18th Annual Jewish Film Festival

Films by Date

Sunday, May 8Monday, May 9Tuesday, May 10Wednesday, May 11 | Thursday, May 12 | Friday, May 13  | Sunday, May 15 | Monday, May 16 | Tuesday, May 17 | Wednesday, May 18 | Thursday, May 19

Films by Title

Apples from the Desert | Belle and Sebastian | A Borrowed Identity | Bulgarian Rhapsody | Café Nagler | Chagall-Malevich | Deli Man | Dough | The Farewell Party | Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem | Imber's Left Hand | In Search of Israeli Cuisine (Patron Night) | The Kind Words | The Last Mentsch | Manpower | The Midnight Orchestra | Morgenthau | Mr. Kaplan | My Italian Secret: The Forgotten Heroes | Once in a Lifetime | Phoenix | The Polgár Variant | The Prime Ministers: Soldiers and Peacemakers | Rabin in His Own Words | Raise the Roof | Rock in the Red Zone | Rosenwald (Flint only) | Sabena Hijacking - My Version | 10% My Child | To Life! | Tuviansky

Marquee Events

Each of these events features a little something extra that goes beyond just the movie. 

Patron Night - Monday, May 9 | 10% My Child - Wednesday, May 11 | Film Fest in the D - Thursday, May 12Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem - Sunday, May 15 | Once in a Lifetime - Monday, May 16 | My Italian Secret: The Forgotten Heroes - Wednesday, May 18 

Café in the J

View Menu and Hours 

Brochure/Corporate Sponsors/Support

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film festival lineup 

Sunday, May 8

2 p.m. - DELI MAN 
(USA, 2015, 91 minutes, English)

Co-sponsored by Linda  Stephen Hayman, Jewish Historical Society of Michigan, Jewish Senior Life of Metropolitan Detroit

In 1927 a Hungarian immigrant named Max Gruber opened a little place called the Rialto, the first deli on Broadway. Then Eugene, Max's son, got into the business, and at 8 years old Eugene's son, Ziggy, started, too. "Deli Man" is Ziggy's story - augmented by those of Katz's, 2nd Avenue Deli, Carnegie and the Stage - a delicious exploration of Jewish culture as it reflects the heat of a vital ethnic history.

Film Fest in the D! - "Deli Man"
Thursday, May 12 | Hygrade Deli | $10 | Register online at werepair.org/detroit 

8 p.m. - DOUGH 
(United Kingdom, 2016, 94 minutes, English)

Sponsored by Judith & Irwin Elson

Co-sponsored by Hadassah Greater Detroit, Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring

A story about an unlikely friendship between an older Jewish baker and his young Muslim apprentice, "Dough" also is about finding redemption in the most unexpected places.



Monday, May 9

2 p.m. - CAFÉ NAGLER (Sneak Preview)
(Israel, 2015, 59 minutes, Hebrew, English, German with Hebrew, English subtitles)

Co-sponsored by Terry & Martin Hollander

In the 1920s, Café Nagler was the hottest place in Berlin. Sit down - if you were lucky enough to get in - and you might see Albert Einstein or Franz Kafka. Filmmaker Mor Kaplansky's grandmother told her dozens of stories about the magical café that her family once owned. What she discovers, though, is nothing she could ever have expected.

5 p.m. - PHOENIX
(Germany, 2015, 99 minutes, German, English with English subtitles)

Sponsored by Barbara & Douglas Bloom

Co-sponsored by Cis Maisel Kellman

A spellbinding mystery of identity, illusion and deception unfolds against the turmoil of post-World War II Germany in the stunning new film from acclaimed director Christian Petzold.

*Official Selection - Toronto International Film Festival, 2014
*Winner - Best Actress, Seattle International Film Festival, 2015

(USA, 2016, 97 minutes, English)

Patron Night Details

This film tells the spicy, sweet and bold story of the Israeli people - through food! Profiling chefs, home cooks, farmers, vintners and cheese makers drawn from Israel's more than 100 cultures - Jewish, Arab, Muslim, Christian, Druze - a rich, complex and human story emerges.

*Audience Award - Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival, 2016


Tuesday, May 10

2 p.m. - Morgenthau
(USA, 2013, 107 minutes, English)

Co-sponsored by Cohn-Haddow Center for Judaic Studies at Wayne State University, Henry & Delia Meyers Library and Media Center/Joan & Robert Jampel

The Morgenthaus have played a vital role in some of the 20th century's most important decisions. Yet very few know about this fascinating family.

