Submit Search

Jewish Film Festival 2014





MAY 4-8, 2014

The Jewish Film Festival is an annual event celebrating film and the impact and influence which Jewish culture has played on current movies and filmmakers of today.  It also provides a forum for discussion about films from around the world that illuminate Jewish issues and principles.  Our goal is to enhance a sense of community and inclusion for a broad range of audience members.   There is something to see for everyone during the Festival. 
So grab your popcorn and we'll save a seat for you at the movies!








1:00 p.m.
Lost Town
2012, 85 minutes, Documentary

For the movie trailer, please click

Lost Town
tells the story of one man's obsessive search to get closer to his deceased father by uncovering the story of his family's town of Trochenbrod. First made famous by Jonathan Safron Foer's Everything Is Illuminated, Trochenbrod was the only all-Jewish town to ever exist outside of Palestine. Trochenbrod's 5,000 Jews were obliterated by the Nazis, except for 33 townspeople who escaped the massacre there. This personal search triggers a resurgence of interest in the town and reconnects the few remaining survivors who hadn't seen each other in over 60 years. Lost Town utilizes contemporary documentary footage, original animation, and survivor testimonials to tell the story of how far one will go to claim their sense of identity. Lost Town was produced under fiscal sponsorship of the Foundation For Jewish Culture and supported by George Lucas' Skywalker Studios.


4:00 p.m.
Reporting on the Times: The New York Times and The Holocaust
2012, 18 minutes, Documentary

For the movie trailer, please click

Inspired by Laurel Leff's award winning book Buried by The Times, this film explores how The New York Times handled reports of The Holocaust during World War II. It also explores why The Times, a Jewish owned newspaper, buried more than one thousand articles in its back pages. Was it simply an oversight? Or did the publishers and editors fear an American Anti-Semitic backlash? Through interviews and testimony of a Holocaust survivor, historians, journalists, and American citizens who lived through World War II, Reporting on The Times encourages audiences to reevaluate America's place as The Great Liberator. The film also asks viewers to consider the power of the press in creating change.

Followed by…

The Upside Down Book
2013, 52 minutes, Documentary

For the movie trailer, please click

Imagine a book that is so toxic that rigorous hand-washing is required after coming into contact with it. This book in question is a 1938 copy of Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler’s political manifesto. Karen and Fred Mandell of Boston, parents of filmmaker Hinda Mandell, have displayed this book upside down on their bookshelf for decades. Fred Mandell’s uncle – a Jewish-American soldier – brought home the book from Germany at the end of World War II. With a bare-bones inscription on the inside cover, the filmmakers – spearheaded by director Matthew White – investigate the power of family lore as they track down the original owners of the Mein Kampf. The Upside Down Book seeks to build bridges between two different families nearly 70 years after the end of World War II.


8:00 p.m.
The Ceremony
2013, 85 minutes, Hebrew with English subtitles

For the movie trailer, please click

At 80 years of age, Colonel David Rokni is preparing to command the national ceremony on Israel's Independence Day. Just like in each of the last 30 years, he goes through an arduous series of training, routine formation and foot drills for the traditional military parade - a job no other person is capable of. A week before the ceremony, disaster strikes unexpectedly. For the first time, Rokni has to cope with an unfamiliar situation during a ceremony that would transform his life.


2:00 p.m.
No Place on Earth
2013, 82 minutes, Documentary, English/German/Yiddish with English subtitles

For the movie trailer, please click

In 1942, 38 men, women and children slide down a cold, muddy hole in the ground, seeking refuge from the war above in a pitch-black underground world where no human had gone before. These five Ukrainian Jewish families created their own society. The girls and women never left; surviving underground longer than anyone in recorded history. Held together by an iron-willed matriarch, after 511 days, the cave dwellers, ages 2 to 76, emerged at war’s end in tattered clothes, blinded by a sun some children forgot existed. Despite all odds, they had survived.

The remarkable true story of No Place on Earth starts out as a mystery. While exploring some of the longest caves in the world in southwestern Ukraine in the 1990s, American caver Chris Nicola stumbled onto unusual objects…an antique ladies shoe and comb, old buttons, an old world key. Was the vague rumor true, that some Jews had hid in this cave during WWII and if so, had any survived to tell their tale? 67 years later, Chris leads four of the survivors back to Ukraine to say thank you to “the cave.”

6:00 p.m.


8:00 p.m.
The Zig Zag Kid
2012, 95 minutes, Drama, Dutch/French/English with English Subtitles

For the movie trailer, please click

Nono wants to be like his father - the best police inspector in the world - but he constantly gets in trouble. Two days before his Bar Mitzvah, he is sent away to his uncle Sjmoel, who is supposed to get him back on track. However, during the train ride Nono gets one last chance to prove himself. Together with master-burglar Felix Glick - an old acquaintance of his father - he stops the train and enters a world of disguises, chases, French chansons and Zohara, a mysterious woman whose secrets will change Nono's life forever.



