This was our schedule for last year's festival.
Click here for the 2013 Festival Schedule.

 

Welcome to the Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival 2012
SCHEDULE BY DATE

MARCH 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29

View schedule by title | View by category | Special Events
Calendar At A Glance 2012

 

Wednesday, March 14 – Opening Night!

The Human Resources ManagerThe Human Resources Manager
7:00 PM
Basketball Hall of Fame, Springfield

The self-centered HR manager of a Jerusalem bakery, estranged from his family and stuck in a stale job, faces accusations of indifference when a foreign female worker is killed in a terror attack and her body lies unclaimed. On his mission to make amends and return her for burial in remote, wintry Romania, he encounters her ex-husband, rebellious teenage son, an obnoxious journalist, an old veteran, and the most unexpected hearse. Eran Riklis (The Syrian Bride, Lemon Tree) poignantly directs Israel’s 2011 official Oscar entry. In this tragic-comic road trip of the heart, a modern Israeli man discovers his lost humanity and ability to truly care for human resources.

Co-Sponsors: Anna P. Housen Israel Desk of the Jewish Federation of Western MA, Basketball Hall of Fame, Consulate General of Israel to New England, Greenfield Garden Cinemas
Dramatic Comedy | Israel, 2010 | 103 Min | Hebrew, Romanian, English (w/subtitles) | Director: Eran Riklis
Trailer

 

Restoration
7:30 PM
Kligerman-Greenspun Performance Hall, Yiddish Book Center, Amherst
Free Screening!

Special guests: Welcome by Aaron Lansky, Yiddish Book Center President; Introduction by Aviva Ben-Ur, UMass Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies

An aging recluse tries to salvage his antique furniture store and solitary way of life in this artfully nuanced drama nominated for 12 Israeli Ophirs. After his longtime business partner dies, stoic Yakov Fidelman (Sasson Gabay, The Band’s Visit) discovers his Tel Aviv workshop is near bankruptcy. When his estranged son Noah (Nevo Kimchi) tries to sell the property from under him, Fidelman hires apprentice Anton (Henry David) to refurbish a neglected Steinway that could save the business. An attraction between Anton and Noah’s pregnant wife Hava (Sarah Adler) complicates matters. Anchored by Sasson Gabay’s mesmerizing performance, director Joseph Madmony’s critically-acclaimed psychological study depicts a complex set of frayed relationships for which restoration proves an apt metaphor. Honors include the Sundance Dramatic Screenwriting Award, and top prizes at the Jerusalem and Karlovy Vary International Film Festivals.

Co-Sponsors: Anna P. Housen Israel Desk of the Jewish Federation of Western MA, Consulate General of Israel to New England, Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival
Drama | Israel, 2011 | 105 Min | Hebrew (w/subtitles) | Director: Joseph Madmony
Website & Trailer

 


Thursday, March 15

Saviors In The NightSaviors in the Night
4:00 PM and 7:30 PM
Stirn Auditorium (part of Mead Art Museum), Amherst College, Amherst
Free Screenings!

Q&A following each screening with Christian Rogowski, Amherst College Professor of German & Department Chair

SAVIORS IN THE NIGHT tells the remarkable true story of Marga Spiegel and her family, Jews living in Germany during the advent of World War II. Despite being patriotic Germans and Nazi sympathizers, the Aschoff family, fellow farmers of Westphalia, hid Marga and her daughter Karin, risking everything to rescue their neighbors from deportation and certain death. The film tells this story of survival with a sense for the absurd in daily life and with the typical Westphalian humor. The film is based on the best-selling memoirs of Marga Spiegel, who is currently 98 years old and still lives in Germany.

Co-Sponsor: Amherst College Department of German, Amherst College Office of the Jewish Religious Advisor
Drama | Germany, 2009 | 95 Min | German, French (w/subtitles) | Director: Ludi Boeken
Website and Trailer

  

The People vs. Leo FrankThe People v. Leo Frank
6:00 PM Dinner, Film at 7:00 PM
Springfield JCC
Free Screening!

