Skip to content

Film Series

Welcoming the “Other”  •  Women in Focus  •  Arts Illuminated


Three compelling and captivating themes lend context
to the 2017 Festival film selections.

Welcoming the “Other”

A rising tide of populism and nationalism globally and at home thrives on demonizing the “Other.”   These six documentaries challenge us to understand and welcome those who are unfamiliar, with the belief that pluralism and inclusion create a stronger, more vibrant and just society.

Blue Like Me profiles the cultural and religious boundary-crossing work of artist Siona Benjamin, who grew up in India’s Bene Israel Jewish community. Artist in attendance for post-film discussion. Siona Benjamin will present her work after the screening.

Bogdan’s Journey tells the remarkable story of Bogdan Bialek, who has dedicated his life to breaking the cycle of hate and mistrust that has plagued is hometown of Kielce, Poland since a terrible hate crime occurred there in 1946.

Doing Jewish: A Story from Ghana is a fascinating look at a small Jewish community in rural Ghana and the question, “Who is a Jew?” Portland City Councilor and Ghana native Pious Ali will lead a discussion after the screening.

For the Love of Spock explores Star Trek’s “Other,” half human/half Vulcan, and the iconic actor who portrayed him.

Freedom Runners highlights a high school running club in Tel Aviv that features talented African refugees fighting for their civil rights.

Made Like a Gun explores the reality of combat veterans who tragically, and too often, feel like the “Other” in their own families and country. Post film discussion includes Nora Hoesing, RN, BSN, Iraq War Veteran, David Faigin, Phd, VA psychologist, and Doug Rawlings, Vietnam War Veteran and co-founder of Veterans for Peace.


Women in Focus

The five films in this expansive and colorful series showcase ordinary women finding extraordinary solutions to life’s challenges. Widely varied in style, subject matter and emotional impact – these enlightening, engaging films transform the day-to-day lives of women into vivid, cinematic and inspiring stories.

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, a discussion led by Cathy Lee and Zainah Anwar, this year’s speaker for Justice for Women Lecture Series, discusses the challenges modern muslim women face today.

Dimona Twist is an illuminating documentary that profiles the struggles and joys faced by women immigrating to the Israeli desert town of Dimona in the 1950s and 1960s.

Moos is a romantic comedy that follows a young woman pursuing her dream of attending Amsterdam’s famed acting academy.

White Night follows a group of fearless and determined Arab women who risk their lives to work as domestic laborers in Israel.  

The Women’s Balcony is a funny and endearing film that challenges women’s roles in Israel’s Orthodox Jewish community.


Arts Illuminated

This documentary series sheds light on remarkable Jewish art and makers.  From a pioneering 1960s hit record producer, to the life-affirming story of a Holocaust survivor and his violin, to an education in filmmaking from two of Hollywood’s greatest unsung heroes – these six films reveal rich traditions and pioneering innovators.

Bang! The Bert Berns Story – Narration by Steve Van Zandt, reminiscence by Van Morrison and Keith Richards: the story of the most important 60’s rock ‘n roll songwriter and producer you never heard of, creator of “Twist and Shout” and “Piece Of My Heart.”

Blue Like Me – This visually stunning film gets you up close and personal with the boundary-crossing work of Indian-born artist Siona Benjamin.

Flory’s Flame – A loving tribute to 90-year-old Ladino singer, songwriter and archivist, Flory Jagoda, composer of “Ocho Candelikas.”

Harold and Lillian – An intimate portrait of Harold and Lillian Michelson whose work as storyboard artist and film researcher shaped The Birds, The Graduate, The Ten Commandments and Fiddler on the Roof.

Joe’s Violin – Oscar-Nominated documentary short about a Holocaust survivor who donates his violin to an instrument drive and changes the life of a 12-year-old schoolgirl from the Bronx.

Raise the Roof – Follow a team of over 300 artisans and students in this remarkable collaborative effort to rebuild an elaborate Polish wooden synagogue destroyed during the Holocaust.


Visit the Festival Calendar to find showtimes. No special pass is required – purchase tickets for each of the films individually.

festival calendar

Three compelling and captivating themes provide context for the 2017 Festival film selections.