Louisville Jewish Film Festival 2020

Film and Festival Information

See below for the 2020 festival schedule, film descriptions, speakers and purchase tickets.

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Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles

Saturday, February 8, 7:30 p.m.
Bellarmine University, Wyatt Hall’s Cralle Theatre

Directed by Max Lewkowicz
Documentary, United States, 92 minutes

* Louisville Jewish Film Festival Opening Night Film *

This special evening is made possible by Louis Levy & Wilma Probst Levy Film & Theatre Arts Fund and includes musical selections performed by Emily and Monty Fields, stars of CenterStage’s production of Fiddler on the Roof and a post-show reception.

A documentary about how the musical Fiddler on the Roof became so beloved against all odds. The film contains interviews with the musical’s creators, performance clips from productions around the world (including the current Yiddish-language adaptation in New York ), and commentary from many, including Zero Mostel, Hal Prince, Joel Grey, Sheldon Harnick, Stephen Sondheim, Itzhak Perlman and Hamilton‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda who surprised his bride with a rousing rendition of “To Life” at their wedding reception.

Opening film of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.

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Fanny’s Journey

Sunday, February 9, 10 A.M.
Village 8 Theatres

Directed by Lola Doillon
Belgium, France, 94 minutes

Based on a true story, this is an incredible tale of bravery, strength and survival, a story of a daring young girl who will stop at nothing and fear no one. In 1943, 13-year old Fanny and her younger sisters were sent from their home in France to an Italian foster home for Jewish children. When the Nazis arrive in Italy, their caretakers desperately organize the departure of the children to Switzerland. When they are suddenly left on their own, these 11 children do the impossible and reach the Swiss border to freedom.

Sponsored by the Ann and Coleman Friedman Fund.

Winner of many Audience Awards, including Atlanta, Philadelphia, and St. Louis Jewish Film Festivals. 

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The Unorthodox

Sunday, February 9, 2 p.m.
Baxter Avenue Theatres

Directed by Eliran Malka
Feature, 92 minutes
Hebrew (English, French subtitles)

A fast-paced documentary about underdogs who triumph. Angered when his daughter is expelled from school simply for being Sephardic, Yakov Cohen galvanizes his friends to improvise a grassroots campaign to form the Shas Party, dedicated to Sephardic ultra-Orthodox Jews. It’s 1983 and Yakov is just a regular guy with no knowledge, no money, no connections, and no political experience. Along with two friends, they start the first ethnic political group in Jerusalem. Their operation is informal, full of love for their fellow man, animated by a great sense of humor and a whole lot of rage. Their efforts reshape Israeli society in ways that still resonate today.

Speaker: Asaf Angermann, JHFE Asst. Visiting Professor of Jewish Thought & Philosophy

Opening night film of the Jerusalem Film Festival, and winner of several other festival awards.

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Limited Seating Available


Born in Jerusalem and Still Alive

Thursday, February 13, 7 p.m.
Village 8 Theatres

Directed by Yossi Atia and David Ofek
Comedy/Drama/Romance, Israel, 83 minutes

In this black comedy and romance film, Ronen is a twenty-something schlemiel, leading tours of terror attack sites in his native Jerusalem. This is not a business for him—he doesn’t charge for the tours. Rather, it is his way to heal from the scarring trauma of coming of age in the late 1990s-early 2000s, when the violence between Israelis and Palestinians shaped the everyday fabric of life in the region. Ronen is played by writer and director, Yossi Atia, who based the script on his real life.

Speaker: Asaf Angermann, JHFE Assistant Visiting Professor of Jewish Thought & Philosophy

Sponsored by Cantor David Lipp’s Discretionary Fund at Congregation Adath Jeshurun

Winner of the Jerusalem Film Festival Award for Best First Feature.

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The Keeper

Saturday, February 15, 7:30 p.m.
Village 8 Theatres

Directed by Marcus H. Rosenmuller
Drama/Romance, United Kingdom, 120 minutes

The true story of Bert Trautmann, a German soldier, and prisoner of war who, amid much protest and prejudice, secures the position of the goalkeeper at Manchester City and becomes a soccer icon. His signing causes outrage to thousands of fans, many of them Jewish. What proved decisive was a remarkable open letter to the press from Manchester’s communal rabbi, Alexander Altmann, who fled from the Nazis, asking for Trautmann to be given a chance.  Trautmann’s love for Margaret, an Englishwoman, sustains him, but fate will soon twist for them when their love and loyalty to each other is put to the ultimate test.

Contains some sexual scenes.

Winner of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival Audience Award.

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Picture of His Life

Sunday, February 16, 2 p.m.

Kentucky Science Center’s 
4-Story Theatre

Directed by Dani Menkin and Yonatan Nir
Documentary, United States, 72 minutes

World-famous Israeli underwater wild-life photographer Amos Nachoum is determined to get the picture of an Arctic polar bear. He swam with crocodiles, killer whales, anacondas and great white sharks, but always dreamed of swimming underwater with a polar bear. Nachoum had tried it before and barely escaped. As the journey unfolds for the 65-year-old photographer, so does the story of his past; his difficult childhood, his service in an elite unit during the 1973 Yom Kippur War and other experiences that led to this quest. Filmmaker Dani Menkin (who appeared at LJFF with his film On The Map), and producer Nancy Spielberg, have teamed together to show many of our most popular festival films in the past.

Speaker: Dani Menkin, Filmmaker (who appeared at LJFF with his film On The Map)

Sponsored by Goldstein/Leibson Fund.

