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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 Series

Check below for all the details of the annual Jewish Film Series, presented by the Arenstein Family, at the Weinstein JCC!

Jewish Film Series: Shoelaces


Directed by Jacob Goldwasser I 90 min I Narrative I Israel I 2018

Nominated for eight Ophir Awards (Israeli Academy Awards) including Best Film, Shoelaces is a wholly engaging, tender family dramedy about the knotty relationship between an aging, irascible mechanic and the exuberant special-needs son he abandoned long before.

Shoelaces tells the story of a complicated relationship between an aging father (Reuben) and his special-needs son (Gadi), whom he abandoned while he was still a young boy. Reuben's kidneys are failing and his son Gadi wants to donate one of his own kidneys to help save his father's life. However, the transplant committee objects to the procedure claiming that Rueben, acting as Gadi's sole legal guardian, does not have the right to authorize such an invasive procedure.

Through the film's portrayal of a relationship full of love, rejection and co-dependency, it manages to shed some light and question the importance of human life, human connection and if life is even possible without it either one of them.

Presented by The Arenstein Family

Jewish Film Series: As Seen Through These Eyes


Directed by Hilary Helstein I 70 min I Documentary I USA I 2008

As Maya Angelou narrates this powerful documentary, she reveals the story of a brave group of people who fought Hitler with the only weapons they had: charcoal, pencil stubs, shreds of paper and memories etched in their minds. These artists took their fate into their own hands to make a compelling statement about the human spirit, enduring against unimaginable odds.

Immediately following the film, Elizabeth Hlavek, will discuss her photography exhibition, Making Meaning Through Making Art, and share learnings from personal interviews with Holocaust survivors and artists, many of whom are featured in the film.  This exhibit, part of her doctorate dissertation, is comprised of reproductions of artwork created by individuals from all over Europe, including those interred in such concentration camps as Auschwitz, Dachau, Gurs and Terezin. As an art therapist, Hlavek hopes people will walk away from this exhibition recognizing the “individual within the masses” and how art can play a role in healing and surviving.

Presented by The Arenstein Family

Yom Hashoah program co-hosted with the Virginia Holocaust Museum

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 10th Annual Israeli Film Festival, presented by Weinstein Properties, will take place January 23-30 at the Weinstein JCC.

All films will be shown at the Weinstein JCC unless otherwise noted.

See below for this year's films!

Thank you to this year's Israeli Film Festival Committee:
Committee Chairs: Leslie and David Greenberg
Lisa and Andy Fratkin
Jill and Ben Kutner
Hanit and Shahar Laron
Risa and Jay Levine
David Buchsbaum and Leslie McManus
Karen and Ken Olshansky
Eileen Schulman

Thank you to our Community Co-Hosts:
Chabad of Virginia
Congregation Beth Ahabah
Congregation Or Ami
Congregation Or Atid
Hadassah Richmond
Keneseth Beth Israel
Temple Beth-El
University of Richmond Hillel

Israeli Film Festival 2020 - The Unorthodox


Directed by Eliran Malka | Narrative | Israel 2018 | 92 min. | Hebrew, Yiddish

2019 Ophir Award Nominee for Best Picture

It’s 1983 and the religious party in Israel is led by the Ashkenazi elite. Yakov Cohen (Shuli Rand, Ushpizin), a Mizrahi printer in Jerusalem, doesn’t have money, connections, or political experience, but after his daughter is expelled from an Ashkenazi yeshiva, he decides that things need to change. Yakov’s campaign is informal but with the help of two friends, a great sense of humor and a whole lot of determination, he is going to build a new political party from the bottom up. Directed by the creator of Shababnikim, The Unorthodox is a fictionalized account of the creation of Israel’s Shas party.

Israeli Dinner from 6-7PM ($15 per person – not included in subscription)
Sponsored by Chris and Marc Greenberg and Blackwood Development

The 10th Annual Israeli Film Festival is sponsored by Weinstein Properties. It will run January 23 – 30 at the Weinstein JCC.

Festival Concessions are sponsored by Risa and Jay Levine

Israeli Film Festival 2020 - Love in Suspenders


Directed by Jorge Weller | Narrative | Israel 2019 | 102 min | Hebrew with English subtitles

This sentimental romantic comedy explores the relationship between Tami, a 64 year old widow who constantly deals with the memory of her loving late husband and Beno, a 70 year old sarcastic lone wolf widower. The encounter between two people with such different personalities, such as Tammy and Beno, has to result in a nightmare…but love has its own rules. A funny, heartwarming tale of love.

The 10th Annual Israeli Film Festival is sponsored by Weinstein Properties. It will run January 23 – 30 at the Weinstein JCC.

Festival Concessions are sponsored by Risa and Jay Levine

Israeli Film Festival 2020 - Incitement


Directed by Yaron Zilberman | Narrative | Israel 2019 | 123 min | Hebrew with English subtitles

A psychological thriller, Incitement chronicles the year leading to the assassination of Israel’s prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. On the backdrop of Rabin’s efforts to end once and for all the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the film is told through the journey of the assassin. It examines all the forces that acted on him, from his personal quest to become a hero in the eyes of his peers, and the rejection he faces from his love, interest to the intense incitement of politicians and religious leaders. The film is a cautionary tale to what happens when leaders use politics of violence and hate.

The 10th Annual Israeli Film Festival is sponsored by Weinstein Properties. It will run January 23 – 30 at the Weinstein JCC.

