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41st Annual Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival: Fall Fest Takes Place in November

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41st Annual Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival: Fall Fest Takes Place in November

41st Annual Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival: Fall Fest Takes Place in November

Philadelphia Jewish Film and Media (formerly Gershman Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival) presents the 41st annual Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival: Fall Fest, November 7-20, 2021.

While cinema remains the organization’s focus and legacy, Philadelphia Jewish Film and Media (PJFM) believes it is important to highlight new and innovative ways Jewish stories are being created and shared today.

PJFM continues to bring Philadelphia film lovers the best in Jewish international cinema and accompanying programs. Fall Fest will take place both in theaters and venues throughout Philadelphia and stream on-demand for at-home viewers.

Highlights include opening night with the Philadelphia premiere of writer/director Damir Lukacevic’s WET DOG; centerpiece film

NEIGHBORS; closing night’s NOT GOING QUIETLY, the story of healthcare activist Ady Barkan; and NEW MEDIA DAY featuring POTIONS 101: THE ENCHANTED WORLD OF EASTERN EUROPEAN BOTANICAL ELIXIRS, BESHERT/ROMANTIC DESTINY: AN INEVITABLE EVENING OF BURLESQUE, STORYTELLING & SHORT FILMS, and EXILE AND REDEMPTION: A NEO-HASIDIC ROCK OPERA. Plus, in an exclusive interview, PJFM sits down with the director of Little White Lie and Co-Founder of Truth Aid, Lacey Schwartz Delgado, to discuss the impact storytelling has had on her life and how we can best use our stories to be the change we want to see in the world.

Individual tickets for all events are $15 and all-access passes are $180 for everything, $120 for virtual only, and $40 for New Media Day only. Tickets can be found here.

 

FULL LIST OF PROGRAMMING:


In-Person and Live Stream Programs

OPENING NIGHT

WET DOG

One Night Only

Sunday | November 7 | 7 PM

Philadelphia Film Center
Live Stream at 7 PM for PA residents
After moving to the predominantly Muslim neighborhood of Berlin-Wedding with his family, an Iranian Jewish teen struggles to earn his place amongst a Muslim street gang whose members harbor anti-Semitic beliefs.

THE CONDUCTOR
One Night Only

Monday | November 8 | 7 PM Philadelphia Ethical Society
Witness the emotional journey of Leonard Cohen’s protégé, Marin Alsop, and her rise to international prominence as the world’s first female conductor.

AMERICAN BIRTHRIGHT

Wednesday | November 10 | 7 PM National Museum of American Jewish History
“Should I marry Jewish?” This is the question that Becky Tahel Bordo ponders when her younger sister marries outside of her faith. Aspiring to “edJEWcate” herself, Becky Tahel Bordo journeys to the Holy Land to probe deeper into her Jewish identity and explore the reasons for her initial ambiguity about her sister’s interfaith marriage. With universal appeal and a Philly connection to boot, this light-hearted and intimate doc will resonate with anyone who’s ever struggled with their sense of identity and purpose.

THE SPECIALS
One Night Only
Thursday | November 11 | 7 PM Ambler Theater
From the directors of France’s box office smash, The Intouchables (2011), THE SPECIALS is a heartfelt dramedy about the power of empathy and compassion. Nominated for nine César Awards and starring veteran actors Vincent Cassel (Black Swan) and Reda Kateb (A Prophet), this moving film follows two best friends who manage a shelter for children and young adults on the autism spectrum in Paris.

CENTERPIECE FILM

NEIGHBORS

One Night Only

Saturday | November 13 | 7 PM

Live Stream at 7 PM for PA, NJ & DE residents
This tender and affecting film told through the eyes of a young child, offers a glimpse into the lives of Kurdish villagers determined to live as neighbors, despite northeastern Syria’s growing allegiance to a state-sponsored, anti-Zionist Arab Nationalist movement.


NEW MEDIA DAY

JOURNEY OF THE LOST
Theater on Film

Sunday | November 14 | 1 PM Bryn Mawr Film Institute
This thrilling, filmed performance of Daniel Kehlmann’s German play, Die Reise der Verlorenen, depicts the 1939 doomed voyage of the MS St. Louis, in which nearly a thousand German Jewish refugees seeking sanctuary in Cuba were barred from entry.

