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Film Festival Schedule & Upcoming Events

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2018 Film Festival Schedule

2018 Brochure

Sunday, June 3

1pm - Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel

USA/Israel/Japan/South Korea • English
Directors: Daniel Miller, Jeremy Newberger, Seth Kramer
Documentary: 85 minutes

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A stirring story of sports, patriotism and personal growth

Follow the journey of Israel’s underdog national baseball team competing for the first time in the World Baseball Classic, as they go from the U.S. to Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem to Seoul with their “Mensch on a Bench” mascot.

Sponsored by Kuhn Foundation
Introduction by Alan Spector, author of Baseball: Never Too Old to Play the Game

4pm - Maktub (Fate)

Israel – Hebrew • English subtitles
Director: Oded Raz
Feature: 105 minutes

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Hilarious…a politically incorrect caper

Protection collectors from a Jerusalem crime ring find themselves the sole survivors of a terrorist attack. Later at the Western Wall, they interpret their survival as a clear directive to end their criminal ways and become fairy godfathers for Wall wishers. The pair’s comedic and touching journey proves a funny, warm-hearted tale of how “Maktub” (Fate) can change one’s life.

7pm - Sammy Davis, Jr.: I've Gotta Be Me

USA • English
Director: Sam Pollard
Documentary: 100 minutes

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Toe-tapping, star-studded

The first major homage to a uniquely gifted entertainer who led a complex and contradictory life, encompassing his stage debut at age three to some of his final performances. Davis strove to achieve the American dream in a time of racial prejudice and shifting political lines. Featuring interviews with Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg, and Kim Novak.

Sponsored by Bob and Susie Bernstein, Judith Gall, and Gail Glaser in memory of dear husband Louis Glaser
Introductory music by The Caesars

Monday, June 4

1pm - The Last Goldfish

Australia
English and German • English subtitles
Director: Su Goldfish
Documentary: 81 minutes

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Can you ever leave your past behind?

Su Goldfish was raised in Trinidad but moved to Australia at 13. As an adult, she finds a new family in Sydney’s gay community, learns she is Jewish, and uncovers deeply hidden mysteries about her displaced family. Discovered through memory and amnesia, and across continents, this is an adventure of the heart revealing the complexity of ordinary lives. Using amazing archival home movies and photos, witness the impact of war and displacement across generations.

Introduction by Vera Emmons, Docent and Second Generation Speaker at St. Louis Holocaust Museum & Learning Center

4pm - An Israeli Love Story

Hebrew and Arabic • English subtitles
Director: Dan Wolman
Feature: 93 minutes

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Idealism and Sacrifice

Based on the true story of theatre director and actress, Pnina Gary, this is a passionate story of love and independence. Set in pre-state Israel, Eli (the son of Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, the second president of Israel) and “Margalit” are torn between their love for one another and their own futures. In the budding theatre world, Margalit finds her place in the spotlight. Eli, while planning to marry Margalit, is drawn deeper into the armed struggle for Jewish independence.

Sponsored by The Fox Family Foundation
Introduction by Tammi Johnson, entrepreneur, Co-Founder Language of
Happiness and Israeli native

7pm - Shelter

Israel • English, Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles
Director: Eran Riklis
Feature: 83 minutes

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Suspenseful psychological thriller

Mossad agent, Naomi, is sent to Hamburg to protect a Lebanese informant recovering from identity-changing plastic surgery. The two women are together for two weeks in an unobtrusive apartment never expecting what happens. The fortnight turns into an abyss, and their shelter is anything but protected. The intimacy of the relationship that develops between them is tested by the threat of terror. Beliefs are questioned and devastating decisions are forced upon them with a surprising twist.

Introduction by Bob Cohn, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus and film reviewer of the St. Louis Jewish Light.

Tuesday, June 5

1pm - Tzeva Adom (Color Red) & The Essential Link: The Story of Wilfrid Israel

Double Feature!

