Feature Stories

16th Annual Hartford Jewish Film Festival

Jewish Ledger | March 9, 2012

Hartford’s annual Jewish Film Festival features titles from Argentina, China, Croatia, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Poland, United Kingdom and the U.S. This year, on Sunday, March 25, the Festival will also present Connecticut’s first ReelAbilities: the New York Disabilities Film Festival, in partnership with the Saul Schottenstein Foundation B. This one-day marathon of films – general and Jewish – celebrates the art and expression of all people with disabilities and features guest presenters and experts.
Films will be screened in five venues in Bloomfield at Digiplex Destinations, in Hartford at the Aetna Theater, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, and in West Hartford at Criterion Cinemas Blue Back Square, the Mandell JCC, and The Emanuel Synagogue).

For ticket information or a Festival brochure call (860)-231-6316 or (860) 236-4571, or visit, www.hjff.org.
The 2012 HJFF iPhone App can be downloaded for free from the iTunes App Store. All events are under Hartford Kashrut Commission supervision.

16th  Annual Hartford Jewish Film Festival  • March 17 – 27
Presented by Mandell Jewish Community Center with the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies, and The Hartt School, University of Hartford

8:30 p.m. Aetna Theater, Wadsworth Atheneum
Germany, 2011, 105 min, English/Polish/German with English subtitles
The remarkable love story about two people who fall in love in 1944 in a Nazi concentration camp and are separated during the post-war chaos. Thirty years later in New York City, the woman sees her former lover on television and vows to find her lost love.

10 a.m., Mandell JCC
Shalom Sesame: Mitzvah on the Street
U.S.A. and Israel, 2011, 25 minutes, English and Hebrew
When a storm makes a mess of the neighborhood, everyone lends a helping hand. Special guest star: Matisyahu. Crafts, refreshments follow the film.

12:30 p.m., Digiplex Destinations
The Tenth Man
United Kingdom, 2006, 10 minutes, English
To find a minyan, the aging Jewish community of London’s East End resorts to kidnapping and dirty tricks.

Ahead of Time: The Extraordinary Journey of Ruth Gruber
U.S.A., 2010, 73 minutes, English
Portrait of the 100-year-old photojournalist, foreign correspondent and humanitarian Ruth Gruber.

3 p.m., Digiplex Destinations
4 p.m., Mandell JCC
David – The Movie
U.S.A., 2011, 80 minutes, English
An 11-year-old Muslim boy growing up in Brooklyn, pretending to be Jewish, and his new-found Jewish friend, Yoav. Reel Talk and dinner with actors Muatasem Mishal, Binyomin Shtaynberg, Noam Weinberg and director Joel Fendelman to follow film.

5 p.m., Digiplex Destinations
Crime after Crime
U.S.A., 2011, 93 minutes, English
Documentary about Joshua Safran, a young Orthodox Jewish attorney, who volunteers to represent Deborah Peagler, an incarcerated survivor of domestic violence.   

7:30 p.m., Digiplex Destinations
The Flood
Israel/Canada/France/Germany, 2011, 97 minutes, Hebrew with English subtitles
On a coastal Israeli farm, the Rosko family is quietly struggling to keep up appearances while hiding their sins, small and large.

5 p.m., Mandell JCC
The Tailor
U.S.A., 2011, 7 minutes, English subtitles
Director: Gordon Grinberg. Culture and confusion meet on a Brooklyn street.

7 pm., Mandell JCC
The Klezmatics – On Holy Ground
U.S.A., 2010, 106 minutes, English
Documentary about the Grammy Award-winning klezmer band captures the band’s highs, lows. Heavy Shtetl Klezmer Band and nosh precede film at 5 p.m. Screening followed by Reel Talk with director Erik Greenberg Anjou.

7 p.m., Mandell JCC
Standing Silent
U.S.A., 2010, 81 minutes, English
See interview with Phil Jacobs. Followed by Reel Talk with Phil Jacobs, director Scott Rosenfelt and others.

