8th ANNUAL SUMMER SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL – AUGUST 2021
Screening Links: Sunday at noon – Wednesday at noon, respective film week of August
Discussion: Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.
*Passwords/links for film screenings & discussions will be emailed to registrants
Program Fee: $10.00/person per week
*If the cost poses any financial barriers and you are unable to pay for the festival, please contact Shelley Rappaport at firstname.lastname@example.org. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.
The Kehillah of Chester County, a neighborhood initiative of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia is proud to present our 8th annual Summer Shorts Film Festival this August. We are very grateful to you, our audience members, who embraced this program and are responsible for its growth and success since 2014. Please see below for the film schedule.
Our festival celebrates the richness, complexity and diversity of Jewish experiences through film and is dedicated to screening Jewish short films in all genres. With a running time of up to 40 minutes, every short film is intended to engage, educate, and inspire the community as we explore the full spectrum of Jewish life, values, and culture. All of the film narratives have a central Jewish or Israeli connection, but in reality all the themes are universal.
Since there are still some concerns and restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have chosen to hold this year’s festival as a virtual program. The films will be accessible online each week on The Colonial Theatre’s website from Sunday at noon through Wednesday at noon, preceding the scheduled Wednesday evening Zoom discussions. All films are password protected, and the passwords will be emailed to patrons after registering.
Week of August 1
Theme: Films by Israeli Filmmakers
Discussion facilitator: Michael Attie, award winning filmmaker and Associate Professor of Film and Video at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Outside – 7 minutes, 55 seconds
Outside is based on Israeli author Etgar Keret’s story by the same name, which first appeared in The New York Times Magazine “The Decameron Project,” a collection of new short fiction inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic. The film was written by Keret and directed by Keret and Inbal Pinto, an Israeli contemporary dancer and choreographer.
Unheard Voices – 25 minutes
Unheard Voices is an intimate documentary portrait showcasing eight women’s testimonies about the sexual education they received in the religious Jewish world. Through the discovery of their bodies and sexuality at different stages of their lives, they each reveal a deep desire for closeness and intimacy. Produced by Lior Hanegbi and directed by Ma’ayn Porat.
I to Eye: Inner Flame – 17 minutes, 30 seconds
Gali is a deaf dancer who dreams of a career in a professional, well-known and well-regarded troupe of hearing dancers. Filled with excitement, hopes and fears, she arrives at the troupe’s tryouts and decides to proceed without any accommodations. She chooses to conceal her deafness from the examiners and the other dancers, in order to fight for her place on an equal footing. Written by Tami Assouline, and directed by Vidi Bilu.
Miriam – 5 minutes
Written and directed by Shulamit Lifschultz, a student at the Maaleh Film School, this film portrays Israeli style matchmaking as we watch a devoted father go to great lengths to find a husband for his daughter.
Week of August 8
Discussion facilitator: Adam Weinstein, Filmmaker
The Divorce – 16 minutes
A rabbi issues a challenge to a couple seeking a divorce: “You threw a party for your wedding, so throw one for your divorce.” Written and directed by brothers Danny and David Scheinmann.
Sad Sachs – 9 minutes, 30 seconds
From the start, it’s a race to the wedding. The three Sachs siblings are running late to their cousin’s wedding when their driver lets loose a bizarre, antisemitic rant. When the driver suddenly stops for a bathroom break, the Sachs kids consider how to respond to the racism. This madcap comedy from Sydney, Australia is filled with cutting dialogue. Written and directed by Joel Perlgut.
Don’t Tell Santa You’re Jewish! – 3 minutes
In this brightly colored short, a little girl attending a winter holiday party with her mother sits on Santa’s knee, waiting for her present. Anxious about not fitting in, she worries about having to remember NOT to tell him she’s Jewish. Created by Canadian independent animation filmmaker, illustrator and arts educator, Jody Kramer.
Call Me Back: The Uncommon Wisdom of Yvette Slosch – 19 minutes, 55 seconds
Infamous New York City talent agent, Yvette Slosch (Linda Lavin), is determined to make a star out of her newest client, a jazz violinist (Aaron Weinstein). She refuses to let Aaron’s lack of name recognition, jazz’s dwindling fan base or the 2020 global pandemic get in her way. As the pandemic rages, Yvette’s schemes to keep Aaron’s career afloat become increasingly convoluted, testing her abilities as an agent and her friendship with Aaron.Written and directed by Aaron Weinstein.
Week of August 15
Theme: Jewish Arts, Culture and Ritual
Discussion facilitators: Filmmakers Jen Kaplan and Miriam Lewin as well as internationally recognized potter, teacher and writer Steven Branfman, whose personal story is told in the documentary film “A Father’s Kaddish.”
Commandment 613 – 23 minutes
Torah scrolls are written by hand, following rules that go back thousands of years. Made to last for centuries, they are central to Jewish ritual: what is contained in them – the first five books of the Hebrew Bible – is the foundation of Jewish life. The final commandment in the Torah, number 613, is to write the scroll for yourself. In this short documentary, we meet Rabbi Kevin Hale, a joyful Torah scribe who restores scrolls that were saved in Czechoslovakia during the Shoah. As he goes about his sacred craft, this son of refugees from Nazi Germany reflects on his own path to a life of faith and practice. The communities that are now entrusted with the scrolls have congregants and clergy that explain the powerful bond they feel with these precious objects – and with the generations that previously cherished them. Filmed locally at Congregation Beth Israel of Media and Martin’s Run Life Care Community (now Wesley Enhanced Living – Main Line). A documentary film by Miriam Lewin and Randi Cecchine.
