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Published on February 18th, 2016 | by WMJledger

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‘Entertaining and thought-provoking’ – 11th Annual Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival Opens March 31

SPRINGFIELD — The Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival will present its 11th season from March 31 through April 14, featuring two weeks of award-winning, entertaining and thought-provoking films that explore the best of independent cinema through a distinctly Jewish lens.

Presented by the Springfield Jewish Community Center, the festival’s films will be screened in 16 venues across Western Massachusetts.

The festival line-up includes 24 award-winning films from 14 countries – including many regional premieres – providing a diverse global perspective on the Jewish experience. A wide range of talkbacks, panel discussions, student programs and receptions accompany the film screenings.

“We are delighted to present another strong and ambitious roster that celebrates the diversity of the Jewish experience,” said Carlin Preisick Trietsch, PVJFF Director. “This film festival is the single largest Jewish cultural event on the community calendar, and we look forward to sharing an outstanding line-up with audiences Valley-wide.”

Ticket prices are $10 for general admission, $8 for students/seniors (65+), or a four-pack can be purchased for $36. Tickets can be purchased in person, via phone and by mail at the Springfield JCC. Seating for all screenings is limited; early arrival is recommended. Tickets will be sold at the door subject to availability; all seating is general admission and the program is subject to change. For more information, call Carlin Trietsch at (413) 739-4715 or visit www.pvjff.org.

What’s Playing at the PVJFF?

THURSDAY, MARCH 31
7 p.m.
Rave Cinemas, West Springfield 15,
864 Riverdale St., West Springfield

Opening Night dessert reception from 6:30-7 p.m.

DOUGH

Nat Dayan is desperate to save his London bake shop. Nat reluctantly enlists the help of teenager Ayyash, a refugee from Darfur. The Muslim boy assists at the bakery while selling cannabis on the side to help his struggling mother make ends meet. When Ayyash accidently drops his stash into the dough, the challah starts flying off the shelf, and an unlikely friendship forms between the old Jewish baker and his young apprentice.

 

SATURDAY, APRIL 2
8:15 p.m.
Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall,
Smith College, Northampton

A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS
HEBREW WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES

In her feature debut as writer and director, Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman has adapted the bestselling memoir of one of Israel’s most highly regarded contemporary authors, Amos Oz.

Introduction by Justin Cammy, Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and Comparative Literature, Smith College. Co-sponsored by Smith College Jewish Studies Program, Film Studies Program, and the Northampton/Amherst, Greenfield and Greater Springfield chapters of Hadassah.

 

SUNDAY, APRIL 3
2 p.m.
Davis Auditorium, D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield

IMBER’S LEFT HAND

An inspirational chronicle of the life of Jewish painter Jon Imber, who faced great adversity after being diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Imber’s steadfast artistic resolve leads to the creation of more than 100 portraits in an incredible four-month span. Introduction by Nancy Katz, artist/educator, Nancy Katz/Wilmark Studios, Shelburne Falls

 

SUNDAY, APRIL 3
2 p.m.
Yiddish Book Center, Hampshire College Campus,
1021 West St., Amherst

THE MUSES OF ISAAC BESHEVIS SINGER
HEBREW AND YIDDISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES

Through archival footage and the intimate in-depth recollections of nine of the 40 women who brought Isaac Bashevis Singer’s stories to life, this absorbing documentary sheds light on a previously unknown and eccentric chapter in the unlikely ladies’ man and iconic author’s life.

 

MONDAY, APRIL 4
7 p.m.
Amherst Cinema, 28 Amity St.

ONCE IN A LIFETIME
FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES

Teacher Anne Gueguen is determined to give the best education to her underprivileged inner-city pupils. Anne tests her multicultural classroom with a unique assignment: a national competition on the theme of child victims of the Nazi concentration camps. The project is initially met with resistance, until a face-to-face encounter with a Holocaust survivor changes the students’ attitudes dramatically.

A brief Yom HaShoah ceremony, organized by the Jewish Community of Amherst, a co-sponsor, will precede the screening.

 

MONDAY, APRIL 4
7 p.m.
Fuller Hall, Springfield College,
Springfield

ONE DAY IN AUSCHWITZ

This poignant documentary follows the now 90-year-old Holocaust survivor Kitty Hart-Moxon’s return to the former Nazi death camp where she was sent 70 years earlier. Making the journey with two teenage girls, Hart-Moxon recounts the ever-present threat of death, and the resilience, friendship and human strength that allowed her to survive one day at a time, against all odds. A production of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute.

