33rd Annual Buffalo International Jewish Film Festival 3/9-3/15

33rd Annual Buffalo International Jewish Film Festival 3/9-3/15

The 33rd annual Buffalo International Jewish Film Festival - the third longest running festival of its kind in NORTH AMERICA - will present 12 award-winning and critically acclaimed films from around the world including Australia, Austria, Denmark, Hungary, India, Israel, Poland, Sweden and the United States.

"One of the most important elements of Judaism celebrated in film by the Buffalo International Jewish Film Festival, now in its 33rd season, is diversity," says festival chair Michael Silverman. "Jewish stories and culture appear in the most unlikely places. In the coming edition, the Festival endeavors to take viewers to a place not visited before - India. And not once, but twice, with Shalom Bollywood and My Hero Brother."

Additionally, the Festival features films produced in Denmark and Hungary, with others partially-produced in Sweden, Poland, and Austria. One of the Israeli feature films - A Tale of Love and DARKNESS - marks the directorial debut of Natalie Portman, a film in which she also stars, while a film from the United States - Menashe - is made entirely in Yiddish.

The BIJFF also kicks off with a fundraising dinner on Saturday, March 3, 7-10 p.m. featuring Shalom Bollywood, and a full buffet dinner at Taste of India, newly relocated at 3192 Sheridan Drive in Amherst. The event will feature dinner, screening of the film, henna tattoos, a basket raffle and everyone who attends will receive a free ticket to any of the films presented during the film festival, March 9 - 15. Presale tickets are $45. Tickets may also be purchased at the door for $50.

The following films will be included during the festival, March 9-15, 2018:

A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS

A Tale of Love and DARKNESS is based on the memories of Amos Oz, growing up in Jerusalem in the years before Israeli statehood with Arieh, his academic father and Fania, his dreamy, imaginative mother. They were one of many Jewish families who moved to Palestine from Europe during the 1930s and 40s to escape persecution. Unhappy in her marriage and intellectually stifled, Fania would make up stories of adventures and read poetry to cheer herself up and entertain her 10-year-old son Amos. This would become an influence on his writing for the rest of his life.

Director: Natalie Portman

Country: Israel

Year: 2016

Duration: 95 minutes

Languages: Hebrew

Genre: Drama

Rating: PG-13

Showings:

Sun, March 11 | 8:00 pm

Tues, March 13 | 3:30 pm

Nominated for Golden Camera Award at Cannes Film Festival

ACROSS THE WATERS

Unsure of whom they can trust, a Jewish musician and his family make a frantic escape from Nazi-occupied Denmark, in ACROSS THE WATERS, a gripping story of survival and rescue.

Enjoying the nightlife of 1943 Copenhagen, jazz guitarist Arne Itkin is seemingly immune to the hardships of war, as the Danish government opts for a compliant relationship with Nazi Germany. He is initially skeptical when his terrified wife Miriam hears rumors of the round-up and deportation of Danish Jews. However, an overnight raid forces the couple to flee their home with five-year-old son Jakob. Aided by a church pastor and UNDERGROUND resistance, they set out on a journey for the fishing village of Gilleleje, where refugees await passage to Sweden by boat. Amidst lurking danger from the Gestapo and their collaborators, THE FAMILY puts its fate in the hands of strangers whose ALLEGIANCE and motives are not always clear.

Based on true events, ACROSS THE WATERS is directed and co-written by Nicolo Donato, whose own grandfather was among the courageous Danish fisherman to ferry war refugees to safety.

Director: Nicolo Donato

Country: Denmark

Year: 2016

Duration: 95 minutes

Languages: Danish

Genre: Drama

Rating: PG-13

Showings:

Mon, March 12 | 8:00 pm

Thurs, March 15 | 6:00 pm

FEVER AT DAWN

In 1945, after having been freed from a concentration camp, a 25-year-old Hungarian man, Miklós, is being treated at a Swedish hospital in a displaced persons center. The doctors diagnose him with a severe lung disease and tell him that he has no more than six months to live. But he refuses to give up, and wants to find a wife with whom he can start a new life. He sends letters to 117

Hungarian girls who are also being treated in Sweden. One of the girls is 19-year-old Lili, who likes Miklós's letter, and they start corresponding.

Based on the novel Fever at Dawn.

Director: Peter Gardos

Country: Hungary, Sweden

Year: 2015

Duration: 114 minutes

Languages: Hungarian

Genre: Drama

Rating: none (PG-13 equivalent)

Showings:

Sun, March 11 | 3:30 pm

Tues, March 13 | 8:00 pm

Winner of Best Feature at Cinequest San Jose Film Festival and Golden Violet award at the Parma International Music Film Festival.

HARMONIA

A childless Israeli musical couple seeks to form a family in HARMONIA, a contemporary adaptation of the biblical tale of Abraham and Sarah set inside the inner sanctum of a symphony hall.

