The Jewish Council of North Central Florida is proud to once again partner with the Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Florida to offer ten days of compelling and provocative films from around the world. The festival will kick off on Sunday, March 19 and will run through Saturday, April 1. Most screenings will be held at 7:00 pm, unless otherwise noted.
Scroll down to view the festival schedule.
To learn more about each film,
click on the movie poster graphic
to the left of the description.
To purchase tickets for individual films,
click on the star graphic to the right of the film title.
Click on the star above to purchase Full & Half Festival Passes
Director: Tova Ascher
Nadia Kabir is a 20 year-old Arab young woman who has just graduated from the Jewish-Arab girls' school in Jerusalem. She is having a secret love affair with Nimer, an activist in a Palestinian Liberation Movement. When Nimer is sent to England on assignment, they are secretly married. In England, Nadia realizes the meaning of the step she has taken – severing her ties with her family and beloved mother, as she embraces a life of exile and escape. When Nimer is caught by the authorities, Nadia is left on her own. She realizes that there is no option of returning to Israel; the authorities see her as a terrorist and to her family she has escaped and disgraced them.
Twenty years later, Maya, choreographer at a Jerusalem dance troupe, is married to Yoav, a senior official at the Ministry of Justice, an impressive and charming man. Being a pair of career-driven parents with two demanding children, each day requires planning and juggling to resolve a great deal of hubbub. One evening, Maya spots a figure from her past. She hurries away. She does not say a word to anyone, but it won't let go, and she cannot sleep or go back to her routine. Yoav notices his wife's distress, and realizes that she's hiding something. Their relationship is on the verge of crisis.
The connection between the two heroines – Maya and Nadia – is the core of the film. This connection has a tremendous effect on everyone; it will drop a bombshell on Maya's family, and leave Nadia's mother in distress and grief. The film raises questions of identity, of the ability of society to accept the other and forgive their 'otherness'. It's a story about innocent individuals who pay a terrible price, the victims of a society that has gone awry, raising the question of when the private becomes political and the political becomes private, without the ability to separate the two.
GJFF review: A very clever plot about “passing” and how an assumed identity eventually unravels through unpredictable circumstances. The ending is masterful.
2015 / thriller / 112 min / Poland
Director: Borys Landkosz
A maverick prosecutor finds himself dragged into the investigation of a string of ritual killings rooted in Poland’s anti-Semitic past in the suspenseful detective thriller A Grain of TruthH. Based on the bestselling novel by Polish author Zygmunt Miłoszewski and directed by Borys Lankosz, A GRAIN OF TRUTH is a masterfully constructed whodunit that pits the forces of enlightenment against monstrous primeval superstitions.
GJFF Review: A maverick prosecutor finds himself dragged into the investigation of a string of apparent ritual killings rooted in Poland’s past. This is a thriller blending memory of immediate post-Holocaust Poland and historic blood libels.
2016 / romantic comedy / 91 min / Netherlands
Director: Job Gosschalk
It’s Hanukkah evening and everything is the way it’s always been for Moos, who stayed in her hometown to take care of her father after her mother’s passing. But when her longtime childhood friend Sam arrives as a surprise guest from Israel, Moos gets the jolt she needed to examine her life and the choices she’s made. With Sam back, Moos realizes that she’s put her life on hold to take care of others, and she needs to follow her own dreams before it’s too late.
GJFF review: Made for Dutch television, this delightful film is partly a love story and partly a tale about a young woman determined to establish a creative career for herself separate from taking care of family.
Director: Michael Jaskulski & Lawrence Loewinger
In a story that begins with murder and ends with reconciliation, one man persuades the people of Kielce, Poland, to confront the truth about the darkest moment in their past: Kielce was the site of Europe’s last Jewish pogrom. In 1946 forty holocaust survivors seeking shelter in a downtown building were murdered by townspeople. Communist authorities suppressed the story, leaving the town deeply embittered.
For Bogdan Bialek, a Catholic Pole, anti-Semitism is a sin. This conviction is the animating force of his life. Conflict over the pogrom was still a festering wound when Bialek moved to Kielce in the late 70s. He was shocked by the poisoned atmosphere of his new town. Trained as a psychologist, he has made it his life’s work both to persuade people to embrace their past and to reconnect the city with the international Jewish community.
GJFF review: An emotionally powerful and uplifting documentary about a resident of contemporary Kielce, Poland who believes in the importance of taking ownership of a difficult past and organizes an unofficial memorial to the victims of the 1946 Kielce Pogrom.
Director: Maya Zishstein
Beitar Jerusalem Football Club is the most popular and controversial football team in Israel: it is the only club in the Premier League never to sign an Arab player. Midway through the 2012-13 season, a secretive transfer deal by the owner, Russian-Israeli oligarch Arcadi Gaydamak, brought two Muslim players from Chechnya. The deal inspired the most racist campaign in Israeli sport that sent the club spiraling out of control. One season in a life of this famed club is a story of Israeli society, personal identity, politics, money and a window into how racism is destroying a team and society from within.
