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The Jewish Museum and Film at Lincoln Center are delighted to continue their partnership to bring you the 29th annual New York Jewish Film Festival, presenting films from around the world that explore the Jewish experience. This year’s festival presents an engaging lineup of narratives, documentaries, and shorts, from restored classics to world premieres.

Dani Menkin’s documentary Aulcie is the Opening Night selection, screening in its New York premiere on Thursday, January 16. When a scout for the Israeli basketball team Maccabi Tel Aviv spotted Aulcie Perry on Harlem’s Rucker Court in 1976, he recruited the athlete to join their fledgling team. Less than a year later, Perry led the team to a win in the 1977 European Championship, a victory that he repeated four years later. Aulcie delves into the riveting story of this legendary player, who put Israeli basketball on the map, converted to Judaism, became an Israeli citizen, and overcame his demons.

The Closing Night film is the New York premiere of Dror Zahavi’s Crescendo. When a world-famous conductor (played by Toni Erdmann’s Peter Simonischek) accepts the job to create an Israeli-Palestinian youth orchestra, he steps into a firestorm of conflict and mistrust as he tries to bring the two factions of young musicians together in harmony.

The Centerpiece selection focuses on the career of Marceline Loridan-Ivens, the French film director, author, producer, and actress who died in 2018. The Birch Tree Meadow (2003), starring Anouk Aimée and August Diehl, is Loridan-Ivens’s autobiographical drama about an Auschwitz survivor who returns to the camp to confront her past and the young descendant of an SS guard she meets there. This screening is part of an annual initiative highlighting work by women filmmakers that merit broader American recognition.  

The NYJFF will present the World Premiere of the new restoration of Charles Davenport’s long-lost 1919 silent film Broken Barriers (Khavah)the first film based on the Sholem Aleichem stories that inspired Fiddler on the Roof. This story is uniquely told from the perspective of Khavah, Tevye the milkman’s daughter, who falls in love with the gentile boy Fedka and navigates the reverberations from her community and family. Donald Sosin will provide live piano accompaniment. (The restoration was completed by the National Center for Jewish Film.)

This year’s New York Jewish Film Festival was selected by Rachel Chanoff, Director, THE OFFICE performing arts + film; Gabriel Grossman, Coordinator, New York Jewish Film Festival/The Jewish Museum; and Aviva Weintraub, Associate Curator, The Jewish Museum and Director, New York Jewish Film Festival; with Dennis Lim, Director of Programming, Film at Lincoln Center, as adviser.

The New York Jewish Film Festival is made possible by the Martin and Doris Payson Fund for Film and Media.

Generous support is also provided by Wendy Fisher and Dennis Goodman, Sara and Axel Schupf, Louise and Frank Ring, The Liman Foundation, Mimi and Barry Alperin, an anonymous gift, the Ike, Molly and Steven Elias Foundation, Amy and Howard Rubenstein, Robin and Danny Greenspun, Steven and Sheira Schacter, and through public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with City Council. 

Additional support is provided by the Polish Cultural Institute New York, Dutch Culture USA, the German Consulate General New York, and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States.

Fiona Drenttel, Intern; Joan Dupont, Film Critic; Nicola Galliner, Jewish Film Festival Berlin & Brandenburg; Stuart Hands, Toronto Jewish Film Festival; Annette Insdorf, Columbia University; Marlene Josephs, Volunteer; Linda Lipson, Volunteer; Richard Peña, Columbia University;  Sophie Rupp, Intern.

Additional support is provided by The Jack and Pearl Resnick Foundation.