The beautiful harpist Sarah is married to Abraham, the charismatic conductor of the Jerusalem Philharmonic Orchestra. With no children, their melancholy life revolves around their music. Enter Hagar, a young horn player of French-Arab descent from East Jerusalem, who joins the orchestra and forms a close personal relationship with Sarah. Their bond gives way to something more fraught, when Hagar offers to carry the couple's baby. Two rival prodigies are born-one Jewish, one Arab-leading to a metaphoric and multi-generational clash of cultures that can ultimately be reconciled only through music.

Director: Ori Sivan

Country: Israel

Year: 2016

Duration: 97 minutes

Languages: Hebrew, Arabic

Genre: Drama

Rating: PG-13

Showing:

Sat, March 10 | 7:00 pm

Nominated for five Israeli Academy Awards, and winner of the Best Cinematography and Lia Van Leer Jewish Heritage awards at the Jerusalem Film Festival.

HOW TO RIDE AN ELEVATOR ON SHABBAT

Buffalo filmmaker Salvatore Natale produced this short about the conflicted life of a gay Hassidic Jewish man while he was participating in the Jerusalem Film Workshop last summer.

Salvatore Natale graduated in Spring 2017 with a bachelor's degree in media study from UB. He created Film Lyfe to help people learn filmmaking through an online Youtube community. Natale says he learned most of his filmmaking tips and tricks during his undergrad degree from Youtube creators.

Director: Sal Natale

Country: United States

Year: 2017

Duration: 10 minutes

Languages: English

Genre: Documentary Short/Culture

Rating: none (PG equivalent)

Showings:

Sun, March 11 | 6:00 pm

Wed, March 14 | 8:00 pm

MENASHE

Menashe, a widower, lives and works within the Hasidic community of Borough Park, Brooklyn. Since his wife passed away a year before, he has been trying hard to regain custody of his nine-year-old son, Rieven. But the rabbi (and all the community behind him) will not hear of unless he remarries, which Menashe does not want.

A tender drama performed entirely in Yiddish, the film intimately explores the nature of faith and the price of parenthood.

Director: Joshua Z. Weinstein

Country: United States

Year: 2017

Duration: 82 minutes

Languages: Yiddish, English

Genre: Drama

Rating: PG

Showings:

Sun, March 11 | 6:00 pm

Wed, March 14 | 8:00 pm

Winner of the Terry Porter Visionary Award at the Sarasota Film Festival and Nominated for the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival

MY HERO BROTHER

A group of remarkable young people with Down syndrome embark on a demanding trek through the India Himalayas, accompanied by their 'normal' brothers and sisters. Unresolved conflicts and the complexities of growing up with a Down syndrome child in THE FAMILY come to surface, while a heart-warming and special closeness develops among the siblings as they deal with formidable physical and emotional challenges. The difficult trials and poignant relationships,

set against the richly colorful backdrop of India, open new horizons and greatly deepen our understanding of special needs people and their families.

Director: Yonatan Nir

Country: Israel, India

Year: 2016

Duration: 78 minutes

Languages: Hebrew

Genre: Documentary

Rating: none (PG equivalent)

Showings:

Mon, March 12 | 6:00 pm

Wed, March 14 | 6:00 pm

Winner of DocEdge Award at Documentary Edge Festival, Audience award at Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival, and Audience Choice Award as well as Jury Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

RAISE THE ROOF

Inspired by images of the magnificent wooden synagogues of 18th century Poland, the last of which were destroyed by the Nazis, artists Rick and Laura Brown of Handshouse Studio set out to reconstruct a replica of the stunning, mural-covered Gwozdziec Synagogue. Working with a team of 300 artisans and students from around the world, using only period hand tools and techniques, the Browns finally realized their dream.

Filmmakers Yari and Cary Wolinsky's beautifully photographed and rendered film Raise The Roof tells the story of this remarkable 10-year project against the backdrop of the 1000 year history of Jews in Poland.

Director: Yari & Cary Wolinsky

Country: United States, Poland

Year: 2015

Duration: 85 minutes

Languages: English, Polish

Genre: Documentary/History

Rating: none (G equivalent)

Showings:

Sun, March 11 | 1:00 pm

Tues, March 13 | 1:00 pm

Winner of the Audience Choice Award at the Seattle Jewish Film Festival

ROSENWALD

Aviva Kempner's Rosenwald is the incredible story of Julius Rosenwald, who never finished high school, but rose to become the President of Sears, Roebuck & Company. Influenced by the writings of the educator Booker T. Washington, this Jewish philanthropist joined forces with African American communities during the Jim Crow South to build more than 5,300 schools during the early part of the 20th century. Inspired by the Jewish ideals of tzedakah (charity) and tikkun olam (repairing the world) and a deep concern over racial inequality in America, Julius Rosenwald used his wealth to become one of America's most effective philanthropists. Because of his modesty, Rosenwald's philanthropy and social activism are not well known today. He gave away $62 million in his lifetime.

