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The 2024 SCJFF ends this Thursday at the Capitola Public Library

Thursday, May 23  -  7:00 pm  - CHILDREN OF PEACE

A group of dreamers and idealists founded an intentional community of Arabs and Jews-- Nevew Shalom-- in 1970s Israel. It was a rebellious and Utopian idea: Jews and Arabs living and going to school together as friends and neighbors, learning each others' language and culture. Children who were raised in this unique environment, now adults, deal with the harsh realities of political turmoil and war.

The SCJFF thanks the Santa Cruz Public Libraries for sponsoring and hosting this screening at the Capitola Public Library, 2005 Wharf Rd., Capitola.

2024 Festival Previous Films & Events

Opening Night - Tuesday, March 19                   

Temple Beth El Social Hall

7:00 pm   -  THE CITY WITHOUT JEWS,  with an original musical score played LIVE by Klezmatics co-founder Alicia Svigals on violin and renowned pianist Donald Sosin. THE CITY WITHOUT JEWS satirized the gathering wave of antisemitism and tragically predicted the mass deportations to come 15 years later.           

Austria, 1924 –  80 min.     

Sponsored by the Sunrise Foundation for Education and the Arts and Rbbi Paula Marcus

 Monday, March 25 – Temple Beth El Library

7:00 pm  - PERSIAN LESSONS, from director Vadim Perelman (House of Sand and Fog), delivers a unique Holocaust story of survival by wit. With masterful directing, acting and production, PERSIAN LESSONS was named Best Russian Jewish Film at the 2021 Moscow Jewish Film Festival.          

Russia/Germany/Belarus, 2020   -   2 hours 7 minutes.

Saturday, March 30 - 7:00 - 9:30 pm Temple Beth El Social Hall

7:00 pm  -  BIRTH OF A CONFLICT, Episode 1

This 3-part series explores the complex history of the Middle East from the Ottoman Empire to the present day and reveals newly declassified documents from British diplomatic files. A must-see for anyone wishing to understand the origins of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Documentary Series  - Israel, 2022  -  56 minutes.

followed at 8:10 by SAVOY

SAVOY

This thrilling film tells the story of Kochava Levy, the forgotten heroine of the 1975 Savoy Hotel terror attack in Tel Aviv. On one March night, PLO gunmen entered the hotel, seized hostages and demanded release of Palestinian prisoners. Kochava, a Yemenite Jew, acted as translator and mediator.

Docudrama – Israel, 2022 – 78 min.

Read the Jerusalem Post's review of SAVOY here.

View Paul's interview with SAVOY writer/director/producer Zohar Wagner here.

Thursday, April 4  -  7:00 pm  - 9:30 pm  -  Temple Beth El Social Hall

SEVAP/MITZVAH  

A poetic and moving dramatization of a true story from 80 years ago. In Nazi-occupied Bosnia, a Muslim woman risks her life to save her Jewish friend. Fifty years later Bosnia is at war and the tables are turned.

2023 Winner of the Humanitas Prize.

Narrative USA/Bosnia, 2023  -  20 min.

followed at 7:25 pm by       

BIRTH OF A CONFLICT, Episode  2

The second episode of the series tells the story of how the Jewish-Arab conflict turned from a territorial quarrel between two national movements into a religious conflict. This chapter sheds new light on one of the most important, yet unknown events in the history of Palestine – The Great Arab Revolt.

Documentary series   - Israel,  2022 - 56 min    

followed at 8:25 pm by  CHILDREN OF PEACE

CHILDREN OF PEACE

A group of dreamers  founded an intentional community of Arabs and Jews, Neve Shalom, in 1970’s Israel. It was a rebellious and utopian idea: Jews and Arabs living and going to school together as friends and neighbors, learning each others' language and culture. Children who were brought up in this unique environment, now grown men and women, deal with the harsh realities of political turmoil and war.

