Film Festival celebrates 20 years

Submitted report

DALLAS — The Jewish Film Festival of Dallas will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a 12-film series brought to audiences by The J and the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs.
Running Aug. 30-Sept. 29, the films will be shown at venues throughout North Texas including locations in Richardson, Plano and Dallas and will feature a wide array of genres including comedies, narratives and docu-dramas.
Tickets for each film are $12 per person in advance or $100 per person for the full series. Tickets can be purchased online or by contacting Rachelle Weiss Crane at 214-239-7138. Sponsorship levels are still available. Any film shown in a language other than English will have subtitles.
“We are very proud of this year’s lineup of diverse and interesting films,” said Crane, producer of the festival. “There’s a little something for everyone to enjoy, and we hope audiences will explore the rich tapestry of Jewish life and connections.”
The Jewish Film Festival of Dallas begins with a free screening (presented with University of Texas at Dallas) of the drama Labyrinth of Lies at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30.
The complete schedule of films is as follows:

Labyrinth of Lies

Tuesday, Aug. 30, 7 p.m.
Edith O’Donnell Arts & Technology Building (first level)
UTD, 800 West Campbell Road, Richardson
This event is FREE and open to the community; however, RSVP is requested to ensure adequate seating.
Directed by Giulio RicciarelliI, Labyrinth of Lies is a drama set in 1958 Germany. Johann Radmann (Alexander Fehling) has just recently been appointed a public prosecutor. A teacher has been identified as a former Auschwitz guard, but no one is interested in prosecuting him. Against the will of his immediate superior, Radmann begins to examine the case — and lands in a web of repression and denial, but also of idealization. During the process he goes after Josef Mengele, who is living in Argentina but flies back to West Germany at will to visit his family. Radmann oversteps boundaries, falls out with friends, colleagues and allies, and is sucked deeper and deeper into a labyrinth of lies and guilt in his search for the truth. But what he ultimately brings to light will change the country forever.
Partners: AJC Dallas, Dallas Goethe Society, The Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies at UT Dallas

AKA Nadia

Thursday, Sept. 8, 7 p.m.
Studio Movie Grill, 13933 North Central Expwy., Dallas
AKA Nadia is directed by Tova Ascher. It was nominated at the 2015 Ophir (Israeli Film Academy) Awards for Best Actress, Screenplay, Cinematography, Makeup, and Music and was the winner of the Israeli Film Critics Forum Prize at the Jerusalem Film Festival.
Maya Goldfish appears to have a perfect life. She is blissfully married to charming Yoav, as senior official at the Ministry of Justice. She has two adorable children, and she herself is a successful choreographer at a Jerusalem dance troupe. But unbeknownst to her family and friends, Maya has a buried secret. When someone from her distant suddenly reappears, she is thrown into total panic as she tries to salvage all that is now dear to her.
Partner: Temple Shalom


Saturday, Sept. 10, 9 p.m.
Angelika Film Center, 7205 Bishop Road, Suite E6, Plano
Tuesday, Sept. 27, 1 p.m.
Studio Movie Grill, 13933 North Central Expwy., Dallas
Dough is a comedy-narrative directed by John Goldschmidt and stars award-winning actor Jonathan Pryce.
Nat, an elderly Jewish baker, is struggling to keep his family kosher bakery alive. His customers are dying off, his sons have no interest in joining the family business, and a greedy entrepreneur is keen to appropriate his property. After Nat hires a young Muslim immigrant and small-time pot dealer, Ayyash, his luck changes. When Ayyash accidentally drops his marijuana stash into the challah batter, customers are ecstatic, and sales begin to soar. But the hilarious dilemma for Ayyash and Nat is just beginning.
Partners: Anshai Torah, BNAI ZION, Dallas Holocaust Museum Center for Education and Tolerance, Simcha Kosher Catering and Event Design

Naked Among Wolves (based on true story)

Monday, Sept. 12, 7 p.m.
Studio Movie Grill, 13933 North Central Expwy., Dallas
Directed by Philipp Kadelbach, Naked Among Wolves was nominated for Best Fiction Film at Adolf Grimme Awards, Germany, 2016, and was the winner of Audience Awards for Best Film and Best Narrative at 2016 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.
With Hitler’s downfall imminent and desperation setting in, resistance leaders at Buchenwald concentration camp prepare for a late March 1945 camp uprising. However, their carefully laid plans are upended when a new inmate arrives with a three-year-old boy hidden in his suitcase. Though harboring the boy is seen as a threat for the entire underground movement, in an act of humanity in the face of unimaginable brutality, the inmates reluctantly band together to save the boy from certain death.

