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Tuscaloosa’s inaugural Jewish Film Festival took place in 2003 through a partnership between Temple Emanu-El and the Arts and Humanities Council of Tuscaloosa County. The festival was established with the goals of introducing local audiences to the best of Jewish filmmaking and expanding cultural and social understanding. Now in its ninth year, the festival has grown to include specific areas of Jewish culture such as food.
This year’s festival is sponsored by the Department of Telecommunication and Film, The University of Alabama
Food Festival, Music and Exhibit
From bagels to hummus, the Food Festival prior to the opening screening will feature a huge selection of sweet and savory traditional cuisine, all identified with a description of their purpose in the Jewish culture and holiday season. The menu will represent both traditional foods and those adapted to the modern Jewish table. The food festival will be highlighted by a performance of Klezmer music provided by The Promised Band. The ensemble is composed of local musicians Gaines Brake, clarinet, Line Ringuette-Brake, clarinet & bass clarinet, Bob McKinney, bass and Raphael Crystal, piano.
In addition to food, film and music, patrons of The Arts Council’s 10th Annual Jewish Film Festival will be given the opportunity to view the visual art of Helen Shapiro (1914-2006) in the theatre’s Greensboro Room. A member of Meridian, Mississippi’s Jewish community, the artist worked in a variety of media, but focused on fabric collage in her later years. She focused on subject matter reflecting the people and culture of her environment and also the divserse ethnicity and geography outside of her own Southern experience. With great sensitivity, Shapiro often translated the works of Gauguin, Renoir and other artists she admired into the medium she loved, cloth collage. The display is coordinated by her personal friend and Tuscaloosa artist, Deborah Hughes.
"Cultural Jewels: The Collages of Helen P. Shapiro" (1914-2006)
March 22 – April 30; Reception April 5 from 5-7 pm during Art Night
Bama Theatre’s Greensboro Room
Gallery Hours Mon-Fri 9 am-12 noon and 1 pm – 4 pm; Also during Bama events
Sunday, March 25 at 2 pm
2001 / Short-Comedy / Directed and Written by Aimee Barth
Synopsis: Six year old Charles Robinson wants more than anything to marry his sweetheart, Rachel, on the playground after school. There’s only one problem: He’s Christian and she’s Jewish. Micah, the older, wiser Jewish boy, won’t marry them unless Charles converts. See what Charles will really do to win his true love.
In Heaven Underground: The Weissensee Jewish Cemetery
2009 / Comedy-Drama / Directed by Britta Wauer
Synopsis: An enchanting journey into history that celebrates life and the immortality of memories. The peaceful and secluded 130-year-old Weissensee Jewish Cemetery, the largest Jewish cemetery still in use in Europe, hold 115,000 graves and a meticulous archive record. The 100 acre cemetery has never closed, and was one of the few institutions to remain in Jewish hands during the Nazi regime. Award-winning director Britta Wauer’s charming portrait creates a serene experience following a delightful array of characters from around the world: mourners, tourists, a young family residing at the cemetery, a third-generation gravedigger and an ornithologist studying rare birds of prey.
Monday, March 26 at 7:30 pm:
A Cantor on Trial (Short)
1931 / Comedy-Musical / Directed by Sidney M. Goldin
Stars Louis ‘Leibele’ Waldman
Synopsis: This short gem features Louis “Leibele” Waldman playing three different parts - first an old-world Eastern European, then a German, each auditioning to be the synagogue cantor. Displeased with what they’ve heard and unable to agree, the synagogue committee is visited by Leibele’s agent who offers them a third alternative: a modern an American Chazan, with “pep and jazz,” who can do Kol Nidre with a “two-step” and Netaneh Tokef with a “black bottom.”
Inside Hana’s Suitcase
2009/ Documentary/ Directed by Larry Weinstein
Stars George Brady, Lara Brady and Fumiko Ishioka
Synopsis: The poignant story of two children who grew up in pre-WWII Czechoslovakia and the terrible events that they endured just because they were Jewish. Based on the internationally acclaimed book which has been translated into 40 languages, the film is an effective blend of documentary and dramatic techniques. In addition to tracing the lives of George and Hana Brady in the 1930’s and 40’s, it tells the present-day story of “The Small Wings,” how a group of Japanese children and their passionate and tenacious teacher, Fumiko Ishioka, solved the mystery of Hana Brady, whose name was painted on an old battered suitcase that they received from Auschwitz.
Tuesday, March 27 at 7:30 pm:
Seven Minutes in Heaven
2008 / Drama / Directed by Omri Givon
Stars Reymond Amsalem, Nadav Netz and Eldad Prives
Synopsis: One morning Galia and her boyfriend board a local Jerusalem bus. It is packed with passengers, among them a suicide bomber. The bus explodes, leaving Galia with severe burns and memory loss. She has no memory of the day of the terrorist attack and the days leading up to it. A necklace sent to her from an unidentified source sets her off on a journey to find the missing pieces of the puzzle from that horrific day.
Screenings from Prior Jewish Film Festivals
9th Annual Jewish Film Festival - March 26 - 29, 2011
The Klezmatics / Yoo Yoo Mrs. Goldberg / Adjami / Holy Rollers
8th Annual Jewish Film Festival - February 27 - March 2, 2010
A Serious Man / Who the Jew Are You? / Holy Land Hardball / A Matter of Size / Hey, Hey It's Esther Blueburger
7th Annual Jewish Film Festival - January 24 - 27, 2009
The Counterfeiters / Circumcise Me / Matzo and Mistletoe / Bound for Gory / Let My People Grow / Noodle / Jewno / Then She Found Me
6th Annual Jewish Film Festival - February 23 - 25, 2008
Black Book / The Rape of Europa / California Shmeer / The Bubble / Naturalized / Arranged
5th Annual Jewish Film Festival - April 14 - 17, 2007
Live & Become / Sister Rose's Passion / Sophie Scholl / Metallic Blues / West Bank Story / Everything is Illuminated
4th Annual Jewish Film Festival - April 1 - 4, 2006
Ushpizin / Salaam Shalom / Delta Jews / Go for Zucker / Fateless
3rd Annual Jewish Film Festival - April 9 - 16, 2005
Walk on Water / A Good Uplift / The New Old Country / Crossing Delancey / Divan / Prisoner of Paradise / Gloomy Sunda
2nd Annual Jewish Film Festival - February 28 - 29 and March 7 - 8, 2004
Left Luggage / god@heaven / Keep on Walking: Joshua Nelson, the Jewish Gospel Singer / A Trumpet in the Wadi / Trembling Before G_D
Jewish Film Festival - February 15 - 18, 2003
Shalom Y'all / From Swastika to Jim Crow / The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg / Late Marriage / Promises