ‘membership card’ to the most horrible club in the world: the club of Holocaust survivors. Despite his age he was still attractive and his charm was evident as he searched the obituaries for widows to beguile.
Farewell Party will be shown on Sunday, February 28, 2 p.m. at the Village 8 Theatres. It was nominated for 14 Israeli Academy Awards, and winner of 4.
In this tender, witty and sometimes humorous take on end-of-life choices, nursing home seniors struggle with a decision to help a dying friend. This very human and compassionate story is life-affirming and entertaining in spite of its otherwise grim subject matter.
Tickets for either The Fire Bird or Farewell Party are $8.50 in advance, $10 at door and $6 students.
The final film, Run Boy Run, will be shown at the main branch of the Louisville Free Public Library on Tuesday, March 1, at 6:30 p.m. free of charge.
A saga of courage and compassion, this is the miraculous true story of a nine-year-old Polish boy who fled from the Warsaw ghetto in 1942. He survived in the woods, eluded SS patrols, and charmed locals into providing shelter, while keeping alive his Jewish faith.
The festival kicked off on Saturday, February 6, with Dough. Shown at Bellarmine University and sponsored by the school’s Hillel, this uproarious comedy about an elderly kosher baker and his young Muslim assistant, who managed to get marijuana from his extracurricular activities mixed into the challah dough, drew a crowd of over 320. It was the first of three films to sell out.
For its second offering on Thursday, February 11, the festival took a serious bent with Rosenwald. This biography of Julius Rosenwald, the Jewish top executive of Sears and Roebuck, was eye-opening. Presented at the Muhammad Ali Center following a reception, local historian Tom Owen gave a brief introduction outlining how much Rosenwald did for the Black community in Kentucky before running off to a Metro Council meeting.
The film itself, presented by The Eye Care Institute, detailed how Rosenwald used his fortune to create over 5,000 Rosenwald elementary schools for black children across the south and how his efforts also included supporting traditionally black colleges like Tuskegee and Fisk, and provided artist grants for many of the most talented black artists, musicians, writers and other cultural giants.
Deb Delore and Lisa Bache who are involved in helping preserve the three remaining Rosenwald Schools in Kentuckiana rounded out the evening with information about these efforts.
Another well-attended film was Rock in the Red Zone at the JCC on Thursday, February 18. The film focuses on the 15 seconds of warning the residents of S’derot receive before a bombardment from neighboring Gaza. At the sound of the alarm, all residents go running for the many bomb shelters throughout the city.
Avi Vaknin, a musician from S’derot spoke to the crown about how the city responds to the attacks, and, despite the need to drop everything, amazing art is created. Vaknin’s music was featured in the film. The event was co-sponsored by Congregation Adath Jeshurun’s Music Fund, the Jewish Community Relations Council, Hillel and YAD.
The Dove Flyer, shown at Adath Jeshurun on Sunday, February 21, also drew a crowd.
Based on the best-selling novel, Farewell Bagdad, by Eli Amir, the film told the story of Iraq’s Jewish community through the coming-of-age tale of 16-year-old Kobi. Dr. Ranen Omer-Sherman, who holds the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence Endowed Chair of Judaic Studies at UofL, delivered some opening remarks.
Other Jewish Film Festival offerings were Beneath the Helmet: From High School to the Home Front and Closed Season. In conjunction with The Temple and Congregation Adath Jeshurun, the Film Festival also screened two shorter student movies, Revival and Pinhas, at The Temple.
The lead sponsor for the 2016 Jewish Film Festival is the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence. Funding was also provided by Congregation Adath Jeshurun and the Louis Levy Film and Theatre Arts Fund.
Thanks to support from the Ann and Coleman Friedman Children’s Judaic Activity Fund, two of the films were also shown to middle and high school religious school students. Keiley Caster is chair of the Jewish Film Festival Committee, and its members are Rabbi David Ariel-Joel, Michael Furey, Janice Glaubinger, Angeline Golden, Meryl Kasdan, Louis Levy (a cofounder of the festival), Cantor David Lipp, Ranen Omer-Sherman, Pami, Mark Prussian, Shelly Rifkin, Susan Waterman and Rabbi Michael Wolk.
Marsha Bornstein is the Jewish Film Festival director.