MANCHESTER, NH — Universal Studios is best known for its theme parks and decades of iconic movies that include “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein,” “Jaws,” “E.T.,” and “Jurassic Park.” But to Windham resident (and Nashua native) Bob Treitel, the Universal name has a much deeper and more personal meaning.
Treitel’s Jewish grandparents escaped Hitler’s Germany thanks to one man, Universal Pictures
founder Carl Laemmle (pronounced “lem-lee”). In the late 1930s, the movie mogul saved more
than 300 Jewish families by sponsoring their immigration to the U.S. and finding them jobs and
Laemmle’s legacy lives on in the thousands of descendents of those he rescued. His exploits are remembered in the new documentary “Carl Laemmle,” screening April 6 at the Currier Museum in Manchester as the festival’s 11th anniversary opening gala event. Treitel will answer audience questions after the film.
The NHJFF’s closing film on April 14 in Concord will be “Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel,” a new documentary about Israel’s underdog quest in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Most of the players were Jewish-Americans who qualified under the WBC’s ethnicity rules (i.e. Italian-Americans could play for Team Italy). Surprisingly, the Team Israel roster had three New Hampshire connections:
- Sam Fuld, the centerfielder and leadoff hitter, grew up in Durham, NH.
- Ryan Lavarnway, a former Boston Red Sox catcher, spent most of his 2016 season with
the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
- Josh Zeid, a former pitcher for the Houston Astros, went to Camp Young Judaea in
Amherst, NH, as a kid (1996-1998).
This year’s New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival – which includes documentaries, comedies,
dramas and film shorts from the U.S., Canada, Argentina, Israel and Europe – will screen from
April 4-14 in Concord, Manchester, Merrimack, Peterborough and Portsmouth. Thirteen of the 17 films will be making their New England or New Hampshire premieres.
“Our volunteers work year-round to find diverse, entertaining and thought-provoking films that would never otherwise come to New Hampshire,” says NHJFF Chair Pat Kalik. “Film is a great conduit for bringing people together and building community.”
“We really have something for everyone this year. We have two comedians searching for the
best bagels and babka in Montreal (‘Chewdaism’), a gritty crime mystery with ‘Budapest Noir,’
and I’m especially excited about “Golda’s Balcony,’ which makes you feel like you’re watching
the performance on Broadway,” she adds.
This is the first year that Peterborough was selected to host festival programming. On Sunday, April 7, the historic Peterborough Community Theatre will show “93 Queen,” the true story of an all-female volunteer ambulance corps in the heart of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish section of Brooklyn; and “The Samuel Project,” a comedy-drama about an aspiring teenage artist who learns the heroic history behind his grandfather’s survival in Nazi Germany. (For a full film lineup and schedule, click here or scroll below.)
“We’re proud to partner with the Peterborough Community Theatre, which truly is a gem of the Monadnock region,” says Melanie Zalman McDonald, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of New Hampshire. “The festival provides opportunities to engage, entertain, educate and empower viewers through the universal language of film.” Special guest speakers and events for the 2019 NHJFF include:
- Gala Celebration Honoring Hollywood Hero Carl Laemmle (Saturday, April 6,
Manchester) – This opening night fundraiser for the NHJFF at the Currier Museum will include a gala food and wine reception and a Q&A with NH resident Bob Treitel, whose grandparents escaped Nazi Germany with help from Universal founder Carl Laemmle.
- Satan and Adam (Sunday, April 7, Portsmouth) – Harmonica player Adam Gussow will lead a post-film discussion about his unlikely friendship and collaboration with legendary blues guitarist Sterling “Mr. Satan” Magee, who once played with Marvin Gaye and James Brown.
- Golda’s Balcony (Tuesday, April 9, Manchester) – Producer David Fishelson will lead a post-film discussion about the life of Golda Meir, who was born in Russia, moved to Milwaukee as a young girl, and wound up being the first woman Prime Minister of Israel.
- Sociable Saturday Night (Saturday, April 13, Concord) – A light savory and sweet dessert reception will preface the movie “Shoelaces,” an Israeli family dramedy about a surly mechanic’s relationship with his special needs son.
- Free Kids Movies PJ Library (Sunday, April 14, Concord) – The Hotel Concord will host free screenings of Pixar’s “Inside Out” and Disney’s “Full-Court Miracle,” sponsored by the PJ Library, a Jewish engagement and literacy program for families with young children.
- Righting a Wrong (Sunday, April 14, Concord) – New Hampshire filmmaker Darren Garnick will introduce his 4-minute film short about international volunteers restoring a Polish-Jewish cemetery neglected for decades after being desecrated by the Nazis in WWII. The short film will be shown before “Who Will Write Our History.”
- Who Will Write Our History (Sunday, April 14, Concord) – Director Roberta Grossman will do a Q&A session via Skype following the screening of her critically acclaimed Warsaw Ghetto film.
- Team Israel Baseball Wrap Party (Sunday, April 14, Concord) – Ken Fuld, father of Team Israel centerfielder Sam Fuld, will lead a post-film discussion about his role in the “Heading Home” documentary. Refreshments will be served after the movie.
The 11th annual New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival is supported by the Jewish Federation of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire State Council of the Arts, corporate sponsors and Friends of the Festival. For the full film lineup, ticket prices and screening venues, scroll down below or visit nhjewishfilmfestival.org