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Mayerson JCC Jewish & Israeli Film Festival

Celebrate 30 years of Cincinnati’s Jewish & Israeli Film Festival and 10 years of the Festival as a program of the Mayerson JCC! Award-winning films from around the world will light up screens across Cincinnati during this popular month-long festival. This year’s slate of films will explore significant topics as seen through the lens of the individual or a few. Personal. Impactful. Human. That which seems unlikely or insurmountable can be challenged. Join us to celebrate the humanity in these stories.

2019 Film Festival – February 2 – 21, 2019

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An Act of Defiance

Saturday, February 2, 7pm
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
2017 ∙ Historical Drama ∙ 123 minutes ∙ English/Afrikaans ∙ Jean Van De Velde

Ten political activists (including Nelson Mandela and his inner circle of black and Jewish supporters) face a possible death sentence for conspiracy to commit sabotage after they are arrested by the apartheid South African government in 1963.

OPENING NIGHT includes one complimentary drink per person and enjoyment of a post-film reception. Several paid parking options are available.

In partnership with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center as they celebrate Mandela 100 with their exhibit “Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu,” on display until March 1.

Budapest Noir

Monday, February 4, 7pm
Esquire Theatre
2017 ∙ Crime Thriller ∙ 95 minutes ∙ Hungarian ∙ Éva Gárdos

Budapest, 1936. Crime reporter Zsigmond Gordon, a cynic who thinks he has seen it all, gets a tip leading him to an unusual crime scene in a seedy part of the city. Investigating the murder, Gordon enters a world of pornographers, brothels and Communist cells leading to the highest echelons of power – not knowing who to trust, or what ulterior motives are working against him and the truth.

SPECIAL FEATURE: Short film screening of A Thousand Kisses by Richard Goldgewicht.

In partnership with Department of Judaic Studies – University of Cincinnati.

Keep The Change

Tuesday, February 5, 7pm
Kenwood Theatre
2017 ∙ Narrative ∙ 93 minutes ∙ English ∙ Rachel Israel

In this unlikely love story, two people meet in a support group. When David, a disinterested upper-class charmer, is paired with enthusiastic Sarah, he doesn’t realize that this quirky bundle of energy just might hold the key to his happiness. Actors on the autism spectrum play the autistic characters in this audacious, charming romantic comedy.

SPECIAL FEATURE: Short film screening of Wendy’s Shabbat by Rachel Myers.

In partnership with Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival, organized by LADD, Inc and with the Mayerson JCC’s 2019 Disability Inclusion Awareness Programs as supported by Paul Heldman and Deborah Kirshner, and the Milton and Frances Schloss Special Needs and Services Department at the JCC.

The Last Suit

Wednesday, February 6, 7pm
Mariemont Theatre
2017 ∙ Drama ∙ 92 mins ∙ Spanish/German/Polish/Yiddish ∙ Pablo Solarz

An aging, cantankerous Jewish tailor leaves his life and family in Argentina to embark on a secret journey back through time and halfway around the world, to find the man who saved him from death at Auschwitz, in this wistful road movie with planes, trains, and heart.

SPECIAL FEATURE: Short film screening of The Driver is Red by Randall Christopher.

In partnership with Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati and Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center.

Winter Hunt

Thursday, February 7, 7pm
Mariemont Theatre
2018 ∙ Drama/Thriller ∙ 75 minutes ∙ German ∙ Astrid Schult

Driving on a deserted highway through the German countryside, Lena arrives at the Rossberg’s remote estate, as nightfall descends. The scene is set for a twisted cat and mouse game involving a young woman who goes to extremes to confront a former Auschwitz guard accused of war crimes. This potent psychological thriller examines wartime guilt and culpability across generations.

In partnership with Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center.

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Etgar Keret: Based on a True Story

Sunday, February 10, 3pm
Kenwood Theatre
2017 ∙ Documentary ∙ 70 minutes ∙ English ∙ Stephane Kaas

Weaving together animation, live action and interviews, dive deep into the psyche of Etgar Keret, the beloved Israeli writer and humorist whose fiction explores the complexities and absurdities of daily life. Conversations with friends and colleagues, including This American Life’s Ira Glass and writer Jonathan Safran Foer, flesh out this quirky portrait of a generous, irreverent, and creative thinker.

SPECIAL FEATURE: Discussion led by Amnon Maggid, Community Shaliach (Emissary) from Israel at the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati.

In partnership with Mercantile Library.

Dear Fredy

Monday, February 11, 7pm
Esquire Theatre
2017 ∙ Documentary ∙ 74 minutes ∙ Hebrew/English/Czech ∙ Rubi Gat

Fredy Hirsch was a proud Jew and openly gay man who defied stereotypes and prejudices of his time. With the rise of Nazism, he fled Germany and became a sports teacher in a Jewish youth club. During the Holocaust, he continued his care for countless children and fought to maintain their human dignity in Ghetto Terezin and Auschwitz. The testimonies of the children that were under Fredy’s care tell the story of a larger-than-life figure, a hero we never knew.

