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Celebrating 20 years of bringing the best in international cinema to Maine.

The 2017 Festival will feature over thirty films from around the world and present a dynamic week of parties, guests and special events. The Maine Jewish Film Festival is proud to be an integral part of Maine’s cultural landscape. One of the nation’s oldest independently-curated Jewish Film Festivals, we’re committed to the belief that diversity is at the heart of what fuels a great festival and a great community. This year’s expansive slate includes an engaging collection of feature length and short films that includes dramas, comedies and documentaries. With wide-ranging subject mater that stretches from social justice to Star Trek – audiences in Portland, Waterville, Brunswick and Lewiston are sure to be inspired, educated and entertained.

 

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Calendar of Events

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Genre
Location
Animation
Comedy
Documentary
Drama
Shorts
Brunswick
Lewiston
Portland
Waterville
Wednesday 3.15.17
Date: 3.15.17 Time: 7:00pm Venue: CTN Studio Portland

Bogdan’s Journey

SOLD OUT

PREVIEW EVENT – Portland

THE 3/15 EVENT IS SOLD OUT. Tickets are still available for 3/23 screening at the Portland Museum of Art, 1:30 PM. More information here: Bogdan's Journey – March 23 Bogdan Bialek’s story is a remarkable one – and has much to teach us about how to bridge seemingly impassable divides. In our day, a rising tide of… Read more
Saturday 3.18.17
Date: 3.18.17 Time: 11:00am Venue: Eveningstar Cinema
Women fight for their rights in unexpected ways in this warm and funny film. When the women’s balcony in an Orthodox synagogue collapses, leaving the rabbi’s wife in a coma and the rabbi in shock, the congregation falls into crisis. Then young rabbi David arrives and they think they’ve found a savior. But when he… Read more
Date: 3.18.17 Time: 7:00pm Venue: Nickelodeon Cinema

The Women’s Balcony

OPENING NIGHT GALA (5PM) + FILM (7PM) – PORTLAND

THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT

Join us for a festive evening to celebrate the opening of our 20th season! The evening begins at 5:00PM with a reception at the Portland House of Music and Events, with food provided by David Turin of David's Restaurant. At 7:00 PM at the Nickelodeon Cinema is our opening night film, "The Women's Balcony". This… Read more
Date: 3.18.17 Time: 7:30pm Venue: Railroad Square Cinema

The Last Laugh

Waterville

Can the Holocaust be funny? Are jokes about Nazis and genocide in poor taste or a people’s way of coping with tragedy? When is “too soon” too soon? Filmmaker Ferne Pearlstein explores this question through interviews and excerpts from comedians like Mel Brooks, Rob Reiner, Sarah Silverman, Judy Gold, Chris Rock, and Joan Rivers, as… Read more
Sunday 3.19.17
Date: 3.19.17 Time: 11:00am Venue: Eveningstar Cinema

A Grain of Truth

Brunswick

This well crafted detective thriller effectively builds suspense using anti-Semitism and its centuries-old myth of blood libel:  Jews murdering Christians to use their blood for religious rituals. Once the star of the Warsaw prosecutor’s office, Teodor Szacki  (Polish Academy Award-winner Robert Więckiewicz) explores a series of ritual killings in Sandomierz, a small town in southeastern… Read more
Date: 3.19.17 Time: 11:30am Venue: Portland Museum of Art

An American Tail

Portland

An American Tale is fun for the whole family!  In this animated classic, a young Russian mouse named Fievel emigrates to America, gets separated from his family and must find them, learning some valuable survival lessons along the way.  You will laugh at Fievel's adventures and be inspired by his triumphs.  MJFF is proud to… Read more
Date: 3.19.17 Time: 12:00pm Venue: Railroad Square Cinema
In the context of fluid and evolving attitudes about refugees and immigrants, we present two stark and immediate documentaries, A Demonstration in a the White City and White Night, that illuminate a population that is often hidden in the shadows. White Night Documentary / Dir: Irit Gal / 2012 Israel / Arabic, Hebrew w/English subtitles /… Read more
Date: 3.19.17 Time: 1:00pm Venue: USM - Talbot Lecture Hall/Luther Bonney Hall

Freedom Runners

FREE YOUTH FILM – Portland

A young Jewish teacher in Tel Aviv starts a running club for his students, the sons and daughters of African asylum seekers.  Their talent and commitment bring them to national races, but their lack of Israeli citizenship denies them the trophies and recognition they earn. Asylum seekers, whether in Israel or Maine, cannot return to… Read more
Date: 3.19.17 Time: 1:30pm Venue: Bates College - Olin Arts Center

