Friday, March 7, 2014

New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival runs March 27-April 6

(From the New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival)

NH JEWISH FILM FEST EXPLORES UNTOLD STORIES

6th Annual NHJFF examines U.S. Olympic shame, the Pope’s "Jewish Cardinal," a paralyzed Rock & Roll legend, and a would-be rabbi turned comedy icon.

You probably know about Jesse Owens and how he squashed Hitler’s Aryan superiority theory at the 1936 Olympic Games. But did you know that the U.S. Olympic track team pulled a record-setting Jewish sprinter from the games to appease the Nazis?  That runner was Marty Glickman, who later revolutionized sports broadcasting by inventing such classic basketball terms as "SWISH!"

His heartbreaking-yet-inspirational story is told in the gripping documentary "Glickman," one of seven critically acclaimed films making their Granite State premieres at the NH Jewish Film Festival presented by Jewish Federation of New Hampshire  from March 27-April 6. The festival, which screens a total of nine films across five New Hampshire cities, features many surprising cultural and historical twists.

In "The Jewish Cardinal" on Opening Night, audiences will be introduced to Jean-Marie Lustiger, the Jewish-born Archbishop of Paris. When there are Jewish protests over plans to build a convent inside Auschwitz, the Cardinal’s religious identity is deeply tested.

The Festival ends on a much lighter note, celebrating the career of standup comedian David Steinberg in the concert documentary "Quality Balls," which recounts his origins as a Canadian rabbinical student who quit for the allure of directing sitcoms like Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

The Steinberg film will be followed by a Stand-Up Comedy Wrap Party at Concord's Red River Theatres, featuring jovial refreshments and comedian Steve Calechman, whose resume includes leading "Fiddler on the Roof" sing-a-longs at the Boston Jewish Film Festival. Calechman is proud of attending Jewish summer camp in New Hampshire (Camp Naticook in Merrimack) as a boy.

"We're bringing the same cutting edge films that play at Jewish Film Festivals around the world right here in New Hampshire," says NHJFF co-chair Linda Gerson. "A number of the films share the theme of 'The Jewish American Experience,' a refreshing look at some inspirational people who overcome the odds, deal with anti-Semitism, work hard and succeed in their own unique way."

Also highlighting that theme will be Yeshiva University film professor Eric Goldman, author of The American Jewish Story through Cinema. On March 30 at Cinemagic in Merrimack, Prof. Goldman will explore Jewish characters and themes in famous movies, using classic film clips as a jumping off point for conversation.
"This year we’re taking an exciting cultural journey to share our heritage through history, sports, music and cinema,” Gerson adds. “We’re inspired to explore what it means to be Jewish Americans!"

For tickets and screening times, visit Jewishnh.org or call Jewish Federation of NH at  603-627-7679.