Join us for the 21st annual New York Jewish Film Festival, a preeminent showcase for world cinema exploring the Jewish experience. This diverse selection of films includes dramatic features, riveting documentaries, entertaining comedies and tantalizing shorts. Presented by The Jewish Museum and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Festival includes world, U.S. and New York premieres.
Please note: both screenings of Invisible have been cancelled. If you have purchased a ticket for this film, please contact the Film Society’s Walter Reade Theater Box Office, 212 875 5601, for information about exchanging or refunding your ticket.
The New York Jewish Film Festival is supported, in part, through public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; Northern Trust; The Liman Foundation; Mimi and Barry Alperin; and the Martin and Doris Payson Fund for Film and Media.
Additional support has been provided by The Office of Cultural Affairs, Consulate General of Israel in New York; the French Embassy; and the Polish Cultural Institute New York.
This year’s New York Jewish Film Festival was selected by Rachel Chanoff, Independent Curator, Scott Foundas, Associate Director of Programming, Film Society of Lincoln Center; Richard Peña, Program Director, Film Society of Lincoln Center; and Aviva Weintraub, Associate Curator and Director of The New York Jewish Film Festival, The Jewish Museum; with assistance from Jaron Gandelman, Curatorial Assistant for Media and Film Festival Coordinator, The Jewish Museum.
Director Danny Gold, subject Cantor Nate Lam and producer Michael Lam in person!
A compelling and uplifting documentary that looks at Jewish culture in Poland, past and present, through a unique focus—100 cantors from around the world who come together for concerts at the Warsaw Opera House and the Nozyk Synagogue.
World Premiere! Directors Avishai Mekonen and Shari Rothfarb Mekonen in person at both screenings! Film subjects Rabbi Manny Viñas and Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl, and Lacey Schwartz, Outreach Director for Be'chol Lashon, Executive Producers of 400 MILES TO FREEDOM in person at 1/18 screening!
In 1984, the Beta Israel—a secluded 2,500-year-old community of observant Jews in the northern Ethiopian mountains—began a secret and dangerous journey of escape.
PRECEDED BY: Panta Rhei (Amos Holzman, 2010)
U.S. Premiere! Director Thierry Binisti, author Valérie Zenatti, and producers Gilles Sacuto and Milena Poylo in person!
This engrossing and hopeful drama about a young Frenchwoman in Jerusalem whose message in a bottle expressing despair at the hatred between Israelis and Palestinians elicits a response from a mysterious "Gazaman" is based on the award-winning novel by Valérie Zenatti.
New York Premiere! Actress Sarah Adler in person!
A few days before his wedding, a young man (Benjamin Biolay) has to make unexpected decisions and cope with his fiancée, who has seemingly flown the coop. Enter a charming chanteuse (Sarah Adler), his preoccupied mother, critical sister (Emmanuelle Devos, Coco Before Chanel), unintelligible in-laws, patient pals and workers renovating his apartment.
US Premiere of Restored Version! Sharon Rivo of the National Center for Jewish Film in person!
Thinking he has killed his friend Paul in a jealous rage, David Bergmann flees pre-revolutionary Russia for America. Live piano by Donald Sosin accompanied by violinist Joseph Morag.
US Premiere! Director Adrian Panek in person!
A dazzling period drama, Daas explores the influence of 18th-century false messiah Jacob Frank. Claiming powers of mystical healing and prophecy, Frank promises immortality to his converts. A Viennese lawyer investigates Frank, seeing him as a threat to the Austrian Empire, and a former disciple seeks justice.
New York City premiere!
Director Judy Lieff and film subjects Aneta Brodski and Tahani Salah in person at both screenings. Co-producer Steve Zeitlin in person at January 17 screening. Bob Holman, founder of the Bowery Poety Club, in person at January 19 screening.
This high-energy documentary explores the beauty and power of American Sign Language (ASL) poetry through the story of deaf teen Aneta Brodski’s bold journey into the spoken word poetry slam scene.
New York Premiere! Directors Steven Fischler and Joel Sucher in person!
From the directors of From Swastika to Jim Crow (NYJFF 2000) comes this fascinating documentary exploring the post-World War II heyday of the garment district in Manhattan.
PRECEDED BY: Orbit (Jessica Dorfman, 2011)
The story of Yonatan Netanyahu, commander of an elite Israeli army commando unit who was killed during Operation Entebbe, a hostage-rescue mission carried out at Entebbe Airport in Uganda on July 4, 1976, after members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the German Revolutionary Cells hijacked an Air France plane with 248 passengers aboard. Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story had its world premiere at the 2012 New York Jewish Film Festival.
New York Premiere! Director Duki Dror in person!
A cinematic meditation about architect Erich Mendelsohn based on his letters and a memoir by his wife Louise.