NEW MEDIA DAY

POTIONS 101: THE ENCHANTED WORLD OF EASTERN EUROPEAN BOTANICAL ELIXIRS
One Night Only

Sunday | November 14 | 6-7 PM
Live Stream and Facebook Live for worldwide audiences
A first generation Ukrainian American Jew calls upon her lineage to take audiences on a wild, rollicking ride through the fascinating and sometimes kooky world of Eastern European Folk medicines. Join Rebecca Antsis, Founder of Elixirology, for a whimsical herbal cocktail hour and mixology workshop.


NEW MEDIA DAY

BESHERT/ROMANTIC DESTINY: AN INEVITABLE EVENING OF BURLESQUE, STORYTELLING & SHORT FILMS
Sunday | November 14 | 7-9 PM
Live Stream at 7 PM for worldwide audiences
Join Philadelphia Jewish Film and Media and Roxie Roz Burlesque collective (Atlanta, GA) for an inevitable evening of burlesque performance, storytelling, and cinema exploring the idea of beshert/romantic destiny.

THE ADVENTURES OF SAUL BELLOW
Monday | November 15 | 7 PM
National Museum of American Jewish History
Exploring Saul Bellow’s approach to race, gender, and the Jewish American post-war immigrant experience, director Asaf Galay weaves together excerpts from the author’s novels and the recollections and observations of his contemporaries, including Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie, and Martin Amis. A must-see doc for Bellow readers and a comprehensive primer for Bellow newbies and fans of the American Jewish experience.


LONG STORY SHORTS: INSULARITY AND INCLUSION IN AMERICAN JEWISH COMMUNITIES
Featuring AN UNORTHODOX EDUCATION and WE MADE MATZAH BALLS FOR THE REVOLUTION
Wednesday | November 17 | 7 PM
Philadelphia Ethical Society
AN UNORTHODOX EDUCATION

In ultra-Orthodox Brooklyn, thousands of children are educated at religious yeshivas. While receiving comprehensive understanding of religious texts like the Torah and Talmud, they continue to be denied the fundamental education required to succeed outside of their communities.

WE MADE MATZAH BALLS FOR THE REVOLUTION

This nostalgic trip down memory lane explores the history of the Kosher Kitchen, a charming, “anti-profit” restaurant created by a group of Jewish students in 1975.

SIN LA HABANA
Thursday | November 18 | 7 PM Reel Cinemas Narberth 2
Hypnotically filmed, sexy, and utterly absorbing, SIN LA HABANA is a substantive immigration drama about the intersection of a Cuban couple and an Iranian-Jewish woman — three souls yearning to live better lives in a world of racism and poverty.

CLOSING NIGHT
NOT GOING QUIETLY

One Night Only

Saturday | November 20 | 7 PM

National Museum of American Jewish History

Live Stream at 7 PM for PA, NJ, DE & FL residents
When political activist Ady Barkan is diagnosed with ALS, he takes to the streets and creates a people-powered healthcare movement from the ground up. Though Ady’s voice eventually fades, his message remains clear: he’s not going quietly — not until every person has the right to affordable healthcare.

Virtual On-Demand Streaming Week One

AHED’S KNEE
Winner of the Jury Prize at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, Nadav Lapid’s latest film to merge biographical elements from the director’s life and complex feelings about Israeli culture and society, has once again cemented the celebrated filmmaker’s reputation as one of Israeli cinema’s most thought-provoking provocateurs.

AMERICAN BIRTHRIGHT

(Also available in person November 10)

“Should I marry Jewish?” This is the question that Becky Tahel Bordo ponders when her younger sister marries outside of her faith. Aspiring to “edJEWcate” herself, Becky Tahel Bordo journeys to the Holy Land to probe deeper into her Jewish identity and explore the reasons for her initial ambiguity about her sister’s interfaith marriage. With universal appeal and a Philly connection to boot, this light-hearted and intimate doc will resonate with anyone who’s ever struggled with their sense of identity and purpose.

BETRAYED
Thanks to Marte Michelet’s controversial 2015 book What Did the Resistance Know? — on which BETRAYED is based — we foresee the fate of a Norwegian-Jewish family during the war. Both a history lesson and cautionary tale, this highly anticipated addition to Norway’s Holocaust cinema canon is as urgent today as ever.

