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Film Descriptions

February 7, 2018

#uploading_holocaust

The first documentary based entirely on curated YouTube clips. Every year, thousands of Israeli high school students make the “journey to Poland” to learn about the Holocaust.  They visit 4 concentration camps, 3 mass graves, 2 ghettos and perform 14 memorial ceremonies over 8 days. Technologically savvy, the teens record  the entire experience – from… Read more

February 7, 2018

1945

Life seems normal in a small Hungarian village in 1945: business is good at the pharmacy owned by the town clerk and, and the villagers are eagerly preparing for his son’s wedding.  Then two mysterious Jewish strangers dressed in black appear at the railway station and within a few hours, everything changes.  Shot in black… Read more

April 16, 2018

1945 Lewiston

Life seems normal in a small Hungarian village in 1945: business is good at the pharmacy owned by the town clerk and, and the villagers are eagerly preparing for his son’s wedding.  Then two mysterious Jewish strangers dressed in black appear at the railway station and within a few hours, everything changes.  Shot in black… Read more

February 7, 2018

After Auschwitz

Not a typical Holocaust film, After Auschwitz follows the journey of six diverse, extraordinary women, who struggled through trauma and tragedy to make new lives in Los Angeles. They married, raised children, worked, became citizens, but never truly found home. Superb pacing and editing weave together archival footage and interviews in a way that reveals… Read more

February 7, 2018

An Act of Defiance

“I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if it need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” – Nelson Mandela,… Read more

February 7, 2018

Big Sonia

Warm, endearing and inspiring, Big Sonia proves that good things really do come in small packages. Sonia Warshawski, a diminutive Holocaust survivor with an extraordinary inner light, and the drive to transform her traumatic past into a source of hope and inspiration, has something to teach us all. Reaching across racial, religious and generational divides… Read more

February 5, 2018

Bombshell, The Hedy Lamarr Story

Known for her matchless beauty and electric screen persona, Hedy Lamarr also possessed an exceptional mind. An Austrian Jewish émigré who acted by day and drew mechanical and electronic inventions by night, Lamarr developed and patented a secret communication system to help the Allies beat the Nazis. Rare recordings, interviews, and excerpts from Lamarr’s own… Read more

March 6, 2018

Bombshell, The Hedy Lamarr Story Portland

Known for her matchless beauty and electric screen persona, Hedy Lamarr also possessed an exceptional mind. An Austrian Jewish émigré who acted by day and drew mechanical and electronic inventions by night, Lamarr developed and patented a secret communication system to help the Allies beat the Nazis. Rare recordings, interviews, and excerpts from Lamarr’s own… Read more

February 8, 2018

Bombshell, The Hedy Lamarr Story Waterville

Known for her matchless beauty and electric screen persona, Hedy Lamarr also possessed an exceptional mind. An Austrian Jewish émigré who acted by day and drew mechanical and electronic inventions by night, Lamarr developed and patented a secret communication system to help the Allies beat the Nazis. Rare recordings, interviews, and excerpts from Lamarr’s own… Read more

February 7, 2018

Bye Bye Germany

David Berman and his friends, all Holocaust survivors, have only one purpose:  to get to America as soon as possible.  For this, they need money.  Clever, resourceful, and shady, they are succeeding in their goal when the past comes back to haunt them.  Why is the beautiful German-American officer so interested in David?  Who are… Read more

February 14, 2018

Carvalho’s Journey

How did an observant Sephardic Jew from Charleston SC come to join one of the greatest adventures of the 19th century? When legendary expeditioner John Frémont set out through the Rockies to find a transcontinental railroad route, he recruited Carvalho to document the trek using daguerreotype, an early form of photography. Carvalho covered 2,400 miles… Read more

February 7, 2018

Curious George

It’s safe to say that everyone (whether as a child, an adult or both) has some experience with the Curious George books. The story of the mischievous monkey was created 76 years ago by H.A and Margaret Rey, Jewish Holocaust Survivors with a dramatic story of their own (see Monkey Business).   Starring Will Ferrell and… Read more

February 7, 2018

Fire Birds

An 80-year-old murder victim is found with 3 stabs to his chest and a number tattooed on his arm. A depressed detective, a second-generation Holocaust survivor, who has just come back to work after a suspension, reluctantly accepts the case. Alternating between flashbacks of the victim’s life and the personal struggles of the detective, director… Read more

February 7, 2018

Foreign Letters

What does it feel like to be the new kid who speaks a foreign language in a small New England town? Twelve year old Ellie feels  lonely and isolated when her family emigrates from Israel to Connecticut during the 1982 Lebanon war. Suffering from homesickness, language difficulties and rejection at school, she makes friends with… Read more

February 7, 2018

Forever Pure

In 2013, a perfect storm of misunderstanding, fear, and rebellion results when the Russian billionaire owner of a Jewish Jerusalem soccer team, with a losing record but a rabidly loyal fan base, recruits two players from Chechnya who are Muslim. There are heroes and villains here, but not always where you would expect to find… Read more

February 7, 2018

Gilbert

Can a performer notorious for filthy jokes and questionable taste also be a devoted family man?  Gilbert  reveals an unexpected side to the comedian, Gilbert Gottfried, known for jaw-dropping, boundary pushing comedy, and a memorable turn as the parrot in Disney’s Aladdin.  A devoted brother to his sisters, he lives a wholesome “how did I get… Read more

February 7, 2018

Heather Booth

At a time when many are wondering how to make their voices heard, this captivating documentary, a tribute to Heather Booth, examines how social change really happens. From registering Black Mississippians to vote in the 1960s to advocating for affordable childcare for working parents, Booth has been on the front lines of social activism.  Looking… Read more