U.S. Premiere! Director Branko Ivanda in person!
A captivating drama tells the story of Lea Deutsch, known as the Croatian Shirley Temple, and her friend and dancing partner Darija Gasteiger. The two talented and exuberant 13-year-old girls were great stars in Zagreb on the eve of World War II. The Nazi persecution of Jews and later, German nationals’ flight from communists, tests their friendship.
Opening Night! New York Premiere! Actor Michael Moshonov in person at all three screenings.
Screening added: January 11 at 8:45pm.
Everything is complicated in Yoni’s life. He’s almost 13 and smart, but physically underdeveloped. His classmates bully him and his parents barely say a word to each other. As if this weren’t enough, his 17-year-old autistic brother Tomer returns home from an institution right before Yoni’s bar mitzvah.
PRECEDED BY: Howl (Natalie Bettelheim & Sharon Michaeli, 2011)
New York Premiere!
Acclaimed Israeli director Eytan Fox brings to life a modern fable with a catchy musical message and a story based on the songs of Israeli pop legend Svika Pick.
New York Premiere! Director Ami Drozd in person at January 19 and January 21 screenings!
Screening added: January 12 at 3:30pm.
In a poor neighborhood in 1960s Łódź, Poland, 10-year-old Tadek and his brother are in a gang with a strong anti-Semitic bent. When they are arrested, their mother, a Holocaust survivor, has no choice but to reveal that though raised as Catholics, they are in fact Jews.
Director Andrei Zagdansky in person!
Andrei Zagdansky (Interpretation of Dreams, NYJFF 1992) returns to the NYJFF with a moving portrait of his father, who was editor-in-chief of the Kiev Popular Science Film Studio. Director Andrei Zagdansky in person at January 17 show!
PRECEDED BY: Three Promises (Edward Serotta, 2011)
A musical film showcasing the talents of the great tenor Joseph Schmidt (1904-1942), known as the Jewish Caruso. Paralleling Schmidt’s own life story, this drama by Richard Oswald (Different from the Others, NYJFF 2000) tells the tale of a talented singer who finds challenges in both his career and his love life because he is less than 5 feet tall.
Tomer Heymann in person!
Tomer Heymann (Paper Dolls) brings us this poignant meditation on family and loss using 8 and 16mm home movies and more recent footage he shot over the past decade to navigate the intimate lives of five brothers and their mother.
PRECEDED BY: Grandmothers (Michael Wahrmann, 2009)
New York Premiere! Writer Pam Katz and Actor David Rasche in person at January 16 screening!
Inspired by actual events, Remembrance depicts a remarkable love story that blossomed in the terror and squalor of a Nazi concentration camp in 1944 Poland.
New York Premiere! Actress Sarah Adler in person!
Joseph Madmony (The Barbecue People, NYJFF 2004) returns with this sensitive drama in which a Tel Aviv man struggles to keep his antique restoration business afloat.
New York Premiere!
This program presents a rare opportunity to see powerful, unused footage from three interviews filmed for Claude Lanzmann’s landmark documentary Shoah—Abraham Bomba, who was a barber in Treblinka; Peter Bergson, who struggled to publicize Nazi crimes against the Jews; and the deeply affecting Ruth Elias.
U.S. Premiere! Director Simonka de Jong in person!
A fascinating documentary about the filmmaker’s grandfather, the prominent Dutch historian Loe de Jong, known for his research on the history of the Netherlands during World War II.
PRECEDED BY: Joann Sfar Draws From Memory (Sam Ball, 2012) - director in person!
Can one be a Catholic priest and an observant Jew at the same time? Twelve years after he was ordained as a priest, Romuald Waszkinel discovers that he was born to Jewish parents.
PRECEDED BY: The Moon is Jewish (Michal Tkaczynski, 2011)
Closing Night! World Premiere! Directors Caroline Laskow and Ian Rosenberg in person at both screenings!
Kutsher’s Country Club is the last surviving Jewish resort in the Catskills, and in its heyday was one of the legendary “Borscht Belt” hotels. In this enjoyable documentary, watch Wilt Chamberlain playing ball and working as a bellhop at Kutsher’s; laugh with Freddie Roman as his classic routine still brings down the house; see ice skating instructor extraordinaire Celia Duffy hop up on the Zamboni; and marvel at the abundance of hearty kosher feasts.
World Premiere! White: A Memoir in Color director Joel Katz and Letters Home director in person at both screenings!
In this personal documentary, Joel Katz (Strange Fruit, NYJFF 2002) explores what it means to be white in America through the story of his own family across generations. His father’s role as a white professor at Howard University, a traditionally black college, during the civil rights era comes to bear on his and his wife’s decisions about race and adoption. Original score by Don Byron.
PRECEDED BY: Letters Home (Melissa Hacker, 2010)
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