Detroit Jewish Film Festival

About Film Festival

The JCC’s Lenore Marwil Detroit Jewish Film Festival is one of the largest Jewish Film Festivals in the Midwest, and we are committed to bringing the highest quality films to our community.  We offer a diverse cinema experience in our annual festival and throughout the year. We also provide a forum for discussion about films from around the world that illuminate Jewish issues and principles. Our goal is to enhance a sense of community and inclusion for a broad range of audience members.

By working with community members, experts, local organizations and other festival supporters, we create a vibrant two weeks each spring that will lift spirits, educate, and create a platform for dialogue. Through much laughter and perhaps a few tears, we invite you to join us on our festival adventure and step into the world of Jewish Film Festival cinema.

Films by Date

Sunday, May 7Monday, May 8Tuesday, May 9Wednesday, May 10 | Thursday, May 11 | Friday, May 12  | Sunday, May 14 | Monday, May 15 | Tuesday, May 16 | Wednesday, May 17 | Thursday, May 18

Films by Title

A Grain of Truth | A Heartbeat Away | A Quiet Heart | Amor | Atlit | Ben Gurion | Denial | Fanny's Journey | Germans and Jews | Harmonia | How To Win Enemies | Hummus! The Movie | Joe's Violin | Life, Animated | Moon in the 12th House | Natasha | Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You | On The Map | Operation Wedding | Our Father | Persona Non Grata | SEED: The Untold Story | Summer Solstice | The Last Band in Lebanon | Leonard Maltin; The Last Laugh | The Pickle Recipe | The Pracht Inn | The Women's Balcony | Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt | Wedding Doll

Special Exhibit: Hummus Heartland

Framed by WDET: Hummus Heartland, a collection of stories about Detroit's ubiquitous Middle Eastern food culture, will be on exhibit throughout Film Festival in The Berman lobby.

WDET brought together radio producer Zak Rosen and photographer Marvin Shaouni to tell intimate stories united by the iconic, delicious food staple, hummus.

Tickets

Individual film ticket: $13 ($11 for JCC members)
Purchase

Movie Lover's Discount Ticket Bundle - Six films: $60 ($50 for JCC members)
Planning to see multiple films? Be sure to take advantage of this special offer! The bundle consists of 6 vouchers that can be exchanged for film tickets. A voucher may also be used to get $10 off the Leonard Maltin event on Opening Night.
Purchase

OPENING NIGHT: Leonard Maltin and The Last Laugh: $35 ($30 for JCC members)
Purchase

Tickets may also be purchased by calling 248.661.1900 or by visiting The Berman Ticket Office (Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.)

Become a Patron/Support Film Festival

PATRON LEVELS

$10,000 Mogul
Ten passes to all films, invitations for 10 to the patron reception, Opening Night and pre-glow with Leonard Maltin, recognition at the theatre and your name noted as a festival sponsor.
Become a Patron

$5,000 Producer
Eight passes to all films, invitations for eight to the patron reception, Opening Night and pre-glow with Leonard Maltin, recognition at the theatre and your name noted as a festival sponsor.
Become a Patron

$2,500 Director
Six passes to all films, invitations for six to the patron reception, Opening Night and pre-glow with Leonard Maltin, recognition at the theatre and your name noted as a festival sponsor.
Become a Patron

$1,000 Casting Director
Four passes to all films, invitations for four to the patron reception, Opening Night and pre-glow with Leonard Maltin, recognition at the theatre and your name noted as a festival sponsor.
Become a Patron

$500 Screenwriter
Two passes to all films, invitations for two to the patron reception, Opening Night with Leonard Maltin, recognition at the theatre and your name noted as a festival sponsor.
Become a Patron

$360 Movie Lover
Two passes to all films, invitations for two to the patron reception, recognition at the theatre.
Become a Patron

$180 Film Buff (Young Professionals Under 40)
Two passes to all films, invitations for two to the patron reception, recognition at the theatre.
Become a Patron

General Donations
I cannot attend the 19th Annual Lenore Marwil Jewish Film Festival, but wish to make a tax-deductible contribution.
Support Film Festival

Brochure

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Food

Come for dinner and a movie! Chef Cari's Street Eats kosher food truck will be outside The Berman entrance between the 5 and 8 p.m. showings during Film Festival.

Menu choices may include shwarma and falafel or English-style fish and chips, with gluten-free and vegetarian options.

Weather permitting, outside seating will be available, or enjoy dining at tables in the JCC lobby.

 

2017 film festival schedule

Sunday, May 7

fannys journey jcc metro detroit2 p.m. - Fanny's Journey

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A brave, resourceful young girl leads a small band of orphans through Nazi-occupied France in FANNY’S JOURNEY, a coming-of-age drama bristling with suspense and poignancy.

Following the arrest of their father in Paris, Fanny and her younger sisters Erika and Georgette are sent to a boarding school in France’s neutral zone. Their safe haven is only temporary however, and the Jewish students are whisked away to another institution where they come under the care of the tough but tender Madame Forman (César-winning actress Cécile de France). As danger advances yet again, the children’s fate is entrusted to 13-year-old Fanny who fearlessly treks through the countryside on a perilous mission to reach the Swiss border, with only wits and solidarity to guide her. Joined by an ensemble of talented child actors, newcomer Léonie Souchaud shines in the titular role of Fanny. Filmmaker Lola Doillon’s handsome production is further bolstered by impressive period details and fine camerawork.

An old-fashioned family entertainment that brings history alive for the next generation, FANNY’S JOURNEY is based on an autobiographical novel by Fanny Ben-Ami.