JEWISH SHORTS PROGRAM 1


CINEMA REX

This beautiful homage to cinema follows two children, an Israeli boy and an Arab girl, who become friends at their local theater.

WHITE EYE

On a busy night in Tel Aviv, a misunderstanding over a “stolen” bicycle places an Ethiopian restaurant worker’s future in jeopardy. This extraordinary, humanistic drama was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short.

LEGACY

Tense and shot in brilliant black-and-white, this gripping thriller highlights the courage of one affluent Hungarian woman in war-torn 1944 Budapest as she hides Jewish children in her home.

MISS.
A young London woman has her life thrown for a loop when she discovers her roommate is entering a beauty pageant . . . dedicated to one of history’s most loathsome men. Based on true events.

HIGH SCORE
After getting fired from his job for offensive behavior, a young man’s growing obsession with white supremacy takes a terrifying turn.

MAZEL TOV COCKTAIL

What does it mean to be a Jew in 21st century Europe? Irreverent and self-referential, this dark comedy follows the insane day-in-a-life of a Russian-Jewish teenager living in Berlin.

KISS ME KOSHER
With equal servings of screwball laughs and biting humor, KISS ME KOSHER is a fun, modern-day comedy about a cross-cultural relationship between an Israeli woman and her German girlfriend. Starring Fauda’s Moran Rosenblatt.

LEAVING PARADISE
After years of saving and planning, Cleo, his wife, and their fifteen children leave the big city to start a communal family farm in rural Brazil. Everything is going according to plan until one of Cleo’s daughters discovers her family’s Jewish roots and inspires the Baralo children to embark on a conversion to Judaism and plan to immigrate to the Holy Land. Will the children’s pursuit of their destiny undermine the utopian paradise Cleo worked so hard to build? You’ll have to watch to find out!

THE LOST BROTHERS
What would you do if, at age 72, you found out you have a brother whose been searching for you for the past 70 years. So is the fate of Arie Perel, who not only discovers that he has two siblings but that his mother and father were not his biological parents. With several unexpected twists and turns, THE LOST BROTHERS is a heart-pounding meditation on the fragility of life, grief, and gratitude – a bittersweet reminder of the importance of family at the end of one’s path.

MURANOW

The once-flourishing hub of Jewish life and culture that was Muranow before the Holocaust, was rebuilt over the rubble of Jewish bones and relics to pave the way for the green and spacious Muranow thousands of Poles call home today. However, the dust has yet to settle, according to some current residents who claim that Jewish apparitions haunt their apartments and can even be seen walking the streets at night where they once lived.

THE NEW JEW

(limited TV series)
Fast-paced, hilarious, and deeply insightful, THE NEW JEW follows Guri Alfi, one of Israel’s most popular comedic actors and TV personalities, as he travels across the country and discovers “a Judaism” that is pluralistic, multi-cultural, and packed with promise. What results is a spirited and ultimately hopeful journey through modern American Jewry.

PLAN A

Starring August Diehl (Inglourious Basterds) and Michael Aloni (Shtisel), this gripping true story follows a former Buchenwald inmate whose moral compass is tested after joining the Nakam, a clandestine group of Holocaust survivors with plans to annihilate entire German towns as vengeance for the six million murdered Jews.

Virtual On-Demand Streaming Week Two


NEW MEDIA DAY EVENTS

100 MILLION VIEWS
Israeli comedian/activist/YouTuber Itamar Rose made a fascinating documentary about YouTube that YouTube doesn’t want you to see! Learn why in 100 MILLION VIEWS.

EXILE AND REDEMPTION: A NEO-HASIDIC ROCK OPERA
Twelve music videos and one epic tale of divine providence, shattered dreams, and resilient transformation. This is Philadelphia Jewish Film and Media’s first foray into the mind of Philadelphia-based musician Aryeh Shalom and the world of neo-Hasidic rock.

JOURNEY OF THE LOST
Theater on Film
This thrilling, filmed performance of Daniel Kehlmann’s German play, Die Reise der Verlorenen, depicts the 1939 doomed voyage of the MS St. Louis, in which nearly a thousand German Jewish refugees seeking sanctuary in Cuba were barred from entry.

