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Oklahoma Jewish Film Festival Returns for Fourth Year

The Oklahoma Jewish Film Festival (OJFF) is back for its fourth year Sunday, October 22 through Wednesday, October 25.  Conceived as a partnership between Circle Cinema, the Jewish Federation of Tulsa, and The Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art, the OJFF is a celebration of Jewish Film. This year’s theme is “BE CURIOUS.”

All viewings and events are at the Circle Cinema (10 S. Lewis Ave.). Tickets are $10 per film with the exception of our Special Matinee The Green Park, which is $5.  Tickets are available at Circle Cinema or online at circlecinema.com.

This year’s OJFF is sponsored by Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Jenny Brouse, Barbara and Dave Sylvan, LD Kerns Contractors, anonymous donor in loving memory of Irvin and Sharna Frank, Joan Green, Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts & Culture, On the Map Foundation (OTMF), The Tulsa Voice, and Scissortail Provisions.


Sunday, October 22, 2017 / Be Curious and Resourceful 

12:30 p.m. – Music provided by the Tulsa Klezmer Band

1 p.m. – The Graduate (1967) 

This classic drama will be introduced by Tulsa Voice film critic Jeff Huston, and the screening will be followed by a panel discussion with the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle. Tickets are $10, and $6.50 for Circle Cinema members. On Sale Now!

Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) has just finished college and, back at his parents’ house, he’s trying to avoid the one question everyone keeps asking: What does he want to do with his life? An unexpected diversion crops up when he is seduced by Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), a bored housewife and friend of his parents. But what begins as a fun tryst turns complicated when Benjamin falls for the one woman Mrs. Robinson demanded he stay away from, her daughter, Elaine (Katharine Ross).

With a pop-song score written by Paul Simon and performed by Simon & Garfunkel bolstering its contemporary appeal, The Graduate opened to rave reviews in December 1967 and surpassed all commercial expectations. It became the top-grossing film of 1968 and was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture, Actor, and Actress, with Nichols winning Best Director. Together with Bonnie and Clyde, it stands as one of the most influential films of the late ’60s.


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5 p.m. – Monkey Business: The Adventures of Curious George’s Creators

Documentary / English / Run Time: 82 min. (USA) / Intro and post-screening Q&A with Jacob Kafka, Animator of Monkey Business
The documentary chronicles the largely unknown story of the creators of Curious George, Hans (H. A.) and Margret Rey. From fleeing Nazi-occupied France on handmade bicycles to encounters with exotic animals in Brazil, the Reys lived lives of adventure that are reflected in the pages of one of the most treasured children’s book series of all time. Curious George books have sold 75 million copies in over 20 languages over the past 75 years.

6:45 p.m. – Opening Reception: Wine & Cheese

7:15 p.m. – Fanny’s Journey 

Drama / French / Run Time 94 min. (France) / Intro by Dr. Marcel Binstock and a pre-recorded message from Fanny Ben-Ami
Based on a true story, Fanny’s Journey is an incredible tale of bravery, strength and survival, a story of a daring young girl who will stop at nothing and fear no one. In 1943, 13-year-old Fanny and her younger sisters were sent from their home in France to an Italian foster home for Jewish children. When the Nazis arrive in Italy, their caretakers desperately organize the departure of the children to Switzerland. When they are suddenly left on their own, these 11 children do the impossible and reach the Swiss border to freedom.


Monday, Oct. 23, 2017 / Be Curious About a Sense of Place  

6 p.m. – On the Map
Basketball Documentary / English/Hebrew / Run Time: 90 min. (USA) / Intro and post-screening Q&A with TU Basketball Coach Frank Heith
On the Map tells the against-all-odds story of Maccabi Tel Aviv’s 1977 European Championship, which took place at a time when the Middle East was still reeling from the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the 1972 Olympic massacre at Munich, and the 1976 hijacking of an Air France flight from Tel Aviv. Through the lens of sports, On the Map presents a much broader story of how one team captured the heart of a nation amid domestic turmoil and the global machinations of the Cold War.

8 p.m. – Germans & Jews
Documentary / English/German / Run Time: 76 minutes (USA) / Intro by Arnold Bieber of German-American Society of Tulsa

Germany is considered one of the most democratic societies in the world, assuming the position of moral leader in Europe as it embraces hundreds of thousands of refugees. None of these developments could have been imagined in 1945. Through personal stories Germans & Jews explores the country’s transformation from silence about the Holocaust to facing it head on. Unexpectedly, a nuanced story of reconciliation emerges. What began as a private conversation between the two filmmakers and friends, Tal Recanati (Jewish) and Janina Quint (non-Jewish German), grew into a cultural exchange among many. We realize that the two people are inextricably linked through the memory of the Holocaust. Germans and Jews is provocative, unexpected, and enlightening.


Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017 / Be Curious About Community 

2 p.m. – Joe’s Violin followed by Green Park
Documentary Short / English / Run Time: 24 minutes
In the Oscar-nominated Joe’s Violin, a donated musical instrument forges an improbable friendship. 91-year-old Holocaust survivor Joe Feingold and 12-year-old Bronx school girl Brianna Perez show how the power of music can bring light in the darkest of times, and how a small act can have a significant impact. Nominated, 2017 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject.

Green Park
Documentary / English / Run Time: 70 minutes (UK) / Intro by Producer Marsha Nuriya Lee / (Special Matinee price $5)
Britain’s answer to Grossinger’s, the Green Park Hotel in Bournemouth was overseen by the larger-than-life Bubba Richman, a chain-smoking, brandy-loving matriarch. The hotel became a key vacation spot for Anglo Jews, from the day it opened its doors in 1943. A veritable who’s who of British Jewry (such as Beatles manager Brian Epstein) came annually for the kosher food, seaside glamour and to find possible mates. This lively and warm-hearted documentary also delves into the history of Britain’s Jewish community, examining how it developed and flourished, and the role that this hotel played in creating a vibrant and successful life for English Jews.

6 p.m. – The Pickle Recipe
Comedy / English / Run Time: 97 minutes (USA) / Intro by Scissortail Provisions.  Pickle tasting with wine and cheese following the film.
Joey Miller is the undisputed king of Detroit party MCs. He’s also a single father and deeply in debt. To make matters worse, during his latest, one-of-a-kind wedding performances, all his prized sound and lighting equipment is destroyed in a freak accident. To add insult to injury, his daughter Julie’s Bat Mitzvah is only four weeks away, and she’s counting on him to MC her party. After exhausting all his options, he turns to his shady Uncle Morty, who agrees to give him the money he needs to get back into business, but only under one condition. Joey must steal his grandmother Rose’s most prized possession: her famous top-secret dill pickle recipe. It’s a recipe which she has vowed to take to her grave.

8 p.m. – The Women’s Balcony
Dramatic Comedy / Hebrew / Run Time: 96 minutes (Israel) / Intro by Barry Friedman
The Women’s Balcony is a dramatic comedy about community, old traditions and values and the power of women to keep all of these together in the face of modern extremism. An accident during a bar mitzvah celebration leads to a gender rift in a devout Orthodox community in Jerusalem, in this rousing, good-hearted tale about women speaking truth to patriarchal power. When the women’s balcony in an Orthodox synagogue collapses, leaving the rabbi’s wife in a coma and the rabbi in shock, the congregation falls into crisis. Charismatic young Rabbi David (Aviv Alush) appears to be a savior after the accident, but slowly starts pushing his fundamentalist ways and tries to take control. This tests the women’s friendships and creates a rift between the community’s women and men.


Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017 / Be Curious About Returning Home

6 p.m. – Who’s Gonna Love Me Now? 

Documentary / Hebrew/English / Run Time: 90 minutes (Israel/UK) / Intro by Dennis R. Neill Equality Center
At the age of 21 Saar Maoz arrived in the UK after being kicked out of his religious Kibbutz. Following the highs and lows that accompanied his newfound freedom, Saar discovered an alternative family with The London Gay Men’s Chorus. After 19 years, Saar has reached out to his conservative Israeli family in an attempt at reconciliation. Now his parents are coming to visit. Who’s Gonna Love Me Now? celebrates the triumph of love over hate, of understanding over ignorance, and the melding of cultures who traditionally view each other as extreme. This isn’t Saar Maoz’s singular journey, it is a monumental trek undertaken by his entire family.

8 p.m. – 1945
Drama / Hungarian / Run Time: 91 minutes (Hungary) / Intro by Eva Unterman
In this astonishingly haunting film, deep undercurrents run beneath the simple surface in a quaint village that’s ultimately forced to face up to its “ill-gotten gains” from the Second World War. On a sweltering August day in 1945, villagers prepare for the wedding of the town clerk’s son. Meanwhile, two Orthodox Jews arrive at the village train station with mysterious boxes labeled “fragrances.” The town clerk fears the men may be heirs of the village’s deported Jews and expects them to demand their illegally acquired property back, originally lost during the Second World War. Other villagers are afraid more survivors will come, posing a threat to the property and possessions they have claimed as their own.

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