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Tzeva Adom (Color Red)
USA/Israel • Hebrew with English subtitles
Director: Michael Horwitz
Feature: 20 minutes

Peace, tolerance, hope

A female IDF soldier encounters Omar, a Palestinian boy who’s in the wrong place at the wrong time. While she shows compassion, tensions rise and she must come to terms with what’s right and what’s smart in a social media-driven world. Told from both perspectives, the story displays the need for responsible communication within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Introduction by Michael Horwitz, film director via live Skype

The Essential Link: The Story of Wilfrid Israel
Israel • Hebrew and German with English subtitles
Director: Yonatan Nir
Documentary: 84 minutes

Businessman, spy, hero

Kibbutz HaZore’a is home to a valuable art collection that belonged to Wilfrid Israel, but who was he? Intrigued, filmmaker Yonatan Nir discovers a prominent German Jew in the 1930s who was a department store heir, and initiated the Kindertransport, saving thousands of Jewish lives. Learn about this extraordinary man whose friends included Albert Einstein, Martin Buber, and Chaim Weizmann.

Introduction by Warren Rosenblum, Chair of the History, Politics & International Studies Dept., Webster University

4pm - Let Yourself Go

Italy • Italian with English subtitles
Director: Francesco Amato
Feature: 98 Minutes

Quirky and Laugh-Out-Loud Fun

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An uptight middle-age psychologist, Elia, gets more than a physical workout when he signs up for personal training with Claudia, an attractive young woman and single mother. Additionally, the conservative counselor lives next door to his estranged wife with whom he is still secretly in love. The two are a mismatched pair who make strides in healing both body and soul.

7pm - The Testament

Austria/Israel • English/German and Hebrew with English subtitles
Director: Amichai Greenberg
Feature: 96 minutes

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Taut and suspenseful

A religious Jew who is an international expert in Holocaust research has spent more than 15 years studying the Nazi’s methods. While researching the Jewish massacre at Lendsorf, Austria, he discovers classified documents suggesting his mother is not the person he thought she was. Certain it’s a mistake, he plunges further into his research and begins to doubt his heritage. A mystery about a man who is willing to risk everything.

Sponsored by Diane Fredman
Introduction by Susan Balk, co-author of Vienna’s Conscience and Founding Director of Hate Brakers

Wednesday, June 6

1pm - Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

USA • English
Director: Alexandra Dean
Documentary: 90 minutes

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Starlet. Screen Siren. The Most Beautiful Woman in the World

Known for her matchless beauty and electric screen persona, Hedy Lamarr also had a remarkable mind. As an inventor Lamarr developed a secret communication system to help the Allies in World War II…technology that led directly to wireless phones, Bluetooth, GPS and more. Lamarr would give her patent to the Navy, receiving no credit, and wound up impoverished. Produced by Susan Sarandon.

Sponsored by Linda and Nathan Cohen, Terry and Harvey Hieken and Nancy and Ken Kranzberg
Introduction by Rabbi Mark L. Shook, Rabbi Emeritus, Congregation Temple Israel

4pm - A Quiet Heart

Israel • English and Hebrew with English subtitles
Director: Eitan Anner
Feature: 92 minutes

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The power of music

Seeking refuge from the pressures as a classically trained musician, a young, secular Israeli woman confronts dangerous religious fanaticism. Naomi (Ania Bukstein, “Red Priestess” on Game of  Thrones) is seeking anonymity and solitude, but her hesitant friendship with a handsome Italian monk and a mute but musically gifted boy, make her a target of her hardline ultra-Orthodox neighbors. Amid escalating isolation and threats of violence, she uses music to overcome religious barriers and hate.

Introduction by Janet Weinberg, Retired Executive Director, Covenant House, with an MS in Urban Geography from Hebrew University

7pm - The Last Suit

Argentina/Spain • Spanish, German, Polish, Yiddish w/English subtitles
Director: Pablo Solarz
Feature: 86 minutes

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Heartfelt and charming

Abraham Bursztein, an 88 year-old-Jewish tailor, escapes his family in Argentina who are intent on sending him to a nursing home. He journeys to Europe in hope of finding a friend who saved him from certain death at the end of World War II. With assistance from a roll call of generous strangers, the sharply-dressed suit maker makes his way to Poland, undeterred by travel mishaps, family foibles and geographical obstacles in this bittersweet movie.