A Zoom Q & A with the filmmaker may follow the movie.

Documentary Israel, 2022  -  60 min

Thursday, April 11  -  2:00 pm  - 4:30 pm  -  Aegis Community Room, 125 Heather Terrace, Aptos

SEVAP/MITZVAH  

A poetic and moving dramatization of a true story from 80 years ago. In Nazi-occupied Bosnia, a Muslim woman risks her life to save her Jewish friend. Fifty years later Bosnia is at war and the tables are turned.   2023 Winner of the Humanitas Prize.

Narrative USA/Bosnia, 2023  -  20 min.

followed at 2:25 pm by

SPACE TORAH 

Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman realized a childhood dream and became an astronaut. He was a key member of the spacewalking team and had five missions on the Space Shuttle. On his final flight he brought a small Torah with him and read from the book of Genesis while soaring through space.

This inspiring story shows how one can achieve great things and bring the Jewish identity to new realms. 

A brief Q & A with filmmaker Rachel Raz will follow the screening.

USA - Documentary - 2023  -  25 min.

followed at 3:00 pm by       SAVOY

This thrilling film tells the story of Kochava Levy, the forgotten heroine of the 1975 Savoy Hotel terror attack in Tel Aviv. On one March night, PLO gunmen entered the hotel, seized hostages and demanded release of Palestinian prisoners. Kochava, a Yemenite Jew, acted as translator and mediator.

Docudrama – Israel, 2022 – 78 min.

Read the Jerusalem Post's review of SAVOY here.

Click here to view the teaser https://vimeo.com/790876817?fbclid=IwAR1nZH2LUJ95P7b0yILOO9AqWDik9uPq8D8w49caLL62A9WkWWpVyUD6UUY 

 Sunday, April 14 -  6:15 pm  - 9:30 pm - the 418 Project (formerly the Riverfront Theater), 155 So. River St., Santa Cruz 

BIRTH OF A CONFLICT, Episode 1   

From Israeli public television this 3-part series explores the complex history of the Middle East from the Ottoman Empire to the present day and reveals newly declassified documents from British diplomatic files. A must-see for anyone wishing to understand the origins of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Documentary series   - Israel,  2022 - 56 min.

followed at 7:15 pm by: 

 SHOSHANA

Based on real people and events, SHOSHANA tells the story of the cross-cultural love affair between a ranking officer of the British Palestine Police Force and a young Jewish woman in the Haganah, one of the armed groups fighting for an independent Jewish State of Israel. The film gives a glimpse into the many conflicts in pre-state Israel when the Haganah, the Urgun, and the Stern Gang competed with each other while fighting both Arabs and the British for a Jewish state. The film explores the way extremism and violence push people apart, forcing them to choose sides.

Historical drama   - Israel,  2023 - 129  min     

Monday, April 15  - 7:00 - 9:30 pm  - Chadeish Yameina / Center for Spiritual Living, 1818 Felt St., Santa Cruz

SPACE TORAH 

Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman realized a childhood dream and became an astronaut. He was a key member of the spacewalking team and had five missions on the Space Shuttle. On his final flight he brought a small Torah with him and read from the book of Genesis while soaring through space.

This inspiring story shows how one can achieve great things and bring the Jewish identity to new realms. 

USA - Documentary - 2023  - 25 min.

  followed at 7:30 pm by                                        BETWEEN THE STONE & THE FLOWER

BETWEEN THE STONE AND THE FLOWER

Born in Havana, Cuba, and raised in Miami, Genie Milgram was steeped in Roman Catholicism from childhood but felt disconnected with her Catholic upbringing. Tracing her genealogy all the way back to the Great Inquisition she discovers her family's Jewish roots in the Iberian Peninsula. This is the untold story of the crypto-Jews who converted to Catholicism but continued to practice Judaism in secret.

Documentary – Spain / Cuba / USA, 2023 – 68 min.

A live Q & A on Zoom with Genie Milgram will follow the screening.