(Israel, 2015, 98 minutes, English)

Sponsored by Leo & Betty Goldstein Family Foundation, ZOA

Imagine having an insider's view to critical private and political moments in the lives of two of Israel's most influential figures, Yitzhak Rabin and Menachem Begin. The film also allows viewers an intimate look at the challenges both leaders faced in their personal lives.


Wednesday, May 11

(Israel, 2015, 98 minutes, English)

Sponsored by Carol & Ronald Fogel

Co-sponsored by Pet Nosan, Allyn Ravitz & Charles R. Schmitter

May 8, 1972. Twenty minutes into Sabena Flight 571 from Brussels, four terrorists from Black September announce a hijacking. The film presents a cinematic reenactment of the events, along with archival material and exclusive interviews with Israeli political leaders in charge of the rescue effort, as well as the only surviving hijacker.

*Nominated - Best Documentary Film, Israeli Academy Awards, 2015

(Israel, 2016, 100 minutes, Hebrew with English subtitles)

Co-sponsored by Lee & Paul Blizman, Ameinu Detroit

Through a combination of rare archival footage, home movies and private letters, the former Israeli prime minister's peronsal and professional dramas unfold before the viewers' eyes

*Winner - Best Documentary, Haifa International Film Festival, 2015

8 p.m. - 10% MY CHILD
(Israel, 2014, 85 minutes, Hebrew with English subtitles)

Co-sponsored by Karen & Jerry Kaufman

"There is no such thing as steplove," declares Nico. So how to define what he feels for Franny? Franny is 8 years old, and it's no easy start when the two meet: Franny discovers Nico in her mother's bed. Will Nico be able to win's Franny's mom's heart and Franny's affections? How will Franny and Nico find a common ground in the heart of bustling Tel Aviv? This is a funny, gentle film about friendship and parenting.

*Winner - Best Independent Film, Israeli Academy Awards, 2015

Following the film, please join us for a talk-back with Rabbi Tamara Kolton.


Thursday, May 12

(Israel, Hungary, USA, 2014, 68 minutes, Hebrew, Hungarian, English with English subtitles)

Sponsored by Patricia & Stephen (z"l) Sharf

László Polgár was convinced that geniuses are made, not born. So he used his small earnings in 1970s communist Budapest to groom his three daughters to become chess champions. The film follows the travels of the three sisters, from their birthplace to their current homes in Hungary, the United States and Canada, where the family's extreme tale continues to mesmerize.

(Israel, USA, 2014, 87 minutes, Hebrew, English with English subtitles)

Co-sponsored by Barbara Saperstein, StandWithUs - Michigan

On the edge of Israel's Negev Desert lies Sderot, a city of factory workers and rock musicians, the children of refugees from North Africa and the Middle East. Despite being pummeled for years by homemade missiles, the people of Sderot do not just persevere - they flourish.

(Israel, 2014, 104 minutes, Hebrew with English subtitles)

Co-sponsored by Interfaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit, National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Detroit Section, WISDOM (Women's Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in Metro Detroit), Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring

Eyad is a Palestinian boy who has been accepted into the prestigious Arts and Sciences Academy boarding school in Jerusalem. When he arrives in the city, though, he finds many challenges, from falling in love to trying to fit in with schoolmates to finding his place in Israeli society.

*Four nominations to the Israeli Film Academy Awards, 2014


Friday, May 13

(Bulgaria, Israel, 2014, 108 minutes, Bulgarian, German, Ladino with English subtitles)

Sponsored by Elaine & Michael Serling

Co-sponsored by The Rosenberg Group - Private Wealth Management

It's summer 1943, and Bulgaria is under the control of Nazi Germany. Three teens are about to face the values and limits of friendship. Based on true events, "Bulgarian Rhapsody" tells of three friends who are challenged by themselves, each other and a world that is becoming filled with deceit, danger and terror.

*Official submission of Bulgaria - Best Foreign Language Film, 87th Academy Awards, 2015


Sunday, May 15

(USA, 2015, 85 minutes, English)

Co-sponsored by C.H.A.I.M. - Children of Holocaust Survivors Association in Michigan, Hidden Children/Child Survivors of Michigan

Inspired by images of the magnificent wooden synagogues of 18th century Poland (most of which were destroyed by the Nazis), artists Rick and Laura Brown set out to reconstruct a replica of the stunning, mural-covered Gwozdziec Synagogue.

(Canada, 2014, 99 minutes, French with English subtitles)

Sponsored by Andi & Larry Wolfe

Co-sponsored by the JCC's 65th Annual Jewish Book Fair

Based on the acclaimed children's novel by Cé Aubry, "Belle and Sebastian" follows the courageous adventures of a boy and his giant sheepdog in WWII-occupied France.