Q&A with special guest Ben Loeterman, Director

In 1913, 13-year-old Mary Phagan was found dead in the basement of the National Pencil Company in Atlanta. The courtroom drama, death sentence, and eventual lynching of Jewish plant supervisor Leo Frank remains one of the most complex episodes in American, Southern, and Jewish history. Nearly 100 years later the horrible crime, and the national maelstrom which followed, continues to captivate. This haunting reenactment weaves an intricate whodunit with compelling themes of racial, religious, and regional bias.

Co-Sponsor: BNY Mellon Wealth Management
Documentary | USA, 2009 | 86 Min | English | Director: Ben Loeterman
Website | Trailer

 

Friday, March 16 - No film showing today

Saturday, March 17

Foreign LettersForeign Letters
8:15 PM
Garden Cinemas, Greenfield

An openhearted coming-of-age story about friendship and sisterhood, FOREIGN LETTERS shares the childhood experiences of 12-year-old immigrant girls who forge an inseparable bond in early 1980s America. Ellie copes with homesickness by clinging to letters she exchanges with her best friend back in Israel. Life brightens when she meets classmate Thuy, a Vietnamese refugee her age. Though from culturally divergent backgrounds, the girls find solace in the commonality of war-torn childhoods and adjusting together to a new life in America. Yet nothing prepares them for the treachery of junior high where loyalty is fleeting and prejudice pervades. Based on the life experiences of writer-director Ela Their, this family-friendly indie film showcases understated performances by teen actresses Noa Rotstein and Delena Le, and a mélange of international music, including songs by iconic Israeli folk artist Chava Alberstein.

Co-Sponsor: Anna P. Housen Israel Desk of the Jewish Federation of Western MA, B’nai Tzedek Teen Philanthropy Program, Consulate General of Israel to New England, Greenfield Garden Cinemas
Drama | USA, 2011 | 100 Min | English, Hebrew w/subtitles | Director: Ela Their
Website | Trailer

 

Sunday, March 18

Something From NothingSomething from Nothing
12:30 PM
Springfield JCC, Springfield
Special Children’s Program – Free!

Come make “something from nothing” in this special program for children! The film is based on a beloved PJ Library selection! If Grampa could have reached into the heavens and given his grandson Joseph the moon and the stars, he would have done that. But he was only a poor tailor. So Grampa made Joseph a wonderful blanket to keep him warm and cozy and to chase away bad dreams. The heart of the story is the relationship between Joseph and his beloved Grampa, and Joseph's friendship with Mazel the mouse, who rides in Joseph's pocket and accompanies him everywhere. Joseph's curiosity and bravado get the pair into all kinds of funny scrapes. Fortunately, Grampa's magic needle can fix anything...  A celebration of Jewish culture and traditions, Something From Nothing is a warm-hearted, optimistic story about love, hope, and renewal.

Co-Sponsors: The PJ Library, Springfield JCC Preschool
Cartoon | Canada, 1999 | 23 Min | English

 

Monday, March 19

DavidDavid
7:30 PM
Amherst Cinema, Amherst

A lonely Muslim boy growing up in Brooklyn is inadvertently immersed in the world of Orthodox Judaism in this tender drama that bridges culture and religion. The only son of a devout imam, 11-year old Daud (Muatasem Mishal) juggles the high expectations of his father (Maz Jobrani) against feelings of isolation. There is no time for playmates, until one day Daud is mistaken for a Yeshiva student and befriended by a group of Jewish boys. Unable to resist a newfound camaraderie and freedom, Daud becomes David. The ruse soon unravels, however, leaving the conflicted boy struggling to find his place in the world. Filmed on location in Bay Ridge and Borough Park with first-time Arab and Jewish actors, DAVID won the Brooklyn International Film Festival Audience Award and Montreal World Film Festival Ecumenical Prize.

Special Bonus Feature: Filmed Q&A with Director Joel Fendelman

Co-Sponsor: Bay Path College Kaleidoscope Series, B’nai Tzedek Teen Philanthropy Program
Drama | USA, 2011 | 80 Min | English | Director: Joel Fendelman
Website | Trailer

 

Special Art Exhibit:
March 19-30 –“Codes on Canvas” by Simone Alter-Muri. Exhibit explores the connection between modern day bar codes and the phenomenon of ‘being counted and labeled’ during the Holocaust.