Sunday, April 21  - 7:00 - 9:30 pm Temple Beth El Library

BIRTH OF A CONFLICT, Episode 3  

The final installment examines events preceding and following WWII: the failure of the Arab national movement, the success of the Zionist movement in creating a Jewish state, and the crumbling of the mighty British Empire.

Documentary Series  -  Israel,  2022 -  56 min.

                                                  followed at 8:00 pm by

THE CHECKPOINT WOMEN:  Memories  

A group of courageous Israeli women established Checkpoint Watch to guard the human rights of those passing through the checkpoints between Israel and the West Bank.

Q & A  on Zoom with filmmaker Eliezer Yaari, retired IDF pilot, native of Jerusalem, and former classmate of Bibi Netanyahu, will follow the movie.

Documentary –  Israel, 2023  -  60 min.

Saturday, April 27  -  7:00 pm  -  9:00 pm Temple Beth El Library

SEVAP/MITZVAH 

A poetic and moving dramatization of a true story from 80 years ago. In Nazi-occupied Bosnia, a Muslim woman risks her life to save her Jewish friend. Fifty years later Bosnia is at war and the tables are turned.

2023 Winner of the Humanitas Prize.

Narrative USA/Bosnia, 2023  -  20 min.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2dXEiyOuh4

                                                        followed at 7:25 by

KILLING AMERICA    

A conflict is raging in Bay area school districts over merit-based programs, with the effect of dumbing down school curriculums in the name of social equity. Ethnic studies, required high school curriculum, often offers a narrative of “settler colonialism” and oppressor vs. oppressed. Is this the version of  American idealism that we want to teach our kids?

Documentary, USA,  2024  - 38 min.

Dr. Diana Blum and Christine Linnenbach, subjects of the film, will be in attendance for discussion of this important issue. Read a review of the movie here.

 The 2024 Santa Cruz Jewish Film Festival continues through May 23! Admission is free and open to the public for all events of the 2024 Santa Cruz Jewish Film Festival but seating is limited at most venues. Plan to arrive early for best seating.

Peruse the schedule below and mark your calendar! You won't want to miss this exciting selection of films and events.  

The 2024 SCJFF presents films that shed light on the roots of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, along with films of general interest. Click on any photo to view the trailer.

Just added by popular demand! SAVOY replays at Temple Beth El at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, May 15!

SAVOY tells the thrilling story of Kochava Levy, the forgotten heroine of the 1975 Savoy Hotel terror attack in Tel Aviv. One March night, PLO gunmen entered the hotel, seized hostages and demanded release of Palestinian prisoners. Kochava,a Yemenite Jew, acted as translator and mediator.

Docudrama – Israel, 2022 – 78 min.

Read the Jerusalem Post's review of SAVOY here.

The film switches seamlessly between archival footage and reenactment, putting the viewer in Kochava's shoes as the horrific situation unfolds. A modest housewife, disillusioned in her marriage and meeting her lover at the hotel, Kochava kept a contemporaneous diary which contributes to the narration of the film, along with sound recorded during the terror attack. 

"I'll never forget this film," said one viewer after the screening on April 11. 

Winner, Best Directing and Best Editing, at the 2022 Jerusalem Film Festival. 

Co-sponsored by Rabbi Eli Cohen and Chadeish Yameinu.   Admission is free and open to the public.

Click on any photo below to view the movie trailer.

The Checkpoint Women: Memories

Israel  | Documentary | 2023  |  60 min.

A group of Israeli women established Checkpoint Watch to guard the human rights of those passing through the checkpoints between Israel and the West Bank.
Over  the years these women have documented the checkpoints on film, providing viewers with a never-before-seen angle on their interactions with the soldiers and their advocacy for the population's needs.
This documentary showcases Israeli women  with extraordinary courage, humanity and dedication.