*Winner - Audience Choice Awards, Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival, 2015
*Winner - Films4Families Youth Jury Award, Seattle International Film Festival, 2014

(Israel, France, Germany, 2014, 115 minutes, Hebrew, French, Arabic with English subtitles)

Sponsored by Barbara & Michael Kratchman

An Israeli woman seeking to finalize a divorce from her husband is effectively put on trial by her country's religious marriage laws in this powerhouse courtroom drama.

*Winner - Best Film, Award of the Israeli Film Academy, 2014
*Winner - Best Supporting Actor, Award of the Israeli Film Academy, 2014
*Winner - Silver Hugo, Best Screenplay, Chicago International Film Festival, 2014
*Winner - Golden Starfish Award Narrative Feature & Outstanding Achievement in Acting, Ronit Elkabetz, Hamptons International Film Festival, 2014
*Winner - Best Israeli Feature, Best Actor, Audience Award, Jerusalem Film Festival, 2014
*Winner - Founder's Prize, Special Award, Traverse City Film Festival, 2015

Following the film, please join us for a talk-back with Rabbi Aaron Bergman.

(Israel, 2015, 95 minutes, Hebrew with English subtitles)

Co-sponsored by B'nai B'rith International, Great Lakes Region 

Yehezkel and his wife Levana are seniors living quiet lives at a Jerusalem retirement home. They are astonished when their dear friend Max turns to Yehezkel, an amateur inventor, with a request: could he build a machine that will help Max, who is facing a certain and difficult death, end his suffering? "The Farewell Party" is the rare film that manages to treat an extremely sensitive issue with humor, compassion and insight.

*Winner - Best Actor, Ze'ev Revach, Award of the Israeli Film Academy, 2014
*Winner - Best Cinematography, Award of the Israeli Film Academy, 2014
*Winner - NU Image Award, Best Actress, Levana Finkelstein, Haifa International Film Festival, 2014
*Winner - Brian Award & People's Choice Award, Tal Granit, Sharon Maymon, Venice Film Festival, 2014


Monday, May 16

(USA, 2014, 74 minutes, English)

Co-sponsored by Janice Charach Gallery 

A love story between two artists faced with one’s death and how art and love transform this tragedy into the brightest affirmation of life. Imber’s switch to painting left handed and the black humor with which he dances with his dying is a celebration of life and community.

*Winner - Best Documentary, Boston Jewish Film Festival, 2014
*Winner - Best Film, Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival, 2014
*Winner - Best Film, New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival, 2015
*Winner - Best Documentary, Hartford Jewish Film Festival, 2016 

(France, 2016, 105 minutes, French with English subtitles)

Co-sponsored by Sophie Pearlstein, Temple Israel

Based on a true story, "Once in a Lifetime" is the story of Anne, a dedicated history teacher at a French high school who is determined to give the best education possible to her underprivileged inner-city pupils.

*Winner - Audience Award, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, 2015
*Winner - Micki Moore Award for Best Narrative Film, Toronto Jewish Film Festival, 2015
*Winner - Best Narrative Feature, St. Louis International Film Festival, 2015

Following the film, please join us for a talk-back with Rabbi Josh Bennett.

7 p.m. - ROSENWALD (Flint only)
(USA, 2015, 95 minutes, English)

Film provided by the National Center for Jewish Film

To purchase tickets, please call 810.767.5922.

"Rosenwald" is the incredible true story of the son of an immigrant peddler who never finished high school, who was in financial ruin before he truned 24 - yet who became the head of one of the nation's largest retailers and was one of the country's greatest philanthropists.


(Israel, 2014, 96 minutes, Hebrew with English subtitles)

Co-sponsored by Lenore & Sheldon Leemon, Lynn & Harvey Rubin 

A story of love and reconciliation, "Apples from the Desert" focuses on Rebecca Abarbanel, who lives in Jerusalem where she is the only daughter of an Orthodox Sephardic family. When his daughter begins to rebel, Rebecca's father arranges a marriage to a widower with five children. But Rebecca is already in love with someone else.

*Winner - Special Jury Award, San Diego Jewish Film Festival, 2015
*Winner - Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature, Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, 2015
*Winner - BEVIE Award for Best Feature, Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema, 2015
*Winner - Global Vision Award, Cinquest Film Festival, 2015

Following the film, please join us for a talk-back with Israeli educator Nira Lev.


