Jan. 21, 2011
-- Oscar Buzz at Mandell JCC Hartford Jewish Film Festival March 26 – April 5, 2011;
21 Films from 7 Countries To Premiere in 8 Venues;
Concert, Poster Exhibit, Guest Filmmakers
(West Hartford, CT Jan. 21, 2011) Oscar buzz and Olympic gold share the spotlight with rescued violins, baseball memories, a French blockbuster and more when the 15th Annual Mandell JCC Hartford Jewish Film Festival rolls into eight area theaters March 26 through April 5, 2011. The state’s largest annual celebration of Jewish culture, history and people offers a cinematic melting pot of award-winning features, romances, thrillers, power-packed documentaries, comedies, and shorts.
Two 2011 Oscar hopefuls are among the 21 films from Argentina, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Romania and the United States making their New England, Connecticut or Hartford premieres. The Festival also features a new Shalom Sesame film with a Model Matzah Bakery, a concert with musicians from The Hartt School, University of Hartford, visiting filmmakers in “Reel Talk” panels, a vintage Israeli film poster exhibit and an Opening Night gala reception. The entire festival can be downloaded as a free HJFF iPhone App from the iPhone Store.
The Hartford Jewish Film Festival is presented by the Mandell Jewish Community Center with the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies and The Hartt School, University of Hartford with sponsor support from a broad cross-section of businesses, corporations, media, foundations, organizations and individuals.
Sports and History
Sports fans will batter up for two new films, starting with Opening Night’s Berlin ’36, the remarkable story of German Jewish high jumper Gretel Bergmann, a gold medal contender at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. Just in time for spring training, Dustin Hoffman’s Jews and Baseball – An American Love Story hits it out of the park in this who’s who of Jewish sluggers, pitchers, owners and superstars from yesterday and today.
Go behind the scenes with The Brothers Warner, the Hollywood profile of a legendary show biz empire. Direct from London’s theatre district comes the original stage production Imagine This: The Musical, a lavishly costumed and richly orchestrated love-on-the-
battlefield epic set in Masada and the Warsaw Ghetto.
Important moments in history are dramatized in The People V Leo Frank , a powerful new drama revisiting the chilling century-old Atlanta Leo Frank murder case. In An Article of Hope, audiences will recall the events surrounding the tragic shuttle Columbia which carried Israel’s first astronaut Ilan Ramon and his tiny Torah scroll. France’
s wrenching movie event of the year, The Round Up, will have its New England premiere, telling the harrowing true story of how Nazi-collaborating French police arrested and deported Parisian Jews to Auschwitz and certain death.
Eyes on Israel
Israeli and American filmmakers turn their lenses on the Middle East in the haunting love story Seven Minutes in Heaven and My So-Called Enemy, which follows young Palestinian and Israeli women for seven years following their first meeting at a New Jersey peace camp. Two Israeli Oscar contenders will premiere at the festival. The cliffhanger race by Israeli doctors and a TV reporter to save Palestinian infant Mohammad as the Gaza war rages, catapulted Shlomi Eldar’s Precious Life to the 2011 Academy Awards shortlist for Best Documentary.
The Human Resources Manager, Israel’s foreign film 2011 Oscar entry is Eran Riklis’ acclaimed tragic-comic journey of the heart. The Matchmaker, Avi Nesher’s colorful coming-of-age feature set in the summer of ’68 weaves a rich tapestry of love and loss. A marathon of Arab Labor Israeli TV episodes dials up laughs while tackling Arab-Israeli daily life and strife with satire and wit. In a thriller from the headlines, two Russian immigrant soldiers take over an Israeli prison in the hang-on-to-your-
seat drama The Loners.
Faith and Family Films
Anita follows a brave girl with Down’s syndrome who wanders Buenos Aires after a terror bombing destroys the city’s Jewish center. Leap of Faith follows families, a single mom and a woman from Trinidad in a search for spirituality as they prepare to convert to Judaism. Talented performers from The Hartt School, University of Hartford, will honor the lost musicians of the Holocaust in a closing night concert following Amnon’s Journey. Elmo and Cookie Monster join Jake Gyllenhaal in Shalom Sesame’s It’s Passover, Grover! A vintage film poster exhibit and sale at the Mandell JCC, Growing Up At The Movies traces the history of Israeli cinema from the1930’s until today.
Bow-Tie Cinemas Palace 17, Hartford and The Emanuel Synagogue, West Hartford join six venues including the Aetna Theater at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, (Hartford); Beth El Temple, Criterion Cinema at Blue Back Square, Hebrew Health Care and the Mandell JCC, (West Hartford) and K & G Theaters, Bloomfield 8, (Bloomfield)
TICKETS AND INFORMATION
Individual tickets to most films are $10 general admission. Tickets for Saturday, March 26, 2011 Opening Night Berlin ’36 film and gala reception are $60 per person and include parking. The Monday, March 27 screening of An Article of Hope is free to the public. Free Senior Screen tickets for Wednesday March 30 are available by advance reservation. Admission for My So-Called Enemy on April 4 is free for students with ID. Tickets for the Tuesday, April 5 Amnon’s Journey Film and Closing Night Concert featuring musicians from The Hartt School, University of Hartford are $20 per person including a dessert reception. Patron passes are on sale at the Box Office. $1 discount is offered for students, Wadsworth Atheneum Film Buffs and Let’s Go Arts card-holders.
Tickets for all shows are on sale at the Mandell JCC in person, via phone and by mail. Seating is limited, advance purchase is recommended to avoid wait-listing. For films other than Opening Night, tickets will be sold at the door subject to availability;
all seating is general admission and program is subject to change. All events are under Hartford Kashrut Commission supervision. For tickets, more information, directions, and a Film Festival brochure contact the Film Festival Box Office, Mandell JCC, Zachs Campus, 335 Bloomfield Ave., West Hartford, CT. 06117, 860-231-6316, visit the official film festival website, www.hjff.org or contact Member Services Center, 860-236-4571.
The 2011HJFF iPhone App, developed by iDoTouch.com, can be downloaded for free from the iPhone Store. Users can view schedule, photos, sneak previews and trailers, maintain favorites, call or email the box office and share favorites via email and Facebook.
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The Mandell JCC's Hartford Jewish Film Festival, a cinematic melting pot of international first-run films celebrating Jewish people, culture and history, is the largest annual Jewish cultural arts event in Connecticut. All films are New England, Connecticut or Hartford premieres. It is presented by the Mandell JCC with the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies, The Hartt School/University of Hartford.