THE 2018 WHITE MOUNTAIN JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL
at the Colonial Theater, Main St., Bethlehem

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NEW TIMES:  THURSDAYS —  July 5,  19,  August 2,  30
6pm PATIO RECEPTION - 6:30pm SPEAKER  - 7pm FILM

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SEE YOU AT THE MOVIES!
Dorothy Goldstone
Artistic Director
White Mountain Jewish Film Festival



OPENING NIGHT July 5     KEEP THE CHANGE (2017)

It’s an ode to self-discovery and acceptance that’s as funny as it is sweet.
Variety - Nick Schager

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Director: Rachel Israel
Writer: Rachel Israel
Stars: Brandon Polansky, Samantha Elisophon, and Jessica Walter
Rating: R some sexuality
Genre: romantic comedy/drama
Language: English
Length: 1 hr. 35 min.
Rating: NR

 

 

SYNOPSIS:

Two young adults with autism strike up an unlikely and transformative relationship, in KEEP THE CHANGE, a heartfelt, humorous and wonderfully surprising reinvention of the New York romantic comedy. Showcasing naturally spontaneous performances by actors with autism, writer-director Rachel Israel’s inclusive and fresh debut is a unique and universal love story full of vibrant characters under-represented in cinema. A winning entry at many film festivals, including Best U.S. Narrative Feature and Best New Narrative Director prizes at the Tribeca Film Festival. 

Click here to watch the trailer . . . 

Guest Speakers:

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Samantha Elisophon, co-star, and her mother, Marguerite Elisophon, author of
My Picture Perfect Family: What Happens When One Twin Has Autism

Samantha’s real life story is an inspirational one. Diagnosed with autism as a toddler, confronting dire predictions and negative stereotypes, Samantha started singing with perfect pitch at age 7 and graduated Pace University, cum laude.



JULY 19 FUGITIVE PIECES (2008)

“One of the most delicate, approachable and rewarding
Holocaust movies of recent years.” Wally Hammond, TIME OUT

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Director:Jeremy Poweswa
Writer:Jeremy Podeswa, based upon the novel by Anne Michaels
Stars:Stephen DillaneRosamund PikeRade Serbedzija
Genre:Drama
Languages:English, Greek, Yiddish
Rating:R, some sexuality
Length:104 minutes

 

SYNOPSIS

Fugitive Piecesis an emotionally charged film about love, loss, and redemption, driven by radiant performances and nuanced writing. It is based upon Anne Michaels’ best-selling novel. It is the of story of Jakob, a writer living in post-war Canada, who cannot shake off the terrifying memories of his childhood during World War II. His adventures take him from Poland to Greece to Montreal. Over the years Jakob attempts to deal with the losses he has endured. The film glides between the past and different periods in Jakob's later life, as it tries to show this man whose love for his family has essentially frozen him at the time he last saw them. Through his writing and his discovery of true love, Jakob is ultimately freed from the legacy of his past. 

Such a summary barely captures the qualities of "Fugitive Pieces." written and directed by Jeremy Podeswa, writer and director, doesn't tell, he evokes, with the nostalgic images of his cinematographer, Gregory Middleton; the understated melancholy of the score by Nikos Kypourgos, and the seamless time transitions of his editor, Wiebke von Carolsfeld.

Click here to watch the trailer . . . 

GUEST SPEAKER 

PROFESSOR LORI HOPE LEFKOVITZ

Lori Hope Lefkovitz holds the Ruderman Chair in Jewish Studies at Northeastern University, where she directs the Humanities Center and the Jewish Studies Program and is a professor of English.  Her book, In Scripture: The First Stories of Jewish Sexual Identities, was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in the Women’s Studies category. A graduate of Brandeis University, Lefkovitz received her Ph.D. in English from Brown University and was a recipient of a Woodrow Wilson dissertation fellowship in women's studies, a Golda Meir post-doctoral fellowship at Hebrew University, a post-doctoral fellowship at the Institute of the Philadelphia Association for Psychoanalysis, a senior Fulbright Professorship at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and an honorary doctorate from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.  She and Rabbi  Leonard Gordon are the parents of two adult daughters.