 

Between the Stone and the Flower

Spain-Cuba-USA| Documentary |2023 | 68 min.

A Cuban-American woman embarks on a decades-long quest to uncover her Jewish lineage. Born in Havana, Cuba, and raised in Miami, Genie Milgram was steeped in Roman Catholicism from childhood, but carried a persistent sense of disconnection with her Spanish Catholic upbringing. She goes on a geneological quest all the way back to the Great Inquisition and discovers her family's Jewish roots in the Iberian Peninsula.

This fascinating tale explores the story of the crypto-Jews who converted to Catholicism but continued to practice Judaism in secret during the dark periods of European history.

Sevap/Mitzvah

USA - Bosnia| Narrative | 2023  |  20 min.

A poetic and moving dramatization of a true story.

2023 Winner of the Humanitas Prize.

In Nazi-occupied Bosnia, a Muslim woman risks her life to save her Jewish friend. Fifty years later Bosnia is at war and the tables are turned.

 

Children of Peace

Israel | Documentary| 2023  | 59 min.

A group of dreamers  founded an intentional community of Arabs and Jews, Neve Shalom, in 1970’s Israel. It was a rebellious and utopian idea: Jews and Arabs living and going to school together as friends and neighbors, learning each others' language and culture. The film follows up on children who were brought up in this unique environment, now grown men and women, dealing with the harsh realities of political turmoil and war.

 

Persian Lessons

Russia/Germany/Belarus | 2020 |  127 min.

Gilles, a young Belgian man, is arrested by the SS and sent to a concentration camp but avoids execution by swearing to the guards that he is Persian, not Jewish. This lie temporarily saves him, but then Gilles is given the seemingly impossible task of teaching Persian to Captain Koch, the officer in charge of the camp's kitchen, who dreams of opening a restaurant in Tehran once the war is over. Serious in tone yet comic at times, the film maintains dramatic tension from start to finish without excessive use of graphic images.      Director Vadim Perelman (House of Sand and Fog) delivers a unique Holocaust story of survival by wit, with masterful directing, acting and production values. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sponsorships and donations make the film festival possible, so please consider a donation. Just click here to make a donation to the SCJFF. Donations of every size are important.  And if you can afford it, SPONSORSHIPS start at just $250 and are the foundation of the film festival, and come with two festival passes with preferred seating. 

The 2024 Santa Cruz Jewish Film Festival continues through May 23!

Admission is free and open to the public for all events of the 2024 Santa Cruz Jewish Film Festival but seating is limited at most venues. Plan to arrive early for greater chance of seating.

You can buy an Individual Festival Pass for $100 which gives you access to reserved seating until 5 minutes to the start of every day's festival program. You can buy a Festival Pass by clicking this link and making a tax-deductible donation of $100 or more per pass. Your donation will be registered and a Festival Pass will be prepared for you to pick up on Opening Night and every festival session thereafter.

Don't worry if you have already contributed $100 or more to the 2024 SCJFF.. Your pass(es) will be ready for you on opening night and thereafter. If you have questions or concerns please email SCJFFinfo@gmail.com or text Paul at 831-239-5208.

Festival Passes are not transferable and do not necessarily guarantee admission to a screening if you arrive late or do not attend the first film of any day's program. Seating has not been a problem in festival screenings through April 14.

Click this link to make a tax-deductible donation of $100 or more and get a Festival Pass.

The following excellent films are not scheduled in the 2024 SCJFF but we wish we could include them!

Golda’s War Diaries

Israel | Documentary | 2023 | 74 min. 

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, Israel’s National Archive released the official protocols of Prime Minister Golda Meir’s office from the time of the Yom Kippur War, documents unknown to the public until now. These documents leave no room for doubt.  Despite the war’s steep cost, the facts show that Golda did not fail. In fact, Israel’s achievements resulting from the war made it possible, five years later, to reach a peace agreement with Egypt.

More Than I Deserve

Israel | Narrative  | 2022  | 82 min.