Sponsored by Madeleine Elkins and Harvey Wallace
Introduction by Dr. George Grossberg, Director, Geriatric Psychiatry Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience Saint Louis University School of Medicine

Thursday, June 7

1pm - Budapest Noir

Hungarian • English subtitles
Director: Eva Gardos
Feature: 95 minutes

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Nothing is what it seems

Budapest Noir tracks a hard-edged crime reporter investigating the mysterious death of a young prostitute in the politically fraught autumn of 1936. With deceit, femmes fatales and murder lurking around every shadowy corner, clues take him into the city’s underbelly. His investigation uncovers a world of pornography and fixers, boxers and brothels, powerful crime syndicates and secret Communist cells – all the way to the highest echelons of power – resulting in a stunning surprise ending!

Introduction by Pier Marton, “Unlearning Specialist” at the School of No Media, grew up in a Hungarian family in Paris

4pm - Itzhak (SOLD OUT)

This film screening is sold out. 

USA • English/Hebrew with English subtitles
Director: Alison Chernick
Documentary: 92 Minutes

Warmth, humor, love

Itzhak Perlman’s violin playing transcends performances to evoke the celebrations and struggles of real life as he “prays with the violin.” Beyond the musician, you’ll see the polio survivor whose parents immigrated to Israel, a young man who struggled when music schools saw only his disability. Itzhak is warm and humorous, irreverent and self-deprecating. See his life story in conversations with masterful musicians, family and friends, and, most endearingly, his devoted wife of 50 years.

Sponsored by Elaine and Jeffrey Korn
Introductory music by St. Louisan Hava Polinsky, graduate of Clayton High School and current student at The Juilliard School

7pm - Keep the Change

USA • English
Director: Rachel Israel
Feature: 94 Minutes

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Thoroughly charming, richly authentic

Cast almost entirely with actors on the autism spectrum, enter a world where no character is typical. David is obsessed with being perceived as “normal.” Forced to attend an autism support group, David wants nothing to do with it…until he meets Sarah, who exudes positivity and confidence. David brings Sarah home to meet his family, only to have their romance challenged. Ultimately there’s a feeling of growth and transformation for the characters…and the viewers.

Sponsored by Eileen and Larry Schechter
Introduction by Jeanne Marshall, Executive Vice President of Services and Chief Program Officer for Easterseals Midwest

Summer Films at the J

Sunday, July 15

4pm - Big Sonia

USA • English
Director: Leah Warshawski & Todd Soliday
Documentary: 93 Minutes

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Poignant and uplifting

Sonia Warshawski spent her teenage years shuttled between concentration camps and is one of the last Holocaust survivors in Kansas City. The vibrant 91-year-old shares her story with students and prisoners. Even as she seeks to inspire others, she faces threat of eviction from a dying shopping mall. Her first-person narrative is artfully illustrated with animations inspired by her drawings. Intimate interviews with family and friends illuminate her embodiment of perseverance and determination.

Sponsored by St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center and the Feldman Family Education Institute of the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center
Introduction by Debbie Warshawski, St. Louisan and daughter of SONIA.
Post-film discussion with Debbie and Dan Reich, Curator and Director of Education for the St. Louis Holocaust Museum & Learning Center

Sunday, August 19

4pm - An Act of Defiance

Netherlands • English and Afrikaans with English subtitles
Director: Jean van de Velde
Feature: 123 minutes

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Powerful, captivating

It’s 1963, in South Africa, 10 men – some black, some Jewish – are arrested for conspiring to commit sabotage against the Apartheid state and its government. Led by fellow defendant Nelson Mandela and represented by courageous lawyer Bram Fischer, the group pleads not guilty, shifting attention to the corrupt and grossly unjust political system. This nail-biting thriller is filled with courtroom intrigue and explores the little known involvement of South African Jews in condemning Apartheid.

For additional information on becoming a member of the Jewish Film Society, call Zelda Sparks at 314-442-3169. An individual membership is $36, couples $54 and $18 for students.