August 2 HESTER STREET (1975)

           “…a marvelously evocative study of Jewish immigrant life in turn-of-the-century New York, mainly told in delightfully subtitled Yiddish, features an outstanding lead performance from the Oscar-nominated Carol Kane.Tony Sloman, Radio Times

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Director:Joan Micklin Silver
Writers:Joan Micklin Silver (Screenplay), based on the novella, YEKEL, by Abraham Cahan
Stars: Carol Kane, Doris Roberts, Steven Keats
Genre: Drama, Romance
Languages: English, Yiddish
Length: 1 hr, 30 min.
Rating: PG

SYNOPSIS
“Hester Street”, through the delightful story of the Americanization of Jake and Gitl, illuminates the struggles and transformations of the Jewish immigrants who settled in the Lower East Side, as they try to reconcile the ordered values they which brought along with the unmarked opportunities that they found in the slums of the Lower East Side at the turn of the 20thCentury.

It's 1896. Yankel Bogovnik, a Russian Jew, immigrated to the United States 3 years ago, settling on Hester Street in the crowded slums of New York City’s Lower East Side. “Jake”, as he now calls himself, has assimilated to American life, learned English, Anglicized his name, and even shaved off his beard. He has also fallen in love with a dancer named Mamie Fein, a thoroughly modern girl. Nevertheless, he has been saving what he can from his $12 weekly pay to bring over his son and his wife, Gitl, to America. When his wife finally arrives, but she is as old world as he is the slick Yankee. Jake pushes Gitl to give up her hair‐covering, her shawls, and her Yiddish but Gitl resists. Can their marriage survive these differences, and if not, will Gitl be able to manage in this new land on her own?

HESTER STREET  marked Joan Miklin Silver’s filmmaking debut. It’s stars, Carol Kane, delivers an indelible performance as the greenhorn, Gitl. Big‐eyed, scared and inaudible at first, a spark of allure pops out here, a spark of anger there, until by the end of the picture she is a triumphant bonfire.

INTERVIEWS WITH THE CAST AND DIRECTOR OF HESTER STREET:
Joan Miklin Silver https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCuzyozWGIY&t=10s
Doris Robertshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n89dun4RN30
Miklin Silver and Carol Kane https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7T3HLJjKRkg&t=673s

Guest Speaker: Rick Winston,Film Historian

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Rick is co-founder of Montpelier’s Savoy Movie Theater and co-founder of the Green Mountain Film Festival. As Programming Director for the festival, he brought in nationally known film writers, critics, and historians to speak. He now teaches courses in film history, and is a frequent guest speaker on film throughout New England. This is Rick’s third engagement with the White Mountain Jewish Film Festival.



AUGUST 16 Marshall (2017)

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Director: Reginald Hudlin
Writers: Michael Koskoff, Jacob Koskoff
Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Kate Hudson, Josh Gad,
Rating: PG - 13
Genre: courtroom drama
Length: 160 min.

Synopsis
It’s 1940. Thurgood Marshall is a rising star (played by BLACK PANTHER star, Chadwick Boseman) that travels the nation for the NAACP, defending African Americans wrongly accused of crimes. In this true story, we get to see
the multi-faceted personality of Marshall long before he became the first African-American appointed to the Supreme Court. 

Marshall has been sent to Bridgeport, Connecticut, to defend a black chauffeur accused of kidnapping and raping the high society wife of his employer. Marshall’s usual confidence is shaken when the court refuses to let him be the lead attorney. Instead, the court appoints Sam Bernstein, a local jewish lawyer who has never handled a criminal case, to be the lead counsel. Working for and with Marshall, Sam makes some important decisions about what kind of man he wants to be, and can become. 

The pitch perfect directing by Reginald Hudlin (BLACK PANTHER, DJANGO UNCHAINED) creates edge-of-your-seat suspense. Gripping performances are delivered by this top cast, from Chadwick Boseman, Kate Hudson, and Josh Gad to Sterling K. Brown, who steals the film with his portrait of the chauffeur.

Watch the Trailer  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_bfOWof0Sg

Guest Speaker: Michael Koskoff

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Michael Koskoff, co-writer of Marshall, Michael Koskoff is a partner in Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, PC. A renowned litigator specializing in personal injury and medical malpractice, Koskoff earned a reputation early in his career as a civil rights advocate. In 2008, Koskoff was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for his work by the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association. He has also received the National Association of Black Patrolmen Dedicated Service Award, the Greater Bridgeport NAACP Waverly Jones Freedom Award, and the Afro-American Educators Association Dedicated Service Award.