Co-sponsored by Congregation T'chiyah, HIdden Children & Child Survivors of Michigan

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Running Time: 94 minutes
Genre: Holocaust Drama
Director: Lola Doillon
Country: France
Year: 2016
Language: French with subtitles

Winner - Michel Award, Director Lola Doillon, Hamburg Film Festival, 2016

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5 p.m. - A Heartbeat Away shown with Joe's Violin

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a heartbeat away jcc metro detroitA Heartbeat Away

Every day in Tanzania, five children die from heart conditions. Israeli pediatric cardiologist Dr. Akiva Tamir and his team examine hundreds of children, only a handful of whom can receive lifesaving treatment.

When 6 year-old Julius arrives to the clinic in critical condition, Dr. Tamir must choose whether or not to operate on a child with little chance of surviving.

In this riveting drama, swinging on the pendulum between science and faith, hope and despair, life and death, Dr. Tamir and his team must deal with the question of who to treat and who will be left to die.

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Running Time: 54 minutes
Genre: Documentary
Directors: Tal Barda, Noam Pinchas
Country: Israel
Year: 2015
Language: English, Hebrew with subtitles

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joes violin jcc metro detroitJoe's Violin

In the award-winning short documentary film Joe’s Violin, a donated musical instrument forges an improbable friendship between 91-year-old Holocaust survivor Joe Feingold and 12-year-old Bronx school girl Brianna Perez, showing how the power of music can bring light in the darkest of times and how a small act can have a great impact.

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Running Time: 24 minutes
Genre: Documentary, Short
Subject: History
Director: Kahane Cooperman
Country: USA
Year: 2016
Language: English

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Sponsored by Henry Ford Health System; Co-sponsored by B'nai B'rith Great Lakes Region, Federation's Maimonides Society

8 p.m. (Opening Night)
How the Jews Invented Hollywood - and Shaped the American Dream

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leonard maltin jcc metro detroitGuest Speaker: Leonard Maltin

Leonard Maltin is one of the world's most respected film critics and film historians, who appeared for 30 years on "Entertainment Tonight" and is the author of Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide. In this fascinating talk, he draws on his vast knowledge of movie history to share the story of how immigrant Jews became movie moguls who sold WASP America an idealized, non-ethnic image of itself. He will share his insights on the cultural impact of Jews in American show business and how that relates to our sense of humor.

Followed by:

the last laughThe Last Laugh

The world’s foremost comedians debate the outer limits of comedy and subjective taste in THE LAST LAUGH, an exploration of the taboo topic of Holocaust humor and the implications for free speech.

Filmmaker Ferne Pearlstein puts prickly questions about the limitis of subversive humor to a pantheon of funny people and Holocaust survivors to present an intriguing conversation as to whether - and where - to draw the line when it comes to jokes about so-called untouchable subjects.

Sponsored by The Berman Center for the Performing Arts; Co-sponsored by Temple Israel

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Running Time: 88 minutes
Genre: Documentary
Subject: Holocaust Humor
Director: Ferne Pearlstein
Country: USA
Year: 2016
Language: English

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Monday, May 8

natasha jcc metro detroit2 p.m. - Natasha

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16-year old Mark, the slacker son of Russian- Jewish immigrants, is jolted out of his complacency by the arrival of the sexy step-daughter of his great-uncle in this provocative coming-of-age tale.

Mark lives in the suburbs north of Toronto with his parents. They want him to get a summer job, but he’s more interested in lazing about, getting high, and selling pot. When his uncle enters into an arranged marriage with a woman from Moscow, the woman arrives in Canada with her fourteen year-old daughter, Natasha. Mark is conscripted by his parents to take responsibility for the strange girl. A secret and forbidden romance begins between the two of them that has bizarre and tragic consequences for everyone involved.

Natasha is adapted from "Natasha and Other Stories," David Bezmozgis’ best-selling collection of short stories, which was named a New York Times Notable Book and has been translated into 15 languages.

Warning: Strong sexual content

Co-sponsored by The Active Life

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Running Time: 97 minutes
Genre: Drama
Country: Canada
Year: 2016
Language: English, Russian

Winner - Michael Moskovitz Award for Film and Video on a Jewish Theme, JPL Montreal - J.I. Segal Awards, 2016

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denial jcc metro detroitDenial (At Shaarey Zedek)
Guest Speaker: Deborah Lipstadt

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Based on the acclaimed book Denial: Holocaust History on Trial, this film recounts Deborah E. Lipstadt's legal battle for historical truth against David Irving, who accused her of libel when she declared him a Holocaust denier.

In the English legal system, in cases of libel, the burden of proof is on the defendant; therefore it was up to Kipstadt and her legal team to prove that the Holocaust occurred.

Film Screening: 5 p.m.
Live Presentation by Deborah Lipstadt: 7:30 p.m.
Cost:$18 donation to the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit

Visit jewishdetroit.org/denial for more information and to register.

Presented in partnership with the JDC

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Tuesday, May 9

germans and jews jcc metro detroit2 p.m. - Germans and Jews

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Germany’s torturous postwar reckoning and reconciliation, and eventual transformation, are examined through a series of incisive dialogues with everyday citizens, in GERMANS & JEWS.

