TC Jewish Film Fest Celebrating 25th Year Going Beyond The Screen

For the 25th anniversary of the Twin Cities Jewish Film Festival, it’s not just enough to have a full two weeks of films. This year, the JCCs are adding something extra to almost every film.

This year’s festival has a “beyond the screen” experience to almost every one of the 15 films, which included 3 post-festival films.

“Some have filmmakers giving more insight to production and process, others have professors giving more context,” said Jonathan Gershberg, the JCC Jewish Cultural Arts Coordinator. “We have some other activities and ways go beyond the screen. But what we’re really excited to offer is the diverse range of stories we’re seeing on screen. Jewish culture, values and community are represented in so many different ways.”

The festival is a combination of documentaries and narrative stories in eight languages and eight different countries of origin, but there are also several films with Minnesota ties. The documentary From Cairo to the Cloud is produced/directed by St. Paul native Michelle Paymar. Also, R4CH43L is produced by St. Louis Park’s Wendy Weiner and was shot in Minnesota, and Black Hat was written and produced by Minneapolis’ Phillip Guttmann. “People love to support local folks,” Gershberg said. “It’s great to have a diversity of lived experiences and all these international films, and still have a strong connection to the local community.

Also new this year is Shorts Night, featuring six short films ranging from a narrative drama to a crime documentary, to an animated comedy. All told, 14 of the films are Minnesota premieres. Plus, you are invited to join the Twin Cities Jewish Film Festival celebrate their 25th Anniversary, alongside the Twin Cities Film Fest’s 10th-year celebration on October 23 at the Twin Cities Film Fest Lounge, across the street from the Icon Showplace Theater, West End from 8-11 p.m.

For tickets and more information about the festival and events, visit

Back To Maracanã

Saturday, Sept. 14

8 p.m. @ Sabes JCC

The only thing more important in life than family is soccer. Roberto (40), divorced with a failing business, his son Itay (12), a spoiled teenager that snubs his father and despises soccer, and the grandfather Samuel (76), an enthusiastic soccer fan that recently found out he doesn’t have much time to live, depart spontaneously to the World Cup Games in Brazil – their former homeland. Their unplanned trip turns into a wild journey that changes all of them.

Directed by Jorge Gurvich; Israel, 2019; Drama; Portuguese and Hebrew w/English subtitles; 90 minutes.

Black Honey: The Life And Poetry Of Avraham Sutzkever 

Sunday, Sept. 15

1:30 p.m. @ Sabes JCC

Eight years after his passing, Black Honey tells the incredible story of Abraham Sutzkever, the greatest Yiddish poet of modern times. Sutzkever led the Paper Brigade underground movement that saved Jewish manuscripts from the Nazis, survived WWII due to Stalin sending him a private rescue plane, testified in the Nuremberg Trials, and immigrated to Israel in 1947 where he led Yiddish culture, while writing with an astonishing vitality.

Directed by Uri Barbash; Israel, 2018; Documentary; Hebrew and Yiddish w/English subtitles; 76 minutes.

The Museum

Sunday, Sept. 15 

4 p.m. @ Sabes JCC

A documentary puzzle that seeks to explore the Israeli soul through the galleries, storerooms, and visitors of the Israel Museum, Israel’s most important cultural institution. The American museum director, the singing security guard, the Jerusalemite curator, the Haredi kashrut inspector, the Palestinian guide, and the blind visitor are just a few of the characters that take part in a chain of activities which add up to the museum.

Directed by Ran Tal; Israel, 2017; Documentary; English and Hebrew w/English subtitles; 74 minutes.

King Bibi

Monday, Sept. 16

7 p.m. @ Sabes JCC

Twenty years before Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu understood the political benefits of a fraught relationship with the media, and direct communication with the public. King Bibi is an exploration of Netanyahu’s rise to power, using archival footage of his media performances over the years: as a popular guest expert on American TV, his public confession of adultery, and his mastery of the art of social media.

Directed by Dan Shadur; Israel, USA, 2018; Documentary; English & Hebrew w/English subtitles; 87 minutes.

From Cairo To The Cloud

Tuesday, Sept. 17

7 p.m. @ St. Paul JCC

In 1896, Talmudic scholar Solomon Schechter entered the sacred storeroom – or geniza – of an ancient synagogue in Cairo and discovered a vast collection of manuscripts including religious texts, medical prescriptions, literary treasures, love letters, marriage contracts, business reports, magical amulets, and children’s drawings, that have revolutionized our understanding of Jewish history.

Directed by Michelle Paymar; Various Countries, 2018; Documentary; English; 94 minutes.

Shorts Night

Thursday, Sept. 19

7 p.m. @ Sabes JCC

An extraordinary evening featuring six short films ranging from a narrative drama, to a crime documentary,

to a thriller. Films include: Black Hat, The Driver is Red, Oshri, Almost Liam, R4CH43L, and The Fiddle.

