For the past six years, the Kehillah of Chester County has proudly presented its renowned Summer Shorts Film Festival at The Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville. Due to challenging circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and in order to continue our commitment to providing the community with an outstanding festival of Jewish films, we have modified our seventh annual program.
We will still be “meeting” at The Colonial, but online rather than in person. In addition, this summer’s film selections are not shorts, but feature-length movies, followed by post-screening Zoom discussions lead by local scholars. Our intention is to return to our usual format of short films next summer at The Colonial Theatre.
July 8, 2020 through August 26, 2020
7:15 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Online pre-registration is required; please register for each film you would like see. Instructions for how to stream the movie and access the post-movie discussion will be emailed to registrations prior to each screening.
Suggested donation per session is $10.00
No one turned away for lack of funds
Unsettling – July 22
Winner of a Grierson Award (aka The British Documentary Award), director Iris Zaki enters the heart of Tekoa, an Israeli settlement in the West-Bank,and sits down to talk to the locals. Though fearful at first of the left-wing invader, settlers from various backgrounds gradually open up to her. Their honest, surprising and sometimes funny conversations offer a fresh take on Israeli reality from both sides of the Green Line.
Discussion facilitator: TBD
Golden Boys – Tuesday, July 28
Please note: in observance of Tisha B’Av this program will take place on Tuesday, July 28th instead of Wednesday, July 29th.
Every week, 10 elderly gay men gather in a room at the LGBT Center of Tel-Aviv, Israel. Being part of a community that sanctifies youth, this intimate space provides these men with their last and only shelter, where they can age and deal with aging openly: from sexuality and body image at old age, to loneliness, their condition as widowers, divorcees and even grandparents. Instead of the typical sociological and biographical documentation, this movie follows these witty seniors and their funny dialogues, and gives us a comedic empathetic glimpse into their often-hardhearted process of aging.
Discussion facilitator: Jerry Stuart Silverman is a certified member of the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides. Since 2009, Jerry has been giving tours as part of Mural Arts Philadelphia, Hidden City Philadelphia, and the Preservation Alliance. He is a founding member of LGBTQ Congregation Beth Ahavah, and the Museum of American Jewish History, he also serves on the board of Congregation Rodeph Shalom.
Vice Versa – Wednesday, August 5
An innocent and honest relationship between a young religious yeshiva scholar and an 18 years old female cancer patient turns out to become an intimate and passionate love story that transcends the rules of religion, society, and faith.
Discussion facilitator: Joseph G. Brin, is a documentary filmmaker based in Philadelphia. His film, “SHIVTEI: Lost and Found,” on Congregation Shivtei Yeshuron Ezras Israel (aka The Little Shul), was featured in the Summer Shorts Film Festival of 2019. Brin’s new film in production, “A String of Pearls,” is one survivor’s story of hope in defiance of the Holocaust.
Esau – Wednesday, August 12
Harvey Keitel (“Reservoir Dogs,” “Pulp Fiction,” “The Irishman”), Lior Ashkenazi (“Foxtrot”), Mark Ivanir (“Homeland”) and Shira Haas (“Shtisel,” “Unorthodox”) star in “Esau,” the first English-language film from acclaimed Russian-French director Pavel Lungin. “Esau,” which is adapted from Israeli author Meir Shalev’s novel of the same name, follows a 40-year-old writer who returns to his family home after half a lifetime, to face the brother who stole both his love and his livelihood. The story is a modern twist on the biblical story of Jacob and Esau in the book of Genesis.
Discussion facilitator: Ronit Engel is a Senior Lecturer in Foreign Languages and the Director of the Modern Hebrew Language Program in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and the Undergraduate Jewish Studies Director at the University of Pennsylvania
Praise The Lard – Wednesday, August 19
PORK! It is among the Jewish religion’s biggest taboos and one of Israel’s most controversial issues. Told in a humorous tone, Praise the Lard follows the quirky story of how a simple farm animal became a symbol of freedom for secular Israelis and an existential threat to the religious.
