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Film: Festivals & Features

Through feature films, shorts, documentaries, student films and conversations with guest speakers, our festivals explore a variety of topics, all with the goal of exciting, engaging and educating our audiences. Many of our films have received awards both nationally and internationally. Since our festivals premiered, over 100 outstanding films have been shown at a variety of venues.  

Jewish Film Festival

Check below for all the details of the first-ever Jewish Film Festival at the Weinstein JCC!

Jewish Film Festival - Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me


Directed by Sam Pollard | 100 min | Documentary | USA

Sammy Davis, Jr. had a career that was legendary, and yet his life was complex, complicated and contradictory. Davis strove to achieve the American Dream in a time of racial prejudice and shifting political territory, and was the most public black figure to embrace Judaism, thereby yoking his identity to another persecuted minority. Featuring new interviews and never-before-seen photographs and excerpts from his electric performances, the film explores the life and art of a uniquely gifted entertainer.

The Jewish Film Festival is sponsored by The Arenstein Family

Jewish Film Festival - From Philadelphia to the Front


Directed by Marianne Bernstein and Judy Gelles | 37 minutes Documentary | USA

Talk Back led by Dr. Charles Sydnor of the Virginia Holocaust Museum

One of the few documentaries to explore the stories of Jewish-American World War II soldiers, this film focuses on six Philadelphia veterans in their 80's, and their experiences during the war. Combined with photographs from the their experiences during the war, the men's personal collections, the film includes rare archival footage, stills, and newsreels, including Jewish soldiers celebrating Shabbat and Passover during wartime and the first Jewish service at Dachau after it was liberated.

Co-hosted by the 5400 Club

The Jewish Film Festival is sponsored by The Arenstein Family

Jewish Film Festival - RBG


Directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen | 97 min | Documentary | USA

Talk Back with RBG acclaimed film director Julie Cohen

At the age of 84, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed a stunning legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. But without a definitive Ginsburg biography, the unique personal journey of this diminutive, quiet warrior’s rise to the nation’s highest court has been largely unknown, even to some of her biggest fans—until now. RBG is a revelatory documentary exploring Ginsburg‘s exceptional life and career.

The Jewish Film Festival is sponsored by The Arenstein Family

Closing Night Reception sponsored by Stacey and Frank Baum

Israeli Film Festival

Our annual Israeli Film Festival is dedicated to fostering an understanding of Israeli culture and access to Israel’s young but thriving film industry. The festival features films based upon various considerations such as awards or nominations, timely subject matter and input from the film community.

The Ninth Annual Israeli Film Festival will take place January 9-13 at the Weinstein JCC.

Israeli Film Festival 2019 - An Israeli Love Story


A film by Dan Wolman | 93 minutes | Fiction | Hebrew with English subtitles

Based on the true story of theatre director and actress Pnina Gary, multiaward winning director Dan Wolman tells a passionate story of love and independence. Set in pre-state Palenstine, Eli and Margalit are torn between their love for one another and where they see their own futures in the Jewish state. In the budding theatre world of Tel Aviv and the kibbutzim, Margalit finds her place in the spotlight. Eli, while planning to marry Margalit, is drawn deeper into the armed struggle for Jewish independence from the British.

The 9th Annual Israeli Film Festival is sponsored by Weinstein Properties. It will run January 9 – 13 at the Weinstein JCC.

Festival Concessions are sponsored by Risa and Jay Levine

Israeli Film Festival 2019 - The Essential Link: The Story of Wilfrid Israel


A film by Yonatan Nir | 71 minutes | Documentary English, Arabic, Hebrew

This film sheds light on an oft-forgotten wealthy German Jew who—through a combination of wily negotiations with the Nazis, large sums of his own money and a long series of selfless acts—saved thousands of Jews in the 1930s and 1940s. Wilfrid Israel, the owner of a department store, was one of the great saviors of Jews and played a key role in the Kindertransport operation. The story of one extraordinary man becomes very personal as filmmaker Yonatan Nir takes us on a journey from a kibbutz in northern Israel to Germany in the 1930's. Nir, who was born on the kibbutz where Wilfrid's name was known but his story was kept secret, takes us on an adventure as he searches for the mysterious hero, and for the reasons for his disappearance from history.

The 9th Annual Israeli Film Festival is sponsored by Weinstein Properties. It will run January 9 – 13 at the Weinstein JCC.

Festival Concessions are sponsored by Risa and Jay Levine

Israeli Film Festival 2019 - Shelter


A film by Eran Riklis | 93 minutes | Drama English, Arabic, Hebrew

Naomi, an Israeli Mossad agent is sent to Germany to protect Mona, a Lebanese informant recovering from plastic surgery to assume her new identity. Together for two weeks in a quiet apartment in Hamburg, the relationship that develops between the two women is soon exposed to the threat of terror that is engulfing the world today. In this game of deception, beliefs are questioned, choices are made, and their fate takes a surprising turn in this suspense-laden, elegant neo-noir.