A Father’s Kaddish – 31 minutes
In 2005, Jared Branfman died of brain cancer at the age of 23. A week after his death, his father, Steven Branfman, a potter and teacher, went into his studio, took some clay and made a chawan, a Japanese style tea bowl. Each day for one year, he made one chawan as his own personal kaddish, the traditional Jewish prayer of mourning. For 9 years, these 365 bowls sat unfinished on shelves in his studio. One day, he decides to glaze and fire these bowls, bringing them to life with color and sheen. A Father’s Kaddishis the personal story of a man who used an art form to honor his son and his memory. This powerful film shows traditional and non-traditional ways for people to grieve. From one man’s poignant story at the intersection of love, art and ritual comes a universal lesson for all who have experienced loss. Directed and produced by Jen Kaplan.
Week of August 22
Discussion facilitators: C. W. (Chaim) Silverberg and Judd (Yehuda) Joffre, Tripping Kosher’s video hosts and kosher food mavens, and T.Z. (Tsvika) Tal, Tripping Kosher’s producer.
*In support of food insecurity relief efforts, please check out the Mitzvah Food Program Amazon Wish Lists to make a donation.
Love, Hate & Cake (fighting fascism, one cake at a time) – 12 minutes
Rachel Raj leads the example of what a “modern Yiddishe mama” should be. Ever since her rabbi father inspired her to pursue her dreams of becoming a cake designer and businesswoman, she fearlessly uses her skills to promote her Jewish culture – even when faced with growing antisemitism in Hungary. Writer and director Kevin Longa is the founder of TASTE, an online documentary international food series that uncovers the true stories of food entrepreneurs. To learn more about this project and to register for the free newsletter, click here.
The Cheeseburger – 5 minutes
Written and directed by Hillary Nussbaum, The Cheeseburger follows three Jewish roommates as they debate their different views on religion and as one of them contemplates a very big, very not-kosher decision: eating a cheeseburger.
Holy Smoked! – 10 minutes, 33 seconds
In this documentary by Jeffery Alan Jones, multi-talented media producer and communications professional, we meet pitmaster Sruli “Izzy” Eidelman and visit Izzy’s Brooklyn Smokehouse in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the first brick and mortar kosher BBQ joint in New York City. Since the summer of 2015, Izzy’s has been making its mark as an outstanding eating establishment on the map of NYC.
Bagels In The Blood – 5 minutes
Nestled between shops in the residential neighborhood of French Montreal lies a quiet brownstone building — an old converted house with a wood fired oven in the back. There we meet Irwin Shlafman, third-generation owner of the famous bagel shop Fairmount Bagel, who shows us the process of making their signature product and talks about how it all started.
Jewish Food: More Than Just Matzo Ball Soup – 7 minutes, 11 seconds
Talking about Jewish food is both mouth-wateringly delicious and just a little complicated. While Ashkenazi Jews (Jews from Eastern Europe) are used to foods like gefilte fish and matzah ball soup, these dishes would be foreign to a Jew from The Middle East, North Africa or Ethiopia who would prefer pkaila, shakshuka, t’bit or doro wat. What connects Jewish foods, apart from being delicious, is that they developed from economic necessity and were often a way for poor communities to create something tasty from very little. While some of these dishes have been forgotten over time, others are enjoying a culinary renaissance and gaining new generations of fans. Jewish Food: More Than Just Matzo Ball Soup was produced by Unpacked, a division of OpenDor Media.
Unpacked is a digital first-first brand that produces fun, engaging, fact-filled and thought-provoking podcasts, videos and social media, and reaches today’s generation of Jews exactly where they are and helps them to untangle the complexities of Israel and Judaism. OpenDor Media has been the leading creator of Jewish film content since 2009. It brings Jewish ideas, values and stories to life, delivering them to a global audience of millions using today’s most popular and far-reaching digital platforms. In addition to producing premium Jewish and Israel films, videos and podcasts. OpenDor Media also strengthens local communities around the world by providing educational resources and programming. Sources and recipes available here.
Tripping Kosher – Philadelphia – 9 minutes, 51 seconds
Tripping Kosher is the online video creation of kosher food industry veteran Chaim (C.W.) Silverberg. He and his food-highlighting partner Yehuda (Judd) Joffre of Judd’s Memphis Kitchen in New York, along with Tsvika (TZ) Tal, the producer of this enterprise, visit kosher eateries around the country, sampling the menus and offering entertaining and enlightening banter for kosher-hungry viewers to enjoy. For our Summer Shorts Film Festival we join them in Center City Philadelphia as they stop by Samosa Vegetarian and Goldie Falafel.
The Kehillah of Chester County is very grateful to our outstanding, dedicated volunteer Summer Shorts Film Festival committee members for their enthusiastic commitment to this project: Mitchell Appleman, Joseph Brin, Luke Garcia, Julia Gross, Mark Hager, Lynn Mantell, Bunny Sitkoff and Elizabeth Stone.
We are indebted to Ken Metzner, Executive Director of The Colonial Theatre, for his unwavering support, advice and partnership. Thank you to all of the members of The Colonial Theatre staff for their help, particularly Michal Kortsart and Bob Trate.
Please note: this schedule is subject to change without notice.