MANCHESTER, NH – The New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival this year is delighted to offer its audiences a choice between virtual and in- screenings as it brings its international lineup to theaters in Concord, Keene, Manchester and Portsmouth, The festival which will screen independent and foreign films from 12 countries from March 31 through April 10, includes selections from Belarus, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Qatar, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Nine of the 11 feature films will be making their New Hampshire premieres!
Virtual attendees will have a 48-hour window to watch each movie anytime during the festival. As a bonus, there will be virtual screenings of four of the in-theater films available from April 11 to April 24.
The New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival strives to enhance an appreciation of extraordinary individuals, culture, identity, history and contemporary issues in Jewish and Israeli life. Using the power of film and programming to educate and entertain, the NHJFF encourages dialogue on diverse perspectives, broadening understanding and strengthening community.
The 2022 NHJFF is partnering with the following Granite State venues: Red River Theatres (Concord), Showroom (Keene), The Rex Theatre (Manchester), and 3S Artspace (Portsmouth).
“After two years of going 100-percent virtual because of the pandemic, we are thrilled to offer some movie lovers the in-person communal experience they expect from festivals,” says Pat Kalik, of Manchester, co-chair of the NHJFF. “While at the same time, we respect the preference to watch from your living room. We hope this hybrid model will allow us to reach more people than ever before.”
“Our devoted volunteers spend the entire year screening documentaries, comedies, dramas and shorts so we can bring some of the best independent cinema to New Hampshire,” adds NHJFF co-chair Ross Fishbein, of Bedford. “We’re bringing these movies to you first, way before they reach cable or Netflix.”
Special Filmmaker Q&A Events (via Zoom) include:
The Automat (Thursday, March 31 @7pm) – Following the screening at The Rex theater in Manchester, director Lisa Hurwitz will discuss her film about the Automat a wildly popular 1950s restaurant chain that served its meals in vending machines. Automat collector/restorer Steve Stollman will join the conversation.
Apples and Oranges (Monday, April 4 @7pm) – Director Yoav Brill will discuss his film about the wave of foreign volunteers who came to Israel in the 1960s through 1980s to work on a kibbutz, a communal village centered around agriculture. Brill reflects on the changing nature of the volunteers as Israel’s geopolitical situation evolved.
Upheaval: The Journey of Menachem Begin (Tuesday, April 5 @7pm) – Director Jonathan Gruber will discuss his documentary on the life of Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, a military hawk who made peace with Egypt in 1979.
Cabaret (Sunday, April 10 @3:30pm) – Following the 50th-anniversary screening of “Cabaret” at Red River Theatres, NH educator and film enthusiast Zachary Camenker will lead a discussion about the history and impact of the film a half-century later. Starring Liza Minelli, the musical about Berlin nightlife during the Nazi rise to power won 8 Academy Awards. Note: This screening is in-person only and does not have a virtual option.
The 14th annual New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival is supported by the Jewish Federation of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire State Council of the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, corporate sponsors and Friends of the Festival.
Individual film tickets are $12 per in-theater ticket or per virtual household ticket. For festival pass information, movie trailers and the full film lineup, visit: https://www.
2022 NHJFF Film Line-Up
(*Films with an asterisk are making their New Hampshire premieres)
Thursday, March 31, 7:00 PM
The Rex, Manchester
Director: Lisa Hurwitz
Documentary, 2021, USA
Once upon a nickel, before fast food, one American restaurant empire was unstoppable. Experience the untold story of “The Automat,” a documentary film starring Mel Brooks. Director Lisa Hurwitz spent eight years interviewing dozens of celebrities (including Carl Reiner, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Colin Powell) and former employees and visiting far-flung places where collectors hoard the surviving remnants of the once spectacular Horn & Hardart Automat restaurants. This is an endearing first-time look into one of the most successful business ventures of its time through the eyes of those touched by their experiences.
Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen*
Sunday, April 3, 1:00 PM
Showing Statewide: 3S Art Space (Portsmouth), The Rex (Manchester), Showroom (Keene)
Director: Daniel Raim
Documentary, 2022, USA
Narrated by Jeff Goldblum, Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen captures the humor and drama of film director Norman Jewison’s quest to recreate the lost world of Jewish life in Tsarist Russia and re-envision the beloved stage hit as a wide-screen epic. The film includes behind-the-scenes footage and never-before-seen stills as well as original interviews with director Jewison, Topol (Tevye), composer John Williams, production designer Robert F. Boyle, film critic Kenneth Turan, lyricist Sheldon Harnick, and actresses Rosalind Harris, Michele Marsh, and Neva Small (Tevye’s daughters). The film explores how the experience of making Fiddler deepened Jewison as an artist and revived his soul.
Thursday, April 7, 7:00 PM
Red River Theatres, Concord
Director: Leo Khasin
Narrative, 2020, Germany
(German with English subtitles)
In this snappy German satire, tempers flare after a Jewish student is goaded by Muslim classmates into a schoolyard brawl, injuring an Iranian and a Palestinian student. A hopelessly naïve teacher arranges a summit with the fuming parents and spineless principal. But her do-gooder attempts at peacemaking, complete with Palestinian and Israeli flags decorating the snacks, expose her own misguided beliefs. Inspired by writer-director Leo Khasin’s own upbringing as a Russian Jew in Berlin, this darkly humorous conversation-starter seeks a common language in the unending fight against intolerance.
Sunday April 10, 1:00 PM
Red River Theatres, Concord
Director: Rafal Zielinksi
Drama, 2020, USA
Multiple Academy-Award-winner Ed Asner, in one of his last performances, stars in this tender story of the unlikely friendship between Samuel, a Holocaust survivor, and Casey, a skinhead teen runaway. Despite their respective traumas and initial mistrust of one another, they form a powerful bond that yields a sense of family and mutual support. This absorbing drama sparks larger questions about family, love, and our divided world at large.
Celebrating Cabaret’s 50th Anniversary!
Sunday April 10, 3:30 PM
Red River Theatres, Concord NH
Director: Bob Fosse
Musical/Romance, 1972, USA
Winner of 8 Academy Awards. As Nazism rises in 1931 Germany, flamboyant American Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli) sings in a decadent Berlin nightclub and falls in love with a British language teacher (Michael York) — whom she shares with a homosexual German baron. But Sally’s small, carefree, tolerant and fragile cabaret world is about to be crushed under the boot of the Nazis as Berlin becomes a trap from which Sally’s German friends will not escape. This year is the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking, blockbuster film version of the Broadway musical.
200 Meters – NH Premiere
Director: Ameen Nayfeh
Drama, 2020, Palestine, Jordan, Qatar, Italy, Sweden
(Arabic, Hebrew, English with subtitles)
Mustafa and his wife, Salwa, live 200 meters apart in villages separated by the Israeli border wall. One day he gets a call every parent dreads: His son has been injured in an accident. Rushing to cross the Israeli checkpoint, Mustafa is denied on a technicality. But a father’s love won’t give up, and he will do anything to reach his son. A 200-meter distance becomes a 200-kilometer odyssey, as Mustafa, left with no choice, attempts to smuggle himself to the other side of the wall.
Apples and Oranges*
Director: Yoav Brill
Documentary, 2021, Israel
(Hebrew, English with subtitles)
Israeli kibbutz volunteering began in the 1960s as the idealistic and rebellious youth generation was charmed by the old communist ideology brought to life. The 1967 Six Day War attracted a new wave of support for Israel that the kibbutz movement saw as a miracle. During the 1980s, however, the war in Lebanon and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict forced idealistic volunteers to face a new question: Does supporting the kibbutz mean supporting the state of Israel?
Directors: Matan Guggenheim and Assaf Abiri
Drama, 2020, Israel
(Hebrew, English with subtitles)
Dov, a widower, is forced by his family to move to a nursing home, and there’s nothing he can do about it. He’s broke since he lost his pension, and he blames the state. The nursing home feels like a prison, and when Dov notices that all his fellow residents smoke legal medical cannabis, he realizes that weed can be his salvation – selling it, not smoking it. However, love, cops and gangsters come into play, and Dov finds himself at a crossroads: Will he risk it all to make his dream come true?