See the interview with Michael Koskoff     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qS3VBpvOzY



AUGUST 30 The History of Love (2016)

Be it dip-pen on paper writing in Yiddish from Minsk in the 1940s or sheets of paper in a manual typewriter in NYC in 2006 or a Spanish-language volume from Chile being translated via computer, the importance of fashioning and transmitting words runs through the story with a brand of cinematic heft no text message is likely to equal.”  LISA NESSELSON, Screen Daily

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Director:Radu Milhaileanu
Writers:Radu Milhaileanu, Marcia Romano
Based on the novel by Nicole Krauss
Stars:Gemma Arterton, Derek Jacobi, Eliot Gould, Sophie Nelisse, Mark Rendall
Genre:Drama
Languages:English, Yiddish
Length:2 hrs. 15 min
Rating:NR

Synopsis
The story of a long-lost book that mysteriously reappears and connects an old man searching for his son with a girl seeking a cure for her mother's loneliness.The scope of this multi-layered story spans decades and continents. It is filled with romance, suspense and humor, centered on the enduring power of love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 – 7 PM

DON’T MISS OUR END OF SEASON PARTY TO CELEBRATE THE WHITE MOUNTAIN JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL’S FIRST FIVE YEARS! Plenty of refreshments. Open to all ticket holders.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Here's a recap of the 2017 White Mountain Jewish Film Festival

 

 

THURSDAY, JULY 6 ** OPENING NIGHT** REMEMBER

REMEMBER is a "riveting, morally complex" film, starring academy award winners Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau.  (Film Journal International) 

 

Watch the Trailer 

 
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Guest speaker, Anna B’at Chai Wrobel is a historian, teacher, poet, and speaker about the Holocaust.  Her parents were partisans and survivors, and she is a first generation American.  Wrobel’s poetry collection, MARENGO STREET, was published in 2012, and her historical essays and poems have appeared in several journals, and poetry collections. She is currently completing a new work that intertwines poetry, history, and memoir.  

 

 

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Thursday, July 20 Crossing Delancey

CROSSING DELANCEY,” is a smart romantic-comedy that remains charming and fresh starring Golden Globe nominee Amy Irving and Peter Riegert (“Commonsense Media”)

Isabelle (Izzy) Grossman lives in two separate worlds: at 33, she still hasn’t found the right partner, but she does work in the trendiest book store on the upper West Side of Manhattan, mingling with the literati at the job, and enjoying their flirtations after-hours. At the same time, she is loyal to her beloved grandmother who still lives on the lower east side, a place once steeped in old-world Jewish culture, and now gradually transforming to the needs of new generations of new immigrants. Her grandmother wants Izzy to settle down with “a nice Jewish boy.” This doesn’t match at all with Izzy’s upper west side self-image. ''Crossing Delancey,'' is about the process whereby Izzy finally figures out what’s really important in her life.

Director, Joan Micklin Silver, and the writer, Susan Sandler (adapting her own play), manage to combine a nicely wry view of the modern world with the dreaminess of a fairy tale. (English and rated PG)

 
 

Watch the Trailer

Guest Speaker Rick Winston, a film historian and public speaker, has been involved with film programs since 1970 when he founded the Lightning Ridge Film Society in Montpelier, Vermont that became the Savoy Theater in 1981, and which he ran with his partners until 2009. Winston was also one of the co-founders of Montpelier’s Green Mountain Film Festival, and served as its Programming Director until 2012.

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Thursday, August 3 The Attack

An esteemed Israeli Palestinian doctor (portrayed by international award-winner, Ali Suliman) has lived and worked in Tel Aviv for his entire career and has been happily married for many years. Suddenly his world turned upside down by a suicide bombing, in which his wife his killed. The tragedy grows exponentially for her husband, Amin, as he begins to learn why she was caught in the explosion, and how much of her life he didn’t know. What is most impressive about "The Attack" is its ability to be sympathetic to all sides of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and most especially to Amin, the husband, who finds himself stranded in the middle. Alive to the pain everyone feels, the film captures the nuances of a problem that has defied solution.

Film Critic Roger Ebert described “The ATTACK” as “… the best kind of anti-war propaganda film: calm in feeling and mood, yet truly terrifying in showing the scourge of our age: terrorism, which can strike anybody, anywhere, at any time.” (Hebrew with English subtitles and rated R)

 

 

Watch the Trailer

 

SPEAKER: DOV WAXMAN – Professor Waxman is an expert on Israel. His research focuses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israeli foreign policy, U.S. – Israel relations, and American Jewry’s relationship with Israel. He is Northeastern University’s Stotsky Professor of Jewish Historical and Cultural Studies and co-director of Northeastern’s Middle East Institute. His latest work, “TROUBLE IN THE TRIBE: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel,” will be available for purchase at the film festival.