The Keeper

Saturday, Sept. 21

8 p.m. @ Sabes JCC

The true story of Bert Trautmann, a German soldier and POW who, against a backdrop of British post-war protest and prejudice, secures the goalkeeper position at Manchester City, becoming a footballing icon. His signing causes outrage to thousands of fans, many of them Jewish. A story of triumph, passion, and how fate can test love and loyalty in unsettling times.

Directed by Marcus H. Rosenmüller; Germany, 2019; Biography/Drama/Romance; English; 113 minutes.

The Humorist

Sunday, Sept. 22

1 p.m. @ St. Paul JCC

In 1984, Boris Arkadiev, a fictional Soviet stand-up comedian, is unraveling under the weight of fame, censorship, KGB patronage, and his own insecurities. Finally, the comedian snaps and armed with the

American notion of insult humor, takes his revenge.

Directed by Mikhail Idov; Czech Republic, Latvia, Russia, 2018; Biography; Russian w/English subtitles; 100 minutes.


Fig Tree

Sunday, Sept. 22

4 p.m. @ St. Paul JCC

Set in Addis Ababa in 1989 during the Ethiopian War, Fig Tree follows a teenage girl’s harrowing, coming-of-age story. Mina’s family is Jewish and is planning to flee Ethiopia for Israel, where her mother awaits their reunion. Mina hatches a scheme to keep her Christian boyfriend from being drafted, as she and her family prepare to flee the country.

Directed by Aäläm-Wärqe Davidian; Various Countries, 2018; Drama; Amharic w/English subtitles; 93 minutes.


The Unorthodox

Sunday, Sept. 22

7 p.m. @ St. Paul JCC

When Yaakov Cohen’s daughter is expelled from school, he decides to take matters into his own hands. Tired of being pushed around, he establishes a Sephardic- Ultra-Orthodox list that will run to the Jerusalem municipality. With two friends, they improvise a campaign – with no means, no connections, no money, no knowledge of how to play the political game – but with much rage, passion, and a sense of justice.

Directed by Eliran Malka; Israel, 2018; Drama/Comedy; Hebrew and Yiddish w/English subtitles; 92 minutes.

Promise At Dawn

Thursday, Sept. 26

7 p.m. @ St. Paul JCC

From his difficult childhood in Poland to his adolescence under the French sun, to his career in the Air Force in Africa during World War II, Romain Gary has lived an extraordinary life. He owes this relentless enterprise to live a thousand lives, to become a great man and a famous writer, to his self-sacrificing mother, Nina. A film adaptation of Romain Gary’s best-selling autobiographical novel.

Directed by Eric Barbier; France, 2017; Biography/Drama/ Romance; French w/English subtitles; 131 minutes.

Closing Night

My Polish Honeymoon 

Saturday, Sept. 28

8 p.m. @ St. Paul JCC

Anna and Adam, a newly married Parisian couple, are about to travel to Poland for the first time. They will attend a ceremony in memory of the Jewish community in the village of Adam’s grandfather, which was destroyed 75 years ago. Both anxious and excited, they experience a journey full of surprises that makes them reconsider their family history.

Directed by Elise Otzenberger; France, 2019; Comedy / Drama; French w/English subtitles; 88 minutes.

In addition to the Festival, TCJFF are also thrilled to co-present with the Israel Center of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation:

An Evening with Ori Elon, co-creator of Shtisel

Sunday, Sept. 15

7 p.m. @ Sabes JCC

Ori Elon is an Israeli author and filmmaker, who co-created the critically acclaimed television drama Shtisel, that brings viewers inside the life of the Haredi community in Jerusalem. Available on Netflix, the series has become an international hit and has won 17 Israeli Academy Awards, including Best Script for Drama. This rare event will treat audiences to a behind-the-scenes look at this hit Israeli TV show and the creative force behind it.


Sustainable Nation 

Wednesday, October 23

Tickets Available Soon!

@ Showplace Icon

In a world where water is everything, Sustainable Nation follows three individuals who are doing their part to bring sustainable water solutions to an increasingly thirsty planet as they work to change the status quo of a world where one in ten people lacks access to safe drinking water. The work of this visionary trio highlights the nexus between food, energy and water, and shows how fixing global water issues is not only a matter of life and death, it’s the start of healing the world.

Directed by Micah Smith, USA, 2019; Documentary; English | 60 minutes


Thursday, October 24

Tickets Available Soon!

@ Showplace Icon

An intimate, insightful, and moving film that tells the story of a young Jewish mural artist, from Mexico City, who finds herself torn between her family and her forbidden love with a non-Jewish man.

Directed by Isaac Cherem; Mexico, 2018; Drama; Spanish w/English subtitles; 95 minutes.

Family In Transition 

Sunday, October 27

3 p.m. @ St. Paul JCC

Shot over the course of two years, Family In Transition tells the story of a family in Nahariya, a small traditional town in Israel, that deals with the effects when the father transitions into a woman.

Directed by Ofir Trainin; Israel, 2018; Documentary; Hebrew w/English subtitles; 70 minutes.

All tickets are $12. For ticketing questions, call Brown Paper Tickets at 1.800.838.3006.