Westchester Jewish Film Festival 2017

Mar. 16–Apr. 2, 2017

This year we feature 38 engaging, thought-provoking, and entertaining films—a robust mix of documentaries and narratives, along with all eight episodes of False Flag, one of the latest in Israel’s brilliant streak of political thrillers made for TV.

From Israel, we also present Ori Sivan’s visually stunning and emotionally complex Harmonia, Avi Nesher’s suspenseful and engaging Past Life, and Michal Vinik’s stunning, award-winning feature debut, Blush. In addition, we’re featuring extraordinary new films from around the globe, including Daniel Burman’s The Tenth Man (a delicious and wry peek into Buenos Aires’ bustling Jewish quarter) Maria Schrader’s timely Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe (chronicling the writer’s life in exile in the Americas during Hitler’s rise to power) and this year’s festival centerpiece, from daring US director Ferne Pearlstein: The Last Laugh, which deftly explores the taboo subject of humor in the Holocaust.

All this plus a very special look at pioneer filmmaker Joan Micklin Silver’s “Jewish trilogy.”

The festival kicks off with Academy Award–nominated director Joseph Cedar’s (Footnote) dramatic comedy Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer, with a fabulous central performance by Richard Gere! Please plan to join us—and our wonderful slate of guests—throughout the festival.

—Bruni Burres, festival programmer

Directed by Joan Micklin Silver and coproduced by The National Yiddish Book Center, Great Jewish Stories from Eastern Europe and Beyond is a collection of tales by the giants of Jewish literature, read by celebrated Jewish performers. You can hear a curated selection of these recordings during the festival in the Jane Peck Gallery on the 3rd floor of the Theater, or listen to them here on our website.

See an at a glance version of  the WJFF 2017 schedule!

