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About the Film:

Two filmmakers scoured the globe for the last David Ben-Gurion interview, before finding it in the Israeli desert. For almost 50 years, a special, personal conversation with the founder of the Jewish state and its first prime minister lay lost and hidden in the depths of a Jerusalem archive, unbeknownst to anyone. Recorded at his secluded desert home in 1968, five years before his death, the candid interview illustrates Ben-Gurion’s distance from political discourse and reveals the 82-year-old hindsight perspective on the Zionist enterprise. His introspective soul-searching is the focus of this film, and his clear voice provides a surprising vision for today’s crucial decisions and the future of Israel, now 70 years in the making. A rivetingly intimate documentary that captures both the vision and humility of Israel's founding father.


Ben Gurion Epilogue Poster

Film Details:

Director: Yariv Mozer
Country: Israel/France
Language: English, and Hebrew w/subtitles
Running Time: 55m
Year: 2016
Genre: Documentary
IMDB

Subjects:

  • History
  • Israel
  • War
  • Peace
  • Israel's Founding Fathers

Sponsors:

Community Partners: American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Seattle - Be'er Sheva Sister City Association

About the Film:

Long admired in geeky circles for her inventions, screen bombshell and pinup Hedy Lamarr finally returns to the spotlight in this biographical documentary. Lamarr had a stranger-than-fiction life: she escaped from Nazi Austria and her arms tycoon husband, led a long career as a film actress called  "the world's most beautiful woman," and invented a frequency-hopping signal transmitter that was the precursor to bluetooth and WiFi. Retrace the little-known double life of a Hollywood legend and science pioneer.

Community Conversation w/Endless Opportunities after the film. 

bombshell hedy lamarr story poster

Film Details:

Director: Alexandra Dean
Country: USA
Language: English
Running Time: 86m
Year: 2017
Genre: Documentary
IMDB

Subjects:

  • Women's Story
  • Hollywood 
  • Tech Industry

Rating/Warning: PG-13 (brief nudity)

Sponsors:

Community PartnersTemple Beth AmTemple De Hirsch Sinai Endless OpportunitiesKline Galland Home | Summit at First Hill

About the Film:FacebookRSVPFinal2018

In 1940, 14-year-old Marion Kreith (mother of co-director Judy Kreith) was among 6,000 Jewish refugees from war-torn Europe taken in by Cuba, including hundreds of diamond cutters and their families. With limited options in this exotic and unfamiliar land, they—along with 6,000 additional Jews from an earlier wave of refugees—built an industry from scratch that, for a few years, turned the tropical island nation into a global diamond-polishing center. Men and women, Jews and Cubans, worked side by side, integrated and intermingled without prejudice for years. However, when the war ended, most Jews emigrated to the US, Israel, or back to Europe, whereupon the fledgling industry vanished without a trace. Featuring an original soundtrack of Jewish melodies and pulsating Cuban music, including the song "La Chica del Malecón" by Seattle’s own Latin jazz band, Clave Gringa (who will perform after the film), CUBA’S FORGOTTEN JEWELS brings this little-known, colorful, and uplifting story to light. In our current climate of resurgent nativism, CUBA’S FORGOTTEN JEWELS documents an immigrant success story and celebrates the power of the human spirit. Bring your toe-tapping and dancing shoes!

Includes Live Latin Jazz Preformace by Clave Gringa feat. Ann Reynolds.

Special Guests:

Judy KreithJudy Kreith: Co-Director, Writer of CUBA'S FORGOTTEN JEWELS is a professional dance educator and choreographer. She received her MA Degree from Stanford University. Her mother, Marion Finkels Kreith, is the key inspiration for this film. Judy has extensively studied Cuban dance and while in Cuba, began research into the Jewish refugees’ diamond polishing industry that flourished in Havana during the Second World War, working on-site with Cuban historians. Judy contributes her research and knowledge, along with her personal connection and passion for this project and its potential impact. She has spoken on this topic to many groups, including a conference at the University of Antwerp, Belgium.

Robin TruesdaleRobin Truesdale: Co-Director, Cinematographer and Editor of CUBA'S FORGOTTEN JEWELS is a documentary filmmaker and the founder of Two Hands Films. She brings her storytelling abilities and craft to this project as the cinematographer, editor, and technical director. Robin began her career as a news editor for a Denver television station. After years of constructing news and educational stories through video, she was introduced to documentary film’s powerful potential to communicate deeper stories about people, cultures, and issues of the times. Her work deals primarily with social justice, cultural, and humanitarian issues. Robin received her BS and MS Degrees in Journalism from the University of Colorado

