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Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me

Sunday, November 4  ■  Columbus Museum of Art  ■  6:30 p.m.
Directed by Sam Pollard, documentary, 2017, 100 minutes, USA

Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me is the first major film documentary to examine Davis’ vast talent and his search for identity through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress during the 20th century.

Sammy Davis Jr. had a legendary career so multi-faceted that it was dizzying in its scope and scale. Yet his life was complex, complicated, and contradictory. Davis aspired to achieve the American Dream in a time of racial prejudice and changing political territory. He was the most public black figure to embrace Judaism, converting in 1954 after a serious car accident and consequently tying his identity to yet another persecuted minority.

Featuring new interviews with Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg, and Kim Novak, with never before seen photographs from Davis’ extensive personal collection and excerpts from his television, film and concert performances including footage of Sammy with members of The Rat Pack.

Director Sam Pollard attending.

Sam Pollard is an accomplished feature film and television video editor, and documentary producer/director whose work spans almost 30 years. His first assignment as a documentary producer for Henry Hampton was in 1989; winning an Emmy for an episode of “Eyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads.” Eight years later, he received a Peabody Award for producing another Hampton series, “I’ll Make Me A World; Stories of African-American Artists and Community.” Between 1990 and 2010, Pollard edited a number of Spike Lee’s films: “Mo’ Better Blues,” “Jungle Fever,” “Girl 6,” “Clockers” and “Bamboozled.” Pollard and Lee also co-produced a number of documentary productions for the small and big screen. Pollard has also won numerous other awards for his documentaries for HBO, PBS and American Masters.

Reception following screening

Tickets: $35

MAIN AUDITORIUM SOLD OUT. Auxiliary Seats Available – includes film, Q&A (via live feed) and reception.

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An Act of Defiance

Monday, November 5  ■  Lincoln Theater  ■  7 p.m.
Directed by Jean van de Velde, Narrative, 2017, 123 minutes, Netherlands, English & Afrikans

In 1963, Nelson Mandela and nine other black and Jewish South Africans faced a possible death sentence for conspiracy to commit sabotage by the apartheid South African government. After their arrest, their lawyer, Bram Fischer, put his own life and career in jeopardy to defend them. As he fought to expose South Africa’s corrupted, unjust system, Fischer attempted to hide his own ties to the resistance. This historical drama brings to life the true story of the trial, as seen through the eyes of Fischer, highlighting the role that South African Jews played in the African resistance.

Presented in partnership with National Council of Jewish Women, Columbus section.

The film will be introduced by Nicki Bloch.  
Nicki was born in Johannesburg, South Africa where she lived until age 18. Nicki credits her exposure to apartheid, the unjust environment of her upbringing, for her commitment to social justice causes, and for her particular passion for voting and voters rights-something she saw denied to the majority of the population of South Africa for many decades.  She has been involved with the National Council of Jewish Women for over 20 years; this year completing her third term as president.

Tickets: $10/JCC members, senior; $12/non-member
All tickets are $12 at the door.

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The Testament

Wednesday, November 7  ■  McConnell Arts Center/Worthington  ■  7 p.m.
Directed by Amichai Greenberg, Narrative, 2017, 90 minutes, Israel/Austria, Hebrew, German, English & Yiddish with English subtitles

Regarded as one of leading international experts in Holocaust research, Yoel, a self-proclaimed seeker of truth, is troubled by his newest research project  — a massacre that took place in Austria during the final days of WWII. His efforts seem to be frustrated as witnesses, survivors, and collaborators all prove unreliable.  Then Yoel stumbles upon testimony given by his own mother. In researching the documents further, he was shocked to learn that his mother had been living under an assumed identity. Acknowledging that he may have built his whole life upon a lie, he hid behind his work to uncover the truth for the victims and survivors of the massacre.

Presented in partnership with Congregation Beth Tikvah

The film will be introduced by Rabbi Rick Kellner of Congregation Beth Tikvah.

Tickets: $10/JCC members, senior; $12/non-member
All tickets are $12 at the door.

