TC Jewish Film Festival Starts Oct. 16

One of the hallmarks of the Minnesota JCC’s Twin Cities Jewish Film Festival has been the beyond-the-screen programming that comes with the movie: the post-show speakers’ panel; a Q&A with a director; or a demonstration of something related to the film. 

Even with another year of pandemic, the 2021 Virtual Twin Cities Jewish Film Festival will still have many of the extras that people crave — all from the comfort of their own homes.

The Festival will take place from Oct.16-31, featuring Jewish-themed narratives, documentaries, and short films from around the world. From building bridges through food to the American convert who took Israel to basketball victory, to a Holocaust movie like you’ve never seen before, this year’s Festival includes thought-provoking films designed to bring the community together and create dialogue.

“As we continue to prioritize the health and safety of our community in the COVID-19 pandemic, the J is thrilled to offer this year’s virtual film festival. With live and interactive sessions, this stellar lineup of films and events aims to bring us together from the comfort of our homes,” said Riv Shapiro, Minnesota JCC Arts & Culture producer.

Shapiro, in their first year leading the festival, said representation of a wider Jewish community is important in curating the films.

“I didn’t see myself reflected in media. And I know that a lot of other people in other marginalized identities have that experience,” they said. “As we develop programming for our community, we want to increase representation and expand people’s idea of what’s possible and have people see themselves reflected.”

To enjoy the Festival, simply go to the festival website. You can purchase individual tickets or an All-Festival Pass, which provides unlimited access to all films, speakers, interactive programs, and conversations that are part of this year’s line-up. Films are available to stream in blocks of dates. The All-Fest Pass represents a 25 percent discount, or the equivalent of three films for free. 

Please note, with the exception of Rube Goldberg and the shorts blocks, all feature films are restricted to Minnesota viewership. If you are a Minnesota resident who will be wintering out of state during this festival, please email [email protected] at your earliest convenience to secure viewing privileges.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit:



Here We Are

October 16 • 7 p.m.

Drama | 94 min | Hebrew | English subtitles

Available to view October 16-19

Aharon has devoted his life to raising his son Uri. They live together in a gentle routine, away from the real world. Uri, who has autism, is now a young adult and it might be time for him to live in a specialized home. On their way to the institution, Aharon runs away with his son and hits the road, knowing that Uri is not ready for this separation. Or is it, in fact, his father who is not ready?

A festival preview, welcome and Havdalah will precede the live broadcast, followed by a recorded conversation with the filmmaker.


The Two Lives of Rube Goldberg

October 17 • 2 p.m.

Documentary | 40 min | English | Directed by Geoffrey George

This film and event is FREE to the public and is available throughout the festival.

Legendary cartoonist Rube Goldberg (1886-1970) was one of the great cultural icons of the 20th Century. His drawings of unwieldy fantasy inventions became a fixture of American popular entertainment and cemented his reputation as one of the most astute and prescient satirists of The Machine Age. In “The Two Lives of Rube Goldberg,” director Geoffrey George (Goldberg’s youngest grandchild,) explores Rube’s life, as well as the influence of his legacy, which continues to inspire new generations of creative thinkers, today.

The program will include a Q&A with Geoffrey George, as well as selected shorts from “Joseph’s Machines,” featuring modern “Rube Goldberg Machines” constructed by kinetic artist Joseph Herscher. 

Accompanying art exhibitions will be on display from Oct. 14-Dec. 20, at the Minnesota JCC’s Sabes & Capp Center Galleries.

Kindertransports To Sweden

October 18 • 7 p.m.

Documentary | 90 min | Swedish, German | English subtitles

Available to view October 18-21

Recount the fate of four Jewish survivors, who were sent to Sweden during the Third Reich, with the so-called “Kindertransports”, in order to save them from the Nazi terror.  Their stories depict the tragic fate of a winner, who is at the same time the loser, of his own salvation. Trauma, which exists even today, as well as feelings of loss, loneliness, uprooting and a sense of guilt, was the reality of the children, most of whom never saw their parents again.


Kindertransport exhibit on view now through October 31, 2021 at the American Swedish Institute. Presented in partnership with the American Swedish Institute, JCRC and Beth El Synagogue.

They Ain’t Ready For Me

October 19 • 7 p.m.

Documentary | 89 min | English | English subtitles | Violence

Available to view October 19-22

The story of Tamar Manasseh, the black rabbinical student who leads the fight against gun violence on the south side of Chicago. Tamar’s identity and personality combine to make her a force to be reckoned with.

Film screening followed by discussion with filmmaker Brad Rothschild and doc’s subject Tamar Manasseh.