Festival Concessions are sponsored by Risa and Jay Levine

Israeli Film Festival 2020 - Redemption


Directed by Joseph Madmony and Boaz Yehonatan Yacov | Narrative | Israel 2018 | 104 minutes |Hebrew with English subtitles

Menachem, (Moshe Folkenflick), a former frontman for a rock band, is now religious, and a father to a six-year-old. When his daughter is diagnosed with cancer, he must find a creative solution to fund the expensive treatments. He reunites his band for one last tour. The journey to save his daughter exposes old wounds and allows him to reconnect with his secular past. Menachem understands that only a new connection to his past and to his music can pave the road to his own redemption.

The 10th Annual Israeli Film Festival is sponsored by Weinstein Properties. It will run January 23 – 30 at the Weinstein JCC.

Festival Concessions are sponsored by Risa and Jay Levine

Israeli Film Festival 2020 - Picture of His Life


A Yonatin Nir | Dani Menkin Film | Documentary | Canada, United States, Israel 2019 | 71 min |Hebrew with English subtitles

Amos Nachoum is one of the greatest underwater photographers of all times. Fascinated by the most fearsome creatures on Earth, he has developed a unique approach, that puts him face to face with his subjects, without any protection.

He swam with crocodiles and killer whales, with anacondas and with great white sharks but one major predator has always eluded him, the Polar bear. He tried before and barely escaped, but now, after four decades in the wilderness, Amos is determined to give it one last shot.

As the journey unfolds, Amos contemplates the series of unspoken events that drove him here, to the end of the world. It has been a long and painful journey, after serving in an Elite Commando unit and witnessing the horrors of war, but where others find fear, Amos finds redemption.

The 10th Annual Israeli Film Festival is sponsored by Weinstein Properties. It will run January 23 – 30 at the Weinstein JCC.

Festival Concessions are sponsored by Risa and Jay Levine

Israeli Film Festival 2020 - Golda


Directed by Sagi Bornstein, Udi Nir, Shani Rozanes | Documentary | Israel, Germany 2019| 88 minutes | Hebrew with English subtitles

Shortly before her passing, Golda Meir was interviewed for Israeli television. After shooting ended, the cameras kept rolling, recording an intimate talk with the first and only woman to ever rule Israel. As she lit one cigarette after the other, Golda spoke freely, pleading her case for her term as Prime Minister – five turbulent years that secured her place in history, albeit at a high personal cost. Based on these never-before seen materials, testimonies of supporters and opponents and rare archival footage, Golda tells the story of Meir’s dramatic premiership – from her surprising rise to power and iconic international stature as “queen of the Jewish people”, to her tragic and lonely demise.

The 10th Annual Israeli Film Festival is sponsored by Weinstein Properties. It will run January 23 – 30 at the Weinstein JCC.

Festival Concessions are sponsored by Risa and Jay Levine

ReelAbilities Diversity & Inclusion Festival

The ReelAbilities Diversity and Inclusion 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.

Kesem (“Magic” in Hebrew) is exactly what occurs when actors, both with and without needs, go through this theatrical process together. Under the direction of Brian Bassett, participants learn, grow and express themselves in ways they may never had imagined.  In Kesem, the Weinstein JCC’s inclusive theater project, it is the process, more than the result, that is most important.  The cast and crew of Kesem invite everyone to come and experience the magic of Kesem! Click here to learn more.

This year's festival, presented by Karen and Ken Olshansky, will take place February 11-13. See below for this year's events!

Jewish Film Series: Shoelaces


Directed by Jacob Goldwasser I 90 min I Narrative I Israel I 2018

Nominated for eight Ophir Awards (Israeli Academy Awards) including Best Film, Shoelaces is a wholly engaging, tender family dramedy about the knotty relationship between an aging, irascible mechanic and the exuberant special-needs son he abandoned long before.

Shoelaces tells the story of a complicated relationship between an aging father (Reuben) and his special-needs son (Gadi), whom he abandoned while he was still a young boy. Reuben's kidneys are failing and his son Gadi wants to donate one of his own kidneys to help save his father's life. However, the transplant committee objects to the procedure claiming that Rueben, acting as Gadi's sole legal guardian, does not have the right to authorize such an invasive procedure.

Through the film's portrayal of a relationship full of love, rejection and co-dependency, it manages to shed some light and question the importance of human life, human connection and if life is even possible without it either one of them.

Presented by The Arenstein Family

IdentityRVA: Exploring Our Humanity Gallery Opening & Show


IdentityRVA is a photography exhibit that focuses on the humanity that exists in each of us and seeks to raise awareness and explore issues around how we are all more alike than we might think despite some of our differences. Eleven diverse women are part of our inaugural exhibit which launched in May of 2018. Photographs of 10 diverse men were added to the exhibit in January of 2020. The complete exhibit will be on display in the Sara D. November  Gallery at the Weinstein JCC. 

In addition, on Wednesday, February 12 at 7:30 PM, the community is invited to meet Kim Brundage, Identity RVA curator and photographer, along with many of the individual participants of this unique exhibition, to experience first-hand, their inspiring stories of strength, courage and diversity. Reception and program are free and open to the community.

Presented by Hirschler

Videography by Memories Videography

Kesem Inclusive Theatre Performance


In Hebrew, the word "Kesem" means magic, and at the Weinstein JCC, we like to make magic! The Kesem Inclusive Theatre Project is a theatre education initiative from the Weinstein JCC for adults ages 18 and up. The Center is committed to offering inclusive programming within the community for people of all ages and abilities. Kesem will provide a comprehensive theatre education experience from process to performance. Recognizing the positive impact of arts education on the social, emotional and functional aspects of life for all individuals, 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 performance will take place on Thursday, February 13 at 7:30 PM. 

If you are interested in learning more this exciting program, please contact Melissa Bunce, Director of Inclusion & Support Services, at mbunce@weinsteinjcc.org or (804) 545-8658

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