To Life (Aus Das Leben)

Wednesday, Sept. 14, 7 p.m.
Studio Movie Grill, 13933 North Central Expwy., Dallas
To Life (Aus Das Leben) was directed by Uwe Jansen and won the Audience Award for the Best Film at the San Diego Jewish Film Festival.
Polish-born cabaret singer and Holocaust survivor, Ruth, becomes hopelessly despondent when she is evicted from her apartment and encouraged to move into a nursing home. She meets, by chance, a much younger German man, Jonas, who has left the woman he loves and is concealing a devastating secret. They unexpectedly form an intense bond and inspire each other to face adversity with defiance and hope. It’s an uplifting story about the healing powers of friendship and music.
Partners: Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany – Houston, Congregation Shearith Israel

Wounded Land (Eretz Ptzua)

Saturday, Sept. 17, 9 p.m.
Studio Movie Grill, 13933 North Central Expwy., Dallas
Directed by Erez Tadmor, Wounded Land (Eretz Ptzua) was nominated for 11 Ophir Awards in 2015 with wins for Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Makeup. It was also a selection of the Jerusalem International Film Festival 2015.
This hard-hitting, gritty movie portrays 24 chaotic hours in the life of two policemen in Haifa. Kobi is being pressured to spy on his friend and colleague, Yehuda, in a corruption investigation, but a sudden terrorist attack throws everything into disarray. The cops must now maintain order in a hospital where families of victims violently protest the priority shown to the injured terrorist.
Partners: Adat Chaverim, Beth Torah Chai Lights, Men’s Club and Sisterhood, Nosh Nook Catering

On The Map

Sunday, Sept. 18, 7 p.m.
Aaron Family JCC, Zale Auditorium, 7900 Northaven Road, Dallas
Director Dani Menkin will be at the screening to discuss his film.
The sports documentary On The Map is set in the ’70s when the national mood of Israel was gloomy in the wake of events such as the murder of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics and the 1973 Yom Kippur War. And then a miracle happened — the Maccabi Tel Aviv team reached the semifinals of the European Cup Basketball Championship. But what chance did they stand against the four-time defending European champions — the Soviet Red Army team from Moscow? What ensued is the stuff of legends and the subject of this exciting documentary.
Partners: Team Dallas participating in the 2016 JCC Maccabi Games

Rabin in His Own Words

Monday, Sept. 19, 7 p.m.
Studio Movie Grill, 13933 North Central Expwy., Dallas
Winner for Best Documentary at the Haifa International film Festival, 2015, Rabin in His Own Words was directed by Erez Laufer. This extraordinary documentary on Yitzhak Rabin follows the late prime minister’s life from his humble beginnings as a farmer through his distinguished military career and on to his life as a diplomat and politician. Told in his own voice and with many never-before-seen archival film clips (including home movies), this film reveals the complex character of one of Israel’s most outstanding leaders, who pursued his dream of peace regardless of the cost.
Partners: Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, Jewish War Veterans of the U.S. — Dr. Harvey J Bloom Post 256

Sabena Hijacking — My Version

Wednesday, Sept. 21, 7 p.m.
Studio Movie Grill, 13933 North Central Expwy., Dallas
Directed by Rani Saar, Sabena Hijacking — My Version won the Audience Award for Best Documentary Film, Los Angeles Israeli Film Festival in October 2015. It was also nominated for Best Documentary Film, Israeli Academy/Ophir Awards 2015.
On May 8, 1972, the Palestinian group Black September seized control of Sabena Flight 971 shortly after takeoff from Vienna en route to Tel Aviv. Israeli Special Forces promptly launched a covert operation to rescue the passengers and retake the plane. Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, and Shimon Peres were active participants in this daring raid. This fast-paced docudrama provides a moment-by-moment reenactment of those nerve-wracking hours.
Partner: Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The Last Cyclist (Poslední Cyklista)

Sunday, Sept. 25, 2 p.m.
Studio Movie Grill, 13933 North Central Expwy., Dallas
Directed by Jirí Svoboda, The Last Cyclist (Poslední Cyklista) received a Golden Panda Award nomination for Best Directing for a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.
Infertile Jewish couple Helga and Simon Orenstein adopt an abandoned Gentile baby girl and register her officially as their daughter. The child, Klara, has an idyllic childhood in Prague, and enthusiastically embraces her adored family’s Jewish traditions. With the advent of World War II, their lives slowly begin to unravel. Now, laden with guilt for the danger their actions have brought upon their unwitting child, the Orensteins desperately try to save her. It’s a moving story about commitment and Jewish identity.

Fire Birds (Ziporey Hol) with the short film If Not Now, When? playing before

Thursday, Sept. 29, 7 p.m.
Studio Movie Grill, 13933 North Central Expwy., Dallas
Note: Purchase tickets to Fire Birds to attend If Not Now, When?
If Not Now, When? writer and actress Jená Maharramov, who is also a North Texas resident, will be in attendance at the screening of her film.
Fire Birds was directed by Amir I. Wolf and nominated for 10 Ophir Awards, 2015, with a win for Best Supporting Actress. It was also nominated for Best First Fiction Feature at the Montreal World Film Festival, 2015.
The body of an 80-year-old man with a mysterious tattoo and three stab wounds to the chest washes up by the Yarkon River. Amnon, a detective fresh off a suspension, reluctantly takes on the case. As he digs deeper, the investigation gets only more intriguing, leading to a tattoo parlor, romanced widows, and a secret society of Holocaust survivors. This intelligent thriller keeps audiences guessing with a smart mix of humor, charm, and melancholy.
Partners: Dallas Jewish Historical Society, Temple Emanu-El

If Not Now, When? is a short film directed by Jack Watkins and John Roman. It will play immediately before Fire Birds.
Aviva, a lazy, but creative young black Jewish woman, has decided that she should be the next big thing. Unfortunately, the rest of the world hasn’t gotten the memo. She loses day job after day job as she chases her destiny, much to the chagrin of family and friends. Will she be able to tune out the background noise and keep chasing her dreams?

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