Reception open to the public on March 29 from 5-7pm.

Springfield College, Flynn Campus Union Rotunda, 2nd Floor.

Read more - exhibit proposal

 

 

 

Tuesday, March 20

Making TroubleMaking Trouble: Three Generations of Funny Women
1:00 PM
Springfield JCC

 

What is it that makes funny Jewish women so funny…and so Jewish? Is it a nose wrinkled just so, accompanied by a devilishly sexy grin or a jolting and sarcastic punch line? Is it the acerbic humor of generations of immigrant and first-generation women who fought for a place in America with their brains and their wit, and at the same time needed to make a living? MAKING TROUBLE tells the story of six of the greatest female comic performers of the last century: Molly Picon, Fanny Brice, Sophie Tucker, Joan Rivers, Gilda Radner, and Wendy Wasserstein. Hosted by four of today’s funniest women — Judy Gold, Jackie Hoffman, Cory Kahaney, and Jessica Kirson — it's the true saga of what it means to be Jewish, female and funny.

Film provided by The National Center for Jewish Film
Documentary | USA, 2006 | 85 Min | English | Director: Rachel Talbot
Website & Trailer

 

 

The Human Resources ManagerThe Human Resources Manager
6:30 PM Reception, 7:00 PM Film
Garden Cinemas, Greenfield

The self-centered HR manager of a Jerusalem bakery, estranged from his family and stuck in a stale job, faces accusations of indifference when a foreign female worker is killed in a terror attack and her body lies unclaimed. On his mission to make amends and return her for burial in remote, wintry Romania, he encounters her ex-husband, rebellious teenage son, an obnoxious journalist, an old veteran, and the most unexpected hearse. Eran Riklis (The Syrian Bride, Lemon Tree) poignantly directs Israel’s 2011 official Oscar entry. In this tragic-comic road trip of the heart, a modern Israeli man discovers his lost humanity and ability to truly care for human resources.

Co-Sponsors: Anna P. Housen Israel Desk of the Jewish Federation of Western MA, Basketball Hall of Fame, Consulate General of Israel to New England, Greenfield Garden Cinemas
Dramatic Comedy | Israel, 2010 | 103 Min | Hebrew, Romanian, English (w/subtitles) | Director: Eran Riklis
Trailer

 

Wednesday, March 21

Carrying The LightCarrying the Light
7:00 PM
Marsh Chapel, Springfield College, Springfield

Symbolic and spiritual, this beautiful film traces the 2010 travels of Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg from his home in England to retrieve the eternal light, the Ner Tamid, from his grandfather's synagogue in Germany. On Kristallnacht, 1938, the Nazis destroyed the interior of the Westend Synagogue, Frankfurt-am-Main, where Rabbi Wittenberg’s grandfather served as Rabbi. However, the Ner Tamid continued to burn and this light shone through the darkness and turmoil of those dark days. Traveling by foot with his dog, Mitzpah, Rabbi Wittenberg sets out on a pilgrimage: to carry the flame that never went out to his newly built London synagogue. Jonathan explores matters of faith, politics, and memory, illuminating his personal and spiritual ethos as he passes through the picturesque German and Dutch countryside.

Co-Sponsor: Springfield College Holocaust Committee & Spiritual Life Center
Documentary | UK, 2011 | 56 Min | English and German w/English subtitles | Director: Guy Natanel
Website & Trailer

 

 

Bar MitzvahBar Mitzvah
7:00 PM
Kligerman-Greenspun Performance Hall, Yiddish Book Center, Amherst

The only surviving film of Yiddish theater superstar Boris Thomashefsky, this musical melodrama is a masterwork of shund—popular lowbrow theatrical fare that was the bread and butter of the Yiddish theater. This kitschy romp hinges on the old chestnut about a shipwreck victim returning to find her husband remarried (here to a goldbricking vamp). A fascinating piece of cultural time travel, BAR MITZVAH gives audiences a sense for what an afternoon was like in the great Yiddish theater of yesteryear. The National Center for Jewish Film has newly discovered and restored this film, including new subtitles and translations. The Village Voice insists that, “If ‘Jewish Film,’ and Jewish culture at large, are about legacy, then this is required viewing, an immersion in the remembrance of the forefathers.”