In the aftermath of WWII and the crimes of the Holocaust, it seems almost unimaginable that Germany would emerge as one of the world’s most democratic societies, with the fastest growing Jewish community in Europe. Filmmakers Janina Quint and Tal Recanati (a non-Jewish German and a visiting American Jew) seek to understand these startling realities and contradictions by speaking directly with contemporary Germans of different backgrounds. The often uneasy and conflicted conversations as well as heartfelt testimonials reveal both an obsession with the past, and a desire by German Jews and non-Jews alike to move beyond historical hyper-awareness to a hopeful path forward.

Often posing more questions than answers, GERMANS & JEWS provides a cross-section of generational attitudes on today’s Germany.

Co-sponsored by Henry & Delia Myers Library and Media Center/Joan & Dr. Robert Jampel, Mardigian Library at the University of Michigan-Dearborn

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Running Time: 76 minutes
Genre: Documentary
Director: Janina Quint
Country: USA
Year: 2016
Language: English

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rendez vous a atlit jcc metro detroit5 p.m. - Atlit

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Three french sisters - Darel, Cali and Asia - return to Israel to sell their parents' beloved family home in Atlit. Yet being reunited in the place where they shared so many memories makes each question the decision to sell the house - especially when their dead parents start appearing. In a single moment, as news of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin spreads across the country, the personal and the political collide, changing the course of the country and the fate of a house in Atlit.

Sponsored by Raymond & Atara Zimmerman Philanthropic Fund; Co-sponsored by Esther & Neal Zalenko, Merton Segal

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Running Time: 91 minutes
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director: Shirel Amitay
Country: France, Israel
Year: 2014
Language: English, French and Hebrew with subtitles

Nominated - Young Talent Award, Writer and Director Shirel Amitay, Hamburg Film Festival 2014

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"Atlit" - Trailer

wedding doll jcc metro detroit8 p.m. - Wedding Doll

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Sterling performances highlight the sensitive and heartbreaking story of a mentally disabled but strong-willed young Israeli woman who struggles for independence.

The radiant Moran Rosenblatt (Apples from the Dessert) won the Israeli Academy Award for her portrayal of an impossible dreamer who lives with her loving but overprotective mother in a Negev desert town. Socially alienated by a childhood brain injury, Hagit finds escape in designing bridal gowns and dolls out of leftover materials from the toilet paper factory where she works. All too aware of life’s cruel disappointments, her divorcée mother Sarah (Assi Levy) worries that her daughter cannot separate her romantic fantasies from real life. These aching emotional dynamics culminate in the film’s final act, as the factory’s closure threatens Hagit’s inflated dreams of marrying the boss’ handsome son (Roy Assaf).

Nominated for nine Israeli Academy Awards, WEDDING DOLL also scored big at the Jerusalem International Film Festival, with Best Supporting Actress honors for Levy and Best Israeli Debut Feature prize for first-time writer-director Nitzan Gilady.

Co-sponsored by Terry & Martin Hollander, National Council of Jewish Women - Greater Detroit Section

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Running Time: 82 minutes
Genre: Drama
Director: Nitzan Giladi
Country: Israel
Year: 2016
Language: Hebrew, English

Nominated – Grand Jury Prize, Annonay International Festival of First Films, 2016

Winner – Best Actress, Best Director, Best Film, Best Costume Design, Israeli Film Academy, 2015

Nominated – Best Supporting Actress, Best Casting, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Israeli Film Academy, 2015

Winner – Haggiag Award for Best Actress, FIPRESCI Prize for Israeli First Film, Pirchi Family Award for Best First Feature, Jerusalem Film Festival, 2015

Nominated- Haggiag Award for Best Israeli Feature, Jerusalem Film Festival, 2015

Nominated – Sutherland Award for First Feature Competition, London Film Festival, 2015

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Wednesday, May 10

vita activa jcc metro detroit2 p.m. - Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt

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A documentary about the life and work of Hannah Arendt, the prolific and unclassifiable thinker, political theorist, moral philosopher and polemicist, and with her encounter with the trial of Eichmann a high ranking Nazi.

The German-Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt caused an uproar in the 1960s by coining the subversive concept of the "Banality of Evil" when referring to the trial of Adolph Eichmann, which she covered for the New Yorker magazine. Her private life was no less controversial thanks to her early love affair with the renowned German philosopher and Nazi supporter Martin Heidegger. This thought provoking and spirited documentary, with its abundance of archival materials, offers an intimate portrait of the whole of Arendt's life, traveling to places where she lived, worked, loved, and was betrayed, as she wrote about the open wounds of modern times. Through her books, which are still widely read and the recent release of Margarethe von Trotta's biopic Hannah Arendt (also a Zeitgeist Films release) there is renewed interest in Arendt throughout the world, especially among young people who find her insights into the nature of evil, totalitarianism, ideologies, and the perils faced by refugees, more relevant than ever.

Co-sponsored by Sugar Law Center for Economic & Social Justice

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Running Time: 125 minutes
Genre: Documentary
Subject: Biography
Director: Ada Ushpiz
Country: Israel, Canada
Year: 2015
Language: English, German, French, Hebrew

Winner – Jury Award, Best Documentary Film, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, 2016

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our father jcc metro detroit5 p.m. - Our Father

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A morally conflicted nightclub bouncer, with frustrated dreams of becoming a father, finds himself entangled in the Israeli underworld, in OUR FATHER, a gritty and visceral thriller.

A tough but honorable man, Ovadia Rachmim (Moris Cohen) works as a doorman at a Tel Aviv nightspot. Life at home with wife Rachel (Rotem Zissman-Cohen) is strained by their fruitless efforts to conceive a child. Desperate to save his marriage, the cash-strapped Ovadia goes to work for a small-time mobster (Alon Dahan), collecting debts as a way to pay for his wife’s expensive fertility treatments. His eventual attempt to break free from a life of violent crime will test his loyalties and force a difficult choice: protect his family or betray his friends.