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The Last Suit – Kristallnacht

Thursday, November 8  ■  JCC  ■  7 p.m.
Directed by Pablo Solarz, narrative, 2017, 89 minutes, Argentina/Spain, Spanish with English subtitles

This charming, poignant film recounts the story of 88-year-old Abraham Bursztein, a Jewish tailor and survivor of Auschwitz. He leaves his home in Buenos Aire and journeys to Lodz, Poland hoping to find and thank the old friend who saved him from certain death after surviving Auschwitz. Abraham’s children have sold his home, and have informed him of their plans to place him in a nursing home. The day before he is supposed to move, Abraham sets off with his own plan: an attempt to find his old friend and fulfill a promise to return one day to thank him for his courage. Along the way, he meets many interesting people; a hotel proprietor who shows him great kindness, a German anthropologist who alters his thinking about all Germans, and a gentle, caring Polish nurse.

A klezmer-infused score brings an atmospheric, charm to the picture. This gives way to a melancholy orchestral accompaniment, as the hard edges of this octogenarian are gradually softened.

Presented in partnership with Congregation Tifereth Israel.

The film will be introduced by Rabbi Hillel Skolnik of Congregation Tifereth Israel.

Tickets: $10/JCC members, senior; $12/non-member
All tickets are $12 at the door.

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Monkey Business:
The Adventures of Curious George’s Creators

Sunday, November 11  ■  JCC  ■  2 p.m.
Directed by Ema Ryan Yamazaki, Documentary, 2017, 82 minutes, USA, English

Curious George has touched the minds and hearts of children around the world, but little is known about his creators, Hans and Margret Rey. This charming documentary recounts their life and journey from Germany to the United States as German Jews who narrowly escaped Hitler’s troops. Fleeing on bicycles, they rode across Europe, carrying the yet-to-be published Curious George manuscript with them. Eventually, they sailed to New York harbor to start a new life and create a children’s book classic. This mixed media documentary combines interviews with original hand-drawn animation, wartime journals and photographs, and unpublished Curious George sketches.

Presented in partnership with Joel Slaven’s Professional Animals Inc.

Appropriate for ages 12 and up

Tickets: $10/JCC members, senior; $12/non-member
All tickets are $12 at the door.

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Curious George-themed activities for grades K-4 whose parents are attending the 2 p.m. film.

The JCC Children’s Department will lead your youngest mischief-makers in story time, arts and crafts, and more monkey business before meeting up with parents after the film for snacks.

After purchasing your film ticket, please click here to register your child for the Curious-George Activities. 

The Cakemaker

Sunday, November 11  ■  Drexel Theater  ■  7:30 p.m.
Directed by Ofir Raul Grazier, Narrative, 2017, 104 minutes, Germany/Israel, Hebrew, German and English with English subtitles

Tomas leads a lonely life as a pastry chef in Berlin, until starting a passionate affair with Oren, a married Israeli businessman. When Oren is killed in a car accident, the devastated Tomas moves to Jerusalem, taking a job at the struggling cafe run by his deceased lover’s unsuspecting, heartbroken wife, Anat. As a result of Tomas’ talent as a skilled baker, Anat’s business flourishes. The bereaved pair forges a bond over shared grief that blurs the lines of nationality, religion and sexuality.

Tickets: $10/JCC members, senior; $12/non-member
All tickets are $12 at the door.

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Promise at Dawn

Tuesday, November 13 ■  Drexel Theater  ■  7 p.m.
Directed By Eric Barbier, narrative, 2017, 131 minutes, France, French with English subtitles

French writer Romain Gary lived an extraordinary life—decorated military officer and two-time winner of the Prix Goncourt (France’s highest literary award). In this sensational adaptation of his beloved memoir, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Pierre Niney, star in the story of a man driven to greatness while in search of maternal approval. Director Eric Barbier offers a sweeping narrative that takes us from Gary’s childhood in Poland, through his student years in Paris and his training as a pilot during World War II.

Tickets: $10/JCC members, senior; $12/non-member
All tickets are $12 at the door.

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Who Will Write Our History

Thursday, November 15  ■  Wexner Center for the Arts  ■  7 p.m.
Directed by Roberta Grossman, Documentary, 2018, 94 minutes, Poland/USA, English, Polish & Yiddish with English subtitles

Who Will Write our History is a story of resistance. It is about a group of spiritual resistors who risked their lives so that truth would survive, even if they did not, ensuring that their story would be told.