 Film provided by The National Center for Jewish Film
Co-Sponsor: Yiddish Book Center

Musical | USA, 1935 | 76 Min | Yiddish (w/new English subtitles) | Director: Henry Lynn
Website

 

Thursday, March 22 –  Midfest Celebration!

Reuniting the RubinsReuniting the Rubins
6:30 PM Reception, 7:30 PM Film
Rave Cinemas, West Springfield

An up-tight lawyer, Lenny Rubins, (Timothy Spall – The King's Speech), has to put his dream retirement on hold when his ailing mother (Honor Blackman – Goldfinger) emotionally blackmails him into reuniting his estranged children for a Jewish holiday. They may be peas from the same pod, but in Lenny’s eyes, his grown-up children are certainly not even from the same planet: a ruthless control-freak and hard-nosed capitalist (James Callis – Battlestar Galactica), an outspoken, argumentative eco-warrior committed to the cause (Rhona Mitra – Underworld: Rise of the Lycans), an outer-worldly Buddhist Monk; and to cap it all, a bible bashing born-again Rabbi! While they might quarrel, fight, and perhaps even be starting a war in Africa, they are still family.  It is going to take a whole lot of soul-searching and sacrifice for everyone to come together in this heart-warming and comic family drama that will have you thinking fondly of your own.  

Special Bonus Feature: Filmed Introduction with Director Yoav Factor

Co-Sponsor: Rave Cinemas
Comedy | UK, 2010 | 97 Min | English | Director: Yoav Factor
Website | Trailer

 

Friday, March 23 - No film showing today

Saturday, March 24

Fiddler On the RoofFiddler on the Roof
8:30 PM
Memorial Hall, Shelburne Falls
Sing Along!

Features a pre-film concert by the Wholesale Klezmer Band at 8 PM; Bart Bales will lead the singing.

Sing along to this classic adaptation of the beloved Broadway musical set in the Ukranian ghetto village Anatevka. Israeli actor Topol repeats his London stage role as Tevye the milkman, whose equilibrium is constantly being challenged by his poverty, the prejudicial attitudes of non-Jews, and the romantic entanglements of his five daughters. Join in as Tevye wonders what life would be like “If I Were a Rich Man” and contemplates the importance of “Tradition.” Winner of three Academy Awards, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF is based on beloved stories by famed Yiddish author Sholem Aleichem. 

Co-Sponsor: Pothole Pictures
Musical | USA, 1971 | 181 Min | English, Hebrew, Russian (w/subtitles) | Director: Norman Jewison
Trailer

 

 

The RoundupThe Round Up
8:30 PM
Basketball Hall of Fame, Springfield

Powerfully confronting a wartime stain on French history, The Round Up brings to the screen the harrowingly true story of the Nazi-collaborating French police authority’s mass imprisonment and disposal of 13,000 Parisian Jews – among them 4,000 children – who were sent to the Vel D’Hiv stadium for transfer to Auschwitz in July 1942. With stirring performances from an international cast including Gad Elmaleh, Melanie Laurent, and Jean Reno, this French box-office hit focuses on the real-life Weismann family, a caring Jewish doctor, and the Protestant nurse who accompany the Parisian Jews to the velodrome in a futile attempt to save their lives.

Co-Sponsor: Basketball Hall of Fame
Drama | France, 2011 | 115 Min | French, German, Yiddish (w/subtitles) | Director: Rose Bosch
Website & Trailer

 

Sunday, March 25

The Forgotten RufugeesThe Forgotten Refugees
2:00 PM
Springfield Museums, Davis Auditorium, D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield

Special guest: Executive Producer Ralph Avi Goldwasser, who will facilitate a Q&A session after the film.

THE FORGOTTEN REFUGEES explores the history and destruction of Middle Eastern Jewish communities, some of which had existed for over 2,500 years. Using extensive testimony of refugees from Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and Iraq, the film recounts the stories of joy and suffering that nearly one million individuals carried with them for so long. The film weaves personal stories with dramatic archival footage of rescue missions, historic images of exodus and resettlement, and analyses by contemporary scholars to tell the story of how and why the Arab world’s Jewish population declined from one million in 1945 to several thousand today.

