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A letter from Harriet Dobin, Director of the Hartford Jewish Film Festival:
Dear Festival Friends,
Welcome to the Mandell JCC’s Hartford Jewish Film Festival, our 14th annual celebration of Jewish life and people on the big screen. We are proud to present a record 30 superb films – most of them Connecticut or Hartford premieres - from 8 countries presented in 7 Greater Hartford venues over 10 days.
Get ready to chuckle, applaud, gasp, sniffle, howl and be dazzled!
We are honored to present the Festival with our long-time partners, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. Our new partnership with the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies and The Hartt School at the University of Hartford, combines film and live music in new, exciting ways. Children and parents alike will love Family Flicks, with an animated Jewish folk tale and live children’s opera. On Closing Night, 70 musicians from The Hartt School will perform an original student-composed score accompanying a restored classic 1922 Jewish movie.
Three Reel Talk events will present directors, scholars and film subjects following selected movies. Senior Screen will bring delightful Jewish films to our community’s seniors at a new venue, Hebrew Health Care.
We open with the Connecticut premiere of Hello Goodbye, reuniting French stars Fanny Ardant and Gerard Depardieu, who are hilariously lost and found in the Promised Land. Journey with us into the silent world of a remote Bedouin tribe and travel back in time with a silent Jewish film. Cheer on our Jewish hoopsters and Israeli sumo wrestlers. Strap in for a thrill ride with Nazi-hunting Israeli agents. Hear true stories of World War II heroism and bravery spotlighting Hartford women. Meet the courageous Soviet Jews behind the headlines and on the front lines of our generation’s greatest liberation movement.
South American Jewish life shapes two Argentinean entries, spanning the centuries with touching love stories and poignant family dramas. A ballroom dance class and a political scandal help two Israeli teens come of age. The politics and problems of Israel and her neighbors are interpreted in two powerful, award-winning films while a modern-day Jerusalem heroine finds her biblical namesake’s temptations shockingly real.
Blond, blue-eyed baby Leah, a rookie war correspondent and a troubled violinist are some of the characters introduced in the eight short Holocaust films we’ll screen during Tribute – Observations on Survival and Spirit – Lessons from the Holocaust. This program, generously funded by the Kirstein Family Fund for Holocaust Education of the Jewish Commnunity Foundation, moves to the Wilde Auditorium at the University of Hartford.
We are indebted to our generous benefactors, sponsors, donors and media partners who help make this festival one of the most admired in the country and the biggest showcase of Israeli and Jewish films in Connecticut.
Presenting thirty films plus live music, receptions, panels, art and more would not be possible without our hard-working committee who have devoted hundreds of hours screening, planning, fundraising and promoting the festival.
We are blessed with two incredibly hard-working Festival co-chairs, Mark Slitt and Ruthan Wein. Their from-the-heart enthusiasm, love of Jewish film and unwavering support is matched only by the superb professional, building and administrative staff at the Mandell JCC who earn rave reviews and five stars for this year’s mega-movie event!
Most of all, I am grateful to you, our festival fans who wait all year for March Madness-Mandell JCC style! Let’s raise the curtain and on with the show!