The 15th Annual New Jersey Jewish Film Festival, sponsored by JCC MetroWest, will host a selection of new and award-winning feature films and documentaries from March 15 to 29. Several of the events feature post-screening discussions with filmmakers and other guests.
Among the highlights:
Opening night, Sunday, March 15
The artistic and political revolution of early 19th century Russia is mythologized in this magical period drama about the uneasy relationship between two artistic geniuses. As the October Revolution sweeps across Russia, historical events intrude on personal struggles and upend the quiet provincial life in Vitebsk. Post-screening dessert reception.
Monday, March 16
Farewell, Herr Schwarz
7: 30 p.m.
Free screening at Dolan Performance Hall, College of St. Elizabeth, Morristown.
Siblings Michla and Feiv’ke Schwarz were supposed to meet at Lodz train station after WWII, but they didn’t. Three generations were haunted by this meeting that never happened. Post screening discussion with Sharon Freiberg Hammerman, whose family story mirrors the film, and Dina Cohen and Harriett Sepinwall of the college’s Holocaust Education Resource Center.
Wednesday, March 18
This documentary paints intimate and colorful portraits of independent, stylish women aged 62 to 95 who are challenging conventional ideas about beauty, aging, and Western’s culture’s increasing obsession with youth. Post-screening program and jewelry workshop with film subject Debra Rapoport (limited space).
Sunday, March 22
Little White Lie
Filmmaker and Montclair resident Lacey Schwartz tells her story about growing up in an upper-middle-class Jewish household in Woodstock, NY, with a strong sense of her Jewish identity — despite questions from those around her about how a white girl could have such dark skin. Post-screening discussion with Schwartz via Skype.
An American teenager experiences the satisfactions and disappointments of helping those less fortunate while discovering his family’s connection to the troubled, beautiful nation of Cuba. Post-screening panel discussion with Cuban expatriates Luis and Vivian Schuchinski; representatives from Areyvut, a teen hesed organization; and NJ Jewish News sports and features editor reporter Ron Kaplan. Followed by a teen workshop with Areyvut.
Wednesday, March 25
On the brink of the collapse of the Soviet Union, tens of thousands of Soviet Jews were finally allowed to leave the USSR. Unfortunately, their destination — America — no longer welcomed them with open arms. Written and directed by Scotch Plains native Mike Drob.
Sunday, March 29
Above and Beyond
Despite tremendous personal risk, a small group of Jewish-American WWII fighter pilots left the United States in 1948 to train and fight in smuggled planes – all while evading a watchful FBI. Post-screening dessert reception and discussion with film subject Gideon “Giddy” Lichtman via Skype.
For information, including full schedule and ticket purchases, visit njjff.org or call 1-800-494-8497.