Opening film of Docaviv, The Tel-Aviv International Documentary Film Festival.

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Film ticket includes museum admission.



Thursday, February 20, 7 p.m. 

Speed Cinema at Speed Art Museum

Directed by Isaac Cherem
Mexico, 2018, Drama, 95 minutes
Spanish (with English subtitles)

In this intimate and moving film, a young Jewish woman from Mexico City finds herself torn between her family and forbidden love. This story of divide between generations and cultures leads to difficult choices and a journey of self-discovery and empowerment.
Contains sexual content and nudity.

Speaker: Dr. Michal Kofman, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at UofL

Contains sexual content and nudity.

Winner of Best Feature and Best Actress awards at the Morelia International Film Festival.

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Saturday, February 22, 7:30 p.m.
Village 8 Theatres

Directed by Jacob Goldwasser
Drama, 100 minutes
Hebrew (with English subtitles)

Shoelaces is a tender family “dramedy” about the complicated relationship between an aging, irascible mechanic and his exuberant special-needs son he abandoned when young. When his ex-wife dies, Reuven is suddenly thrust into caring for his now-grown son. The transition is difficult for both, as Reuven wrestles with parenting a child with disabilities, while Gadi grieves the loss of his loving mother.

Speaker: Rabbi Diane Tracht, Jewish Family and Career Services

Sponsored by Toni Goldman.

Nominated for eight Israeli Academy Awards including Best Film. Opening night film at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.

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Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz

Sunday, February 23, 2 p.m.
Village 8 Theatres

Directed by Barry Avrich
Documentary, Canada, 83 minutes

A profile of the diminutive, unsung hero who put Nazis on trial at Nuremberg. Born in Transylvania before his family fled to the United States, Ferencz grew up in a tough, New York City neighborhood, persevering as a gifted law student, then enlisting in the Army during World War II. At 27, he was thrust upon the world stage as chief prosecutor in the historic Nuremberg Trials. His crusade for a new justice system based on tolerance and compassion led to the formation of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

The Driver is Red, a 15 minute short will be shown before the film.

Speaker: Corey Shapiro, Legal Director of the ACLU of Kentucky

Nominee for the Best Canadian Feature Film and Audience Award for Best Documentary Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.

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Carl Laemmle

Thursday, February 27, 7 p.m.
Village 8 Theatres

Writer, producer, director James L. Freedman
Documentary, United States, 90 minutes

A German-born Jewish immigrant who began in the garment trade, Laemmle went on to found Universal Pictures. Producing hundreds of successful movies, he was unafraid to tackle social issues, as with the Oscar-winning anti-war drama All Quiet on the Western Front. A champion of humanitarian causes, Laemmle saved over 300 Jewish families from the Holocaust, sponsoring their immigration to the United States and finding them jobs and homes.

Speaker: Abby Glogower, Curator of Jewish Collections at the Filson Historical Society.

Opening film of the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival.

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Tel Aviv on Fire

Saturday, February 29, 7:30 p.m.
Village 8 Theatres

Directed by Sameh Zoabi
Drama/Comedy, Israel, 97 minutes
Hebrew (with English subtitles)

A hilarious, outlandish satire follows Salam. He is failing at his job on a Palestinian TV soap opera popular with both Israelis and Palestinians. His daily commute through the Israeli checkpoint from his home in Jerusalem to his job in Ramallah leads to regular encounters with the IDF officer in charge. When the officer demands Salam to change the show’s storyline to make his wife happy, Salam struggles with concocting plot twists to suit viewers on both sides.

Speaker: Daniel Kleinman, screenwriter, Louisville native, and Professor of Film at Columbia University.

Luxembourg’s Academy Award Entry for best international film. Nominee for Best Comedy at the European Film Awards. First Prize at the Bucharest International Comedy Film Festival.

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The Light of Hope

Sunday, March 1, 2 p.m.
Village 8 Theatres

Directed by Silvia Quer
Drama, France/Spain, 96 minutes
Spanish, Catalan, French (with English subtitles)

Based on a true story, a young Red Cross nurse, Elisabeth Eidenbenz, arrives in the south of France, near Spain, in the 1940s to aid hundreds of Jewish refugees suffering from disease and malnutrition. Appalled by the dire conditions facing pregnant women and children, she converts an abandoned villa into a maternity home. When demands are made for her to turn over the Jews, she must make a decision that could endanger everyone. Eidenbenz has been recognized by Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, as Righteous Among the Nations.

Speaker: Fred Gross, Holocaust survivor and author of One Step Ahead of Hitler: A Jewish Child’s Journey through France and Carolyn Humphrey, a nurse and author of Homecare Nursing Handbook.

Winner of Best Film at the Gaudi Awards.

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Anne Frank Parallel Stories

March 3, 7 p.m.
Baxter Avenue Theatres

Directed by Sabina Fedeli and Anna Migotto
Documentary, Italy, 92 minutes

As a dedication to what would have been her 90th anniversary, Academy Award-winning actress Helen Mirren retraces Anne’s life through the pages of her diary, and through the lives of five women who, as teenage girls, were also deported to concentration camps but survived the Holocaust. This unusual documentary takes audiences into Anne’s room within the secret annex of her family’s hiding place before being deported, which takes us back to 1942.

View Trailer | Tickets for “Anne Frank Parallel Stories” can only be purchased at Baxter Avenue Theatres or their website.


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