Youngstown Area Jewish Film Festival set for Oct. 6-29

‘The Other Son’ tells the story of two young men, an Israeli and a Palestinian, whose families must deal with the repercussions after learning they were switched at birth.

‘The Other Son’ tells the story of two young men, an Israeli and a Palestinian, whose families must deal with the repercussions after learning they were switched at birth.

The Youngstown Area Jewish Federation and Youngstown State University’s Center for Judaic and Holocaust Studies will present the 11th annual Youngstown Area Jewish Film Festival from Sunday, Oct. 6 through Tuesday, Oct. 29.

A highlight of this year’s festival will be the local appearance Holocaust survivor and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Gerda Weissmann Klein, who is the subject of  one the featured films, the 1995 Academy Award Winning documentary “One Survivor Remembers.” Weissmann Klein will speak after the film on Tuesday, Oct. 29 in the Chestnut Room at YSU’s Kilcawley Center.

Now in its eleventh year, the YAJFF continues to grow. This year, screenings will take place at four different venues located in both Trumbull and Mahoning counties: The Butler Institute of American Art; Encore Cinema (formerly USA Cinemas) in the Great East Plaza, Niles; Cinemark Tinseltown in Boardman; and Youngstown State University’s Williamson College of Business Administration and Kilcawley Center.

The films, which will be screened in a number of different local venues, include:

“BESA The Promise” – 1 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 6, Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown. The film chronicles the never-before-told story of Albania, the small European country that opened its borders to shelter Jewish refugees amidst a brutal Nazi occupation. The story is witnessed through the prism of two men joined together in a remarkable and unexpected quest: Norman H. Gershman, a renowned Jewish-American photographer determined to record the bravery and compassion of the Albanians; and Rexhep Hoxha, a Muslim-Albanian toy shop owner who sets out to return three precious books to the last surviving member of the Jewish family his father sheltered 60 years before. Peter C. Kole, Honorary Consul for the Consulate of the Republic of Albania, will speak following the screening.

“The Other Son” – 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 8, Encore Cinema (Formerly USA Cinemas), Niles. (French, Hebrew, and Arabic with English subtitles). When 18 year old Joseph Silber undergoes a blood test in preparation to join the Israeli army for his mandatory military service, the results reveals that he is not his parents’ biological son. The Tel Aviv teenager and his parents learn that during the Gulf War Joseph and another baby were evacuated from a clinic and given back to the wrong families. Joseph, who was actually born to Palestinian parents, went to Tel Aviv while the Silber’s biological son Yacine was brought to the West Bank by the Arab couple, Said and Leila. The revelation turns the lives of the two families upside-down, forcing them to reassess their respective identities, values and beliefs.

“Hava Nagila” (The Movie)  – 7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 14, Encore Cinema (Formerly USA Cinemas), Niles. It’s to music what the bagel is to food – a Jewish staple that has transcended its origins and become a worldwide hit. Bob Dylan sang it. Elvis, too. And that’s only the beginning when it comes to “Hava Nagila.” Follow the infectious party song on its fascinating journey from the shtetls of Eastern Europe to the cul-de-sacs of America. Features interviews with Harry Belafonte, Connie Francis, Glen Campbell, Leonard Nimoy, Regina Spektor and more, “Hava Nagila” (The Movie) takes viewers from Ukraine and Israel to the Catskills, Greenwich Village, Hollywood – and even Bollywood – using the song as a springboard to explore Jewish history and identity and to spotlight the cross-cultural connections that can only be achieved through music.

“Fill the Void” – 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 17. (Hebrew with English subtitles). Eighteen-year-old Shira is the youngest daughter of an Orthodox Hasidic family from Tel Aviv. About to be married off to a promising young man of the same age and background, Shira feels prepared and excited. However, everything changes on Purim when her 28-year-old sister, Esther, dies while giving birth to her first child. The pain and grief that overwhelm the family postpones Shira’s promised match and matters are further complicated when an offer is proposed to match Yochay– the late Esther‘s husband–to a widow from Belgium. Yochay feels it‘s too early, although he realizes that sooner or later he must seriously consider getting married again. When the girls’ mother finds out that Yochay may leave the country with her only grandchild, she proposes a match between Shira and the widower. Shira will have to choose between her heart’s wish and her family duty. Dr. Helene Sinnreich will speak following the screening.

“Hannah Arendt” – 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 22, Williamson College of Business Administration, YSU, Rayen Avenue at Hazel Street, Youngstown. (German and English with English subtitles). A new biopic of the influential German-Jewish philosopher and political theorist Hannah Arendt. The film focuses on Arendt’s reporting on the 1961 trial of ex-Nazi Adolf Eichmann in The New Yorker. Controversial for both her portrayal of Eichmann and the Jewish councils, Arendt’s reporting introduced her now-famous concept of the “Banality of Evil” and caused chaos in her personal and professional lives. Using footage from the actual Eichmann trial and weaving a narrative that spans three countries, the film  turns the often invisible passion for thought into immersive, dramatic cinema.

“One Survivor Remembers” – 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 29, Chestnut Room, Kilcawley Center, YSU, University Plaza at Elm Street, Youngstown. This documentary, co-produced by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Home Box Office, chronicles Gerda Weissmann Klein’s harrowing story of survival. Blending contemporary footage with interviews and personal photographs, the film presents Weissmann Klein’s memories of her experience during and after the Holocaust. Originally produced to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, “One Survivor Remembers” stands as tribute to the millions whose stories cannot be told. The subject of the film, Holocaust survivor and Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient Gerda Klein, will speak following the screening. This special event is organized by the Youngstown State University Center for Judaic and Holocaust Studies.

Ticket information – Ticket prices are adult festival pass, $32; senior (60+) festival pass, $28; student festival pass, $20; adult individual ticket, $8; senior (60+) individual ticket, $7; student individual ticket, $5. Tickets are available online at http://www.jccyoungstown.org, at the Jewish Community Center Bursar’s Office (505 Gypsy Lane, Youngstown, OH 44504), and at the door prior to each screening. Admission to the film “One Survivor Remembers” and the accompanying presentation by subject of the film and Holocaust Survivor Gerda Klein is free. No tickets will be sold for this event on Tuesday, Oct. 29. Seats are first come, first serve.

Sponsors for the festival include the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation; Jewish Community Center; Thomases Family Endowment of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation; YSU Center for Judaic and Holocaust Studies; WYSU 88.5 FM; Frances and Lillian Schermer Charitable Trusts; Youngstown State University; Zionist Organization of America; B’nai B’rith Aaron Grossman Lodge #339; Temple El Emeth; Rodef Sholom Congregation; Rodef Sholom Brotherhood; Rodef Sholom Sisterhood; Ohev Tzedek Temple; and the Butler Institute of American Art.

Parking – For the screening at the Butler Institute of American Art, park in Youngstown State University’s F-1 lot, located at 1 University Plaza, Youngstown, OH 44555 (near the rear of the Butler). For the screening at YSU’s Williamson College of Business Administration, please park in the lot owned by the Diocese of Youngstown on the corner of Wood St. and North Hazel Street.

For more information, Like the YAJFF on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/YAJFFestival.

© 2013 Metro Monthly. All rights reserved.

A highlight of the festival will be the local appearance Holocaust survivor and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Gerda Weissmann Klein, who is the subject of  the 1995 Academy Award Winning documentary “One Survivor Remembers.”

A highlight of the festival will be the local appearance Holocaust survivor and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Gerda Weissmann Klein, who is the subject of the 1995 Academy Award Winning documentary ‘One Survivor Remembers.’

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