Newly arrived in Israel from Ukraine, a single mother and her son engage with a religious neighbor in this finely textured coming-of-age drama. Twelve-year-old Pinhas, seeking to fit in, asks permission to join classmates in bar mitzvah studies, but his atheist mother refuses. Pinhas turns to a recent Chabad recruit for help and all three lives are changed in unforeseen ways.

Nominated for seven Israeli Academy Awards.

Delegation

Israel | Narrative  | 2022  | 99 min.

A group of young Israelis land in Warsaw with a few nervous adults on a school trip to concentration camps around Poland, where the incomprehensible past of WW2 meets the complex reality of being an Israeli teenager today. The clash between the worlds of the past and the present forms the base of this perceptive coming-of-age story.   WINNER, Best Screenplay and Best Ensemble cast. the 2023 Jerusalem International Film Festival.

Four Winters: A Story of Jewish Partisan Resistance and Heroism in WWII

USA | Documenary | 2022  |  99 min. 

Over 25,000 Jewish partisans fought back against the Nazis and their collaborators from deep within the forests of WWII’s Eastern Europe, Ukraine and Belarus. Against extraordinary odds, they escaped Nazi slaughter, and evolved from young innocents to courageous resistance fighters, shattering the myth of Jewish passivity. The last surviving partisans tell their stories of resistance in FOUR WINTERS, revealing a stunning narrative of heroism and resilience.  

Neighbors

Switzerland - France | Drama | 2021  |  124 min.

In a Syrian border village in the early 1980’s, little Sero attends school for the first time. But a new teacher loyal to President Hafez al-Assad is determined to make proud Jew-hating Syrians out of the Kurdish children. The lessons upset and confuse Sero because his long-time neighbors are a lovable Jewish family. With delicate humor and satire, the film finds light moments amidst dictatorship and dark drama. The film was inspired by the director’s personal experiences, and his bitter-sweet memories connect the Syrian tragedy to the present. 

Unreined

USA - Israel  | Documentary | 2020  |  57 min.

Nancy Zeitlin was a a promising young rider from San Diego who moved to Israel as a child and became a champion equestrian. Fearless, she faced societal restrictions head-on, broke stereotypes, and explored restricted territory in pursuit of her dream. Then, amidst upheaval in both her family and in her adopted country, she did the unthinkable: she became a trainer to Palestinians in the West Bank. As Israel is rocked by  the Second Intifada, Nancy puts her life at risk to keep hope alive for her Palestinian team of riding students. Her many-layered story parallels the growth of the State of Israel, its wars, its changing borders, and its internal conflicts. UNREINED is a moving tale of embracing "the Other", made possible through a shared affection for horses.

 


Kiss Me Kosher

Israel - Germany | 2021  |  105 min.   |  Comedy

A subversive love story between clashing cultures and families, Kiss Me Kosher is a romantic misadventure crossing all borders. When two generations of Israeli women fall for a German woman and a Palestinian man, chaos follows. What happens with lovers who don't fit but do belong together ?

Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGGjxGYAWo8&t=117s

No Name Restaurant

Germany | 2022  |  120 min.  |  Comedy

ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT. To save the synagogue of the once largest Jewish community in the world from being shut down, Ben, an ultra-Orthodox Brooklyn Jew visiting Jerusalem, is sent out to be the desperately needed tenth man for the ceremonies. Having missed his plane and been kicked off the bus in the Sinai Desert, his last hope is Adel, a grumpy Bedouin looking for his camel.  When their car breaks down, it becomes a matter of their very survival.

The 90-Minute War

Israel  | 2017  |  85 min.   |  Comedy

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been going on for decades, with no end in sight. Fed up with one failed deal after another, the Israeli and Palestinian leaders agree to settle things once and for all … with a soccer match. One game. One winner. Losing side has to pick up and find a new homeland. This politically-incorrect, satirical mockumentary takes a fresh and hilarious lens to the conflict.