Cohen’s expressive physical performance as the burley anti-hero earned him an Israeli Academy Award, as well as the Best Actor prize at the Jerusalem Film Festival. Leading the Israeli Academy Awards with a record-tying 12 nominations overall, including Best Film, OUR FATHER also nabbed the Ophir for Best Editing.

Co-sponsored by Karen & Jerald Kaufman

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Running Time: 107 minutes
Genre: Drama
Director: Meni Yaish
Country: Israel
Year: 2015
Language: Hebrew with subtitles

Winner - Best Actor, Moris Cohen, Best Editing, Shira Arad, Awards of the Israeli Film Academy 2016

Nominated - Best Film, Best Director, Meni Yaish, Best Supporting Actress, Rotem Zissman-Cohen, Best Supporting Actor, Alon Dahan, Best Screenplay, Meni Yaish, Awards of the Israeli Film Academy 2016

Winner - Haggiag Award for Best Actor, Moris Cohen, Jerusalem Film Festival 2016

Nominated - Haggiag Award Best Israeli Feature, Jerusalem Film Festival 2016

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on the map jcc metro detroit8 p.m. (PATRON NIGHT) - On The Map

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Following the film, please join us for a discussion with On The Map writer and director Dani Menkin.

An unforgettable upset victory by the Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team against a Cold War adversary is exhilaratingly recounted in ON THE MAP.

Demoralized by the Yom Kippur War, the Munich massacre, and its sagging economy, Israel was hungry for a collective triumph as it pursued the 1977 European Championship Tournament. Facing impossible odds, the underdog Maccabi Tel Aviv team, comprised of Israeli players and NBA also-rans, is matched up against the powerhouse Soviets in the semifinals. In a David-and-Goliath battle, the Israelis topple the four-time defending Soviet champs, and in doing so, rally a nation. The so-called “Miracle on Hardwood” is thrillingly related by team captain and Israeli basketball hero Tal Brody, NBA great Bill Walton, former NBA Commissioner David Stern, and former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, along with other observers from the sports and political worlds.

Offering a courtside seat to the pulse-pounding action, ON THE MAP celebrates a watershed moment of glory that many Israelis still regard as their nation’s greatest sports achievement.

Film Festival Patrons are invited to a strolling dinner reception with the filmmaker prior to the screening. Reception is at 6:30 p.m. For information about becoming a Film Festival Patron please contact Linda Levy: [email protected] or 248.432.5652.

Patron event sponsored by Jerold & Ellen Minkin Family Foundation; Film sponsored by Michigan Jewish Sports Foundation; Co-sponsored by Carol & Ronald Fogel, Frankel Jewish Academy of Metropolitan Detroit, JCC Men's Health Club, Michigan Israel Business Bridge, StandWithUs-Michigan

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Running Time: 85 minutes
Genre: Documentary
Director: Dani Menkin
Country: USA
Year: 2016
Language: English, Hebrew

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Thursday, May 11

11 a.m. - On The Map (At The Maple Theater)

Join us for a second screening of On The Map, and talk-back with writer/director Dani Menkin.

Sponsored by The Maple Theater

persona non grata jcc metro detroit2 p.m. - Persona Non Grata

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Against his country's orders, a Japanese diplomat issues visas to refugees, saving thousands of Jewish lives at the outbreak of World War II.

The audacious true story of the Japanese diplomat who acted against orders to save thousands of Jewish lives from Nazi extermination, Persona Non Grata follows Chiune Sugihara from his early days in Manchuria to his posting as Japan’s consul in Lithuania during WWII. Caught between the rigid policies of Japan, bound by treaty with Nazi Germany, and his moral awakening, Sugihara risks career and family by issuing transit visas to imperiled European refugees. The only Japanese recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by the Israeli government and honored at Yad Vashem, Sugihara helped more than 6,000 Jews escape to Japanese territory.

Co-sponsored by Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus, Jewish Senior Life Program for Holocaust Survivors and Families

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Running Time: 139 minutes
Genre: Holocaust Drama
Director: Cellin Gluck
Country: Japan
Year: 2016
Language: English, Japanese with subtitles

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ben-gurion epilogue jcc metro detroit5 p.m. - Ben-Gurion, Epilogue

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Compiled from six hours of newly discovered conversations with Israel’s founding father, BEN-GURION, EPILOGUE presents a rare and fortuitous piece of cinematic archaeology.

In never-before-seen footage, the then 82-year-old former prime minister is in his final years after leaving office, interviewed at his secluded desert home over the course of several days in 1968. An introspective David Ben-Gurion reflects on the loss of his wife, his personal health and political legacy, and his hopes for Middle East peace. Languishing for decades, the reels of silent footage were inadvertently uncovered in the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive in Jerusalem, with the corresponding soundtrack later found in the Ben-Gurion Archives in the Negev. The restored interview is interwoven with newsreels and other archival materials, including images of the unassuming elder statesman’s charmingly simple kibbutz life taking daily strolls and working the farmlands.

Offering hindsight on the Zionist enterprise, BEN-GURION, EPILOGUE is a work of undeniable historical significance with prophetic implications for Israel’s future.

