The upcoming Oscar telecast isn’t the only event making movie news these days. Over at the Mandell Jewish Community Center in West Hartford the roster of films whose credits will roll as part of the 15th annual Hartford Jewish Film Festival has been released…and the list of 21 titles from seven different countries includes award-winning features, documentaries and shorts that touch on everything from Olympic gold to treasured violins to Jews in baseball to a haunting Mid East love story and more. The Festival will also be highlighted by a concert, poster exhibit, and guest appearances from a variety of featured filmmakers. It will open on March 26 and run through April 5. The films, which come from Argentina, France, Germany Hungary, Israel, Romania and the U.S., will be screened at eight locations throughout the greater Hartford area.
Among the films is the opening night film “Berlin ’36,” the story of German Jewish high jumper Gretel Bergmann, a gold medal contender at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games.
Other films include:
■ “Jews and Baseball – An American Love Story,” a celebration of Jewish baseball major league legends like Yogi Berra, Kevin Youkilis, and Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax, in a rare interview.
■ “The Brothers Warner,” the Hollywood profile of a legendary show biz empire.
■ “Imagine This: The Musical,” a lavishly costumed and richly orchestrated love-on-the-battlefield epic set in Masada and the Warsaw Ghetto.
■ “The People V Leo Frank,” a powerful new drama revisiting the chilling century-old Atlanta Leo Frank murder case.
■ “An Article of Hope,” tale of the events surrounding the tragic shuttle Columbia that carried Israel’s first astronaut Ilan Ramon.
■ “The Round Up,” the true story of how Nazi-collaborating French police arrested and deported Parisian Jews to Auschwitz and certain death.
■ “Seven Minutes in Heaven,” A love story about a woman’s struggle to reclaim her memory after surviving a bus bombing in which her fiancé was fatally wounded.
■ “My So-Called Enemy,” a documentary that follows six young Palestinian and Israeli women for seven years following their first meeting at a New Jersey peace camp.
■ “Precious Life,” a documentary about the race by Israeli doctors to save a Palestinian infant as the Gaza war rages.
■ “The Human Resources Manager,” a tragic-comic story about an Israeli man on a mission to return the body of a female employee killed in a terror attack to her native Romania for burial.
■ “The Matchmaker,” a story of love, loss and survival in post Six Day war Israel.
■ Arab Labor: A Marathon, three episodes of Israel’s popular and provocative TV satire that skewers Jews and Arabs alike.
■ “The Loners,” a thriller about two Russian immigrant soldiers who take over an Israeli prison.
■ “Anita” follows a brave girl with Down’s syndrome who wanders around Buenos Aires after a terror bombing destroys the city’s Jewish center.
■ “Leap of Faith” follows families, a single mom and a woman from Trinidad in a search for spirituality as they prepare to convert to Judaism.
■ “Amnon’s Journey,” the story of Tel Aviv’s master violin maker Amnon Weinstein who recovers and lovingly restores violins played by Holocaust victims. This closing night film will be followed by a concert honoring Holocaust victims who were musicians. The concert will feature students from the University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music.
■ “It’s Passover, Grover!” A Shalom Sesame special presentation.
The Festival is presented by the Mandell JCC with the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies and The Hartt School, University of Hartford with sponsor support from many area corporations, foundations, organizations and individuals and media, including the Connecticut Jewish Ledger.
For tickets information and a festival brochure contact call (860) 231-6316 or (860) 236-4571, or visit www.hjff.org.
The 2011HJFF iPhone App, developed by iDoTouch.com, can be downloaded for free from the iPhone Store. Users can view schedule, photos, sneak previews and trailers, maintain favorites, call or email the box office and share favorites via email and Facebook.