-SCREENING WITH GERMAN SHEPHERD
SWEDISH & ENGLISH

As a Jew growing up in Baltimore, David’s vision of Germany was shaped by the stories of his Holocaust-survivor mother; later in life, he reflects on whether it is possible to overcome this history. Post-screening discussion moderated by Springfield College graduate students

 

TUESDAY, APRIL 5
1:30 p.m.
JCC Goldstein Auditorium,
1160 Dickinson St. Springfield

THE OUTRAGEOUS SOPHIE TUCKER

A Russian immigrant born to an Orthodox Jewish family, Sophie Tucker catapulted to stardom with her risqué and irreverent performances. Earning the nickname, “The Last of the Red Hot Mamas,” her 60-year career spanned vaudeville of the Roaring Twenties through radio, television, theater and movies. Co-sponsored by JCC Arts in the Afternoon.

 

TUESDAY, APRIL 5
7 p.m.
Library Theater, Elms College, Chicopee

IDA
POLISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES

Anna is on the brink of taking her vows when the Mother Superior insists she make contact with her only living relative. Venturing to Warsaw, Anna is met by her aunt Wanda, an embittered ex-prosecutor of so-called enemies of the state. An offhand revelation about Anna’s true identity sets in motion a road trip through the Polish countryside during which the two characters confront family secrets and postwar demons.

Post-screening interfaith panel discussion moderated by Javier Venturi, Director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Elms College. Co-sponsored by Elms College Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

 

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6
7:30 p.m.
Flavin Auditorium, Isenberg 137, UMass, Amherst

THE GO-GO BOYS: The Inside Story of Cannon Films
HEBREW AND ENGLISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES

Notorious for their high-flying antics and B-movie heyday in Hollywood, Israeli-born cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus produced over 300 films in their prolific career. Dishing dirt while movingly examining the cousins’ complex relationship, this cautionary tale is also a fond reminiscence of a bygone era in moviemaking. Introduction by Olga Gershenson, Professor, Judaic and Near East Studies, UMass Amherst. Co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival and the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies, UMass Amherst

 

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6
7 p.m.
Greenfield Garden Cinemas, 361 Main St.

Mr. Kaplan
SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES

Having fled Poland for South America during WWII, curmudgeonly Jacob Kaplan lives in Montevideo with his wife of 50 years, Rebecca. Fed up with the local Jewish community’s disinterest in their heritage and intent on creating a legacy, Kaplan fancies himself a Nazi hunter, targeting the reclusive German owner of a seafront restaurant, whom he suspects of being a war criminal. A bumbling investigation ensues.

 

THURSDAY, APRIL 7
4 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Stirn Auditorium, Mead Art Museum,
Amherst College, Amherst

The Last Mensch
GERMANY | GERMAN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES

Marcus Schwarz escaped Auschwitz, only to exterminate his Jewishness. With no synagogue, Jewish friends or family, the old man has done such a good job of creating a new identity that, the rabbis refuse his about-face appeal to be buried in a Jewish cemetery in Cologne. Enlisting the help of Gül, a brash Turkish woman with a troubled history, the duo sets out on a road trip to a small village on the Hungarian-Romanian border that will change them both.

Introduction by Christian Rogowski, Professor of German, Amherst College

Co-sponsored by Amherst College Department of German and Office of the Jewish Religious Advisor

 

THURSDAY, APRIL 7
6:30 p.m.
JCC Goldstein Auditorium, Springfield

REELABILITIES SHORT FILM PROGRAM

Hear This!

When 10 year-old Tristan wants his dad to become the trainer of his soccer team, the club won’t allow it because his father is deaf. Tristan decides to prove them wrong.

16 minutes/Dutch with subtitles

The Interviewer

Thomas Howell gets more than he’s bargained for in a job interview at a prestigious law firm: an insult about his tie, a rendition of Harry Potter and the chance to change.

13 minutes

Coaching Colburn

James Colburn was born with Fragile X Syndrome. At 26, he is a child at heart who finds joy in the smallest things and uses his gift of comedic timing to inspire those around him.

15 minutes

Finding Miracles

Elaine and Tom Henshon share the inspirational story of their son Brian, who was born with Down Syndrome and has become an accomplished piano player and swimmer.

9 minutes

 

SATURDAY, APRIL 9
8:15 p.m.
Basketball Hall of Fame,
1000 Hall of Fame Ave., Springfield

GOD’S SLAVE
ARABIC, FRENCH, HEBREW AND SPANISH
WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES

Stationed in Caracas and operating undercover as a doctor and family man, Ahmed Al Hassama is a Muslim militant who is slated to execute a terrorist attack. David Goldberg is a cold-blooded and embittered Israeli Mossad agent who will stop at nothing to terminate the terrorist sleeper cell. Both men embark on parallel paths of martyrdom, prepared to sacrifice everything for their beliefs.