In November 1940, in the Warsaw Ghetto, a secret band of journalists, scholars and community leaders called Oyneg Shabes decided to fight back against Nazi lies and propaganda. This clandestine group buried an astonishing cache of archival materials documenting Jewish life in the Ghetto. The collection included photographs, diary entries, smuggling accounts, newspapers and Nazi pronouncements. Told through a combination of archival footage, photographs and masterful reenactments, this film transports us inside the Ghetto and the lives of these courageous resistance fighters. The members of Oyneg Shabes risked their lives and were motivated by their answer to one question: “Will the Germans write our history, or will we?”

Presented in partnership with the Adrienne and Sidney Chafetz Wexner Center for the Arts Endowment Fund of the Columbus Jewish Foundation, the Melton Center for Jewish Studies and the Wexner Center for the Arts.

Director Roberta Grossman attending and in a post-film discussion with Robin E. Judd, Associate Professor of History at The Ohio State University.

Roberta Grossman, an award-winning filmmaker with a passion for history and social justice has written, directed and produced more than 40 hours of film and television. Grossman’s films tell stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in the name of justice.

In addition to “Who Will Write our History,” she also co-directed and produced the Netflix Original Documentary, “Seeing Allred,” about women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred. It premiered in competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. In 2014, Grossman directed “Above and Beyond” about the American-Jewish WWII pilots who volunteered to fight for Israel in 1948. In 2012, “Hava Nagila” was the opening or closing night film at more than 30 film festivals and “Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh,” was shortlisted for an Academy Award in 2008.

Tickets: $10/JCC members, senior; $12/non-member
All tickets are $12 at the door.

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Shorts Program

Sunday, November 18  ■  Drexel Theatre  ■  11:30 a.m.

An international collection of narrative and documentary short films featuring a variety of genres, styles and subject matter. The films will be screened back to back without interruption. These films will be proceeded by the AES Award Presentation and the screening of the winning films.

■  AES Short Film Competition Winning Films

■  The Red House
Directed by Tamar Tal Anati, Animated Documentary, 21 minutes, Israel
Beautiful animation, archival footage and interviews tell the stories of the Red House from its origins as a textile factory, to a synagogue, and to an art gallery.

■  The Driver is Red
Directed by Randall Christopher, Documentary, 15 minutes, USA
This true crime documentary follows the story of secret agent Zvi Aharoni as he hunted down one of the highest ranking Nazi war criminals on the run.

■  Hannah Cohen’s Holy Communion
Directed by Shimmy Marcus, Documentary 13 minutes, USA
A feisty Irish girl is determined to join her friends for the sacrament of
Holy Communion. The only problem is, she’s Jewish.

■  A Thousand Kisses
Directed by Richard Goldgewicht, Narrative,16 minutes, Brazil/Ireland/Uruguay/USA
The love letters of a Jewish couple — separated by an ocean and the threat of Nazism are the basis for this stunningly beautiful animated film.

Tickets: $10/JCC members, senior; $12/non-member
All tickets are $12 at the door.

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When Heroes Fly — A screening of one of Israel’s best, new TV series! Episodes 1 + 2

Sunday, November 18  ■  Drexel Theatre  ■  2:30 p.m.
Directed by Omri Givron, TV series, 2018, 77 minutes, Israel, Hebrew with English subtitles

This fast-paced drama/thriller set in Israel and Columbia follows four friends, war veterans of a Special Forces unit, who, eleven years after a fallout out, must reunite for one final and deeply personal rescue mission.

Best Series Award at CanneSeries, 2018

Presented in partnership with JewishColumbus Israel and Overseas Department.