TODAY’S STORYTELLERS ARE TOMORROW’S CHANGEMAKERS:
INTERVIEW WITH LACEY SCHWARTZ DELGADO, FILMMAKER & CO-FOUNDER OF TRUTH AID
In this exclusive interview, PJFM sits down with the director of Little White Lie and Co-Founder of Truth Aid, Lacey Schwartz Delgado, to discuss the impact storytelling has had on her life and how we can best use our stories to be the change we want to see in the world.

FILM EVENTS

200 METERS

A Palestinian West Bank father, desperate to see his injured son a mere 200 meters away, must find a way to get past an Israeli checkpoint.


THE ADVENTURES OF SAUL BELLOW

(Also available in person on November 15)
Exploring Saul Bellow’s approach to race, gender, and the Jewish American post-war immigrant experience, director Asaf Galay weaves together excerpts from the author’s novels and the recollections and observations of his contemporaries, including Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie, and Martin Amis. A must-see doc for Bellow readers and a comprehensive primer for Bellow newbies and fans of the American Jewish experience.

AN UNORTHODOX EDUCATION | WE MADE MATZAH BALLS FOR THE REVOLUTION
(Also available in person on November 17)
AN UNORTHODOX EDUCATION
In ultra-Orthodox Brooklyn, thousands of children are educated at religious yeshivas. While receiving comprehensive understanding of religious texts like the Torah and Talmud, they continue to be denied the fundamental education required to succeed outside of their communities.

WE MADE MATZAH BALLS FOR THE REVOLUTION

This nostalgic trip down memory lane explores the history of the Kosher Kitchen, a charming, “anti-profit” restaurant created by a group of Jewish students in 1975.

JEWISH SHORTS PROGRAM 2

CHAZAK: THE STORY OF YUDI DUKES

Amidst a life-threatening battle with COVID-19, Rabbi Yudi Dukes continues to follow his faith and practice Tikkun Olam (repairing the world). A deeply intimate look at a man who never gives up on his community despite his own hardships.

THE MOHEL

A young couple hire an out-of-town mohel to perform their son’s circumcision and learn a valuable lesson. Official Selection of the SXSW Film Festival.

A FRIENDLY MAN

An eccentric tour guide in Jerusalem talks about his wild past, from not being accepted by his peers as a child to becoming one of the Israeli State’s biggest cocaine dealers.

A HEAD SHORTER
With remarkable twists and turns, this engrossing true story is like no other. Holocaust survivor Naftali Deutsch animates his tumultuous early life, imprisoned in multiple concentration camps.

SUSAM

The Sabbath’s strict rulings interfere with a Turkish-Jewish family in unexpectedly comical ways as their son refuses to leave his room for his bar mitzvah.

SPACE TORAH

This inspiring, true story takes us aboard Space Shuttle Columbia to outer space where NASA astronaut Dr. Jeff Hoffman brings along his Torah scroll and recites from the Book of Genesis to the literal universe.

SHADOW COUNTRY

Welcome to Shadow Country: a small village on the Czech-German border that saw its Czech, German, and Jewish citizenry turn into pawns for political aggression during the Nazi occupation. Calling to mind arthouse gems like The White Ribbon, Sátántangó, and most recently, The Painted Bird, Bohdan Sláma’s SHADOW COUNTRY is the latest historical drama to peer fearlessly into the annals of the human psyche and reveal larger truths about our world today.

SIN LA HABANA

(Also available in person on November 18)
Hypnotically filmed, sexy and utterly absorbing, SIN LA HABANA is a substantive immigration drama about the intersection of a Cuban couple and an Iranian-Jewish woman — three souls yearning to live better lives in a world of racism and poverty.

TUNE INTO THE FUTURE
This fascinating life story of Hugo Gernsback, otherwise known as the “inventor of science-fiction” and “the most influential nerd you never heard of,” is this season’s must-see doc for sci-fi and pop-culture fans alike.

THE WOMEN’S BALCONY
Sneak Preview (Episodes 1 & 2)
Based on the hit movie that took Jewish film festivals by storm in 2017, THE WOMEN’S BALCONY is back and reimagined as an episodic TV series. This charming and sunny dramedy follows a group of Orthodox women living in the Bukharan Quarter of Jerusalem as they respond to the bevy of change engulfing their close-knit neighborhood. Don’t miss the exclusive first two episodes of Israel’s knockout show!

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