The Kehillah of Chester County, a neighborhood initiative of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, is proud to present our 9th 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.
For the comfort of our community members, this year’s festival will be held virtually for all four dates. Screenings will be held through The Colonial Theatre’s website and will be followed by facilitated discussions. Please see below for the film schedule.
2022 fESTIVAL DETAILS
Virtual Screenings & Discussions:
Wednesdays: August 3, 10, 17 and 24 at 7:00 p.m.
*Passwords/links for film screenings & discussions will be emailed to registrants
$10.00/person per week
- This cost includes a free month subscription to IZZY streaming platform for new users (more details below).
- 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.
About The festival
Our festival celebrates the richness, complexity and diversity of Jewish experiences as presented through film and is dedicated to screening Jewish short films in all genres. With a running time of approximately 60 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.
Week 1: Wednesday, August 3, 2022
Theme: Jewish Identity
Facilitator: Jesse Bernstein, Artistic Director of Theatre Ariel
A short documentary film from multi-Emmy-nominated director Matt Ogens, profiling the eponymous LA-area boxer, whose real name was Zachary Wohlman. A deeply human story, this film dives into Wohlman’s troubled background, his training under world-class coach Freddie Roach, and his path to personal redemption through boxing, Judaism, and sobriety. Wohlman passed away in 2021. He was a dynamic and charismatic individual, who could not be pigeonholed. The film was written and directed by Ogens, and shot by eight-time Emmy-winning cinematographer John Tipton.
Traditionally, during the Passover festival, the youngest child at the Seder asks four questions. Drawing on this tradition, film director Yael Reuveny asks Jews four questions about their Judaism and their lives in Germany. In four short films, the protagonists find very different and, always highly personal, answers to the questions. Reuveny presents the diversity of contemporary Jewish life in polyphonous, contradictory, surprising and entertaining fashion.
Thank you to the Jewish Museum Berlin for providing Four Questions, a project that they commissioned.
He started out as a hard rocker, but these days Z.Z. Ludwick is playing to the tune of Rebbe Nachman. Now his hands create songs from wood and string, while his soul sings the music of ancient wisdom.
Dr. Jeff Hoffman became a NASA Astronaut in 1978. He participated in five space missions, becoming the first astronaut to log 1,000 hours of flights aboard the space shuttle. Dr. Hoffman has performed four spacewalks, including the first unplanned, contingency spacewalk in NASA’s history and the initial repair/rescue mission for the Hubble Space Telescope. He was the first Jewish American male astronaut to fly into space. Over five space missions, he chose to bring numerous Jewish objects, the highlight was a small and light Torah scroll that he took with him on this fifth and last mission.
For additional information about the Space Torah Project, please click here.
Accessibility for people with disabilities has been a priority at Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters Community Mikveh and Paula Brody & Family Education Center since their founding. Celebrating the principle of petichut, Hebrew for “openness” and “inclusivity,” Open Waters shows what accessibility looks like and why it matters. Produced and directed by Jen Kaplan in partnership with the Ruderman Family Foundation.
For more information about Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters Community Mikveh, please click here.
Week 2: Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Facilitator: David Witnitsky, Artistic Director, Jewish Plays Project
Rome and its Jewish community have been inextricably linked for over 2,100 years, and especially since 1555, when the city’s ghetto was established. A surprising culinary journey through the rich and textured history and tradition of Jewish Rome, this film highlights the work of a renowned kosher chef and reveals his “Roman” Jewish dishes and recipes. The film also offers a “taste” of Roman Jewish poetry and literature about food by two of Rome’s best known pioneer Jewish theater actors.
This film follows 16-year-old Zoe, who enlists the help of her two grandmothers, one Russian and the other Turkish, for a school cooking project. As the grandmothers’ rivalry escalates, Zoe wishes she hadn’t bothered to ask them in the first place. The need for cultural identity clashes with the kneading of dough, and Zoe soon realizes how important both of her grandmothers are to her – and that sometimes the way into people’s hearts is through their stomachs.