Professor Waxman is Northeast University's Stotsky Professor of Jewish Historical and Culltural Studies, and co-director of Northeastern's Middle East Institute.   Waxman is an expert on Israel and focuses his research on   the American Jewry's relationship with Israel, Israeli foreign policy, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and  U.S. - Israel relations.   His latest work is Trouble in the Tribe:  The American Jewish Conflict Over Israel.  A limited number of signed copies will be available to purchase before the film.

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Thursday, August 17 The Debt

THE DEBT is “A taut, beautifully crafted thriller..that tackles themes of humanity, revenge and truth.” (Time Out)

This story begins in the mid-1960s with the triumphant return of a trio of young Mossad agents from a secret overseas mission. Their accomplishment was killing “the Surgeon of Birkenau,” an infamous Nazi (obviously inspired by Josef Mengele) living comfortably in East Berlin under an assumed name. Leap forward 30 years, and the three legendary figures (played by Helen Mirren in the present, and Jessica Chastain in the past) are compelled to revisit the pivotal event that shaped their lives and careers and races towards a nail-biting finish! (English and rated

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watch the Trailer

Speaker: Larry Lowenthal – adjunct Professor at Northeastern University, he has taught courses on “Anti-Semitism in 20th Century American Film and Literature” and “The Impact of Jews on Popular American Culture: The Hollywood Film, The Broadway Musical, Literature, Poetry, Stand-Up Comedy, Drama and Television”. Until 2008, Professor Lowenthal served as Executive Director of the Boston chapters of several Jewish organizations, culminating in his 20 years of service as executive director of the American Jewish Committee’s Boston Chapter


AUGUST 31 ***CLOSING NIGHT*** I’M NOT RAPPAPORT

This delightful comedy stars the irreverent and unforgettable Walter Matthau (the Odd Couple, Sunshine Boys, Grumpy Old Men) opposite award-winner Ossie Davis. It was written and directed by Herb Gardner (best known for A Thousand Clowns). The NY Times reviewer described it well:

In ''I'm Not Rappaport, Mr. Matthau has one of the richest characters of his career, Nat Moyer, an 81-year-old unreconstructed New York Jewish radical, fantasist and troublemaker…. In Mr. Matthau's hands, Nat attains a crusty, cantankerous nobility. His rash, eccentric campaigns against injustice and cruelty are an old man's way of raging against the dying of the light, of trying to make a difference in an indifferent world. It is with an almost vengeful glee that Mr. Matthau brings home the play's message: Imagination is the best defense.” (English rated PG)

 

 

Watch the Trailer

 

Speaker: Lawrence Bush – Author of many books for children and adults, poet, and the editor of JEWISH CURRENTS Magazine and its engaging website (http://jewishcurrents.org). His daily blog, JEWDAYO, highlights events from Jewish life and history on the anniversary of their occurrence. Mr. Bush was our Guest Speaker for our 2015 Closing Night Film “The Front”

*** What a line-up of speakers and films! We’re looking forward to seeing longtime friends, as well as newcomers!


 

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HERE'S A RECAP OF the 2016 SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL


Opening Night - July 14

We kick off the season with "Dough," a fairytale for adults starring award winning British actor Jonathan Price as an aging baker, working with an economically challenged refugee struggling to make a new life in a foreign land.  A randy widow, an opportunistic drug lord, and a scheming business executive are tossed into the mixing bowl.

Opening Night Speaker Rabbi Jonathan Rubenstein knows a lot about challah baking! Rubenstein, a master Challah baker, co-founded the inspiring Bread and Torah Organization with his wife, Rabbi and Torah scribe Linda Motzkin. Rabbis Rubenstein and Motzkin will be running workshops and leading services throughout the weekend. For more information about the rabbis and their work , visit http://breadandtorah.org/

STARRING:  Jonathan Pryce (Pirates of the Caribbean, Game of Thrones)
                      Pauline Collins (Shirley Valentine)

Click here for the trailer

Synopsis: Curmudgeonly widower Nat Dayan (Jonathan Pryce) clings to his way of life as a Kosher bakery shop owner in London’s East End. Understaffed, Nat reluctantly enlists the help of teenager Ayyash (Jerome Holder), who has a secret side gig selling marijuana to help his immigrant mother make ends meet. When Ayyash accidentally drops his stash into the mixing dough, the challah starts flying off the shelves and an unlikely friendship forms between the old Jewish baker and his young Muslim apprentice. Dough is a warmhearted and humorous story about overcoming prejudice and finding redemption in unexpected places..


