The Joan & Murray Gefen Memorial Savannah Jewish Film Festival has been an integral part of the fabric of our community for almost 20 years. In that time, we have screened many international and independent films that would otherwise never have been shown in Savannah. From comedies to poignant dramas and documentaries, each film has helped to promote and celebrate our diverse Jewish history. We are proud to continue the tradition of the Joan & Murray Gefen Memorial Savannah Jewish Film Festival as a part of the Savannah Jewish Cultural Arts Festival.
Check out the 9 films that will be screened at this year's festival!
Each film will be screened in-person at the location listed. We understand the challenge of these times, so this year, we will also be offering virtual options. If you choose the virtual option, a link to the film will be emailed to you and you will be able to view it for 72 hours BEFORE the in-person screening date and time.
Wednesday, March 2 | 7:00 PM
(Virtual film available Sunday, February 27 at 7:00 PM until Wednesday, March 2 at 7:00 PM)
Adventures of a Mathematician
102 minutes | English | Drama
The warmhearted story of Polish immigrant and mathematician Stan Ulam, who moved to the U.S. in the 1930s. Stan deals with the difficult losses of family and friends all while helping to create the hydrogen bomb and the first computer.
Thursday, March 3 | 1:30 PM
(Virtual film available Monday, February 28 at 7:00 PM until Thursday, March 3 at 7:00 PM)
124 minutes | Kurdish, Arabic, Hebrew, and Turkish with English subtitles | Drama
Six-year-old Sero and his family live in a Kurdish community near the Syrian/Turkish border in the early 1980s. He’s extremely fond of his Jewish neighbors, but perplexed when a new teacher propagates fiery nationalism and anti-Semitism. Director Mano Khalil mines childhood experiences with a welcome sense of humor, while drawing tragic parallels with the plight of contemporary Syria.
Sunday, March 6 | 3:00 PM | Congregation Mickve Israel
(Virtual film available Thursday, March 3 at 3:00 PM until Sunday, March 6 at 7:00 PM)
Levys of Monticello
English | Documentary
Film followed by talk with Steven Pressman, Filmmaker
When Thomas Jefferson died in 1826, he left behind a mountain of personal debt, which forced his heirs to sell his beloved Monticello home and all of its possessions. The Levys of Monticello is a documentary film that tells the little-known story of the Levy family, which owned and carefully preserved Monticello for nearly a century – far longer than Jefferson or his descendants. The remarkable story of the Levy family also intersects with the rise of antisemitism that runs throughout the course of American history.
Uriah Levy, the one who purchased Monticello from the Jeffersons in 1836, is the great-great-grandson of Dr Nunez, one of the original Jewish settlers in Georgia who helped found Congregation Mickve Israel.
Tuesday, March 8 | 7:00 PM
(Virtual film available Saturday, March 5 at 7:00 PM until Tuesday, March 8 at 7:00 PM)
88 minutes | Hebrew with English subtitles | Comedy
When a retired senior is forced into a nursing facility, he must find a way back to his beloved family home. When love, cannabis and crime come into play, will he be willing to risk it all?
Thursday, March 10 | 1:30 PM
(Virtual film available Monday, March 7 at 1:30 PM until Thursday, March 10 at 1:30 PM)
Love & Mazel Tov
90 minutes | German with English subtitles | Romantic Comedy
At a party, Daniel pretends to be Jewish to impress Anne. The pretty bookstore owner specializes in Jewish literature in her bookshop, volunteers at a Jewish home for the elderly, and is also a close friend of the Jewish author Schlomo Wisniewski. When Anne and Daniel become a couple, their friends Laura and Tobias have an inkling that Daniel's hoax will soon have to be caught. His initially small con turns into an unmanageable web of white lies that Daniel can't get out of. Will Anne also love him when she learns that he is not Jewish at all?
Saturday, March 12 | 8:00 PM (Dessert reception beginning at 7:30 PM - FREE)
(Virtual film available Wednesday, March 9 at 7:00 PM until Saturday, March 12 at 7:00 PM)
Fiddler's Journey to the Big Screen
English | Documentary
The fall of 2021 marked the 50th anniversary of Fiddler on the Roof, the film Pauline Kael (The New Yorker) called "the most powerful movie musical ever made." Narrated by Jeff Goldblum, FIDDLER'S JOURNEY TO THE BIG SCREEN captures the humor and drama of director Norman Jewison's quest to recreate the lost world of Jewish life in Tsarist Russia and re-envision the beloved stage hit as a wide-screen epic.
Tuesday, March 15 | 7:00 PM
(Virtual film available Saturday, March 12 at 7:00 PM until Tuesday, March 15 at 7:00 PM)
98 minutes | English | Drama
The incomparable Ed Asner stars in this tender story that recounts the unlikely friendship between Samuel, a Holocaust survivor, and Casey, a skinhead teen runaway. Despite their respective traumas and initial mistrust of one another, they manage to provide a sense of family and mutual support for each other. While Casey gives Sam a new purpose, Sam in turn gives Casey the guidance and courage she needs to start a new life. Gina Wendkos’ (The Princess Diaries) sensitive script, as directed by Montreal-born indie filmmaker Rafal Zielinski, promotes empathy and understanding in the face of prejudice.
Tuesday, March 22 | 7:00 PM
(Virtual film available Saturday, March 19 at 7:00 PM until Tuesday, March 22 at 7:00 PM)
A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff
75 minutes | English | hybrid of memoir docudrama and narrative fantasy
Film followed by talk with filmmakers
Set on Wall Street in 2008, A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff offers a singular perspective on devastating financial fraud. Musician/poet Alicia Jo Rabins plays herself in New York’s financial district, obsessing over Madoff and the capitalist system that enabled him, in this head-spinning hybrid of fantasy, music, and personal memoir.
Thursday, March 24 | 1:30 PM
(Virtual film available Monday, March 21 at 7:00 PM until Thursday, March 24 at 7:00 PM)
86 minutes | Hebew and Portuguese with English subtitles | Drama
In this lavish period drama, the Inquisition comes to a coastal Portuguese city, uniting the community in the face of paranoia and persecution. Barred from practicing their faith, fifteenth-century Iberian Jews were forcibly baptized as New Christians. Exhorted to denounce heresies, Orto’s citizens still managed to thrive, if uneasily...until a royally appointed visitador is dispatched to probe rumors of conversos still observing Judaism in secret. As tensions rise between church and judicial authorities, one of Orto’s most respected merchants, António Álvares (Pedro Laginha), must decide whether to flee, or stay and resist. Stirring performances, stunning costume and scenic design, and a sumptuous score bring to the fore a tragic chapter of distant past that reverberates to this day.