6 p.m., Criterion Cinema, Blue Back Square
Israel, 2011, 105 min, Hebrew with English subtitles
After his longtime business partner dies, Yakov Fidelman discovers that his antique furniture-restoration shop is in grave financial difficulty.

8:15 p.m., Criterion Cinema, Blue Back Square
See Saturday, March 17

6 p.m., Criterion Cinema, Blue Back Square
In Heaven Underground
Germany, 2011, 90 minutes, German with English subtitles
The story of the peaceful and secluded 130-year-old Weissensee Jewish Cemetery, the oldest Jewish burial ground in Europe that is still in use.

8:15 p.m., Criterion Cinema, Blue Back Square
Kaddish for a Friend
Germany, 2011, 94 minutes, German, Russian and Arabic with English subtitles
A teenage prank turned violent brings a young Palestinian living in Berlin face-to-face with an old Russian Jewish war veteran.

8:30 p.m., Digiplex Destinations, Bloomfield 8
Lea and Daria
Croatia, 2011, 101 minutes, Croatian with English Subtitles
The true story of Jewish Lea Deutsch, the Shirley Temple of Zagreb’s Children’s Kingdom touring theater, and her best friend, German dance rival Daria Gaasteiger, whose friendship deepens as the Nazis invade.
The Flood
See Sunday, March 18

ReelAbilities – Connecticut Disabilities Film Festival
1 p.m., The Emanuel Synagogue
Warrior Champions – From Baghdad to Beijing
China and U.S.A., 2009, 80 minutes, English
After losing limbs and suffering paralysis fighting for their country in Iraq, four soldier-athletes set out to compete in the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing.
Followed by Reel Talk with disabled athletes and trainers.

3:30 p.m., The Emanuel Synagogue
All Day
United Kingdom, 2009, 10 minutes, English
This short romantic comedy follows two single neighbors, both deaf, who fall in love…but can’t seem to connect.
White Balance
Israel, 2004, 45 minutes, Hebrew with English subtitles
Twelve-year-old Itamar has a deep passion for ice skating, but his encroaching hearing loss threatens to kill his dream.   

5:30 p.m., The Emanuel Synagogue
Shooting Beauty
U.S.A., 2010, 62 minutes, English
The story of fashion photographer Courtney Bent, whose career takes an unexpected turn when she discovers a hidden world of  beauty at a Massachusetts center for people living with significant disabilities. Followed by Reel Talk with Dr. Stephen Becker, president and CEO, HARC, Inc.; Albert Lognin, Self-Advocate, HARC, Inc.; and Kaia Padersky of Unified Theater, Inc.

7 p.m., Mandell JCC
The Rescuers
U.S.A./Israel  2011, 94 minutes, English
Documentary about 13 courageous diplomats who saved thousands of Jews during World War II. Followed by Reel Talk with executive producer Joyce Mandell and Rwandan anti-genocide activist Stephanie Nyombayire.

12 p.m., Mandell JCC
Kaddish For A Friend
Senior Screen, Lunch, Music and Matinee
See Thursday, March 22

7 p.m., Mandell JCC
Nicky’s Family
Czech Republic,  2011, 98 minutes, English
The story of Britain’s Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved 669 Czechoslovak children from the Nazis on the Kindertransport to England in 1939. Author Alison Pick speaks at a pre-film dinner at 5:30 p.m. about her novel, “Far To Go,” based on the rescue mission. Pick and Hartford resident Ivan Backer, who was rescued on the Kindertransport, also speak in a Reel Talk following the screening.

Closing Night Film, Concert and Tango Party
7 p.m., Mandell JCC
Honeymoon Suite
United Kingdom, 2010, 12 minutes
A newly married young bride and groom take clumsy first steps in their arranged marriage.  

Tango, A Story With Jews
Argentina, 2009, 70 minutes, Spanish with English subtitles
Musical recordings, family memories, stories and enticing performances bring to light the tango’s colorful history and its Jewish roots. A music and dance concert by Performance 20/20 and Dance Division students from The Hartt School of the University of Hartford are featured. A closing night tango party and reception follow the film.

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