Raise the Roof

Lewiston

Amid a rising tide of antisemitism across much of Europe comes an extraordinary story of resurrection and renewal. During WWII the Nazis destroyed a forest of wooden synagogues - considered to be among the most remarkable wooden structures ever built. This documentary follows a team of over 300 artisans and students under the leadership of… Read more
Date: 3.19.17 Time: 1:30pm Venue: Portland Museum of Art

Blue Like Me + Hollow Land

Portland

TICKETS WILL BE AVAILABLE AT THE PMA AT 1:00 PM

Filmmaker Hal Rifkin captures the transfixing artwork of Siona Benjamin in the film Blue Like Me. Born in Mumbai to a Jewish family, Benjamin's boundary-crossing work synthesizes her Jewish roots with Hindu, Catholic, Muslim and Zoroastrian iconography of India. This event also features the beautiful award-winning animated short film, Hollow Land. TICKETS WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR… Read more
Date: 3.19.17 Time: 2:45pm Venue: Railroad Square Cinema
Women fight for their rights in unexpected ways in this warm and funny film. When the women’s balcony in an Orthodox synagogue collapses, leaving the rabbi’s wife in a coma and the rabbi in shock, the congregation falls into crisis. Then young rabbi David arrives and they think they’ve found a savior. But when he… Read more
Date: 3.19.17 Time: 3:00pm Venue: Nickelodeon Cinema

Bamidbar / Made Like a Gun

Portland

TICKETS WILL BE AVAILABLE AT THE NICKELODEON AT 2:30 pm

In this program we present two films, Bamidbar and Made Like A Gun, that focus on Israeli veterans coping with post traumatic stress. Often hidden behind stoic veneers, both of these films expose the emotional and moral consequences of combat. Following the films a panel of veterans' affairs experts will lead us in a discussion focused on… Read more
Date: 3.19.17 Time: 4:00pm Venue: Eveningstar Cinema

Moos

Brunswick

Endearing, smart and relatable, Moos is a romantic comedy that keeps you smiling from the opening scene to the closing credits. Uncomfortably unmarried and without a clear career path, the film follows 20-something Moos as she attempts to pursue her dream of getting into Amsterdam’s famed acting academy. Will she make it, or will lies,… Read more
Date: 3.19.17 Time: 5:00pm Venue: Bates College - Olin Arts Center

Moos

Lewiston

Endearing, smart and relatable, Moos is a romantic comedy that keeps you smiling from the opening scene to the closing credits. Uncomfortably unmarried and without a clear career path, the film follows 20-something Moos as she attempts to pursue her dream of getting into Amsterdam’s famed acting academy. Will she make it, or will lies,… Read more
Date: 3.19.17 Time: 7:00pm Venue: Nickelodeon Cinema

A Quiet Heart

Portland

Tickets will be available at the Nickelodeon at 6:30 PM.

This intense drama is set on the fault line between secularism and religious orthodoxy in modern Israel. Naomi (Ania Bukstein, Game of Thrones), a secular single woman rejecting her family and career as a classical pianist, moves to an Ultra-Orthodox area of Jerusalem. Two surprising connections with a musically gifted Ultra-Orthodox neighbor boy and a… Read more
Date: 3.19.17 Time: 7:30pm Venue: Railroad Square Cinema

A Quiet Heart

Waterville

This intense drama is set on the fault line between secularism and religious orthodoxy in modern Israel. Naomi (Ania Bukstein, Game of Thrones), a secular single woman rejecting her family and career as a classical pianist, moves to an Ultra-Orthodox area of Jerusalem. Two surprising connections with a musically gifted Ultra-Orthodox neighbor boy and a… Read more
Date: 3.19.17 Time: 7:30pm Venue: CTN Studio Portland
Mr. Spock is one of film and television’s most iconic and resonant characters. Logical, detached and a keen observer of human emotion - Spock's half-human half-Vulcan traits endow him with a compelling and enigmatic allure. In this intimate and personal documentary, Leonard’s son Adam Nimoy explores the creation, evolution, and universal impact of Mr. Spock.… Read more
Monday 3.20.17
Date: 3.20.17 Time: 6:00pm Venue: Nickelodeon Cinema

Freedom to Marry

Portland

Tickets will be sold at the Nickelodeon beginning at 5:15.