Director: Aviva Kempner

Country: United States

Year: 2015

Duration: 95 minutes

Languages: English

Genre: Documentary/History

Rating: none (G equivalent)

Showings:

Mon, March 12 | 3:30 pm

Wed, March 14 | 1:00 pm

SHALOM BOLLYWOOD: The Untold Story of Indian Cinema

When Australian filmmaker Danny Ben-Moshe read an obituary of renowned Hindi film actress Nadira in 2006, he discovered that her real name was Florence Ezekiel. Further research revealed that Nadira was part of a long tradition of Jewish women and men who changed their names after entering the movie trade in Bombay, India, - later to be celebrated as Bollywood. Many of the actors were Baghdadi Jews, who traced their origins to Iraq. These women were the first to act in Indian films, at a great risk to their reputation, at a time when the participation of women in performing arts was taboo. During the silent era, most of India's film stars were Jewish.

Ben-Moshe's exhilarating documentary Shalom Bollywood: The Untold Story of Indian Cinema revisits this fascinating chapter in Indian film history.

Director: Danny Ben Moshe

Country: Australia, India

Year: 2017

Duration: 76 minutes

Languages: Hebrew, English, German, Yiddish

Genre: Documentary/History/Entertainment

Rating: none (PG equivalent)

Showings:

Sat, March 3 | 7:00 pm (Kick Off Gala)

Mon, March 12 | 1:00 pm

Wed, March 14 | 3:30 pm

THE LAST LAUGH

Humor is tragedy plus time. - Mark Twain

Using the scope of the Holocaust, filmmaker Ferne Pearlstein examines what subjects are "off-limits" in comedy. Includes famous comics Mel Brooks, Rob Reiner, Carl Reiner, David Steinberg, Sarah Silverman, Judy Gold, and Gilbert Gottfried. The Last Laugh takes a fresh - and unexpectedly funny - approach to sensitive subject matter, uncovering affecting insights about the nature of comedy along the way.

Director: Ferne Perlstein

Country: United States

Year: 2016

Duration: 90 minutes

Languages: English

Genre: Documentary/Comedy

Rating: none (PG equivalent)

Showings:

Fri, March 9 | 3:30 pm

Thurs, March 15 | 3:30 pm

THE TESTAMENT

Yoel, a senior Holocaust researcher, is in the midst of a widely publicized legal battle with powerful forces in Austria, concerning a brutal massacre of Jews that took place toward the end of WWII in the village of Lensdorf. An influential family of industrialists on whose land the murder took place is planning to build a real estate project on the very same land. Yoel suspects that their aim is to bury the affair for good, but has trouble finding the conclusive evidence that would stop the project. During his investigation, he also hears classified testimonies of Holocaust survivors, and to his shock and surprise, his mother is among them. A mystery about a man who is willing to risk everything to discover the truth.

Director: Amichai Greenberg

Country: Israel, Austria

Year: 2017

Duration: 88 minutes

Languages: Hebrew, English, German, Yiddish

Genre: Drama

Rating: none (PG-13 equivalent)

Showings:

Tues, March 13 | 6:00 pm

Thurs, March 15 | 8:00 pm

Winner of the Full Length Feature Film Award at the Haifa International Film Festiva

2018 Film Festival Schedule

Amherst Dipson Theatre

3500 Main Street/Buffalo, New York, 14226

(716) 834-7655

Saturday, March 3 7:00 pm Kick-Off Party

SHALOM BOLLYWOOD

A TASTE OF INDIA, 3172 Sheridan Drive, Amherst, NY

Amherst Dipson Theatre, 3500 Main Street, Buffalo, NY

Friday, March 9 3:30 pm THE LAST LAUGH

Saturday, March 10 7:00 pm Opening Night

HARMONIA

Sunday, March 11 1:00 pm RAISE THE ROOF

3:30 pm FEVER AT DAWN

6:00 pm MENASHE Preceded by HOW TO RIDE

AN ELEVATOR ON SHABBAT (short)

8:00 pm A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS

Monday, March 12 1:00 pm SHALOM BOLLYWOOD

3:30 pm ROSENWALD

6:00 pm MY HERO BROTHER

8:00 pm ACROSS THE WATERS

Tuesday, March 13 1:00 pm RAISE THE ROOF

3:30 pm A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS

6:00 pm THE TESTAMENT

8:00 pm FEVER AT DAWN

Wednesday, March 14 1:00 pm ROSENWALD

3:30 pm SHALOM BOLLYWOOD

6:00 pm MY HERO BROTHER

8:00 pm MENASHE

Preceded by HOW TO RIDE AN ELEVATOR ON SHABBAT (short)

Thursday, March 15 3:30 pm THE LAST LAUGH

6:00 pm ACROSS THE WATERS

8:00 pm THE TESTAMENT

Tickets & Passes

Tickets and passes may be purchased in advance at either JCC member services desk, www.bijff.com or at the theatre door ½ hour prior to each film.

General Single Film Tickets $10

Flex Pass $50 - Six tickets for the price of 5! Pass may be shared.

Children 18 & under FREE with parent to all films except Shalom Bollywood (March 3 special event screening)

Films will be shown March 9-15, 2018 at the Amherst Dipson Theatre, 3500 Main Street. Trailers, schedules and ticket purchasing at www.bijff.com.



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