February 7, 2018

House of Z

Fashion is more than just beautiful clothes – it’s a business.  In chronicling the meteoric rise, fall and rise of the young fashion designer Zac Posen, this documentary gives the filmgoer an insider’s view of the fashion industry.  The son of an artist and a lawyer living in SoHo, Mr. Posen first draped fabric on… Read more

February 7, 2018

Hummus! The Movie

Beyond the mystique and competition, beyond the religious and political divides, this movie celebrates the lives of ordinary people who are extraordinary in their devotion to making and serving the best hummus.  We follow their lives in the Middle East, in Russia, and in Germany to learn how the love of Hummus can bring people… Read more

January 28, 2018

Israeli Film on the Deaf Community

“Raising you is like raising 3 kids,” the deaf child Elad was told by his beloved mother years before her tragic death deepened his alienation from his hearing family. A gay man, he becomes a father through shared parenting with his best friend, a deaf woman, supported by their community of deaf friends. How will… Read more

February 7, 2018

Keep the Change

When David is forced to attend an autism support group, he wants nothing to do with the other members.  That is, until he meets Sarah, who radiates optimism and confidence.  The leads in this warm romantic comedy are played by autistic amateur actors, who bring a spontaneity that is both authentic and endearing.  Embracing an… Read more

January 29, 2018

Menashe

In the first American 21st century Yiddish language film, Menashe, a good-hearted but somewhat hapless grocery store clerk, struggles against tradition to keep custody of his only son after his wife passes away.  A rare inside illumination of New York’s notoriously secretive ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, this film provides a compelling portrait of a father trying… Read more

February 5, 2018

Monkey Business: The Adventures of Curious George’s Creators

Was Curious George almost a  Holocaust victim? The surprising answer is yes. It has been 75 years since Curious George first touched the hearts and minds of children around the world. Still, little is known about his creators, Hans and Margret Rey – until now.  German Jews living in Paris during the rise of Nazism,… Read more

February 7, 2018

Mr. Gaga

Featuring breathtaking dance sequences and footage of intimate rehearsals, Mr. Gaga tells the story of Ohad Naharin, the renowned choreographer and artistic director of the Batsheva Dance Company.  A genius who redefined the language of modern dance, Naharin’s  personal life is as compelling as his artistic evolution.  A visual delight, Mr. Gaga is a spirited and… Read more

February 7, 2018

On the Banks of the Tigris: The Hidden Story of Iraqi Music

A musical odyssey uncovers the hidden – and almost erased – story of Iraqi music. Majid Shokor, an Iraqi living in exile in Australia, is determined to find  the roots of Iraqi popular music, and goes on a journey of discovery to Israel, Europe and Iraq to meet musicians of all faiths and hear their… Read more

February 7, 2018

Oriented

What is life like for  a gay Palestinian millennials  living in Tel Aviv? It’s complicated. In this big hearted documentary from a straight Jewish film director, we meet  three friends who are politically active and assertive about their right to define their own identity and not at all interested in conforming to the expectations of… Read more

February 7, 2018

Past Life

In 1977 West Berlin, an Israeli singer performs at her first international concert. Afterwards, she is accosted by an older Polish woman who accuses her father of being a murderer. Confused and disturbed by the accusation, the singer and her sister set out to unravel the truth about the their father’s murky WWII experiences. Inspired… Read more

February 7, 2018

Sammy Davis, Jr: I’ve Gotta Be Me

Through fantastic performances, star-studded interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage, this documentary pays tribute to the legendary Sammy Davis, Jr.  From a very young age, Sammy displayed his larger-than-life talents to multiple audiences, often fighting prejudice and racism along the way.  From Civil Rights marches, to entertaining the troops in Vietnam, to his controversial support of Nixon… Read more

February 7, 2018

Shorts Program

An MJFF curated program made up of seven short films that are provocative and powerful distillations of the human experience.  From creative animation to slice of life realism, these films are both entertaining and thought-provoking. The Forger – Animation and interview illuminate the experiences of a forger in the French Resistance. Kid Yamaka – The… Read more

February 7, 2018

Supergirl

Naomi Kutin seems like a typical Orthodox Jewish pre-teen, until her extraordinary weight lifting talent changes her life and that of her family. Supergirl follows Naomi’s unique coming-of-age story as she fights to hold on to her title while navigating the perils of adolescence—from strict religious obligations to cyber-bullying, and health issues. This at times… Read more

February 7, 2018

The Cakemaker

A forbidden love story takes a wholly unexpected — but richly rewarding — turn. Berlin baker Tomas embarks on a passionate affair with Oren, a businessman visiting from Jerusalem. When Oren dies suddenly in a car crash, Tomas travels to Israel seeking answers. Keeping his secret to himself, he starts working in a café for… Read more

February 7, 2018

The Jerusalem Dream

In the late 1970’s, after thousands of years of praying and longing for Jerusalem, the first Ethiopian Jews arrived in Israel. This first-time recounting portrays their improbable journey,  physically dangerous and with their spirits constantly challenged.  Simply filmed, witnessed by their families, survivors are honest and direct telling stories of immense bravery, and of incredible… Read more

February 7, 2018

The Making of West Side Story

In 1984 legendary composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein gathered together a group of leading opera singers to embark on a remarkable project. Bernstein, along with Kiri Te Kanawa, Jose Carreras and others set out to record the entire score of West Side Story. This intimate film takes us on their journey while giving us a… Read more

February 7, 2018

West Side Story

The Maine Jewish Film Festival is proud to present the timeless film version of West Side Story.  2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Leonard Bernstein as well as choreographer/director Jerome Robbins. Together they created a groundbreaking, tradition shattering and entirely American work of art -from the first street scene to the closing… Read more