2:00 p.m.
The Third Half
2012, 113 minutes, Drama, German/Ladino/Bulgarian/Serbian/English with English Subtitles

For the movie trailer, please click

Determined to build the best football club in the country, Dimitry hires the German coach, Rudolph Spitz, to galvanize his rag tag team but - when the first Nazi tanks roll through the city and Rebecca, the beautiful daughter of a local banker, elopes with his star player, all Dimitry's plans must change.


5:00 p.m.
2013, 87 minutes,  Comedy

For the movie trailer, please click

Celebrated playwright, Harold Blumenthal (played by Brian Cox), has passed away after succumbing to cardiac arrest while laughing at his own joke. Now, Harold’s estranged and jealous brother, Saul, must confront his personal hang-ups  to deliver himself from an epic bout of constipation. Meanwhile, Saul’s wife Cheryl and son Ethan must grapple with their own personal obstacles through a set of circumstances so improbably ironic they might as well have been lifted from one of Harold’s plays.


8:00 p.m.
The Attack
2012, 102 minutes, Drama, Hebrew/Arabic with English subtitles

For the movie trailer, please click

Amin Jaafari is an Israeli Palestinian surgeon, fully assimilated into Tel Aviv society. He has a loving wife, an exemplary career, and many Jewish friends. But his picture-perfect life is turned upside down when a suicide bombing in a restaurant leaves nineteen dead, and the Israeli police inform him that his wife Sihem, who also died in the explosion, was responsible. Convinced of her innocence, Amin abandons the relative security of his adopted homeland and enters the Palestinian territories in pursuit of the truth. Once there, he finds himself in ever more dangerous places and situations. Determined, he presses on seeking answers to questions he never thought he would be asking.



2:00 p.m.
Next Year in Jerusalem
2013, 92 minutes, Documentary

For the movie trailer, please click

Examining life at life's end is the poignant subtext of  Next Year in Jerusalem, a poetic journey at once metaphorical and literal. Eight nursing home residents are given one last great adventure, a trip to Israel. The film documents the intricate planning through the journey itself: a physical and emotional challenge and ultimately a transformational life experience.




5:00 p.m.
2013, 99 minutes, Drama, Hebrew/Arabic with English subtitles

For the movie trailer, please click

Bethlehem tells the story of the complex relationship between an Israeli Secret Service officer and his teenage Palestinian informant. Shuttling back and forth between conflicting points of view, the films is a raw portrayal of characters torn apart by competing loyalties and impossible moral dilemmas, giving an unparalleled glimpse into the dark and fascinating world of human intelligence.


8:00 p.m.
Quality Balls: The David Steinberg Story
2013, 75 minutes, Biography

For the movie trailer, please click

Americans have long depended on Canada for three things: oil, maple syrup and comedians. David Steinberg counts among our biggest comedic exports. Born in Winnipeg, he attended Yeshiva in Chicago, abandoning his studies to join the legendary Second City. The film features priceless archival footage of his performances, including The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, (where he was second only to Bob Hope in the number of appearances) and the standup shows that put him in the ranks of George Carlin and Richard Pryor. At times too controversial for US networks, his religious sermonettes generated more hate mail for CBS than any network had ever received, resulting in the cancellation of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Steinberg’s incredible career influenced a generation and now, after 25 years, he returns to the stage in this exceptional biography.


2:00 p.m.
Out in the Dark
2012, 96 minutes, Drama, Arabic/Hebrew with English subtitles

For the movie trailer, please click

Israeli director Michael Mayer makes a gripping feature debut with Out in the Dark, a troubled gay love story between a privileged Tel Aviv lawyer and a Palestinian student that turns tender and tense, sensual and suspenseful.



5:00 p.m.
The Pin
2013, 85 minutes, Drama, Yiddish with English subtitles

For the movie trailer, please click

Two young people experience love and loss while in hiding during WWII. After a life of regret, the young man, now old, is faced with an opportunity for redemption.


8:00 p.m.
The Sturgeon Queens
2014, 45 minutes, Documentary

For the movie trailer, please click

Four generations of a Jewish immigrant family create Russ and Daughters, a Lower East Side lox and herring emporium that survives and thrives. Produced to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the store, this documentary features an extensive interview with two of the original daughters for whom the store was named, now 100 and 92 years old, and interviews with prominent enthusiasts of the store including Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, chef Mario Batali, New Yorker writer Calvin Trillin, and 60 Minutes correspondent Morley Safer.

Followed by….

Never a Bystander
2014, 30 minutes, Documentary

For the movie trailer, please click

Through her presentations at middle and high schools, Irene Butter tells us about her experience of living though the Holocaust. By living as a survivor and not a victim, she teaches us about empowerment; how it is possible to live a life full of compassion, friends and family; and to fight injustice wherever possible.  Irene has inspired so many people with her story, to quote the statement of one of   the schoolchildren she spoke to,  “You have inspired me to make my life a story worth telling.” 


The Ann Arbor Lenore Marwil Jewish Film Festival is made possible thanks to our generous sponsors, the Michael and Patricia Levine, Charles and Rita Gelman and the Michigan Theater.   Additionally, the Ann and Jules Doneson Film Festival Endowment Fund has been recently established to help insure the festival's longevity. 

For information on the Jewish Film Festival, please contact Karen Freedland at or 734-971-0990.