SERIES TRAILER

False Flag: Program 1 Mar. 17–30 False Flag is another entry in Israel’s strong history of brilliant political thrillers made for TV—including Fauda (which we screened last year) and Prisoners of War (from which Homeland was adapted). It tells the surreal story of five ordinary Israeli citizens who wake up one morning and discover they’ve been implicated in the ruthless kidnapping of the Iranian defense minister, who was on a secret visit to Moscow. News bulletins around the world continually flash their names, passport photos, and even their silhouettes in video footage from the kidnapping. All five adamantly deny any involvement, but to no end, as the media frenzy turns their lives upside down and they quickly become the subjects of simultaneous curiosity, mockery, and admiration. Through extraordinary performances and a luminous script, False Flag affirms that a great TV series can tackle and explode the complexities of modern international politics like no other medium. Tickets: $10 (members), $15 (nonmembers)
Streit's: Matzo and the American Dream Mar. 17–22 From 1925 until last spring, Streit’s family-run matzo factory sat in a low-slung tenement building on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.…
False Flag: Program 2 Mar. 18–Apr. 1 False Flag is another entry in Israel’s strong history of brilliant political thrillers made for TV—including Fauda (which we screened last year) and Prisoners of War (from which Homeland was adapted). It tells the surreal story of five ordinary Israeli citizens who wake up one morning and discover they’ve been implicated in the ruthless kidnapping of the Iranian defense minister, who was on a secret visit to Moscow. News bulletins around the world continually flash their names, passport photos, and even their silhouettes in video footage from the kidnapping. All five adamantly deny any involvement, but to no end, as the media frenzy turns their lives upside down and they quickly become the subjects of simultaneous curiosity, mockery, and admiration. Through extraordinary performances and a luminous script, False Flag affirms that a great TV series can tackle and explode the complexities of modern international politics like no other medium. Tickets: $10 (members), $15 (nonmembers)
Harmonia Mar. 18–22 Harmonia—“as grounded in the heat and dust of its backstage milieu as an Altman film, and as infatuated with classical…
Blush Mar. 18–22 Michal Vinik’s feature debut stunningly captures the uncomfortable final year of high school for 17-year-old Naama (played marvelously by newcomer…
A Fish in the Bathtub Mar. 19–21 Q&A filmmaker Joan Micklin Silver and cowriters John Silverstein and David Chudnovsky with Reception Celebrating Joan Micklin Silver: A Pioneering Filmmaker In the early 1970s, Joan Micklin Silver, a blossoming television writer/director, was ready…
False Flag: Program 3 Mar. 19–Apr. 2 False Flag is another entry in Israel’s strong history of brilliant political thrillers made for TV—including Fauda (which we screened…
Once in a Lifetime Mar. 19–21 Q&A with René-Pierre Azria, Chair of AJC France and Dr. Mehnaz Afridi Once in a Lifetime tells the true story of an extraordinary history teacher, Anne Gueguen (played beautifully by Ariane Ascaride),…
By Sidney Lumet Mar. 20–22 March 20: Q&A filmmaker Nancy Buirski The American film legend Sidney Lumet (1924–2011) tells his life story in a never-before-seen interview shot in 2008. With grace,…
The Tenth Man Mar. 20–30 Acclaimed Argentine director Daniel Burman (Lost Embrace, Family Law)—a regular to the WJFF—delivers a witty, energetic family comedy-drama that wrestles…
A Grain of Truth Mar. 20–23 Once the star of the Warsaw prosecutors’ office, Teodor Szacki (Polish Academy Award–winning actor Robert Wieckiewicz) abruptly ends his celebrated…
To Take a Wife Mar. 20–29 Remembering Ronit Elkabetz (1964–2016) Known worldwide for her acclaimed acting performances (Or: My Treasure, Late Marriage, The Band’s Visit, and…
Starting Over Again Mar. 21–28 March 21: Q&A Terefu and Her Children filmmaker Lowell Handler “I don’t know of many cultures or countries where people were able to live together as they did in Egypt…
The People vs. Fritz Bauer Mar. 21–25 The newest feature from acclaimed director Lars Kraume (The Coming Days), this historical thriller chronicles the real-life circumstances surrounding the…
Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe Mar. 22–25 Acclaimed as an actor, Maria Schrader (Aimée and Jaguar, In Darkness) exhibits her sharp directorial craft by chronicling the years…
7 Days Mar. 23–30 Remembering Ronit Elkabetz (1964–2016) Known worldwide for her acclaimed acting performances (Or: My Treasure, Late Marriage, The Band’s Visit, and…
Dimona Twist Mar. 23–Apr. 1 Michal Aviad’s enchanting documentary tells the story of seven women who, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, moved from…
A Jewish Girl in Shanghai Mar. 23–26 March 26: Intro by Kitty and Ellen filmmaker Leah Galant A Jewish Girl in Shanghai, based on Wu Lin’s superb popular graphic novel, is the first animated film from China…
Keep Quiet Mar. 23–31 March 23: Q&A AJC Director Rabbi Andrew Baker and Honorable Ferenc Kumin with Reception In 2012, as vice president of Jobbik, Hungary’s extreme far-right party, Csanad Szegedi regularly espoused anti-Semitic rhetoric and Holocaust denials.…
How to Win Enemies Mar. 23–26 Following his wonderful Jews in Space, Gabriel Lichtmann presents contemporary Jewish life in Argentina through this new comedy-thriller. Lucas, a…
Germans & Jews Mar. 24–26 Today’s Germany could not have been imagined in 1945. Berlin is now home to Europe’s fastest-growing Jewish population, and the…
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem Mar. 24–Apr. 2 Remembering Ronit Elkabetz (1964–2016) Known worldwide for her acclaimed acting performances (Or: My Treasure, Late Marriage, The Band’s Visit, and…
Aida's Secrets Mar. 24–29 Alon and Shaul Schwarz’s thought-provoking documentary unfolds like a mystery novel as the brothers follow their 70-year-old Uncle Izak’s quest…
AKA Nadia Mar. 26–Apr. 1 Maya Goldwasser is a talented and extremely successful Israeli choreographer, devoted wife of an official at the Israeli Ministry of…
Hester Street Mar. 26 Q&A theater producer Michael Rabinowitz Celebrating Joan Micklin Silver: A Pioneering Filmmaker In the early 1970s, Joan Micklin Silver, a blossoming television writer/director, was ready…
Every Face Has a Name Mar. 27–29 This documentary presents octogenarian Holocaust survivors transported in time to the extraordinary moment in April 1945, when—liberated from German concentration…
Crossing Delancey Mar. 27 Q&A actor Peter Riegert and actress Amy Irving Celebrating Joan Micklin Silver: A Pioneering Filmmaker In the early 1970s, Joan Micklin Silver, a blossoming television writer/director, was ready…
On the Map Mar. 28–Apr. 2 Apr 2: Q&A former NBA Commissioner David Stern and moderator Don Sperling As the Middle East was still reeling from the 1972 Olympic massacre at Munich, the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and…
Bogdan’s Journey Mar. 28 Q&A filmmaker Lawrence Loewinger with Rabbi Harry Pell For Catholic Pole Bogdan Bialek, a courageous teacher, charismatic public intellectual, and trained psychologist, anti-Semitism is a sin—and this conviction…
The Settlers Mar. 29–Apr. 1 With extraordinary access, award-winning Israeli filmmaker Shimon Dotan (Hot House) traces the history of Israeli settlements in the West Bank…
Joachim Prinz: I Shall Not Be Silent Mar. 30 Q&A Rabbi James Rudin with Reception As the civil rights of Jews were systematically being stripped away in 1930s Berlin, one young rabbi refused to be…
None Shall Escape Mar. 31 None Shall Escape is one of a kind, and we’re lucky to be able to present this rare screening. Made…
The Wonderful Kingdom of Papa Alaev Mar. 31 Q&A filmmaker Joe’s Violin, Kahane Cooperman and producer Raphaela Neihausen The Wonderful Kingdom of Papa Alaev is a modern-day Shakespearean tale about a famous Tajik musical family: seven grandchildren, two…
Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer May 5–June 8 Norman Oppenheimer, played by an uncharacteristically schleppy but pitch-perfect Richard Gere, lives a lonely life on the margins of New…
The Women's Balcony June 9–15 “The Women’s Balcony has its cake and eats it too. It is funny and profound.” (RogerEbert.com) This delightful feature debut…
Past Life June 23–29 Westchester Exclusive! “Past Life is a page-turner that transforms into a clarion call: always compelling…” (New York Times) “This is a striking…
The Last Laugh Mar. 16 Q&A filmmaker Ferne Perlstein   A hit from last year’s festival returns for one night only—with filmmaker! They say that comedy is tragedy plus…

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