Co-sponsored by Development Corporation for Israel

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Running Time: 61 minutes
Genre: Documentary
Subject: Arab-Israeli Relations, Biographies, Israeli Themes
Director: Yariv Mozer
Country: Israel
Year: 2016
Language: English, Hebrew with subtitles

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"Ben Gurion, Epilogue" - Trailer

the last band in lebanon jcc metro detroit8 p.m. - The Last Band in Lebanon

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Three military band reservists with a history of personal discord wake up to find they have been left behind enemy lines in Lebanon.

Set against the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in May, 2000, this upbeat, offbeat comedy follows three reserve soldiers, members of a military rock band, who wake up one morning to discover they’ve been left behind. Caught between Hezbollah fighters and disgruntled Lebanese military, the three use the only tools at their disposal – their musical instruments – to chart their way through hostile territory and find a way home.

Co-sponsored by Heidi & Jeff Budaj, Jewish Gay Network, Sallyjo & H. Barry Levine

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Running Time: 99 minutes
Genre: Comedy
Directors: Ben Bachar, Itzik Kricheli
Country: Israel
Year: 2016
Language: Hebrew, Arabic with subtitles

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Friday, May 12

moon in the 12th house jcc metro detroitNoon - Moon in the 12th House

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When a pair of estranged Israeli sisters are reunited, they must come to terms with the circumstances that tore them apart.

Sisters Mira and Lanny, once close, are now living very separate lives. Lanny, 21, is a sheltered introvert, still living in her childhood home, taking care of their debilitated father and looking after the sexy teenage neighbor boy while his parents are away. Older sister Mira is a hostess at a Tel Aviv nightclub. One night Mira shows up at Lanny's door, and the reunion forces the sisters to face their painful shared history and the tragedy that devastated their childhood.

Sponsored by Karen & Todd Sachse

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Running Time: 110 minutes
Genre: Family Drama
Director: Dorit Hakim
Country: Israel
Year: 2015
Language: Hebrew with subtitles

Nominated - Best Supporting Actor, Gal Toren Best Supporting Actress, Yuval Scharf, Awards of the Israeli Film Academy, 2015

Nominated - Haggiag Award for Best Israeli Feature, Jerusalem Film Festival, 2016

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amor jcc metro detroit2 p.m. - Amor

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In a powerful meditation on love and end of life choices, an artist faces a wrenching life or death decision.

After years of wandering, Daniel returns to his childhood home in Israel. He is back to see Lila, the love of his life, a former ballet teacher. Lila has been bedridden for more than three years, without hope of recovery. Daniel’s love for her faces its ultimate test: can he do the unimaginable and give her the release she cannot achieve herself?

Sponsored by Renée & Earl Ishbia; Co-sponsored by Lenore & Sheldon Leemon

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Running Time: 82 minutes
Genre: Drama/Romance
Director: Raphael Rebibo
Country: Israel/France
Year: 2016
Language: Hebrew with subtitles

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Sunday, May 14

the pickle recipe jcc metro detroit2 p.m. - The Pickle Recipe

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A cash-strapped party emcee and his conniving uncle scheme to steal a secret family recipe, in this crowd-pleasing family comedy co-starring comedian Jon Dore, Oscar-nominee David Paymer and Sex and the City actress Lynn Cohen.

The king of Detroit’s Jewish party scene, Joey Miller (Dore) finds himself down on his luck and deeply in debt after a freak accident totals his prized sound equipment. In dire need of help to pay for his daughter’s (Taylor Groothuis) upcoming Bat Mitzvah, Joey turns to his shady uncle Morty (Paymer), the black sheep of the family. Morty agrees to loan the money if Joey will do the unthinkable: steal his grandmother’s closely guarded pickle recipe. Against his better judgement, Joey sets out on a misguided mission, with the help of a fake rabbi (Eric Edelstein), to gain the trust of Grandma Rose (Cohen), infiltrate her popular deli, and secure her priceless recipe for the scrumptious dills. Of course, nothing goes as planned.

Endearing as it is funny, THE PICKLE RECIPE equally imparts laughs with a heartwarming metaphor about the people and memories that comprise the special ingredients of family, however dysfunctional.

Co-sponsored by Cohn-Haddow Center for Judic Studies, Wayne State University, Hillel of Metro Detroit & Wayne State University, Sholem Aleichem Institute

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Running Time: 97 minutes
Genre: Comedy
Subject: American Jewish Life, Family-Friendly Stories, Funny Stories
Director: Michael Manasseri
Country: USA
Year: 2016
Language: English

Nominated - Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema, Michael Manasseri, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, 2016

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the women's balcony jcc metro detroit8 p.m. - The Women's Balcony

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A mishap at a Jerusalem synagogue causes a major rift in a devout community, in THE WOMEN’S BALCONY, a rousing, comical feminist narrative about speaking truth to patriarchal power.

What begins as a joyous celebration turns into disaster, when a women’s balcony at an Orthodox synagogue collapses during a bar mitzvah party, injuring a number of people and leaving the senior rabbi in a state of shock. Stepping in to assume authority in the face of crisis, the young and charismatic Rabbi David (Avraham Aviv Alush) first appears as a savior. His fundamentalist ways soon divide the close-knit Sephardic congregation along gender lines, as the self-righteous interloper insists that the accident is a divine warning against female nonconformity. A battle of the sexes ensues, threatening to tear apart families and friends, including husband-and-wife congregational stalwarts Zion and Ettie (Igal Naor and Evelin Hagoel, who lead a fine ensemble cast).