The 9th Annual Israeli Film Festival is sponsored by Weinstein Properties. It will run January 9 – 13 at the Weinstein JCC.

Festival Concessions are sponsored by Risa and Jay Levine

Israeli Film Festival 2019 - The Cakemaker


A film by Ofer Raul Graizer | 104 minutes | Drama English, Hebrew, German

Thomas, a young German baker, is having an affair with Oren, an Israeli married man who has frequent business visits in Berlin. When Oren dies in a car crash in Israel, Thomas travels to Jerusalem seeking for answers regarding his death. Under a secret identity, Thomas infiltrates into the life of Anat, his lover’s newly widowed wife, who owns a small Café in downtown Jerusalem. Thomas starts to work for her and create German cakes and cookies that help her business thrive and her son overcome his grief. The encounter with the unfamiliar reality will make Thomas involved in Anat’s life in a way far beyond his anticipation, and to protect the truth he will stretch his lie to a point of no return. Pastry dough is far from the only thing that requires—and receives—delicate handling in The Cakemaker, a tender, tactile and just-sweet-enough story of hidden love, challenged faith and unwittingly shared grief.

*Mature Content: Recommended for adult audiences; appropriate for persons over 18

Talkback discussion following the film led by Rabbi Ahuva Zaches

The 9th Annual Israeli Film Festival is sponsored by Weinstein Properties. It will run January 9 – 13 at the Weinstein JCC.

Festival Concessions are sponsored by Risa and Jay Levine

ReelAbilities

The ReelAbilities Film Festival is dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different abilities. The festival presents award-winning films, accompanied by discussions and other engaging programs which bring together the community to explore, discuss and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience.

This year's festival will take place February 6-10. See below for this year's films!

ReelAbilities Film Festival 2019 - An Anxious Woman: Performance by Erin Mahone & Film Short


Film Short: Crooked Beauty Ken Paul Rosenthal | 30 min | Documentary | USA

In her newest show, Erin Mahone tackles the real and often hilarious truth of living with anxiety and depression. This honest take on her own mental health journey gives audiences a deeper look into the mind of someone showing up every day (whether she wants to or not). As she sits trapped in a bathroom stall avoiding an anxiety provoking situation, Erin ponders the myriad ways in which her mental health creates barriers and equally beautiful revelations, interactions, and opportunities.

Opening night post-event reception sponsored by Ann Weinberg and Jerry Director.

The 8th Annual ReelAbilities Film Festival will run February 6 – 10 at the Weinstein JCC.

ReelAbilities Film Festival 2019 - A Whole Lott More


90 minutes | Documentary | USA

For decades Lott Industries competed successfully for auto industry contracts, employing 1200 workers with disabilities. With the collapse of the industry in neighboring Detroit, Lott struggled to keep its doors open. A Whole Lott More looks at the impact of Lott’s struggles and examines the wider world of employment options for those with disabilities. The film focuses on three individuals, each with a different disability and attitude towards work. It showcases their incredible resilience and makes the case for greater employment opportunities for all.

The 8th Annual ReelAbilities Film Festival will run February 6 – 10 at the Weinstein JCC.

ReelAbilities Film Festival 2019 - Sanctuary


87 minutes | Comedy | Ireland 

Larry has Downs and Sophie has severe epilepsy. They are attracted to each other and, with the help of care worker Tom, they sneak away to a hotel room during a supervised trip. What do they do once they are there? How do they express a love that dare not speak its name? Are they aware that in Ireland they are about to break the law? Hilarious and heart-breaking, Sanctuary is truly a piece of subversive cinema about two young people trying to be together in a world doing everything to keep them apart.

The 8th Annual ReelAbilities Film Festival will run February 6 – 10 at the Weinstein JCC.

Kesem Inclusive Theatre Project Encore Performance


Kesem, a theatre education initiative for adults ages 22 and up is generously supported by Ken and Karen Olshansky and provides a comprehensive theatre education experience from process to performance. The Weinstein JCC has compiled a qualified team of professionals to develop a program that will meet the needs of individuals with disabilities while providing a deep and meaningful experience for every participant.

This year’s Kesem encore performance will present an original script conceived by all of the participants and inspired by the poetry of Mattie Stepanek, a best-selling child poet who lived with Muscular Dystrophy and passed away at the age of 13. The project will focus on concepts of self image and how we are perceived by others. Using music, poetry, theatre, and other forms of expression, participants will explore and challenge ideas of what is possible in our world. 

For more information about film at the Weinstein JCC, contact Cultural Arts & Jewish Education Director Leslie McGuigan at 545-8644 or lmcguigan@weinsteinjcc.org.