Clave Gringa crop 130x130

Clave Gringa is a Seattle Latin Jazz band whose song "La Chica del Malecon" is featured on the CUBA'S FORGOTTEN JEWELS SOUNDTRACK. The energy and spirit of Clave Gringa reflects a commitment to an authentic expression of music and is an invitation to get up and move. Repertoire includes a broad spectrum of Cuban styles from Cuban son and danzon to rumba and Afro Cuban with an infusion of American jazz.


cuba still poster

Film Details:

Director: Robin Truesdale and Judy Kreith
Country: USA
Language: English, Spanish, and Hebrew w/subtitles
Running Time: 46m
Year: 2017
Genre: Documentary
Official Website

Subjects: 

  • WWII
  • Cuba
  • Refugees and immigration
  • Diamond Industry

Sponsors:

Michele & Stan Rosen
Iantha & Stan Sidell
Community Partners: American Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)

About the Film:

Widely considered one of the world’s greatest living violinists, Itzhak Perlman’s passion for music allowed him to find a platform for personal expression against tremendous circumstances. In this intimate profile of the brilliant and beloved musician, music teacher, and conductor, and his modern Jewish family, Perlman tells us about his childhood as the son of Polish survivors, where his mastery of the violin catapulted a child prodigy with polio from a small neighborhood in Tel Aviv onto the world’s most prominent stages. Never again will you be granted such close access to this musical genius and genuine mensch! 

Itzhak poster

Film Details:

Director: Alison Chernick
Country: USA
Language: English and Hebrew w/subtitles
Running Time: 80m
Year: 2017
Genre: Documentary
Official Website

Subjects:

  • Biography
  • Music
  • Disabilities

Sponsors:

Marjorie and Ron Danz
Carol and Andy Harris
Community PartnerSeattle Hadassah, StandWithUs Northwest
Media Sponsors: Seattle Symphony, Classic KING FM 98.1

About the Film: 

Known as the Jimi Hendrix of bass guitar, Israeli bassist and producer Yossi Fine has recorded and produced music with artists from across the globe, including Lou Reed, pop icons David Bowie and Madonna, Gil Evans, and Naughty by Nature. The son of a European Jew from Lithuania and a Parisian mom, whose parents were both black from Martinique, Fine recently learned that his grandfather was Indian, and departs on a journey of rediscovery. He travels to India to explore new sounds and collaborate with local musicians, where he unexpectedly reconnects with Israeli musicians Shye Ben Tzur and Gil Ron Shama. Together, they discover a world of Jewish music and perform in some of the country’s holiest places. In her first feature-length documentary, Canadian filmmaker Rebekah Reiko offers a lively and joyous musical journey.

Special Guest:

Rebekah Reiko-sm

Documentary filmmaker, cinematographer and photographer Rebekah Reiko explores contemporary themes outside the spotlight. She holds an MFA in Documentary Media from Ryerson University and has made films in India, Israel, Canada and Germany.


Mandala Beats-poster

Film Details:

Director: Rebekah Reiko
Country: Canada/ India/ Israel
Language: English
Running Time: 45m
Year: 2016
Genre: Documentary

Subjects:

  • World Music
  • Multicultural

Sponsor:

Shari Basom and David Spiekerman
Outreach Partner: UW Hillel | JConnect

About the Film:

The untold story of the pork industry in Israel, an industry that has raised ethnic tensions and heated struggles over the country's short history. Sitting firmly between Israel's essential identity issues and the fundamental right to freedom of choice, this taboo in Jewish tradition has become one of the secular state's most prominent symbols. Director Chen Shelach traces pig farming back to the Zionist movement's attempt to create a "new Jew" in the land of Israel, unbeholden to old traditions, and explores this new identity’s struggle to survive in the face of fierce resistance from religious and observant Jews. PRAISE THE LARD presents a sharply fascinating, little-discussed take on the outsized role one farm animal has historically played in the Holy Land.

Plays with: OUR BROTHERS (short)

Praise-The-Lard-Poster

Film Details:

Director: Chen Shelach
Country: Israel
Language: Hebrew w/subtitles
Running Time: 60m
Year: 2016
Genre: Documentary

Subjects:

  • Kosher
  • Kashrut
  • Foodies
  • Israel's National Identity

Sponsors:

Rubens Family Foundation
Community PartnerStroum Center for Jewish Studies

About The Film

A toe-tapping, star-studded homage to the immensely gifted black Jewish entertainer, Sammy Davis Jr., affectionately called "Mr. Show Business."  This documentary by Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning director Sam Pollard, delves deeply into the personal life and career of the legendary talent, spotlighting his time with the Rat Pack, as he navigated the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress in 20th century America. Black, Jewish, and Puerto Rican, the one-eyed Davis stood a mere 5'6" and weighted only 120 pounds. Still, his 60-year career left a massive mark on the industry. Hopscotching archival footage spanning almost 60 years—from his debut at the age of seven to his final performances—I’VE GOTTA BE ME reminds us that Davis was a dynamic trailblazer in every sense of the word.