Tickets: $10/JCC members, senior; $12/non-member
All tickets are $12 at the door

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Longing

Sunday, November 18  ■  Drexel Theater  ■  5 p.m
Directed by Savi Gabizon, Narrative, 2017, 104 minutes, Israel, Hebrew with English subtitles

A middle-aged bachelor’s world is upended when he learns he has lost a son he never knew existed. Over lunch with former college girlfriend Ronit, Ariel is shocked to hear they had a son together and that their teenage boy has just died. This bombshell propels Ariel on a surreal journey into the unknown. He travels to the boy’s gravesite and seaside home, desperate to know more about his passionate but wayward son. Through a series of eccentric encounters and winding revelations, Ariel goes out on an emotional limb, belatedly discovering fatherly love and devotion, as well as personal catharsis about his own troubled childhood. Nominated for 13 Israeli Academy Awards including Best Film, Audience Award and Best Script prizewinner at the Jerusalem Film Festival.

Tickets: $10/JCC members, senior: $12/non-member
All tickets are $12 at the door.

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CJFF Presents: Teen Screens
Once in a Lifetime  ■  For Teens Only

Sunday, November 18  ■  JCC  ■  5:30 p.m. Pizza Dinner  ■  6:30 p.m. Film
Directed by Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar, narrative, 2016, 105 minutes, France, French with English subtitles

An opportunity for teens in grades 9-12 to screen “Once In A Lifetime” and participate in an interactive discussion about anti-semitism in today’s high school and college environments. What do you do when you encounter anti-semitism in your school? What do you want to look for in a healthy Jewish community in college? Facilitated by Rabbi Michael Emerson and Jewish teens/college students, this is a teen-only program with interactive discussion and tools for dealing with anti-semitism in real-life situations.

A dedicated history teacher at a French inner-city high school is determined to give the best education possible to her underprivileged students. Overcoming their apathy is proving to be more difficult than expected. She challenges her multi-cultural group with a unique assignment. Her students are asked to participate in a national competition. The theme is child victims of Nazi concentration camps. The project is initially met with extreme resistance. A face-to-face encounter with a Holocaust survivor changes the student’s attitudes.

Sponsored by The Columbus Jewish Youth Foundation.

This event is free and open to teens in grades 9-12. Registration is required. 

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Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel

Monday, November 19  ■  6:30 p.m.  ■  McCoy Center for the Arts, New Albany
Directed by Seth Kramer, Jeremy Newberger, and Daniel A. Miller, Documentary, 2017, 91 minutes, USA, Israel, Japan & South Korea, English and Hebrew with English subtitles

Heading Home charts the journey of Israel’s national baseball team, competing for the first time in the World Baseball Classic. After years of defeat, they are underdogs no longer, finally ranked among the world’s best teams in 2017 and are now eligible to play in the prestigious international tournament.
Their line-up includes several Jewish American Major League players: Josh Zeid, Ike Davis, and Ryan Lavarnway. Most of the players have a tenuous relationship to Judaism and have never set foot in Israel. Their odyssey takes them from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, where they are greeted as heroes, and then to Seoul, where they must debunk their has-been reputation. The team does much soul searching, eventually discovering the pride of representing Israel on the world stage.

Presented in partnership with the Leventhal Artist Program of the Columbus Jewish Foundation.

Director Jeremy Newberger and Team Israel pitcher, Josh Zeid attending.

Jeremy Newberger, Seth Kramer, and Daniel A. Miller are Ironbound Films, the directors of “Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel.” Ironbound creates documentaries for theaters, television, and the web.

Their last film, “The Anthropologist,” premiered at DOC NYC and won numerous awards. “Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie” premiered at Tribeca and aired in theaters and CNN in 2015. Earlier films include “The New Recruits” which aired on PBS and was nominated for an Emmy in 2011 and “The Linguists,” which premiered at Sundance, aired on PBS and was nominated for an Emmy in 2010.

Josh Zeid was a key member of Team Israel’s magical World Baseball Classic run in 2017, pitching in four games, throwing 10 scoreless innings, tallying one win and two saves on the way to being honored on the All-World Team. Josh has played 10 years of professional baseball for the Philadelphia Phillies, Houston Astros, Detroit Tigers, New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals, and spent over a year in the Major Leagues with the Houston Astros. He studied English and Political Science while playing baseball at Vanderbilt and Tulane University.

Reception following Q & A.

This film contains mild adult language but is appropriate for teens.

Tickets: $10/JCC members, senior; $12/non-member
All tickets are $12 at the door.

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