Infused with genuine characters and big-hearted humor, first-time filmmaker Emil Ben-Shimon and screenwriter Shlomit Nechama fashion a compassionate portrait of modern Orthodoxy, where unity and love are rekindled by a rebellious and progressive spirit. Nominated for five Israeli Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor and Actress (Avraham Aviv Alush and Orna Banai).

Sponsored by the Behar Family - Ricky, TG, Nissim and Lily, and Shirley Sarah Chicorel Behar, in memory of Keter Torah / Sephardic Community of Greater Detroit's 100th Anniversary

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Running Time: 96 minutes
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director: Emil Ben-Shimon
Country: Israel
Year: 2016
Language: Hebrew with subtitles

Nominated - Best Supporting Actress, Orna Banai, Best Supporting Actor, Avraham Aviv Alush, Awards of the Israeli Film Academy, 2016

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Monday, May 15

summer solstice jcc metro detroit2 p.m. - Summer Solstice

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1943, The Polish countryside. The war has been going on for four years now. Guido is a sensitive, jazz-loving seventeen-year-old German soldier from Hamburg, and his contemporary, Romek, is a Polish railway employee who scavenges the abandoned belongings of Jews transported to the death camps without understanding what they mean. They’re both in love with the same pretty girl. But youth and tenderness must face desperate decisions forced by the hostile environment of Nazi-occupied Poland.

Co-sponsored by Pet Nosan

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Running Time: 96 minutes
Genre: Drama
Plot: War
Director: Michal Rogalski
Country: Poland, Germany
Year: 2015
Language: Polish, German, Russian with subtitles

Winner - Polish Films Competition, Jerzy Zielinski (cinematographer), Michal Rogalski (director), Camerimage, 2015

Winner - Best Screenplay, Michal Rogalski, Montréal World Film Festival, 2015

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operation wedding jcc metro detroit5 p.m. - Operation Wedding

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Following the film, please join us for a talk-back with director and producer Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov.

Leningrad, 1970. A group of young Jewish dissidents plots to hijack an empty plane and escape the USSR.

It started as a fantasy, Operation Wedding, as outrageous as it was simple: Under the disguise of a trip to a local family wedding, the hijackers would buy every ticket on a small 12-seater plane, so there would be no passengers but them, no innocents in harm’s way. The group’s pilot, who once flew for the Red Army, would take over the controls and fly the 16 runaways into the sky, over the Soviet border, on to Sweden, bound for Israel.

Caught in the airport, a few steps from boarding the plane, they were tried for high treason. Among those arrested: Sylva Zalmanson, who receives 10 years in Gulag, and Sylva's newlywed husband Edward Kuznetsov, who receives death sentence.

45 years later, filmmaker Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov reveals the compelling story of her parents, leaders of the group, "heroes" in the West but "terrorists" in Russia, even today.

Sponsored by Barbara & Douglas Bloom, Bluma & Robert (z"l) Schechter, Elaine & Michael Serling; Co-sponsored by FedEd, JCC's SAJE (Seminars for Adult Jewish Education)

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Running Time: 63 minutes
Genre: Documentary
Subject: History
Director: Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov
Country: Israel, Latvia, Russia, USA, UK
Year: 2016
Language: English, Hebrew, Russian with subtitles

Winner – Feature documentary, Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards 2016

Winner – Best Story, HIIDA Award

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a grain of truth jcc metro detroit8 p.m. - A Grain of Truth

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

A maverick prosecutor finds himself dragged into the investigation of a string of ritual killings rooted in Poland’s anti-Semitic past in the suspenseful detective thriller A GRAIN OF TRUTH.

Once the star of the Warsaw prosecutors’ office, Teodor Szacki (Polish Academy Award-winning actor Robert Więckiewicz) has ended his career and marriage to start a new life in a sleepy southeast Polish town. Seen as an outsider by the close-knit community, he faces suspicion when called in to get to the bottom of the brutal murder of a well-known social activouist, heramor body discovered outside a former synagogue. As the trail of victims grows, and the killer remains elusive, clues point atto a mysterious connection with historical myths of blood libel. Teodor must unravel the painful tangle of Polish-Jewish relations and solve the enigmatic case while facing a rising tide of public and media hysteria.

Sponsored by Credit Union ONE; Co-sponsored by Adat Shalom Synagogue, Oakland University Judaic Studies Program, ORT America-Michigan Region

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Running Time: 110 minutes
Genre: Crime Thriller
Plot: Anti-Semitism | Drama | Social Justice
Director: Boryas Lankosz
Country: Poland
Year: 2015
Language: Polish with subtitharmonles

Nominated - Critics Award, Director Borys Lankosz, Hamburg Film Festival, 2015

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Tuesday, May 16

the pracht inn jcc metro detroit2 p.m. - The Pracht Inn

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A mournful, at times darkly humorous, exquisitely rendered vision of an exiled world forged from tragedy, THE PRACHT INN is adapted from the novel Night after Night by award-winning Romanian-Israeli author Aharon Appelfeld.

Hovering between past trauma and the will to start life anew, tormented Holocaust immigrants face a reckoning of conscience in the haunted halls of a 1960s Jerusalem hostel. A microcosm of the European lands they left behind, THE PRACHT INN is a somber home to those still dealing with enormous grief. Days are spent battling loneliness and boredom, while boisterous evening revelry fails to chase the ghosts away. The film’s emotional core rests on the shoulders of Manfred, a widower who impels fellow residents to keep alive their Yiddish mother tongue, and in doing so, the memories of the birthplace and loved ones from which they were separated.