Mature Audiences (subject matter).

 

SATURDAY, APRIL 9
8 p.m.
Pothole Pictures, Memorial Hall, Shelburne Falls

THE BAND’S VISIT
ARABIC, ENGLISH, HEBREW
WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES

The Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra arrives in Israel from Egypt for a gig at the opening of an Arab cultural center – only to find themselves stranded in the wrong town. Thanks to sympathetic café proprietor Dina, the musicians find shelter for the evening. Dina disarms wistful band leader Kawfiq while his bandmates rollerskate, sing songs, and bridge the language gap – learning a thing or two about themselves and their hosts along the way.

Live music by Wayne Smith (solo cello) at 7:30 p.m. Mature audiences (language, brief nudity, sexual references).

 

Sunday, April 10
12:30 p.m.
Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall, Smith College, Northampton

Belle and Sebastian

Motherless and lonely, six-year-old Sebastian lives with his grandfather and cousin in a village along the French-Swiss border. The boy befriends a giant mountain dog suspected of attacking livestock. Their adventures take a turn when Nazi occupiers arrive to root out members of the French Resistance, who are helping Jewish refugees cross into neighboring Switzerland.

Free pizza lunch served from 12-12:30 p.m. before the screening. Co-sponsored by Circles for Jewish Living and Lander-Grinspoon Academy.

 

Sunday, April 10
7 p.m.
Gamble Auditorium, Art Building, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley

Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs And The New South Africa

South African Albie Sachs was motivated at an early age to embrace human rights advocacy. Joining the anti-apartheid movement, the white legal scholar was committed to overturning the country’s repressive laws. For his actions, he was jailed and forced into exile. Returning to South Africa after the release of Nelson Mandela, Sachs helped write the new Constitution and was appointed to the Constitutional Court.

Introduction by Stephen Clingman, Distinguished Prof. of English and director of the Interdisciplinary Studies Institute, UMass Amherst. Post-screening Q&A (via Skype) with director Abby Ginzberg. Dessert reception to follow.

Co-sponsored by Mount Holyoke College Jewish Studies Program, Film Studies Program and the Department of English, and by Facing History and Ourselves.

 

MONDAY, APRIL 11
7 p.m.
Greenfield Garden Cinemas, Greenfield

DOUGH
(See March 31 for description)

 

MONDAY, APRIL 11
7 p.m.
JCC Goldstein Auditorium,
1160 Dickinson St., Springfield

ENDLESS ABILITIES

Four best friends drive across the country in search of adaptive sports for individuals who, like them, have physical disabilities, and live to tell the story in a documentary film. Co-sponsored by Diane Troderman, Reel Abilities: Boston Disabilities Film Festival and JCC Kehillah Program.

TUESDAY, APRIL 12
7 p.m.
Longmeadow High School, 95 Grassy Road

ONCE IN A LIFETIME (See April 4 for description).

 

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13
1:30 p.m.
Glenmeadow Retirement, Longmeadow

THE STURGEON QUEENS

Four generations of a Jewish immigrant family have tended to Russ and Daughters, the famed lox and herring emporium that survives and thrives to this day on New York City’s Lower East Side. This documentary features an extensive interview with two of the original daughters for whom the store was named (now 100 and 92 years old).

Co-sponsored by Glenmeadow Retirement, JCC Community Partner.

 

THURSDAY, APRIL 14
7 p.m.
JCC Goldstein Auditorium, 1160 Dickinson St.
Springfield

THE FINISHERS
FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES

At 17 years old, Julien has a great sense of humor, bags of charm, and cerebral palsy. In a bid to bond with his father, Julien challenges him to participate with him in the Ironman race in Nice, France.

Beyond the sporting exploit, this is a moving portrait of the love between a father and his son.

Co-sponsored by Diane Troderman, Reel Abilities: Boston Disabilities Film Festival and JCC Kehillah Program.

 

THURSDAY, APRIL 14
7 p.m.
Flavin Auditorium, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

A BORROWED IDENTITY
HEBREW AND ARABIC WITH SUBTITLES

Eyad, a Palestinian teenager who wins a scholarship to an elite Jerusalem boarding school, is an outsider struggling to fit in with Jewish-Israeli society in the late 1980s. Initially isolated and lonely in his new surroundings, he slowly overcomes social, cultural and language barriers. As heartbreak, personal tragedy and sociopolitical strife intrude on his adolescent life, Eyad is forced to make a decision that will change his life forever.

Co-sponsored by J Street U and UMass Hillel.


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