Thursday July 28

“Our most prolific and provocative moviemaker uses his wit to touch a nerve…Crimes and Misdemeanors is so funny it hurts…” ROLLING STONE

Come watch the extraordinary cast of “CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS," a unique film by Woody Allen which explores the complexity of life, death, God, religion, morality, crimes and responsibility, love and lust, happiness and the price one pays for it, and among those eternal subjects - how much fun it is to skip work or school and to sneak off to the movies...!   

Click here for the trailer...

Guest Speaker Rick Winston, a film historian and public speaker, has been involved with film programs since 1970 when he founded the Lightning Ridge Film Society in Montpelier, Vermont that became the Savoy Theater in 1981, and which he ran with his partners until 2009.  Winston was also one of the co-founders of Montpelier’s Green Mountain Film Festival, and served as its Programming Director until 2012. “Crimes and Misdemeanors” is one of his favorites, and he will give us background, history, and help to explore the meaning of this unique Allen film. Read more about Rick Winston at http://rickwinston.org


Friday, August 5th

“A classically simple story, told through an elegant visual language as bold as it is thoughtful, this is an important film not just in content but in form….“Son of Saul” is the debut film of the 38-year-old director László Nemes, and it is a work of remarkable power…” Winner of the 2016 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film

A special joint presentation with the Colonial Theater of this year’s Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner for Best Foreign Film: "SON OF SAUL."  It is a grueling portrayal of the most horrendous event in human history.  The film explores the boundaries of being human and how we can we keep our dignity in a cruel, human-less world.

Interview with Son of Saul director

BHC is honored to welcome Spirit Holder Eve Marko, co-founder of the Zen Peacemakers’ “Bearing Witness at Auschwitz Program.” Marko brings a deeply personal perspective as a child of survivors and later the co-founder of Zen Peacemakers’ annual Bearing Witness Retreats at Auschwitz-Birkenau. This film, as challenging as it is, could also be transformative, and Marko will guide us into and through the experience. To learn more about Zen Peacemakers’ founder Bernie Glassman, the Bearing Witness Program, and the Three Tenets (Not-knowing, Bearing Witness, and Loving Actions), please visit http://zenpeacemakers.org/zen-peacemakers- the-beginning/.


Thursday, August 11

“A fascinating little-known historical tale stirringly recounted about Jewish-American fighter pilots who volunteered to fight for Israel in its 1948 War of Independence.”   HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

We bring you the acclaimed film "ABOVE AND BEYOND," directed by award-winning director Roberta Grossman. This celebrated film produced by Nancy Spielberg portrays the little-known story of the Jewish-American pilots who volunteered to fight for Israel in the War of Independence. This ragtag band of brothers not only turned the tide of the war and prevented the possible annihilation of Israel at the very moment of its birth; they also laid the groundwork for the Israeli Air Force.

Click here for trailer...

Our guest speaker, Arthur Bernstein, lived through this era and volunteered as a seaman for the Bet Aliya sealift effort that carried thousands of refugees across the Mediterranean to Israel. He has since served as President of American Veterans for Israel, the organization of Americans who served in Israel’s War of Independence.  Background Resources: http://www.israelvets.commuseum_production.html and http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~sklausne/NeWin06.pdf


Closing Night - August 25

“Heartfelt and heartwarming, Deli Man is documentary filmmaking at its tastiest.”  TORONTO STAR

Don't miss the featuring of the deliciously funny "DELI Man," paired with special catered kosher deli delights during our ON THE PATIO gathering.  

Click here for the trailer

Guest speaker Ted Merwin is the author of “Pastrami on Rye, An Overstuffed History of the JewishDeli,” winner of a 2015 Jewish Book Award. Merwin is Associate Professor of Judaic Studies at Dickenson College (PA) and Director of the college’s Milton B. Asbell Center for Jewish Life. He writes about Jewish theater, dance, and food for the New York Jewish Week and other major newspapers and magazines. Film and deli lovers will have a chance to purchase autographed copies of his book after the film. For more info about Merwin, see http://www.tedmerwin.com/

For this spectacular closing night event, BHC and the WMJFF Committee thank Nancy Gugenheim who inspired us to screen “Deli Man,” by offering to sponsor a real spread of kosher deli appetizers for our closing night social hour on the patio.


CO-SPONSORED BY THE GRETCHEN BEINECKE TRUST.

We are ready and eager to invest in speakers for every event. This is our biggest budget item, since most speakers are traveling to Bethlehem and require room and board, as well as an honorarium. Your donations, large and small, are the underpinning of the WMJFF and promote our ultimate goal of “Building Community Through the Arts." Thank you so much for your generous support!

For more information, call 917-838-2646, Dorothy Goldstone, Festival Director, WMJFF

 


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