Within the context of the incoming Trump administration and its potential impact on the make-up of the Supreme Court, we present an open and engaging discussion about the evolution of marriage equality. Even though you know how the story ends, the film Freedom to Marry is a surprisingly suspenseful look at the struggle for marriage equality. This “war… Read more
Date: 3.20.17 Time: 7:00pm Venue: CTN Studio Portland
Joes' Violin A 91-year-old Holocaust survivor donates his violin  to an instrument drive, changing the life of a 12-year-old schoolgirl from the Bronx and unexpectedly, his own. Director/Producer Kahane Cooperman was co-executive producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. This beautiful film has been nominated for a 2017 Oscar: Best Documentary Short. More information.  … Read more
Tuesday 3.21.17
Date: 3.21.17 Time: 1:00pm Venue: Nickelodeon Cinema

Joe’s Violin / Flory’s Flame

Portland

Tickets will be sold at the Nickelodeon at 12:30PM

ONLINE SALES HAVE ENDED. TICKETS WILL BE SOLD AT THE NICKELODEON AT 12:30PM. Joes' Violin A 91-year-old Holocaust survivor donates his violin  to an instrument drive, changing the life of a 12-year-old schoolgirl from the Bronx and unexpectedly, his own. Director/Producer Kahane Cooperman was co-executive producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. This beautiful… Read more
Date: 3.21.17 Time: 4:00pm Venue: Nickelodeon Cinema

Summer Solstice

Portland

Tickets will be sold at the NIckelodeon at 3:30 PM

Subtly-contrasted but powerfully-connected scenes weave this compelling story of adolescents struggling to survive in late WWII Poland under German occupation. Romek, a Polish railroad worker, who scavenges the tracks for goods abandoned by deported Jews, and Guido, a German military policeman passionate about American jazz, love the same girl. The situation is relatively quiet until… Read more
Date: 3.21.17 Time: 6:00pm Venue: Nickelodeon Cinema

Bar Bahar

Portland

Tickets will be sold at the Nickelodeon at 5:30 PM

The film Bar Bahar follows three young Palestinian women sharing a flat in Tel Aviv while trying to navigate “in between” traditional and modern culture. Following the film, attorney Cathy Lee and activist Zainah Anwar, this year’s speaker for Justice for Women Lecture Series, will discuss the challenges modern women face today. Read more about Bar Bahar… Read more
Date: 3.21.17 Time: 7:00pm Venue: CTN Studio Portland

Pur / Operation Wedding

Portland

Tickets will be sold at CTN Studio at 6:30 PM

TICKETS WILL BE SOLD AT CTN STUDIO AT 6:30 pm Pur Rare home movies from Soviet Dissidents now in Israel recall the time,when they subversively used the Purim story to educate and inspire Soviet Jewish youth on forbidden Jewish culture. This documentary short film makes the most of grainy old videos to show the artists'… Read more
Wednesday 3.22.17
Date: 3.22.17 Time: 11:30am Venue: Portland Museum of Art

Last Mentsch

Portland

Tickets will be sold at the PMA at 11:00 am.

Evocative cinematography and superb acting drive this poignant story of denial and destiny. Marcus Schwarz (German Academy Award winner Mario Adorf) escaped Auschwitz and spent a lifetime concealing his heritage in Germany. But when the rabbis demand proof he’s really Jewish to purchase a plot in the local cemetery, he must return to his birthplace… Read more
Date: 3.22.17 Time: 1:30pm Venue: Portland Museum of Art

My Hero Brother

Portland

Tickets will be available at the PMA at 1:00 PM

A group of young Israelis with Down syndrome embarks on a trek through the Himalayas accompanied by their "normal" sisters and brothers. Preparation level and  medical safety are sometimes questionable; a non-Down syndrome sibling wonders, "Are we doing it for them or for us?" Exquisite cinematography of the Himalayas is interspersed with family photos, videos… Read more
Date: 3.22.17 Time: 1:30pm Venue: Nickelodeon Cinema
Women fight for their rights in unexpected ways in this warm and funny film. When the women’s balcony in an Orthodox synagogue collapses, leaving the rabbi’s wife in a coma and the rabbi in shock, the congregation falls into crisis. Then young rabbi David arrives and they think they’ve found a savior. But when he… Read more
Date: 3.22.17 Time: 6:00pm Venue: Nickelodeon Cinema

Shorts Program

Portland

Tickets will be sold at the Nickelodeon at 5:30 PM

"A Little Bit of This…A Little Bit of That"…2017 Short Film Program ONLINE SALES HAVE ENDED. TICKETS WILL BE SOLD AT THE NICKELODEON AT 5:30 PM. Animation and a unique family vacation, a single mother with a shocking profession, a 3rd generation seltzer man, an Orthodox women’s rock band and so much more; these nine thematically… Read more
Date: 3.22.17 Time: 6:00pm Venue: CTN Studio Portland