Co-Sponsor: Springfield Museums
Documentary | USA, 2005 | 49 Min | English | Director: Michael Grynszpan
Website

 

Monday, March 26

Foreign LettersForeign Letters
7:30 PM
Pleasant Street Theater, Northampton

Introduction by B’nai Tzedek Teens, and presentation about immigration issues in Western Mass by Mohamud Mohamed of Jewish Family Services New American Program

An openhearted coming-of-age story about friendship and sisterhood, FOREIGN LETTERS shares the childhood experiences of 12-year-old immigrant girls who forge an inseparable bond in early 1980s America. Ellie copes with homesickness by clinging to letters she exchanges with her best friend back in Israel. Life brightens when she meets classmate Thuy, a Vietnamese refugee her age. Though from culturally divergent backgrounds, the girls find solace in the commonality of war-torn childhoods and adjusting together to a new life in America. Yet nothing prepares them for the treachery of junior high where loyalty is fleeting and prejudice pervades. Based on the life experiences of writer-director Ela Their, this family-friendly indie film showcases understated performances by teen actresses Noa Rotstein and Delena Le, and a mélange of international music, including songs by iconic Israeli folk artist Chava Alberstein.

Co-Sponsor: Anna P. Housen Israel Desk of the Jewish Federation of Western MA, B’nai Tzedek Teen Philanthropy Program, Consulate General of Israel to New England, Greenfield Garden Cinemas
Drama | USA, 2011 | 100 Min | English, Hebrew w/subtitles | Director: Ela Their
Website | Trailer

 

Tuesday, March 27

 

Deaf JamDeaf Jam
7:30 PM
Stirn Auditorium (Mead Art Museum), Amherst College, Amherst

Special Guests! Film Subjects Aneta Brodski & Tahani Salah

 

A celebration of the beauty of American Sign Language, DEAF JAM follows a deaf Jewish teen from Queens as she finds her voice as a slam poet. An Israeli immigrant, the plucky and fiercely independent Aneta Brodski is clearly a standout at the Lexington School for the Deaf, where she attends ASL poetry improv workshops with her fellow students. Her creativity propels her to become one of the first deaf competitors in a national poetry slam contest. In an intriguing sociopolitical twist, Aneta meets Tahani, a hearing Palestinian slam poet, and the two embark on a hearing/deaf performance collaboration that mirrors the complex realities they share. Utilizing innovative animation and high-energy editing to convey the power of sign poetry, filmmaker Judy Lieff aims to revitalize a three-dimensional language and endangered art form.

Co-Sponsor: Amherst College Office of the Jewish Religious Advisor, Consulate General of Israel to New England
Documentary | USA, 2010 | 70 Min | English, American Sign Language | Director: Judy Lieff
Website & Trailer

 

 

TornTorn
7:00 PM
Library Theater at Elms College, Chicopee

Panel Discussion to follow screening.

Can a person be a practicing Jew and a Catholic priest at the same time? Raised by a gentile family and ordained as a Polish Catholic priest, Father Romuald Waszkinel discovers years later that he was born Jacob Weksler to Jewish biological parents who were murdered in the Holocaust. TORN follows his extraordinary transformation from conducting mass in Poland to life as an observant Jew on an Israeli kibbutz. The deeply spiritual Waszkinel is torn between conflicting identities, unable to renounce Catholicism or his newfound Judaism, and therefore rejected by both. In the meantime, his request to be granted Israeli citizenship is mired in a bureaucratic labyrinth of immigration law. Filmmaker Ronit Kertsner raises profound questions about what it means to be Jewish in this soul-searching, cruelly ironic documentary about identity.

Co-Sponsor: Elms College Office of Diversity Support Services and the Mary Dooley Lecture Series, Consulate General of Israel to New England
Documentary | Israel, 2011 | 72 Min | Hebrew, Polish (w/subtitles) | Director: Ronit Kertsner
Website & Trailer

 

Wednesday, March 28

DavidDavid
7:00 PM
Mills Theater, Carr Hall, Bay Path College, Longmeadow
Free Screening!

