NH Jewish Film Fest Launches Free Summer Film Series (July 9-Aug. 30)

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MANCHESTER, NH – The New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival (NHJFF) is launching its first-ever Virtual Summer Film Series, replacing the in-person festival that was canceled in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new film series, scheduled from July 9 through Aug. 30, includes five international films that would have made their local premieres at New Hampshire theaters this spring. Three of the screenings, marked below with an asterisk, include post-movie discussions with the filmmakers. This summer’s lineup includes:

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July 9 – LOVE IN SUSPENDERS (Comedy, Israel): When absent-minded Israeli widow Tami accidentally bumps 70-year-old widower Beno with her car, the last thing on her mind is romance. Hoping Beno won’t sue her, she invites him to her apartment. Circumstances conspire to continually bring the two lonely elders together. Against her wishes, the financially comfortable Tami starts falling for the money-strapped Beno, who is head-over-heels in love with her. Will their budding relationship survive their own preconceptions and the scrutiny of their children?

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July 23 – MY NAME IS SARA* (Drama, USA): The true story of Sara Goralnik, a 13-year-old Polish Jew whose entire family was killed by Nazis in September 1942. After a grueling escape to the Ukrainian countryside, Sara steals her Christian best friend’s identity and finds refuge in a small village, where she is taken in by a farmer and his young wife. She soon discovers the dark secrets of her employers’ marriage, compounding her own greatest secret that she must strive to protect, her true identity. (Includes post-film discussion with screenwriter David Himmelstein.)

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August 6 – FUTURES PAST* (Documentary, USA): Set against the last days of trading in the legendary Chicago pits, Futures Past captures the power struggle between filmmaker Jordan Melamed and his father, Leo Melamed, Holocaust survivor and kingpin of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. What begins as a documentary of the end of an era becomes a deeply personal exploration by a son returning to the “kill or be killed” world in which he was raised.(Includes post-film discussion with director Jordan Melamed.)

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August 20 – SHOOTING LIFE (Drama, Israel): Igal Gazit, an unemployed film director from Tel Aviv, moves to Sderot and takes a teaching job at the high school. However, Igal’s first meeting with his new students doesn’t go well. The students, sensing that he is patronizing them, make fun of the “enlightenment” he brings from Tel Aviv. Igal promises the principal that all the kids will pass the State Film Exams. The road to fulfilling that promise is one that the students will never forget.

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August 27 – PARIS SONG*  (Historical Drama, Kazakhstan, Latvia, USA): The true story of small-town singer Amre Kashaubayev’s journey from Soviet-ruled Kazakhstan to Paris to compete in an international singing competition at the 1925 Paris Expo. Unexpectedly embraced by the high-culture Paris elite, Amre forms a beautiful and unlikely friendship with American Jewish songwriters George Gershwin and Irving Berlin and with photographer Lee Abbott. This inspiring story illuminates what it means to be an outsider and to struggle against adversity.(Includes post-film discussion with director Jeff Vespa.)

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All film screenings begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday evenings and are available for streaming for 72 hours. Zoom discussion sessions begin at 7 p.m. on the Sundays of July 26, August 9 and August 30 at the end of the streaming windows.

Screenings are free, however a suggested $18 donation to support the festival and future programming would be most appreciated. For more information on the films and to see movie trailers, visit https://www.nhjewishfilmfestival.com/2020-virtual.  Advanced registration is required to watch the films and participate in the Zoom discussion sessions with the filmmakers.

The NHJFF Virtual Summer Film Series is made possible by the generosity of our sponsors, including 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.

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