 

Sammy Davis Jr poster

Film Details:

Director: Sam Pollard
Country: USA
Language: English
Running Time: 100m
Year: 2017
Genre: Documentary

Subjects:

  • Biography
  • Rat Pack
  • Jewish Entertainers
  • Hollywood
  • African-American
  • Family Friendly

Rating/Warning: PG (language)

 Sponsors:

About the Film:FacebookRSVPFinal2018

Who knew that Jews—specifically Jewish women—dominated Bollywood for the first half of its 100-year history? When it was taboo for Hindu and Muslim women to perform on screen, actresses from the small but progressive Indian Jewish community stepped in front of the camera and reigned over the world’s largest film industry. This entertaining documentary, 11 years in the making, is chock-full of rich and rare archival clips, and features profiles of six legends of the Indian screen: sultry Sulochana (Ruby Meyers), who in the 1927’s WILD CAT OF BOMBAY played eight different characters (some male); Miss Rose (Rose Ezra), the queen of Bollywood’s racy party scene in the 1930s; Pramila (Esther Abraham), one of the first female producers and the first Miss India in 1947; Nadira (Farhat Ezekiel) the quintessential Bollywood vamp in the 1950s and ’60s golden era of Indian cinema; David Joseph Penkar, who wrote the first talkie in 1931; and the revered Uncle David (David Abraham), who appeared in over 100 films. Unlike Hollywood, the lack of anti-Semitism helped them push the boundaries of Indian cinema (i.e., the first dance, first kiss, and first color film) and make Bollywood what it is today.

Special Event :Eastside Opening Night

Shalom Bollywood poster

Film Details:

Director: Danny Ben-Moshe
Country: Australia
Language: English
Running Time: 76m
Year: 2017
Genre: Documentary
Official Website

Subjects:

  • Women's Stories
  • India
  • Dance
  • Bollywood
  • Film Industry 

Sponsor:

Community Partner: Department of Comparative Literature, Cinema & Media | University of Washington

Closing Night CenterpieceFacebookRSVPFinal2018

This year’s SJFF REEL Difference Award recipient is Emmy-nominated filmmaker, author, and internet pioneer Tiffany Shlain, whose Let it Ripple film studio makes impactful films and creates global social initiatives (Character Day, Technology Shabbats) that explore the intersection of technology, (Jewish) identity and connection that shape our lives. She will take us on an exhilarating tour of her acclaimed films and present a new, interactive, documentary art form she calls “Spoken Cinema”—a live narration of her films as the soundtrack plays in the background. Audience participation encouraged!

Special Event: Closing Night Centerpiece Film, Award and Reception.

REEL Difference Award Recipient

Tiffany Shlain director-sm

Tiffany Shlain is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, author, public speaker, founder of The Webby Awards, and co-founder of The International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. She is also the co-founder of two global initiatives, Character Day and 50/50 Day, uniting over 100,000 live events of film and discussion about important issues shaping our lives all linked together online with speakers and one theme. Character Day explores questions and research around living a life of meaning and purpose with her films  30,000 DAYS and THE SCIENCE OF CHARACTER as the centerpiece. 50/50 Day focuses on gender equity, using her film 50/50 RETHINKING THE PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE OF WOMEN + POWER. Tiffany’s films and work have received more than 80 awards and distinctions including premieres at the Sundance Film Festival and a Disruptive Innovation Award from Tribeca Film Festival.  The State Department uses her films to represent America around the world. She serves on the Leadership Board of The Center on Media and Child Health at Harvard's Boston Children's Hospital and she is a Henry Crown Fellow of The Aspen Institute. Tiffany and her husband, robotics professor Ken Goldberg, have two children and for the past eight years have turned off all screens for one day a week for what they call their “Technology Shabbats,” which she has explored in a lot of her work. www.tiffanyshlain.com


Shlain poster

"Spoken Cinema" and Film Details:

THE TRIBE | Documentary Short | USA | 2005 | 18m
THE MAKING OF A MENSCH | Documentary Short | USA | 2015 | 11m
TECHNOLOGY SHABBATS | Documentary/Animation Short | USA | 2013 | English | 7m
50/50: RETHINKING THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE OF WOMEN IN POWER | Documentary Short | USA | 2016 | 20m
THE WHOLE CINEMAGILLAH | Participatory Short | USA | 2017 | 12m
SPOKEN CINEMA “30,000 DAYS” | 11m

 

 
Sponsors:

Event Sponsors: Madison Park Café Catering | Karen Binder, Rusty’s Famous Cheesecakes
Community Partner: Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle

 

About the Film:

A coastal city renowned for its idyllic beauty, Kastoria was once home to a harmonious and vibrant population of Jews and Christians. Illuminating the moving, individual stories of the Greek Sephardic families forced from their homes when Nazis took control of the town, this carefully crafted documentary serves as a tribute and reminder of the many displaced communities forced out and afflicted by Nazi occupation. Using never-before-seen archival footage and interviews with survivors scattered across the diaspora, TREZOROS stitches together a compelling and affecting portrait of a unique and dynamic Jewish community.