White Night / A Demonstration in the White City

Special Benefit Screening – Portland

Tickets will be available at CTN Studio at 6:00 PM

In the context of fluid and evolving attitudes about refugees and immigrants, we present two stark and immediate documentaries, A White Night and Demonstration in the White City   that illuminate a population that is often hidden in the shadows. This event will start with a gathering (including Rising Tide beer, Vena's Fizz House non-alcoholic beverages, and Middle… Read more
Thursday 3.23.17
Date: 3.23.17 Time: 1:00pm Venue: Portland Museum of Art

Harold & Lillian

Portland

From executive producer Danny DeVito comes the love story of two of Hollywood’s greatest unsung heroes - Harold and Lillian Michelson. Although their work as storyboard artist and film researcher was nearly always uncredited, their iconic six-decade careers were responsible for the production design of many Hollywood hits including The Birds, The Graduate, The Ten… Read more
Date: 3.23.17 Time: 3:00pm Venue: Nickelodeon Cinema

Bogdan’s Journey

Portland

Tickets will be sold at the Nickelodeon beginning at 5:30 pm

July 4, 1946: Polish soldiers, policemen and civilians massacre dozens of Jews returned from the Holocaust to the city of Kielce. The 70's:  Bogdan Bialek, Polish Catholic psychologist and teacher, begins a mission to persuade its citizens to confront their community's suppressed history of anti-Semitism and its murderous consequences. From devastating archival footage and survivors'… Read more
Date: 3.23.17 Time: 6:00pm Venue: Nickelodeon Cinema

Bang! The Bert Berns Story

Portland

Tickets will be sold at the Nickelodeon at 5:30 PM

You may never have heard of Bert Berns, but you've definitely heard his music. He was the writer and producer behind hits such as, Piece of My Heart, Hang on Sloopy and Twist and Shout all while launching the careers of Van Morrison and Neil Diamond. Interviews with Paul McCartney, Van Morrison, Ben E. King… Read more
Date: 3.23.17 Time: 6:00pm Venue: CTN Studio Portland
Saar is a 40 year-old Israeli Jew living in London.He grew up on an Orthodox kibbutz in Israel and became an IDF paratrooper.   After coming out to his family he moved away, using geographic distance to ensure emotional safety.. When, years later, Saar learns that he is HIV positive, he is driven to reconnect… Read more
Friday 3.24.17
Date: 3.24.17 Time: 1:00pm Venue: Portland Museum of Art

Raise the Roof

Portland

Tickets will be available at the PMA at 12:30 PM

Amid a rising tide of antisemitism across much of Europe comes an extraordinary story of resurrection and renewal. During WWII the Nazis destroyed a forest of wooden synagogues - considered to be among the most remarkable wooden structures ever built. This documentary follows a team of over 300 artisans and students under the leadership of… Read more
Date: 3.24.17 Time: 6:00pm Venue: Portland Museum of Art

Moos

Portland

Tickets will be sold at the PMA at 5:30 PM

Endearing, smart and relatable, Moos is a romantic comedy that keeps you smiling from the opening scene to the closing credits. Uncomfortably unmarried and without a clear career path, the film follows 20-something Moos as she attempts to pursue her dream of getting into Amsterdam’s famed acting academy. Will she make it, or will lies,… Read more
Date: 3.24.17 Time: 6:30pm Venue: CTN Studio Portland

The Last Laugh

Portland

Sold out

Can the Holocaust be funny? Are jokes about Nazis and genocide in poor taste or a people’s way of coping with tragedy? When is “too soon” too soon? Filmmaker Ferne Pearlstein explores this question through interviews and excerpts from comedians like Mel Brooks, Rob Reiner, Sarah Silverman, Judy Gold, Chris Rock, and Joan Rivers, as… Read more
Saturday 3.25.17
Date: 3.25.17 Time: 12:00pm Venue: Portland Museum of Art

Doing Jewish: A Story from Ghana

Portland

Tickets will be sold at the PMA at 11:30 am.

Is there a difference between "being Jewish" and "doing Jewish?"  Part of our "Welcoming the "Other" Film Series," this film follows a young Canadian Jewish filmmaker as she attempts to find out in a remote Black African Jewish community in Ghana.  How did Jewish customs and rituals find their way to Ghana?  How have they survived… Read more
Date: 3.25.17 Time: 6:30pm Venue: Portland Museum of Art

Peter the Third

Film + Reception – Portland

With joyous honesty, transcending age, this comedy reveals a fascinating cross-section of Israeli culture.  Peter is a customer of Alona in a Tel Aviv café and both are romantically and professionally dissatisfied. Peter, 65, an actor and widower, plots with his cadre of aging Romanian cynics, to start a new political party with the single… Read more