Before the arrival of Miami Vice and MTV Spring Break, South Beach was home to the largest cluster of Jewish retirees in the country. Drawn by the small apartments, low cost of living, sunny weather, and thriving cultural life, they came by the thousands seeking refuge from the Northeast’s brutal winters. By the 1970s, these former New Yorkers had turned from seasonal visitors to year-round residents, making Miami Beach home to a population that was primarily over 70 and overwhelmingly Jewish. The Last Resort takes audiences on a journey to the iconic Miami Beach of that era through the lens of young photographers Andy Sweet and Gary Monroe. With cameras in hand, they embarked on an ambitious 10-year project to document this unique chapter in the city’s history, which would soon be erased by the turbulent 1980s. Featuring interviews with Pulitzer Prize winner Edna Buchanan, filmmaker Kelly Reichardt, photographer Gary Monroe, and more, The Last Resort is a stunning testament to a community all but forgotten… until now.
When aspiring filmmaker David (Brandon Polansky) is mandated by a judge to attend a social program at the Jewish Community Center, he is sure of one thing: he doesn’t belong there. But when he’s assigned to visit the Brooklyn Bridge with the vivacious Sarah (Samantha Elisofon), sparks fly and his convictions are tested. Their budding relationship must weather Sarah’s romantic past, David’s judgmental mother (Jessica Walter), and their own pre-conceptions of what love is supposed to look like. Under the guise of an off-kilter New York romantic comedy, Keep the Change does something quite radical in casting actors with autism to play characters with autism, offering a refreshingly honest portrait of a community seldom depicted on the big screen. Rarely has a romcom felt so deep and poignant. Thoroughly charming and quite funny, the film’s warmth and candor brings growth and transformation to the characters, and ultimately, to us.
What do the most ravishingly beautiful actress of the 1930s and 40s and the inventor whose concepts were the basis of cell phone and bluetooth technology have in common? They are both Hedy Lamarr, the glamour icon whose ravishing visage was the inspiration for Snow White and Cat Woman and a technological trailblazer who perfected a secure radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes during WWII.
Weaving interviews and clips with never-before-heard audio tapes of Hedy speaking on the record about her incredible life—from her beginnings as an Austrian Jewish emigre to her scandalous nude scene in the 1933 film Ecstasy to her glittering Hollywood life to her ground-breaking, but completely uncredited inventions to her latter years when she became a recluse, impoverished and almost forgotten—Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story brings to light the story of an unusual and accomplished woman, spurned as too beautiful to be smart, but a role model to this day.
A boorish Israeli-American couple plan a Sabbath dinner party for a group of fellow ex-pat friends and family in their Hollywood Hills mansion. What could possibly go wrong? Well, start with a deadly mix of alcohol, add inflated egos, some inappropriate lust and top with raging jealousy and the result is of cauldron of murderous mayhem. A shot gun, garden sheers, kitchen knives and even a garbage disposal are used as weapons of choice as these deranged guests turn on each other in director Michael (“Out in the Dark”) Mayer’s outrageous and bloody comedy. Think “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” meets “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”
A sports writer cannot choose between being objective or showing sympathy for the local basketball team and its American star. He is then asked to manage the team,and over time realizes that he must be himself, and not someone else.
Children of survivors of the Holocaust ask how that event may have shaped them consciously and unconsciously. The Fishers are the primary focus: filmmaker Jack, his older brother Joe, and their parents who raised three sons in the Bronx. They talk about family dynamics and their perceptions and feelings. Also profiled are Shelley Gelfman, an artist, and her mother Mary, and less intensely, we meet a physician and an actor who are children of survivors. In the conversations, people discuss guilt, love, and loss. The parents suggest they may have placed too much hope on their children’s shoulders, been too protective, or held back affection. The children respond.
About the life and work of controversial American Jewish academic Norman Finkelstein.
“Adam Resurrected” follows the story of Adam Stein, a charismatic patient at a mental institution for Holocaust survivors in Israel, 1961. He reads minds and confounds his doctors, lead by Nathan Gross. Before the war, in Berlin, Adam was an entertainer–cabaret impresario, circus owner, magician, musician–loved by audiences and Nazis alike until he finds himself in a concentration camp, confronted by Commandant Klein. Adam survives the camp by becoming the Commandant’s “dog”, entertaining him while his wife and daughter are sent off to die. Years later we find him at the Institute. One day, Adam smells something, hears a sound. “Who brought a dog in here?” he asks Gross. Gross denies there is a dog but Adam finds him–a young boy raised in a basement on a chain. Adam and the boy see and recognize each other as dogs–and their journey begins. “Adam Resurrected” is the story of a man who once was a dog who meets a dog who once was a boy.
‘Ahead of Time’, a documentary on the remarkable life of Ruth Gruber. At 97 years old, Brooklyn-born Ruth still has that same sharp intellect and moxie that propelled her to become the world’s youngest PhD at age 20. At age 24, she became a New York Herald Tribune reporter and photographer and the same year was the first journalist to enter the Soviet Arctic. A trusted member of the Roosevelt Administration during WWII, she was given a dangerous secret mission. A feminist before feminism, Ruth was never just an observer, she was a participant in the making of history. Ruth covered the turbulent Middle East throughout the 1940’s, and the film combines verité footage of Ruth traveling back to Israel, with interviews and archival material
FOUR HUNDRED MILES TO FREEDOM is the story of co-director Avishai Mekonenâ’s search to remember and reconcile what happened to him at age 10 in 1984, when he was kidnapped by slave traffickers in Sudan. Throughout his life-long journey from Ethiopia to Sudan, Israel, and finally America, his fundamental identity is challenged: What does it mean when others insist that you can’t be who you know you are? His search for answers leads him to other African, Asian and Latino Jews, and together they discover what it takes to heal a broken past and to overcome the invisibility and the questioning of one’s identity.