Voices of Hope and the Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut (JFACT) will host a reception at the Mandell Jewish Community Center in West Hartford, prior to the screening of the film “When Day Breaks” at Digiplex Destinations in Bloomfield. The film is part of the Mandell JCC Hartford Jewish Film Festival, which opened on Thursday, March 20 and runs through March 30.
The reception is the annual fundraiser for Voices of Hope, an organization created by descendants of Holocaust survivors to collect, categorize and share the experiences of survivors for the benefit of future generations. The evening will begin at 5:15 p.m. and will feature a light kosher dinner. The film – a New England premiere – will follow at 8:15 p.m.
“When Day Breaks” is the story of Misha Brankov, a retired music professor who discovers his true Jewish origins when his life is turned upside down following the unearthing of a rusty iron box at the Old Fairgrounds in Belgrade – the site of the Judenlager Semlin Nazi concentration camp where 48,000 Serbian Jews and Gypsies perished. Inside the box is a photograph and an unfinished musical score composed by his real father, Jewish musician Isaac Weiss. The initial shock of his true identity and his family’s fate in Auschwitz gives way to determination to fulfill his father’s shattered dream, honor his parents and perform the long-lost symphony. The 90-minute film in Serbian, with English subtitles, is recommended for middle school age and above.
Guest speaker Kristina Pozenel, a native of Serbia and the film editor of “When Day Breaks”, will attend the pre-reception and film. Ms. Pozenel is a filmmaker, colleague and personal friend of the director of this remarkable film about memory, identity and faith.
To complement the film, a retrospective exhibition of the Holocaust paintings of Susan Hoffman Fishman is on display in the Mandell JCC’s Chase Family Gallery. Beginning in 1985 through 1995, Fishman completed dozens of large-scale paintings and drawings on the Holocaust that were exhibited and reviewed widely in New York, Boston and in other regional galleries. As a young, emerging artist fresh out of graduate school at the time, Fishman developed an iconography of her own to address the horror of the Holocaust, including empty chairs that are positioned in drab waiting rooms, among sparse landscapes or atop precarious rock formations; tiny tanks that roam menacingly through innocent exterior or interior spaces; and train tracks leading endlessly into the distance. Her densely textured painting surfaces contain crumpled-up pieces of paper, fragmented images of concentration camp victims, snatches of Nazi documents, cloth, strips of wood veneer, cording, netting and many other embedded materials. The exhibit will run through April 4.
To view a trailer of “When Day Breaks,” or for more information on the Hartford Jewish Film Festival, visit www.hjff.org.
For information about the Voices of Hope fundraiser, contact Kathy Fishman at JFACT, (860) 727-5771 or firstname.lastname@example.org.