Arts Entertainment Lifestyle Reader Contributed

'Hoops, Heroes and Chutzpah' Will Highlight Jewish Film Festival

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The 21st annual Jewish Film Festival, sponsored by the Mandell JCC in West Hartford, will feature 18 films from 10 countries premiering in five venues.


Submitted by Larah Winn, Mandell JCC

A whirlwind adventure awaits with films that highlight the best of humanity at this year’s 21st Annual Mandell JCC Hartford Jewish Film Festival, March 16 through 26, 2017. Connecticut’s largest annual celebration of Jewish culture, history and people brings together beautiful and heartfelt stories of love and triumph, gripping documentaries, laugh out loud comedies, and soulful memories to this year’s festival line up.

The festival opens with the touching true story of an underdog basketball team that brought hope to a nation with On the Map, a slam dunk for sports fans. The romantic comedy, Moos, reminds the audience of the importance of following your dreams, or having a plan B should all else fail. Supergirl saves the day in this documentary about an Orthodox Jewish girl from New Jersey who is training to be a powerlifter. And winner of 12 Ophir (Israeli Academy) Awards, the hit Israeli television show Shtisel takes a look at the complex world of life, love and family.

From there, the festival takes a turn for the dramatic with Fire Birds, as detective Amnon solves a murder case that becomes deeply personal for him while uncovering a vast array of secrets he never expected. Hill Start is a romantic comedy with a twist, telling the tale of one family’s life being turned upside down after a car accident leaves the family matriarch in a coma.

The festival gets gritty with the documentary of the Sabena Hijacking – My Version, a thirty hour nerve‐wracking political and military real‐life drama of the events on a plane from Brussels to Tel Aviv in 1972. In AKA Nadia, Maya Goldwasser is a successful choreographer, wife and mother with a big secret. The Man Who Saved the Louvre is a documentary highlighting the fascinating true story of Jacques Jaujard, who saved priceless works of art at the world‐ renowned museum from destruction by the Nazis. The festival also invites you to meet Big Sonia, one of Kansas City’s last remaining Holocaust survivors.

Take a trip down memory lane with Jerry Lewis: The Man Behind the Clown, accompanied by the short film The Last Blintz. Heartwarming heroics abound in My Hero Brother, and faith is tested in The Women’s Balcony. Israel’s latest hit comedy The Last Band in Lebanon will make you laugh out loud, while a painful truth is revealed in The Origin of Violence. And find yourself questioning “Who’s a good boy?” in the romantic comedy Mr. Predictable. The festival closes with the powerful story of Fanny’s Journey, as a group of children desperately make their way from Italy to the Swiss border completely alone in 1943 Europe.

AMC Independent at Bloomfield 8, Cinépolis in Blue Back Square, The Emanuel Synagogue of West Hartford and Spotlight Theaters in Hartford, join the Mandell JCC as venue locations for the various screenings, along with festival funders, the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, the Jewish Community Foundation and the Mandell JCC Pillars Society. Special thanks to program partners The Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of 3 Hartford, Trinity College Hillel and Central Connecticut State University, and media sponsors the Jewish Ledger, Data Mail inc., Let’s Go Arts Greater Hartford Arts Council, and iHeart Media.


Individual tickets to most films are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Tickets for Thursday, March 16, 2017 Opening Night On the Map film and served lite bites are $50 per person. The Sunday, March 26, 2017, Closing Night screening of Fanny’s Journey and dessert reception are $25 per person. Patron passes are on sale at the Box Office. $1 discount is offered for students 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. 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 Avenue, West Hartford, CT. 06117, 860‐231‐6316, visit the official film festival website, or contact the Member Services Center, 860‐236‐4571.

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