If You See My Mother

October 21 • 7 p.m.

Comedy, Drama, Romance | 90 min | French | English subtitles | Sexual Content, Mature Language

Available to view October 21-24

Thirty-year-old Max is a single ophthalmologist and mama’s boy who appears to be coping well with his mother’s death—because he still sees her and talks to her all the time. Her constant presence is comforting at first, but once Max meets and falls in love with Ohiana, his mom’s ongoing role in his life becomes problematic—to say the least. What follows is an enchanting comic fantasy marked by outstanding performances, and an honest and bittersweet depiction of the dynamics of relationships.


Persian Lessons

October 23 • 7 p.m.

Drama | 127 min | German, French, Persian, English, Italian | English subtitles | Brief nudity, moderate violence, gore, and frightening images, mild smoking and alcohol use, mild profanity

Available to view October 23-26

1942. Gilles, a young Belgian man, is arrested by the SS alongside other Jews and sent to a concentration camp in Germany. He avoids execution by swearing to the guards that he is not Jewish, but Persian. This lie temporarily saves him, but then Gilles is assigned a seemingly untenable mission: to teach Persian to Koch, the officer in charge of the camp’s kitchen, who dreams of opening a restaurant in Persia (Iran) once the war is over.



October 24 • 2 p.m.

Drama, Romance, Comedy | 89 min | English, Hebrew | English subtitles | Smoking/use of alcohol, sexual content

Available to view October 24-27

A New York Times travel writer comes to Tel Aviv after suffering a tragedy. The energy of the city and his relationship with a younger man brings him back to life. The two men face a generational gap that puts their personal and clashing life philosophies into perspective.

Followed by a panel moderated by community partner JPride




October 25 • 7 p.m.

Sports Documentary | 75 min | English, Hebrew | English subtitles

Available to view October 25-28

Recruited from the courts of Harlem, Aulcie Perry became one of Israel’s greatest athletes after joining Maccabi-Tel Aviv in 1976. He captured the spirit of the nation and under his inspiring leadership, the team won its first European Championship. Shortly after, Aulcie converted to Judaism and moved to Israel, but the dark side of fame led to his downfall. Aulcie shares his story of redemption, while game footage and interviews complete this emotional profile of a superstar who put Israeli basketball on the map.

A live broadcast followed by a discussion between filmmaker Dani Menkin and local Israelis who witnessed Aulcie’s rise to fame will be available after the film. Moderated by Festival Volunteer/Curator Walter Elias.


Post-film event sponsored by the Minneapolis Jewish Federation.


October 26 • 7 p.m.

Documentary | 99 min | Arabic, Rench, Hebrew, English | English subtitles 

In Morocco, Ziyara – the visit of the Saints – is a popular tradition shared by both Jews and Muslims.  As part of the cinematic pilgrimage to her Jewish roos, director Simone Bitton embarks on a road trip across Moricci eo meet with the Muslim Guardians of the country’s Jewish memory.

Breaking Bread

October 28 • 7 p.m.

Documentary | 85 min | Hebrew, Arabic, English | English subtitles

Available to view October 28-31

Celebrate closing weekend with “Breaking Bread” and a live cooking and ethnobotany session! Join Moroccan-Israeli-American culinary artists Dor and Ophir Haberer from the comfort of your kitchen to learn all about shakshouka – where it comes from, how it’s traveled and transformed, and how to make it!  Participants will receive an ingredients list in advance of the session so we can cook and enjoy together live. B’teavon!/Bon appetit!

A pre-recorded interview with Mizrahi feminist Hadar Cohen, who will share her family’s story of 200+ years living in Jerusalem as well as her journey of reclaiming her Arab identity alongside her Jewish identity will follow this screening.

October 31 • 11 a.m.:

Live cooking and history session with Israeli-American culinary artists Dor & Ophir Haberer


Film Shorts 

Oct. 16-31 

Two extraordinary shorts blocks, from a family Zoom gone awry to the Bar Mitzvah boy who won’t come out of his room, to an artist’s creation to honor the resilience of Holocaust survivors. For more information, 

Narrative Shorts • Oct. 20 • 7 p.m.

Narrative special broadcast followed by “virtual lobby hours” where festival attendees can discuss the films they’ve watched so far.

Documentary Shorts • Oct. 27 • 7 p.m.

Documentary special broadcast followed by “virtual lobby hours” where festival attendees can discuss the films they’ve watched so far.

Click here for more information on the film shorts being shown.

This article is sponsored content for the Minnesota JCC as part of TC Jewfolk’s Partnership program. For more information, check out our media kit.