 

 

Thanks to all who came out to the Brotherhood Brunch on Sunday, October  22

Santa Cruz Jewish Film Festival Director Paul Drescher presented the 25-minute narrative film THE BOY during the Brotherhood's bagel brunch in the Temple Social Hall. A technical glitch delayed the presentation by five minutes but was resolved and the film was presented with sound on the  large screen. Those in attendance had an opportunity to comment on the movie afterwards and it was a little bit of group therapy in dealing with recent trauma.

THE BOY is set on the border with Gaza where a traumatized young man lives with his father. It was written, produced, and directed by Yahav Winner, who was killed by Hamas terrorists on October 7 while protecting his wife and young daughter, who both survived. A donation jar was circulated and over $600 was collected for Yahav's wife and young daughter, who survived the terror attack by sheltering in a neighbor's safe room for 24 hours until rescued. 

For those wishing to contribute, the donation page can be found at https://giveback.co.il/project/74892. The page is in Hebrew but you can translate it to English by clicking on the language icon at the top right. Donations are made by credit card in Israeli shekels, and the current exchange rate is $1 = 4 shekels.

If you have questions about this fundraiser or the Santa Cruz Jewish Film Festival please email SCJFFinfo@gmail.com

Click to visit the webpage for THE BOY at Go2Films, Israel.

 

Shaylee and infant daughter Shaya, who survived the terror attack, and up-and-coming filmmaker Yahav Winner, who was murdered by terrorists on October 7 at their home in Kibbutz Kfar Aza near the border with Gaza. Here is one news story about the tragedy:

https://www.screendaily.com/news/israeli-filmmaker-yahav-winner-found-dead-following-hamas-attack/5186795.article 

Thanks to all who attended Jewish Film Night on Saturday, May 13! We look forward to meeting again in the theater in the coming year for another program of engaging and uplifting films!

Special thanks to all the donors and sponsors who made Jewish Film Night possible!

At the present time, none of the three documentary films that were screened are available for public viewing online. Film Festival Director Paul Drescher interviewed Professor Yossi Leshem, "Israel's Birdman", on Zoom to follow up on the film WINGS of CHANGE, released in 2017, and that edited interview can be viewed using this link: https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/826296519

If you would like to contribute toward the next Jewish Film Night in Santa Cruz, please consider a donation to the SCJFF using this link https://www.tbeaptos.org/payment.php?payment_type=donate&donation_type_id=5933015.  THANK YOU!

Paddling For Life                          Wings of Change        

 The Pink Lionesses are a women's group that trains and races Dragon Boats on the Kineret (the Sea of Galilee) and the Yarkon River, Israel. Their common bond? They are all survivors of breast cancer. Their caring and camaraderie, despite age and cultural differences, are an inspiration to live a competitive yet compassionate life.

"Israel's Birdman", a lightly religious, authoritative man with rugged Israeli charm and the persuasion skills of a salesman, is the primary defender of bird habitat in the region. Even the Israeli Air Force consults with him to protect planes, pilots, and birds. He is a groundbreaker in talks with neighbors  promoting peaceful coexistence, with the aid of barn owls as natural pest exterminators.

WAVES APART

WAVES APART examines the history of Nazi symbols and anti-semitism in surfing. You can view the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vw1_g6syyWY 

Recent USC Film School grad Josh Greene was selected to present his film in the up-and-coming documentary filmmaker section at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival! Congrats, Josh, and best wishes for success in your film career!

If you have questions about the Santa Cruz Jewish Film Festival please email SCJFFinfo@gmail.com.

The SCJFF is a function of Temple Beth El and our May 13 event was sponsored by the Santa Cruz Public Libraries and donors like YOU. Donate to the Santa Cruz Jewish Film Festival here. We look forward to seeing you at future events!

Mon, July 15 2024 9 Tammuz 5784