A lonely Muslim boy growing up in Brooklyn is inadvertently immersed in the world of Orthodox Judaism in this tender drama that bridges culture and religion. The only son of a devout imam, 11-year old Daud (Muatasem Mishal) juggles the high expectations of his father (Maz Jobrani) against feelings of isolation. There is no time for playmates, until one day Daud is mistaken for a Yeshiva student and befriended by a group of Jewish boys. Unable to resist a newfound camaraderie and freedom, Daud becomes David. The ruse soon unravels, however, leaving the conflicted boy struggling to find his place in the world. Filmed on location in Bay Ridge and Borough Park with first-time Arab and Jewish actors, DAVID won the Brooklyn International Film Festival Audience Award and Montreal World Film Festival Ecumenical Prize.

Special Bonus Feature: Filmed Q&A with Director Joel Fendelman

Co-Sponsor: Bay Path College Kaleidoscope Series, B’nai Tzedek Teen Philanthropy Program
Drama | USA, 2011 | 80 Min | English | Director: Joel Fendelman
Website | Trailer

 

 

Grace PaleyGrace Paley: Collected Shorts
7:00 PM
Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall, Smith College, Northampton

Lilly Rivlin’s intimate documentary is a rich and inspiring portrait of writer, activist, and New York icon Grace Paley (1922-2007). Paley’s brilliant, frank, and witty writings celebrating the authentic, daily lives of women are classics of American literature. Paley—beloved teacher and mother, Poet Laureate of Vermont and State Author of New York—spent a lifetime on the front lines of the feminist, anti-war, and nuclear disarmament movements. GRACE PALEY: COLLECTED SHORTS casts an important and penetrating light on a highly principled woman whose life illuminates the major protest movements of the latter part of the 20th century.
 

Film provided by The National Center for Jewish Film
Co-Sponsor: Smith College Jewish Studies Program
Documentary | USA, 2009 | 84 Min | English | Director: Lilly Rivlin
Website & Trailer

 

Thursday, March 29

The MatchmakerThe Matchmaker
7:00 PM
Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall, Smith College, Northampton

Set in the port of Haifa in 1968, this tender story of love, loss, and survival in post Six Day War Israel is an enchanting tale about friendship and the mysteries of the human heart. In this summer of free love, teenage Arik meets Yankele Bride, a matchmaker and Holocaust survivor who hires him as a detective to investigate potential clients. The diverse characters he meets on the job – a family of dwarfs who own a cinema, the hauntingly beautiful Clara, and deceitful librarian Meir – open his inquisitive eyes to a world of wonder, pain, and longing. Bride’s character, combining profound sadness, kindness, and wisdom, makes this comedic drama into a complex, delicate, and sensitive film.

Co-Sponsors: Anna P. Housen Israel Desk of the Jewish Federation of Western MA, Consulate General of Israel to New England, Smith College Jewish Studies Program
Dramatic Comedy | Israel, 2011 | 112 Min | Hebrew (w/subtitles) | Director: Avi Nesher
Website & Trailer

 

 

Sarah's keySarah’s Key
7:30 PM
Marsh Chapel, Springfield College, Springfield

Julia Jarmond, an American journalist, is commissioned to write an article about the notorious Vel d’Hiv round up, which took place in Paris, in 1942. She stumbles upon a family secret, which will link her forever to the destiny of a young Jewish girl, Sarah. Julia learns that the apartment she and her husband Bertrand plan to move into was acquired by Bertrand’s family when its Jewish occupants were dispossessed and deported 60 years before. She resolves to find out what happened to the former occupants. The more Julia discovers, the more she uncovers about Bertrand’s family, about France and, finally, herself.

Co-Sponsor: Springfield College Holocaust Committee & Spiritual Life Center
Drama | France, 2010 | 111 Min | French, English, German (w/subtitles) | Director: Gilles Paquet-Brenner
Website & Trailer

 

 

Special Art Exhibit:
March 19-30 –“Codes on Canvas” by Simone Alter-Muri. Exhibit explores the connection between modern day bar codes and the phenomenon of ‘being counted and labeled’ during the Holocaust.

Reception open to the public on March 29 from 5-7pm.

Springfield College, Flynn Campus Union Rotunda, 2nd Floor.

Read more - exhibit proposal

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

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