• The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee Presents the 2014 Jewish Film Festival

    JFF_Return of the Violin copyMarch 16-21

    The fifth annual festival features six extraordinary films spanning 80 years in time and culture. Special guests will appear at selected showings and for post-film discussions.

     

    (Sarasota, FL) The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee has selected six award-winning films for its 2014 Jewish Film Festival. The festival, presented in partnership with the Sarasota Film Festival and media sponsor The Observer Group, is March 16 through March 21, at various venues in Sarasota and Manatee counties. (A list of films, dates and times is below.) Most showings will be followed by a discussion with the audience. Tickets are $10 per film. A six-film festival pass is $54. A $72 patron pass offers reserved seating to all six films. (The Sarasota Film Festival will show additional Jewish and Israeli-themed films during its 10-day festival, which runs, April 4 to 13, 2014.) Tickets can be purchased online at www.jfedsrq.org/events.aspx or by calling 941-552-6304. For more information about The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, call 941-371-4546 or visit www.jfedsrq.org.

    The films were selected by Roz Goldberg, chair of the Jewish Film Festival, and her committee members, Karen Bernstein, Marsha Eisenberg, Barbara Jacob, Helene Morgenstern, Susan Newmark, Lois Stulberg, Evans Tilles, and Janet Tolbert. Goldberg says that audiences, “can expect to experience an outstanding roster of new, award-winning films that span almost 80 years in time and culture—from Europe and Tel Aviv in the 1930s; to France in the 1940s; to Rome in the 1990s; and to contemporary settings in Israel—and in outer space. It’s going to be a whirlwind journey!”

    Film Days and Times:

    The Return of the Violin: A thrilling documentary about the fate of the Stradivarius violin that was stolen from the brilliant, celebrated violinist, Bronislaw Huberman, while he was performing on stage at Carnegie Hall in 1936. This concert was one of many that Huberman performed around the world to raise the money needed to create a world-class orchestra in Palestine—that became the Israel Philharmonic—and, in the process, to save 1,000 outstanding Jewish musicians and their families from the Nazis, and preserve the cultural achievement of the Jewish people. If you loved Orchestra of Exiles last year, you will be enthralled with Return of the Violin. March 16, 4 p.m., at Beatrice Friedman Theater, 582 McIntosh Road, Sarasota. Sarasota Orchestra principal cellist, Abraham Feder, is scheduled to speak at the post-film discussion, 6 p.m. The film will also be shown on March 18, 3 p.m., at Beatrice Friedman Theater, 582 McIntosh Road, Sarasota, and on March 21, 10:30am at Kobernick House, 1951 N. Honore Avenue, Sarasota.

    Disobedience: A gripping drama about Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux at the time of Hitler’s invasion of France. Although he had been given specific instructions by Salazar, Prime Minister of Portugal, to deny all entrance visa requests from “undesirable” refugees fleeing Hitler, de Sousa Mendes found himself engulfed in a moral dilemma when he tried to obey his orders. This is a thrilling, little-known true story of the courageous man who saved almost 10 times as many Jews as Schindler did, and 20,000 non-Jews as well. His heroic operation has been described by historians as “the largest rescue action by a single individual during the Holocaust.” March 16, 7 p.m., at Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, 582 McIntosh Road, Sarasota; and March 17, 3 p.m., at Temple Sinai, 4631 S. Lockwood Ridge Road, Sarasota. Robert Jacobvitz, founder of the International Committee for the Commemoration of Dr. Aristides de Sousa Mendes, will appear at both screenings.

    Bethlehem:  An engrossing, award-winning drama that reflects the conflicts and pressures that both Israelis and Palestinians confront within their respective societies—and how the best of intentions and motivations can become muddled and distorted by the ever-evolving circumstances at play in the region. The film highlights the unusual relationship between 17-year-old Bethlehem native, Sanfur, whose older brother is being sought for terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, and Israeli military intelligence officer Razi. The film was co-written by Israel’s Yuval Adler and Arab journalist Ali Waked, and premiered at the Haifa Film Festival. It was nominated for 12 Ophir awards in Israel, and won the FEEDORA award at the Venice Film Festival. March 17, 3 p.m., at Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, 582 McIntosh Road, Sarasota; and March 20, 7 p.m., at Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, 582 McIntosh Road, Sarasota.

    God’s Neighbors: A powerful, provocative, yet surprisingly tender feature film about the conflict between Orthodox and secular in one Israeli community, Bat Yam, south of Tel Aviv. Three young men from the Breslov Chassidic sect take it upon themselves to police their neighborhood and protect it from the scourge of immodestly dressed women, stores that are open on the Sabbath, and purveyors of pornographic material. Yet, one of the three, Avi, struggles to find balance between religious vigor and tolerance for others. It is the dichotomy between his aggressive persona and his gentle, emotional side that makes this film so touching and powerful. It raises difficult questions while allowing audience members to come to their own conclusions. It is the winner of the Society of Authors, Directors and Composers award in Cannes; shown at the Israeli Film Festival in New York, the Jewish International Film Festival in Australia, and at many other venues around the world. March 17, 7 p.m., at Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, 582 McIntosh Road, Sarasota; and March 20, 3 p.m., at Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, 582 McIntosh Road, Sarasota.

    The Jewish Cardinal: An award-winning feature about Jean-Marie Lustiger, the son of Polish-Jewish immigrants, who maintained his cultural identity as a Jew even after converting to Catholicism at a young age, and later joining the priesthood. Quickly rising within the ranks of the church, Lustiger was appointed Archbishop of Paris by Pope Jean Paul II—and found a new platform to celebrate his dual identity as a Catholic Jew, earning him both friends and enemies within each group. When Carmelite nuns decide to build a convent within the cursed, but sacred, walls of Auschwitz, Lustiger finds himself a mediator between the two communities, and is forced to choose his side. Official Selection at the New York, Cleveland, and Philadelphia Jewish film festivals, and winner of the Audience Award at the Boston Jewish Film Festival. March 18, 7 p.m., at Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, 582 McIntosh Road, Sarasota; and March 19, 12:30p.m., at Lakewood Ranch Cinemas, 10715 Rodeo Drive, Lakewood Ranch, and March 19, 7 p.m., at Temple Beth Israel, 567 Bay Isles Road, Longboat Key.

    Article of Hope: A moving documentary about the untold story of Colonel Ilan Ramon, a fighter pilot and son of Holocaust survivors who became the first and only astronaut from Israel. Embarking on a mission with the most diverse shuttle crew ever to explore space, the seven-person crew of the ill-fated Shuttle Columbia, Colonel Ramon realized the significance of “being the first,” and his journey became a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. He carried into space a miniature Torah scroll that had survived the horrors of Bergen-Belsen, and tells the story of this scroll from the flight deck of Columbia. This story takes you on a journey of the human spirit—an extraordinary story of hope for the future, in the face of tragedy. Article of Hope was produced to mark the 10th anniversary of the Shuttle Columbia disaster. March 19, 3 p.m., at Temple Beth Israel, 567 Bay Isles Road, Longboat Key; and March 19, 7 p.m., at Lakewood Ranch Cinemas, 10715 Rodeo Drive, Lakewood Ranch. The film’s director, Dan Cohen, will appear at both screenings.

    The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to save Jewish lives and enhance Jewish life in the Sarasota-Manatee region, in Israel, and throughout the world. In addition, the Federation is responsive when worldwide catastrophes occur. For more information about The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, call 941-371-4546 or visit www.jfedsrq.org.

     

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