GJFF review: A riveting and eye-opening documentary on Jerusalem’s Beitar soccer club and its Russian oligarch owner who misjudges the team’s fanatically right wing fans.
2017 / documentary / 71 min / Israel
Director: Michael Aviad
Seven women arrive in Israel by ship in the 1950s and 1960s and are sent straight to Dimona, a town recently established in the desert. They now open up and share their life stories that have never before been told from their perspectives. What happened during the first fifteen years to the girls and women who arrived with their families from North Africa and Poland and found themselves building a town in the middle of the desert? They talk about the pain of leaving their homes behind, about poverty and the difficulties of adjusting in their new homeland, and about their determined attempts to create rich and meaningful lives. Dimona Twist mixes between conversations with the protagonists and private and public archives, they recount the struggles they took part in and the insights they gained, with humor, sorrow and dignity.
GJFF review: A surprisingly upbeat documentary about six women whose families migrated to Israel more than fifty years ago and were resettled in Dimona. The film received a standing ovation at its Jerusalem Film Festival premier.
In the Jewish religion, a week of sitting Shiva (or mourning the deceased) is called for after a funeral. However, for Eyal and Vicky, a week is hardly enough time to properly mourn the loss of their 25-year-old son Ronnie. A married couple edging into the back half of middle age, the two find themselves reacting to the end of the Shiva in markedly different ways.
Asaph Polonsky’s debut feature One Week And A Day juxtaposes the grieving process against the immutable fact that, despite the most painful losses imaginable, the world stops for no one’s mourning. With endearing performances from Shai Avivi and Evgenia Dodina as Eyal and Vicky, and Tomer Kapon as Zooler, One Week And A Day provides a nuanced perspective on loss that is as merciless as it is funny and insightful.
GJFF review: A very thoughtful comedy about a couple getting up from shiva for a 25-year-old son. The film has some slapstick moments that make sense only as the film concludes. But, there are a number of very sensitive scenes that make this film a winner.
Individual film tickets are $10 each.
Festival passes are $85 for 10 screenings (save 15%)
and $45 for 5 (save 10%).
UF student tickets are
FREE with valid ID
on a space available basis.
Students who wish to reserve seats,
should call 352.371.3846 to do so.
Director: Tomer Heymann
Enter the world of Ohad Naharin, renowned choreographer and artistic director of the Batsheva Dance Company. Mr. Gaga, eight years in the making, captures the elusive beauty of contemporary dance and immerses the audience in the creative process behind Batsheva’s unique performances.
GJFF review: A documentary about the brilliant chief choreographer of the Batsheva dance company. From the opening scene of the Ten Plagues, the film will make you fall in love with modern dance.
2016 / drama / 97 min / Israel
Director: Ori Sivan
Harmonia is a modern adaptation of the mythological triangle between the childless Abraham and Sarah and young Hagar. Sarah is the harpist of the Jerusalem Philharmonic; Abraham is its almighty conductor. When Hagar, a young horn player from East Jerusalem joins the Western Side Orchestra, she bonds with Sarah and a unique friendship evolves between the two women. Hagar, feeling Sarah’s pain from not having children, offers to have a baby for her from Abraham, shaking the thin balance in the family.
The biblical adaptation later develops to an emotional clash between the born son Ben a 12 year old phenomenal pianist and his two mothers. Harmonia uncovers the metaphoric emotional roots of the ancient conflict between the two peoples living in Jerusalem, now seeking harmony through a dramatic encounter between Western and Eastern music. Harmonia uncovers the metaphoric emotional roots of the ancient conflict between the two peoples living in Jerusalem, now seeking harmony through a dramatic encounter between Western and Eastern music.
GJFF review: A visually stunning adaptation to contemporary Jerusalem of the biblical story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar — and a moving and very powerful plea for coexistence.
Anonymous, Alexander Grass Chair in Jewish Studies, Friends of Jewish Studies Tree of Life Fund, Gary R. Gerson Annual Lecture Series, Harry Rich Endowment for Holocaust Studies, Jewish Council of North Central Florida, Jewish Student Union, Mikki and Morris Futernick Visiting Professorship, Norman and Irma Braman Chair in Holocaust Studies
2016 / drama / 105 min / Germany
Director: Lars Kraume
In 1957 Germany, Attorney General Fritz Bauer receives crucial evidence on the whereabouts of SS-Obersturmbannführer Adolf Eichmann. The lieutenant colonel, responsible for the mass deportation of the Jews, is allegedly hiding in Buenos Aires. Bauer, himself Jewish, has been trying to take crimes from the Third Reich to court ever since his return from Danish exile. However, with no success so far due to the fierce German determination to repress its sinister past. Because of his distrust in the German justice system, Fritz Bauer contacts the Israeli secret service Mossad, and, by doing so, commits treason. Bauer is not seeking revenge for the Holocaust -- he is concerned with the German future.
GJFF review: A film about Fritz Bauer, the enigmatic figure behind the Auschwitz guards' trials in Frankfurt, and the decision to collaborate with the Mossad in the capture of Eichmann. This film is darker and more pessimistic than Labyrinth of Lies, but intellectually more satisfying.