Director: Mano Khalil
Drama, 2021, Switzerland, France
(Kurdish with English subtitles)
In a little village on the Syrian-Turkish border in the early 80s, a six-year-old Kurdish boy
experiences his first year in an Arab school and sees how his little world is radically changed by
absurd nationalism. With a fine sense of humor and satire, the film shows us that
in the midst of dictatorship and dark drama, childhood also has its light moments. How much friendship, love and solidarity are possible in times of repression and despotism? The film, inspired by the director’s personal experiences and bittersweet memories, connects the Syrian tragedy to the present.
Director: Vadim Perelman
Narrative Feature, 2020, Russia, Germany, Belarus
(German, French, Italian, English and Persian with English subtitles)
Occupied France, 1942. Gilles is arrested by Nazi SS soldiers alongside other Jews and sent to a camp in Germany. He narrowly avoids sudden execution by swearing to the guards that he is not Jewish, but Persian. This lie temporarily saves him, but Gilles gets assigned a life-or-death mission: to teach the Farsi language to Koch, the Head of Camp, who dreams of opening a restaurant in Iran once the war is over. Gilles manages to survive by inventing Farsi words every day and teaching them to Koch. As the Nazi officer’s suspicions grow every day, Gilles understands that he will not be able to keep his secret very long.
Upheaval: The Journey of Menachem Begin*
Director: Jonathan Gruber
Documentary, 2020, USA
Imprisoned by the Soviets. Orphaned by the Holocaust. Elected Prime Minister. Crowned peacemaker by the Nobel Prize Committee. Disgraced by the Lebanon War. Menachem Begin was a pillar of the State of Israel and a tireless fighter for the Jewish people. He was, at the same time, a controversial leader. With evocative imagery, rarely seen archival materials, and revealing interviews with those who knew him, Upheaval portrays the life and essence of this brilliant, tough, complex, loving, and proud man who never compromised when the survival of Israel and the Jewish people were at stake. (Presented in partnership with the Israel Engagement and Education Committee.)
Short Film Program (Virtual Only)
Director: Adam Lebowitz-Lockard
Comedy Short, 2021, USA
(10 minutes, English)
Josh wants to find his late mother’s “beefies” recipe for a pandemic Passover, but finds he must reconnect with his estranged brother to do so. Josh will have to figure out her fractured recipe or burn down his kitchen trying.
Director: Mark Rosenblatt
Short, 2020, United Kingdom
(14 minutes, English with Yiddish phrases)
London, 1962. When six-year-old Ruthie is asked by her glamorous but troubled mother to hide some fancy shopping bags from Lynn, the cleaner, she is baffled. In this big, lonely house, Lynn is more than a housekeeper, she is Ruthie’s friend. But on learning that a thief (a ganef in Yiddish) stole from her mother’s family in Frankfurt during the Holocaust, Ruthie becomes paranoid. And when she witnesses Lynn innocently pocket a silver bowl for cleaning, Ruthie has her worst fears confirmed: Her friend is a thief. The actions Ruthie takes to protect her home will cause her treasured friendship to fall apart.
Masel Tov Cocktail*
Directors: Arkadij Khaet, Mickey Paatzsch
Short, 2020, Germany
(30 minutes, German, Russian with English subtitles)
A Russian-Jewish teen in Germany offers a fierce comic take on modern Jewish life and the hypocritically tolerant way in which his world works.
The Shabbos Goy*
Director: Talia Osteen
Comedy Short, 2019, USA
(7 minutes, English)
God literally forbids Chana to turn off her vibrator gone rogue, so she sets out on a quest to find someone who can.
The Tattooed Torah – NH Premiere
Director: Marc Bennett
Animated Short, 2021, USA
(21 minutes, English, Hebrew)
Over the last three decades, the beloved children’s book by Marvell Ginsburg,”The Tattooed Torah,” has been a powerful resource for Holocaust education for children all over the world. The book recounts the true story of the rescue and restoration of a small Torah from Brno, Czechoslovakia. The adaptation of “The Tattooed Torah” into an animated short film is a three-generation endeavor, initiated by Marvell’s daughter, Beth Kopin, who first dreamed of transforming this book into a film and is an executive producer. Beth’s son Brett co-wrote the screenplay. The film is narrated by the late Ed Asner.