Discussion facilitator to be determined
Three Mothers – August 26
The Hakim sisters, Rose, Flora and Jasmine, were born in Alexandria in 1942. They are triplets. Their saga is one of powerful love and deadly deceit, played out in three languages and across three generations. Their mother was a midwife to the court of King Farouk, last of the Egyptian monarchs. Following the Suez Crisis/Sinai War, Jews became unwelcome in Egypt and the family fled to Israel in 1958. Rose is a singer, passionate and vain, who is the first to become a mother. Her performances in French, Hebrew and Arabic at various ages provide a musical backdrop for the web of intrigue among the characters who are both tender and vicious. Rose’s daughter Rachel becomes entangled in their complex family history, when Jasmine falls ill and confesses to a long-held secret. Filmmaker Dina Zvi-Riklis jumps back and forth between the present and the earlier stages of the sisters’ lives, and weaves a suspenseful and poignant tale. THREE MOTHERS calls to question the meanings of blood ties, marital loyalties, independence, and motherhood itself. Rose, the outspoken one, gets it right: We were much better sisters than we were mothers.
Discussion facilitator to be determined
Torn – July 8
A true story about a Catholic priest whose whole world was suddenly turned completely upside down at his mother’s deathbed. Twelve years after he was ordained as a Polish Catholic priest, Father Romuald Waszkinel discovered that his real name is Jacob Weksler and that his parents were Jews who had given him up to his Catholic Polish neighbors in order to save him from the Holocaust. The film follows his amazing journey: from conducting mass in a Polish church, to life as an observant Jew in a religious kibbutz in Israel. Torn between two identities, he is unable to renounce either, and consequently, he is unaccepted by both religions as well as the state of Israel. Now, he is required to choose.
Discussion facilitator: Stefanie Seltzer, Founder and President of the World Federation of Jewish Child Survivors of the Holocaust and Descendants
Zohar – The Return – July 15
The poster boy of Israeli avant garde cinema, Uri Zohar, left the entertainment world to become an ultra-orthodox rabbi. Decades later, he is back at the helm, to make a new film. For the first time, he shares his own life story. Scenes from his previous films, in which the hero, often played by young Zohar himself, would always find himself battling his inner demons, enhance the riveting portrait of a filmmaker-turned-rabbi.
Discussion facilitator: Eran Preis is an Israeli playwright and filmmaker. For the past 25 years, he has been a Professor at Temple University’s School of Theater, Film, and Media Arts, where he teaches courses on scriptwriting and international cinema.
The Kehillah of Chester County’s Summer Shorts Film Festival, now in its seventh year, celebrates the richness, complexity, and diversity of Jewish experiences through film. Summer Shorts is intended to engage, to educate, and to inspire the community, as we explore the full spectrum of Jewish life, values, and culture.
We are very grateful to our outstanding, dedicated volunteer committee members – Mitchell Appleman, Iris Fried, Luke Garcia, Julia Gross, Irv Hendel, Lynn Mantell, Lori Plotkin, Bunny Sitkoff, and Elizabeth Stone for their enthusiastic commitment to our Summer Shorts Film Festival. We also very much appreciate guidance and recommendations from Rabbi Brad Hoffman, and Deborah Baer Mozes, Artistic Director of Theatre Ariel.
We also thank Ken Metzner, Executive Director of The Colonial Theatre, for his enthusiasm, advice, and unwavering support. In addition, we are indebted to all the members of The Colonial Theatre staff – particularly, Ryan Wilson (House Manager).
For additional information about the Kehillah of Chester County and its programs, contact Shelley Rappaport, Kehillah Director at email@example.com.
Please note: due to unforeseen circumstances, this schedule is subject to change without notice.
The Kehillah of Chester County’s SUMMER SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL is an adult program. Some films shown during the season are not appropriate for everyone, due to language and/or adult or graphic content.
Pre-registration closes at 4:00 p.m. the evening prior to each film, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for late registration.