Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The 2nd Annual ABQ Jewish Film Festival!

AFME & Abq JCC Partnership: The 2nd annual ABQ Jewish Film Festival will be the product of a new, exciting partnership between the Jewish Community Center (JCC) and Albuquerque Film and Music Experience (AFME).

The ABQ Jewish Film Festival will screen a total of five films in two venues. The line-up will showcase a rich and varied program of contemporary films from the U.S, Israel, France, and Cuba.

Movie topics and themes include: finding common ground amongst Israeli and Palestinian kids; anti-Semitism in France; baseball in Cuba; and the parallel of the New York Deli and the Jewish-American immigrant experience. Several of the screenings will also include special guests and unique experiences that will enrich the film experience.

Ivan Weiner, Executive Director of AFME, said
We enthusiastically add the Jewish Film Festival to our line-up at the Albuquerque Film & Music Experience.
Our partnership with the JCC has been very successful in providing great opportunities to the community. 
These excellent films celebrate the Jewish experience while illuminating the human experience.
Dave Simon, JCC Executive Director, said
The JCC is excited to continue to build our city’s reputation as a destination for the film experience. 
The themes of the ABQ Jewish Film Festival films have wide appeal to interest all audiences.
Screenings will be held at National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) and the Jewish Community Center (JCC). Tickets to all films are $5.

Here’s the line-up of outstanding films:

Dancing in Jaffa
Monday June 1, 7:00 pm; with Special Guest, Pierre Dulaine (NHCC)                                                
Ballroom dancing bridges gaps between Jewish and Palestinian children in Israel in Dancing in Jaffa, a surprising, well-crafted, award-winning  documentary about how the celebrated dancer Pierre Dulaine, founder of Dancing Classrooms, a tremendously successful inter-ethnic program in New York, returned to help his hometown of Jaffa, which he fled as a 4-year-old in 1948.

Starting with a seemingly impossible situation, marked by deep cultural restrictions and war-forged trauma, Hilla Medalia’s film traces a slow but inexorable process of change as spitting enemies learn to tango, rumba and meringue together. Dancing in Jaffa offers an up-close-and-personal perspective of how the future might unfold if the art of movement and dance could triumph over the politics of history and geography (2013, 90 min)

24 DAYS:  The True Story of the Ilan Halimi Affair
Wednesday June 3, 7:00 pm  (NHCC)

Winner of (4) U.S. Film Festival Audience Awards and the Lia Award - Jerusalem Film Festival, 24 DAYS is a gripping and carefully-plotted thriller that tells the true story of the 2006 kidnapping-for-ransom and torture of 23 year old Jewish Ilan Halimi in a Paris suburb by The Gang of Barbarians.

Backed by a top-notch cast, director Alexandre Arcady’s white-knuckle dramatization follows the massive police manhunt and the family’s nightmarish ordeal as they race the clock to find Ilan and his abductors.  24 DAYS compellingly pinpoints how France continues to deal with racial tensions and anti-Semitism almost a decade later. (2014, 110 minutes French with English subtitles)

Havana Curveball
Thursday June 4, 6:00 pm (NHCC)

Mica is a classic young teen. Enthusiastic. Idealistic. Dreaming baseball. At 13, he is studying for his Bar Mitzvah, the Jewish coming of age ritual. He takes to heart his Rabbi’s requirement to help “heal the world.” Imagining himself a savior of sorts, he launches a grand plan to send baseball equipment to less fortunate kids in Cuba, the country that offered refuge to his beloved Austrian grandfather during WWII. Nearly 70 years later, Mica feels a need to repay the debt. Enthusiastically collecting bats, mitts and balls, he never considers that his good intentions might not be enough.

Havana Curveball observes Mica shift from high-pitched boy to broad-shouldered young man, as he squares off against the complexity of the adult world. After two years, he finally boards a plane to Havana with his family, 200 pounds of baseball gear, and all the rhetoric, expectations, and worries of family, friends, and history in tow. Imagining he is finally in the home stretch, his experience there is transformative. (2014, 60 minutes)

Jubanos: The Jews of Cuba
Thursday June 4, 7:10 pm (NHCC)

Cuba is known for its revolutionary leaders, communism, cigars, and 50s cars. However, religion does not define this small island. When the Cuban Revolution hit in 1961, religion was banned, leaving the Cuban Jewish Community struggling to sustain itself for nearly three decades.

Jubanos: The Jews of Cuba tells the humbling story of the 1500 Jews who remained in the country despite the difficulties. With exclusive interviews from members of the scattered Jewish community, this documentary explores how the new generation re-learned what so many had previously forgotten. The journey to rediscovering and reviving Jewish life raises questions about faith, sustenance, strength, and the future, which the Cuban Jews continue to face up until today. (2010, 42 minutes; Spanish with English subtitles)

Deli Man
Sunday June 7, 1:00 pm (JCC) 
With special Knish, Hot Dog, & pickle lunch @ $5 at 12:30 pm

For some, delicatessen food is close to a religious experience:  a tender, crumbling cut of corned beef steeped in its juices; a full-bodied garlic dill pickle; spicy brown mustard with grain. The recipes and culinary garnishes from Hungary, Poland, Russia, and Romania flowed into late 19th and early 20th century America soon became part of an American culinary and cultural vernacular – Deli.

The principal guide of Deli Man is the effusive and charming Ziggy Gruber, a third-generation delicatessen man, owner and maven (as well as a Yiddish-speaking, French-trained chef) who currently operates one of the country’s top delis, Kenny and Ziggy’s in Houston.  The story of the American deli is the story of Jews – their immigration, migration, upward mobility, and western assimilation. Jerry Stiller, Larry King and others are featured. (2014, 60 minutes)

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