Sponsored by Sophie Pearlstein; Co-sponsored by the JCC's 66th Annual Jewish Book Fair

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Running Time: 92 minutes
Genre: Drama
Director: Tamar Yarom
Country: Israel
Year: 2015
Language: Hebrew, Yiddish with subtitles

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how to win enemies jcc metro detroit5 p.m. - How to Win Enemies

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Following the film, please join us for a talk-back with Rabbi Arturo Kalfus.

A young lawyer with a penchant for detective stories finds himself in the middle of one when his life savings are stolen and everyone he knows becomes a suspect.

When Lucas meets Bárbara at a café, he is smitten. She is smart, sexy, and has great taste in literature. But things aren’t always what they seem. After taking Bárbara home, Lucas wakes up to find his financial savings and Bárbara gone. Determined to find her and to solve this mystery, Lucas uses the detective skills gathered from his beloved books and finds himself in an intriguing, twisted plot. Family, friends, and co-workers come under investigation as he pursues the culprit and the truth in this witty and delightful comedy.

Sponsored by Sheri & David Jaffa; Co-sponsored by Cis Maisel Kellman, Temple Emanu-El

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Running Time: 78 minutes
Genre: Comedy, Mystery, Crime
Director: Gabriel Lichtmann
Country: Argentina
Year: 2016
Language: Spanish with subtitles

Nominated - Martin Slipak for Best Actor, Argentinean Film Critics Association Awards 2016

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norman lear jcc metro detroit8 p.m. - Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You

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Perhaps the most influential writer and producer in the history of television receives an affectionate and thoughtful appraisal in NORMAN LEAR: JUST ANOTHER VERSION OF YOU.

The creator of such beloved shows as All in the Family, Maude, and The Jeffersons, Lear made an indelible imprint on American culture. Using comedy and enduring characters to tackle hot-button social issues, his 1970s primetime hits prompted household debates on race, class and gender equality. From a poor Jewish upbringing in Connecticut and army service in WWII, to his steady rise through show business ranks, Lear’s colorful story comes alive via a treasure trove of personal archives and adored TV moments. Now in his nineties, Lear is as sharp as ever, watching and reacting to excerpts from his work. George Clooney, Rob Reiner, Mel Brooks, Carroll O’Connor, Beatrice Arthur, and Sherman Hemsley, among others, provide spot-on testimonials.

Oscar-nominated filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady fashion a definitive profile of a masterful showrunner who changed not only the face of television, but the national discourse.

Co-sponsored by Anti-Defamation League, The Birmingham Temple, Hadassah Greater Detroit, Pam & Eugene Lumberg, Laurel Swartz & Eric Lumberg

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Running Time: 91 minutes
Genre: Documentary
Subject: Biography
Directors: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady
Country: USA
Year: 2016
Language: English

Winner – rogue Award for Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, Ashland Independent Film Festival, 2016

Winner – Slate Award for Best Documentary, California Independent Film Festival, 2016

Nominated – Video Source Award, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, International Documentary Association, 2016

Winner – Audience Award for Documentary Feature, Montclair Film Festival, 2016

Winner – Best Storyteller in a Documentary, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, Nantucket Film Festival, 2016

Winner – Special Mention, Stanley Kubrick Award for Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, Traverse City Film Festival, 2016

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seed jcc metro detroit8 p.m. - SEED: The Untold Story (At MOCAD)

Come for a seed activity before the film, and stay for a panel talk-back led by Rabbi Ariana Silverman following the film.

Few things on Earth are as miraculous and vital as seeds. Worshipped and treasured since the dawn of humankind, these subtle flecks of life feed us, clothe us, and provide the raw materials for our everyday lives. In a very real sense, they are life itself.

"SEED: The Untold Story" follows passionate seed keepers protecting our 12,000 year-old food legacy. In the last century, 94% of our seed varieties have disappeared. As chemical companies control the majority of our seeds, farmers, scientists, lawyers, and indigenous seed keepers fight a David and Goliath battle to defend the future of our food. In a harrowing and heartening story, these reluctant heroes rekindle a lost connection to our most treasured resource and revive a culture connected to seeds.

Co-sponsored by Hazon, Repair the World

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Running Time: 94 minutes
Genre: Documentary
Directors: Jon Betz, Taggart Siegel
Country: USA
Year: 2016
Language: English

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Wednesday, May 17

2 p.m. - SEED: The Untold Story

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a quiet heart jcc metro detroit5 p.m. - A Quiet Heart

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A young musician, suffering from a crisis of confidence, escapes the pressures of the music world only to find herself threatened by the clash between religious conservatives and secular liberals in contemporary Jerusalem.

Naomi Sirad (Game of Thrones’ Ania Bukstein) is a concert pianist overwhelmed by the expectations of her parents and her colleagues in Tel Aviv. The secular young woman seeks refuge from those pressures in Jerusalem, a city increasingly dominated by religious fanaticism. Although Naomi seeks anonymity and solitude in the ancient city, she makes two unexpected connections- one with a musically gifted Ultra-Orthodox boy in her building and the other, a charismatic Italian monk and organist. While these relationships allow Naomi to reconnect with her love of music and sense of meaning, they also make her a target in her new community. Faced with escalating isolation and violence, Naomi must learn to use music as to overcome towering religious barriers.