SPECIAL FEATURE: Discussion with Sarah Weiss, Executive Director of Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center, Gregg Levine, LGBTQ Rights Activist and Former Operations and Development Manager for the International Gay Games, and other members of the LGBTQ and Jewish communities.

In partnership with Cincinnati Hillel and Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center.


Tuesday, February 12, 7pm
Esquire Theatre
2018 ∙ Drama/Thriller ∙ 93 minutes ∙ English/Hebrew/Arabic ∙ Eran Riklis

An Israeli Mossad agent is sent to Germany to protect a Lebanese informant recovering from plastic surgery to assume her new identity. The two weeks they spend together become a high-stakes game of deception, where beliefs are questioned, choices are made, and their fate takes a surprising turn.

In partnership with Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion.

Who Will Write Our History? The Secret Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto

Wednesday, February 13, 7pm
Union Terminal – Reakirt Auditorium
2018 ∙ Historical Drama ∙ 95 minutes ∙ English/Yiddish/Polish ∙ Director Roberta Grossman, Exec. Producer Nancy Spielberg

In November 1940, days after the Nazis sealed 450,000 Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, a secret group led by Emanuel Ringelblum and known by the code name Oyneg Shabes decided to fight back. Vowing to defeat Nazi lies and propaganda, these courageous resistance fighters created the most important collection of eyewitness accounts from the Holocaust, documenting not only how the Jews of the ghetto died, but how they lived.

SPECIAL FEATURE: Discussion led by Jodi Elowitz, Director of Education and Engagement at Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center, in the newly expanded and relocated exhibit space at Union Terminal. The exhibit space will be open special hours at regular admission from 5 – 7pm prior to the screening of the film.

Paid parking is available at Union Terminal.

In partnership with Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center.

The Invisibles

Sunday, February 17, 3pm
Mayerson JCC – Amberley Room
2017 ∙ Documentary Drama ∙ 110 minutes ∙ German ∙ Claus Räfle

In June 1943, Germany infamously declared Berlin “judenfrei” – “free of Jews.” But at that moment there were still 7,000 Jews living in the Nazi capital. Only 1,700 lived to liberation. In this documentary drama, four of those survivors eloquently narrate their own harrowing drama of survival in Berlin – after it was officially declared free of Jews.

SPECIAL FEATURE: Discussion led by Mimi Ash, Film Research and Acquisitions Coordinator at Yad Vashem Visual Center.

In partnership with Jewish Federation of Cincinnati – Silver Circle Society and Create Your Jewish Legacy and Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center.

When The Smoke Clears: A Story of Brotherhood, Resilience, and Hope

Monday, February 18, 7pm
Mariemont Theatre
2017 ∙ Documentary ∙ 90 mins ∙ Hebrew/English ∙ Rebecca Shore

This inspiring documentary reveals how a group of wounded soldiers discover renewed purpose and healing by giving to others. The film shares the experiences of three young Israeli war veterans as they forge new identities and rebuild their lives.

SPECIAL FEATURE: Discussion led by Dr. Kathleen Chard, nationally recognized expert on PTSD and Director of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Trauma Recovery Center.

In partnership with AgeWell Cincinnati.

Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds: The Conductor Zubin Mehta

Tuesday, February 19, 7pm
Kenwood Theatre
2016 ∙ Documentary ∙ 89 minutes ∙ English/German/Italian ∙ Bettina Ehrhardt

The name Zubin Mehta has been synonymous with the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra for over four decades as Music Director for Life and the nation’s face of cultural excellence. This globe-trotting biography set in Israel, Bombay, Berlin, Florence, and Munich is a magnificent tribute to an artistic virtuoso’s life, work, and ultimate belief in the power of music to heal and inspire.

SPECIAL FEATURE: Discussion led by conductor Louis Langrée, Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and performance by musicians of the CSO.

In partnership with Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel

Thursday, February 21, 2019, 7pm
At 20th Century Theater
2018 ∙ Documentary ∙ 86 minutes ∙ English ∙ Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, & Jeremy Newberger

Follow the underdog journey of Israel’s national baseball team as they compete for the first time in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Their line-up included several Jewish American Major League players, most with a tenuous relationship to Judaism, let alone having never set foot in Israel. Through their journey, the team discovers the pride of representing Israel on the world stage.

SPECIAL FEATURE: Post-film discussion with Heading Home cast members Jonathan Mayo, Senior Writer for, and Jon Moscot, Israeli-American professional baseball pitcher in the Cincinnati Reds organization.

In partnership with The Reds Community Fund.

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