Tuesday, May 17

2 p.m. - TUVIANSKY
(Israel, 2014, 84 minutes, Hebrew with English subtitles)

Sponsored by Sheri & David Jaffa

Co-sponsored by Sallyjo & H. Barry Levine

"Tuviansky" is an astonishing true account of an Israel Defense Forces captain who, in the course of just four hours, was arrested, tried, sentenced and executed for treason - only to be exonerated one year later.

5 p.m. - MANPOWER
(Israel, France, 2016, 85 minutes, Hebrew with English subtitles)

Sponsored by Raymond & Atara Zimmerman Philanthropic Fund

Co-sponsored by Esther & Neal Zalenko

Noam Kaplan's moving film tells the story of four men in crisis while painting a portrait of a complex society addressing questions about belonging, exile, home and family.

(Germany, Switzerland, France, 2016, 93 minutes, German, Hungarian, Hebrew, English, Yiddish with English subtitles)

Sponsored by Bluma & Robert (z"l) Schechter

Co-sponsored by Heidi & Jeff Budaj

Marcus Schwarz escaped Auschwitz with his life - only to exterminate his Jewishness. Without family, a synagogue or a single Jewish friend, the hardened old man has so effectively created a new identity that rabbis refuse his appeal to be buried in a Jewish cemetery in Cologne. Determined to return to his birthplace and establish his ancestry, Marcus enlists the help of a brash Turkish woman with a troubled history of her own.


Wednesday, May 18

2 p.m. - TO LIFE!
(Germany, 2016, 86 minutes, German with English subtitles)

Sponsored by Natalie & Manny Charach

Co-sponsored by Merton Segal

Ruth is an aging, sarcastic but warm-hearted Holocaust survivor and cabaret singer who has fallen on hard times. Jonas, young and handsome, is fleeing from his love and his future - and hiding a secret. Jonas arrives in Berlin just as Ruth has been evicted from her home. As he is helping her, he discovers that Ruth has secrets of her own.

(Italy, France, Israel, USA, 2014, 91 minutes, English, Italian with English subtitles)

Co-sponsored by Federation's Adult Jewish Learning Department, Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus, the JCC's SAJE (Seminars for Adult Jewish Enrichment), the Voice/Vision Archive & the Mardigian Library at the University of Michigan - Dearborn

"My Italian Secret" tells the largely unknown story of Gino Bartali and other righteous men and women who carried out ingenious schemes to rescue Jewish citizens (more than 80% of whom survived), partisans and refugees from Nazi-occupied Italy.

*Offiical Selection, Hamptons International Film Festival, 2014
*Official Selection, Rome International Film Festival, 2014

Following "My Italian Secret", please join us for a conversation with Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Oren Jacoby.

8 p.m. - MR. KAPLAN
(Uruguay, Spain, Germany, 2014, 98 minutes, Spanish with English subtitles)

Co-sponsored by Glenn/Oak/South Chapter of ORT America

Jacob Kaplan lives an ordinary life in Uruguay. Like many of his Jewish friends, he fled Europe during WWII and came to live in South America. But now turning 76 he has become grumpy, fed up with his community and his family's lack of interest in its heritage. One beach bar may, however, provide him with an unexpected opportunity to achieve greatness and recover his family's respect: Could the owner be a former Nazi?


Thursday, May 19

(Russia, 2014, 119 minutes, Russian with English subtitles)

Presented in loving memory of Maxwell and Renah Bardenstein

Co-sponsored by Sholem Aleichem Institute 

"Chagall-Malevich" is a magical period drama focusing on two great creative and artistic geniuses: Marc Chagall and Kazimir Malevich, a pioneer of geometric abstract art.

(Morocco, 2015, 100 minutes, Arabic, English, French with English subtitles)

Co-sponsored by The Berman Center for the Performing Arts, Dr. Gary & Sharon Oppenheim  

Michael Abitbol was a child when he left his home in Casablanca amid the tensions of the Yom Kippur War. Now, after years of buried memories, he has decided to come back to visit. Perhaps the trip will help him understand the legacy of his late father, a once-famous Moroccan musician from whom he is estranged.

*Winner - Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, Montréal World Film Festival, 2015

(Israel, Canada, 2015, 118 minutes, French, Hebrew with English subtitles)

Co-sponsored by Pam & Eugene Lumberg, Laurel Swartz & Eric Lumberg 

You think your family has challenges? Meet Dorona, Shai and Netanel. Following the death of their mother, these siblings learn that the man who raised them isn't their biological father. So they decide to take a trip together to learn the truth of their parentage.

*Nominated for 12 Awards of the Israeli Film Academy, 2015 

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