Co-sponsored by IRP (Institute for Retired Professionals)

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Running Time: 92 minutes
Genre: Drama
Director: Eitan Anner
Country: Israel
Year: 2016
Language: Hebrew/English

Nominated - Ania Bukstein for Best Actress, Awards of the Israeli Film Academy, 2016

Winner - Best Screenplay, Haifa International Film Festival, 2016

Winner - Grand Prize, Eitan Anner, and Jury Prize for Best Actress Ania Bukstein, Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, 2016

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hummus the movie jcc metro detroit8 p.m. - Hummus! The Movie

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Following the film, please join us for a talk-back with WDET producer Zak Rosen and photographer Marvin Shaouni.

Secret recipes, a Guinness World Record and the power of Hummus to bring Muslims, Christians and Jews together… in the Middle East, America and around the world.

Three Israelis from very different backgrounds are brought together by their love for a common dietary staple: hummus. Jalil, a young Christian-Arab from Ramla who has taken over his family's hummus restaurant, struggles with the urge to forge his own path. Eliyahu is a former dread-headed vagrant turned Hasidic Jew, who opens a chain of successful kosher hummus restaurants. Suheila, the only woman to own her own business in the Arab market, has won the Golden Pita Award for Best Hummus, beating ten men for the title. Weaving together their stories, director Oren Rosenfeld tastefully demonstrates how food can positively affect our culture-and is even able to transcend religious and political divides.

Sponsored by Sherwood Foods Distributors; Co-sponsored by Ameinu Detroit, C.H.A.I.M.-Children of Holocaust Survivors Association in Michigan, Hazon, Interfaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit, Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue, WDET, WISDOM (Women's Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in Metro Detroit)

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Running Time: 72 minutes
Genre: Documentary
Subject: Food
Director: Oren Rosenfeld
Country: USA, Israel
Year: 2016
Language: English, Hebrew, Arabic

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Thursday, May 18

life animated jcc metro detroit5 p.m. - Life, Animated

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From Academy Award® winning director Roger Ross Williams, the inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films.

Owen Suskind was a boy of considerable promise, until he developed autism at the age of 3. As Owen withdrew into his silent state, his parents almost lost hope that he find some way to interact with his world in some meaningful way. However, that way was found through animated films, especially those of the Walt Disney Company, which provided Owen a way to understand the world through its stories to the point of creating his own. Life, Animated follows Owen and his family on his journey to having his own a life, and theirs into preparing for an uncertain future with him.

This beautifully and creatively rendered film has been named Best Documentary by more than 11 international film festivals and nominated in that category in more than 15 others. These awards included Best Director and Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary in the Critic’s Choice Documentary Awards, Best Director at the Sundance Film Festival and the Audience Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

Co-sponsored by Congregation Shir Tikvah, Congregation Shir Tikvah Sisterhood, Friendship Circle

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Running Time: 89 minutes
Genre: Documentary
Subject: Animated
Director: Roger Ross Williams
Country: USA
Year: 2016
Language: English

Winner – Second place, IDFA Audience Award, Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival, 2016

Winner – Special Achievement Award, Annie Awards, 2017

Winner – Outstanding Documentary, Outstanding Documentary Feature, Black Reel Award, 2017

Winner – Student Jury Award, Budapest International Documentary Festival, 2016

Winner – The Unforgettables, Owen Suskind, Cinema Eye Honors Awards, US 2017

Winner – Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary, Critics Choice Documentary Award, 2016

Winner – Best Documentary, Dead Center Film Festival, 2016

Winner – Third Place, Best Documentary, Dublin Film Critics Circle Awards, 2016

Winner – Audience Award for Feature, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, 2016

Winner – Truly Moving Picture Award, Heartland Film, 2016

Winner – Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature, Nantucket Film Festival, 2016

Winner – Top 5 Documentaries, National Board of Review, USA, 2016

Winner – Audience Award for Documentary, San Francisco International Film Festival, 2016

Winner – Director for Documentary, Sundance Film Festival, 2016

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harmonia jcc metro detroit8 p.m. - Harmonia

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A childless Israeli musical couple seeks to form a family in HARMONIA, a contemporary adaptation of the biblical tale of Abraham and Sarah set inside the inner sanctum of a symphony hall.

The beautiful harpist Sarah (Tali Sharon) is married to Abraham (Alon Aboutboul), the charismatic conductor of the Jerusalem Philharmonic Orchestra. With no children, their melancholy life revolves around their music. Enter Hagar (Yana Yossef), a young horn player of French-Arab descent from East Jerusalem, who joins the orchestra and forms a close personal relationship with Sarah. Their bond gives way to something more fraught, when Hagar offers to carry the couple’s baby. Two rival prodigies are born–one Jewish, one Arab–leading to a metaphoric and multi- generational clash of cultures that can ultimately be reconciled only through music.

Nominated for five Israeli Academy Awards, and winner of the Best Cinematography and Lia Van Leer Jewish Heritage awards at the Jerusalem Film Festival.

Sponsored by Natalie & Manny Charach, Andi & Larry Wolfe

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Running Time: 97 minutes
Genre: Drama
Director: Ori Sivan
Country: Israel
Year: 2016
Language: Hebrew with subtitles

Winner - Haggiag Award and Van Leer Award for Best Cinematography, Jerusalem Interantional Film Festival, Israel, 2016

Winner - Lia Van Leer Award for Films about Jewish Heritage, Jerusalem Interantional Film Festival, Israel, 2016

Nominated - Best Supporting Actress, Yana Yossef, Best Cinematography, Yaron Scharf, Best Art Direction, Shunit Aharoni, Best Costume Design, Ofir Hazan, Best Sound, Itai Elohev, Aviv Aldema, Awards of the Israeli Film Academy, 2016

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