Special Event: Post-film Sephardic coffee klatsch (echar lashon) with coffee/tea and biscochos. Included in ticket price. 

Guest Speakers:

Larry Confino co-director .... photo/bio coming soon

Lawrence Russo director-smLawrence Russo co-director & executive producer studied at NYU's film school, after working at New Line Cinema he joined a group of SUNY Purchase filmmakers to co-found the independent studio "The Shooting Gallery" (Laws of Gravity, Sling Blade). Russo also produced and directed the Emmy nomnated PBS short film showcase "ShortCuts" hosted by Louis CK.

Devin-Naar-v2

Dr. Devin E. Naar is the Isaac Alhadeff Professor in Sephardic Studies, Assistant Professor of History, and faculty at the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies in the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. Born and raised in New Jersey, Dr. Naar graduated summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis and received his Ph.D. in History at Stanford University. His forthcoming book with Stanford University Press, Jewish Salonica: Between the Ottoman Empire and Modern Greece, based on his prize-winning dissertation, explores the impact of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of modern Greece during the 19th and 20th centuries on the Jews of Salonica (Thessaloniki).


 

Trezoros-poster

Film Details:

Director: Lawrence Russo, Larry Confino
Country: Greece/Israel/USA
Language: English and Greek w/subtitles
Running Time: 99m
Year: 2016
Genre: Drama
Official Website

Subjects:

  • Greek Jews
  • Sephardic Jews
  • World War II

Rating/Warning: Rec: 8+

Sponsors:

Maureen and Joel Benoliel
Lela and Harley Franco
Event Sponsors: Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters, Sholom Teas
Community PartnersCongregation Ezra BessarothSeattle Sephardic NetworkUW Stroum Center for Jewish Studies and Sephardic Studies Program

About the Film:

A daughter tells the story of the controversial choices that her father, a Jewish artist from Poland, made in order to survive the Holocaust. Eddie Vitch (né Ignace Levkovitch) was a talented comedian, caricature artist, and mime. His iconic drawings of the silver screen’s biggest stars covered the walls of the iconic Brown Derby in Los Angeles—a famous Hollywood haunt and the stuff of celebrity lore— where Vitch drew and hobnobbed with stars like Joan Crawford, Clark Gabe, Bob Hope and Marlene Dietrich. After Vitch was deported to Europe in the 1930s, the Nazi Ministry of Propaganda ordered him to perform his hit mime act at some of Germany’s most prestigious theaters in front of the Gestapo and Nazi elite, including Goering and Goebbels—a task he continued throughout the war. Was he hiding in plain sight, or were the Nazis protecting him? As Vitch’s mysterious life is revealed, it becomes clear that what happened decades ago still affects his family today.

Exhibit & Reception:

Join the local filmmakers and producers, including Eddie Vitch's niece, Yaffa Maritz, after the film for an exhibit of Eddie Vitch’s famous Brown Derby caricatures of Hollywood celebrities and a Brown Derby-themed cake reception.


Special Guests:

Sigal Bujman director-sm

Director Sigal Bujman was born in a Kibbutz in Israel, Sigal has been living in the US since 2002. She co-created and directed the 30-part cultural travel series "Fantastic Festivals of the World," "Haifa - the Silenced Voices," "Koxinga - A Heroes Legacy," and "Papa Boss." She is the director, producer, and writer of VITCH.

Marc Pingry cinematographer-sm
Marc Pingry is an Emmy Award–winning Director of Photography and Editor of VITCH has been in the filmmaking business for over 40 years. He worked for Public Television stations 22 years and in 1999 formed his own production company. Marc has shot documentaries around the world and has produced and edited programs that have aired on networks worldwide

vitch-poster

Film Details:

Director: Sigal Bujman
Country: USA/Austrailia
Languages: English, French, German, and Hebrew w/subtitles
Running Time: 78m
Year: 2017
Genre: Documentary
Official Website

Subject

  • Preforming Artist
  • WWII
  • Brown Durby
  • Celebrity Characters
  • Holocaust
  • Family Stories

Sponsors:

Gale Picker and John Larsen
Community Partner: Herzl-Ner Tamid Conservative Congregation

 

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