Jewish Film Series; Hope, Fortuitous Timing, and the Beauty of Passing Down

Written by: Erin Pollack

On behalf of the team at Greenwich International Film Festival, we sincerely thank everyone who participated in this past weekend’s Jewish Film Series. In particular, we are grateful for the support of The Eve & Simon Colin Family Foundation and Dr. Rebecca Colin, for believing in our mission and helping to present the series. While the three films featured themes such as Judaism, the Holocaust, and the beauty of passing down from generations before us; we cannot ignore the fortuitous timing of focusing on Eastern Europe, with the film series starting only days after the violent invasion in Ukraine began. If you want to help Ukraine in meaningful ways, please visit this link to read more: https://ukrainewar.carrd.co/

Our Jewish Film Series started off with a message from Rabbi MJ Newman, whose personal work begins with the community at Greenwich Hospital, and naturally expands beyond to Jewish families who seek sources of healing and support. She welcomed all participants to the virtual platform, and spoke eloquently about how scapegoating is not acceptable in human relations because everyone has a contribution to make if only we open ourselves up to it. If you are interested in Rabbi MJ’s welcome video, you may view it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=civk1M0qbqs

The film series featured Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen, Three Minutes: A Lengthening, and Stories from the Violins of Hope. All three films centered around Jewish culture in unique ways, undoubtedly sharing one familiar idea: hope. Whether it was a common love of Fiddler on the Roof, Glenn Kurtz’s historical discovery in his father’s closet, or The Braid’s triumphant ability to make a Jewish film during the peak of COVID, we rejoice in hope and by doing so, spread optimism to those who may need it most.

The virtual series concluded with a Q&A, moderated by Mary Jane Rein, Executive Director of the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University. The conversation began with a welcome from Ginger Stickel, GIFF’s Executive Director. She passed the conversation along to Mary Jane Rein, who introduced the panelists Daniel Raim (Director, Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen), Glenn Kurtz (Subject & Source, 3 Minutes: A Lengthening), and Susan Morgenstern (Director, Stories from the Violins of Hope). The conversation was historical in nature, but consistently echoed the history unfolding before us as we continue to witness Ukraine fight for their home. Mary Jane Rein also spoke of the choice of narrators, Jeff Goldblum for Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen, and Helena Bonham Carter for 3 Minutes: A Lengthening; reminding the audience of how important it is to choose the right voice to tell our stories in film and life. If you would like to view the Q&A, you may do so by visiting GIFF’s Original Content page here: https://www.greenwichfilm.org/giff-original-content/

Thank you for a wonderful weekend filled with moving stories and powerful artists!

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