Presented by: The Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life with support from the Karma Foundation
2018 Audience Choice Award Winners
The following critically acclaimed, international dramatic and documentary films were featured at the 2018 Rutgers Jewish Film Festival:
An Israeli Love Story
Directed by Dan Wolman
Based on the true story of theatre director and actress Pnina Gary, An Israeli Love Story tells a passionate story of love and independence. Set in the turbulent years of 1947-48, Eli and Margalit are torn between their love for one another and where they see their own futures in the Jewish state. Margalit seeks the spotlight in the budding theatre world of Tel Aviv, while Eli's allegiance is to the struggle for Jewish independence from the British. As their commitment to each other grows, the harsh reality of life in israel intervenes.
The Body Collector
Directed by Tim Oliehoek
In THE BODY COLLECTOR journalist Hans Knoop, editor in chief of newspaper ‘De Telegraaf’ becomes personally involved in the hunt for the untouchable ex- Nazi and war criminal, ‘Pieter Menten. Menten lives a lavish life in a villa close to Amsterdam, when he decides to auction off part of his famous art collection. This move brings his past to light and Knoop persists in pursuing the truth about the ex-Nazi’s dark past. Based on the true story and book by Hans Knoop.
Bye Bye Germany
Directed by Sam Garbarski
Immediately after the war David Berman and his friends, all Holocaust survivors, have only one purpose: to go to America as soon as possible. As their money- making schemes bring in cash, David’s shady past may jeopardize the group’s future.
Directed by Sebastian Lelio
The story follows a young woman who returns to her Orthodox Jewish home after learning about the death of her estranged father. She causes an upheaval in the quiet community when she rekindles a repressed love with her best friend – a woman now married to her cousin.
Poland, 1937 (new restoration)
Directed by Michał Waszyński
Filmed just before the outbreak of WWII, The Dybbuk weaves a mystical story of the Hasidic shtetls of the late 19th century with the story of two close friends, Sender and Nisn, who vow to marry their first-born children. A rich, ethnographic tapestry of Jewish legend, The Dybbuk, based on S. Ansky’s seminal Yiddish play, is presented here in a brand-new restoration.
Directed by Samuel Maoz
Inspired by Maoz’s experience as a soldier, the film portrays a tragic yet universal story of grief.
Heading Home: The Tale Of Team Israel
USA /Israel, 2017
Directed by Seth Kramer and Daniel A. Miller
The film charts the underdog journey of Israel's national baseball team competing for the first time in the World Baseball Classic. Their line-up included several Jewish American Major League players―Ike Davis, Josh Zeid and ex-Braves catcher Ryan Lavarnway―most with a tenuous relationship to Judaism, let alone having ever set foot in Israel. Their odyssey takes them from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem where they are greeted as heroes, to Seoul where they must debunk their has-been, wannabe reputations.
Directed by Martin Sulik
This road trip movie pairs an Slovak interpreter, whose parents died during the war, with a jovial German man whose father was the Nazi officer responsible for their deaths. It’s a complex, formidable film about friendship and the scars of war.
The Last Suit
Directed by Pablo Solarz
An aging Jewish tailor Holocaust survivor leaves his life in Argentina to embark on a journey back through time and halfway around the world, in the bittersweet road movie THE LAST SUIT.
Muhi: Generally Temporary
Directed by Rina Castelnouvo-Hollander and Tamir Elterman
As an infant, Palestinian Muhi was rushed from his home in Gaza to an Israeli hospital. Travel restrictions allowed only Muhi’s grandfather to accompany him to Israel, and seven years later, Muhi has grown into a brave and spirited boy. Unable to receive the care he needs in Gaza, he and his grandfather remain in the hospital, spending their days roaming the wards, separated from their family and most of the outside world. This circumstance transcends identity, nationality, religion, and the larger conflict that both surrounds him and divides his world.
Directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen
RBG is a revelatory documentary exploring Ruth Bader Ginsburg's exceptional life and career.
Directed by Fiona Murphy
Jewish life in Iraq is told through vivid testimony, home movies, and news archives, as well as footage from contemporary Iraq. The film follows the lives of four Jewish families trying to make sense of turbulent times, and one man who goes back to buy a house in Iraq. The life of the Jewish community is shaped by British and Nazi influence, and the creation of the State of Israel.
Rescue Bus 300
Directed by Rotem Shamir
Four armed Palestinian terrorists hijacked Bus #300 en route from Tel Aviv to Ashkelon taking the passengers hostage. The documentary reenacts the takeover and includes interviews with Israeli officials involved at the time.
Three Identical Strangers
USA, UK, 2018
Directed by Tim Wardle
New York, 1980: three complete strangers accidentally discover that they are identical triplets, separated at birth. The 19-year-olds' joyous reunion catapults them to international fame, but it also unlocks an extraordinary and disturbing secret.
Who Will Write Our History?
Directed by Roberta Grossman
Discovered in 1946 and 1950, the thousands of surviving documents of the Warsaw Ghetto Archive were housed in underfunded conditions in the Jewish Historical Institute of Warsaw for decades. Written in Yiddish and Polish and largely untranslated, the Archives remained largely unknown outside of academic circles. The film is based on Samuel Kassow’s book Who Will Write Our History published in 2007.
Writing About Historical Events - A Panel Discussion
A special festival event featuring: Moshe Zonder, Schusterman Visiting Israeli Artist and Dr. Samuel Kassow, Trinity College.
Moshe Zonder, former head screenwriter for Fauda, and Professor Samuel Kassow, author of Who Will Write Our History?: Rediscovering a Hidden Archive from the Warsaw Ghetto, will discuss the challenges of developing historical and contemporary events for the television and movie screen. How does the need for narrative and characterization conflict with historical accuracy, if it does? How much license can a screenwriter take with facts? Who makes those choices: the screenwriter, the director, or the editor? The discussion will include three of the films in this year's festival: Who Will Write Our History?, Rescue Bus 300, and An Israeli Love Story.
2018 Film Festival Trailer