Aaron Weinstein is a respected violinist and mandolinist, widely regarded as one of the mandolin’s leading exponents in the jazz idiom, and author of the jazz mandolin book Mandolin Chord Melody System (Mel Bay Publications). Aaron is also a creative filmmaker. Audience members of our 2021 SUMMER SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL are likely to remember his delightful “Call Me Back: The Uncommon Wisdom of Yvette Slosch,” starring Linda Lavin. This year’s film is a charming music video honoring Zabar’s. Located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Zabar’s is the famous “appetizing” shop, specialized in selling foods that generally go with bagels.
Week 3: Wednesday, August 17, 2022
Facilitator: Danielle Selber, Matchmaker, Tribe 12
Boaz has never kissed a man before. Neither did Gaddy. Gali has a problem kissing Arabs, while Ibrahim thinks kissing Gali means giving up hope for the Palestinian nation. Yehudit, a retiree, is reluctant because she fears the kiss will repulse Maor, and Maor believes it’s just weird to kiss a 72-year-old woman. These cultural barriers are exactly why filmmaker Uri Bar-On asked each of them to do just that, and expand beyond their personal comfort zones.
When Hinda Avery retired, she decided to paint the women in her family who had died in the Holocaust as a form of art therapy and a way to connect with her history. Gradually her paintings became bigger and more colorful as she no longer wanted to see herself and her family as victims but heroic, fun-loving, wonder women taking on the Nazis.
Finding Abraham is a wild, weird award-winning documentary that follows a group of young Arabs and Israelis on a fast-paced historic road trip across Israel. Quirky, insightful, challenging and with an outstandingly original musical score, Finding Abraham leads us through an emotional journey where the destination is Peace.
A couple and their two daughters are driving through the desert, on their way to a holiday feast. The girls are sleeping in the back seat, but their tranquility is disturbed when the dad hears a beloved song and tries to share the experience with them. At that moment, the familiar family dynamics begin to play out.
Week 4: Wednesday, August 24, 2022
Facilitator: Jesse Bernstein, Artistic Director of Theatre Ariel
“Is it hot in here, or am I the only one dressed for Poland in the 17th century?” Yisrael Campbell looks more like an Orthodox rabbi than a comedian, but don’t be fooled by the big black hat, frock coat and Hasidic side-curls. Born Chris Campbell in Philadelphia, the son of an ex-nun and a Catholic schoolteacher, he converted to Judaism not once, but three times: Reform, Conservative and Orthodox. His spiritual journey began as a drug-drenched teenager in his hometown and ended in Jerusalem among the suicide bombs of the Iintifada. So what’s to laugh about? It’s the way he tells it. CIRCUMCISE ME is a hilarious, searching and moving story of one man’s quest for spiritual enlightenment against the bewildering backdrop of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
An ultra-Orthodox Brooklynite aspires to become a stand-up comedian in this refreshing, funny yet poignant depiction of the troublesome dichotomy and conflict between religion and career.
Aaron Cooperman, son of legendary police chief Itzik Cooperman and the most honest officer on the force, is instructed to “disappear” a parking ticket against his will. But even he cannot imagine how serious the consequences will be.
*Please note: the film schedule is subject to change without notice.
Exciting New Collaboration
This summer, the Kehillah of Chester County is collaborating with IZZY – streamisrael.tv – the leading streaming platform focused on Israeli produced content all with English subtitles. We are very pleased that through this partnership, all festival participants, who are not already IZZY subscribers, will receive one month free access to IZZY.
The great part is that you don’t have to do anything except virtually attend one of our summer screenings. With your purchase of a ticket to one or more of our four programs, which take place August 3, 10, 17, and 24, you will receive via email a special gift coupon code link, courtesy of the the Kehillah of Chester County, that will allow you to access your one month free IZZY account. Also IZZY has agreed to gift our SUMMER SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL audience members who want to continue enjoying IZZY, a special discount price.
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: Joseph Brin, Julia Gross, Mark Hager, Lynn Mantell and Bunny Sitkoff.
We are indebted to The Colonial Theatre for their 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, and their new Executive Director, Jennifer Carlson.