JFilm: 20 premieres and some Film Schmoozes

All 20 of the movies in this year’s JFilm festival will be Pittsburgh premieres, with many accompanied by guests, panels or small informal gatherings called Film Schmoozes.

As announced last week, the 22nd annual event will open April 16 at the Manor Theater in Squirrel Hill with “The Last Mentsch,” followed by a reception at the nearby JCC-Katz Theatre. Dietary laws will be observed and valet parking provided.

The lineup will include documentaries, including one produced by Nancy Spielberg, who will speak after two screenings of “Above and Beyond,” along with love stories, rom-coms, provocative films about serious subjects and indies honored at other festivals.

The Manor once again will be the festival’s main venue, but movies also will be shown at the Carmike 10 at South Hills Village, Bethel Park; Rodef Shalom, Shadyside; Seton Hill University in Greensburg; and Waterworks Cinemas, near Aspinwall.

Tickets for the opening night film and reception are $65 ($18 for full-time students age 26 and under) if purchased by noon April 9. After that, tickets will be $80. If any remain, they can be bought at the door, cash only.

All other films will be $10, $8 each for advance sale to groups of a dozen-plus and $5 for those age 18 and younger. Tickets are available starting today, through JFilmPgh.org or by calling 412-992-5203 weekdays 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Scheduled to screen are:

“The Last Mentsch” — After surviving Auschwitz, an elderly man tries to leave behind his Jewishness, only to realize no rabbi will sell him a burial plot. With a young Turkish woman as his driver, he returns to his hometown in search of anyone who can bear witness to his youth. 7 p.m. April 16, Manor.

“Once in a Lifetime” — A history teacher at a French high school transforms lives when she introduces unruly inner-city kids to a Holocaust survivor, for starters. 5:30 p.m. April 17 at Manor; 7 p.m. April 20 at Carmike 10.

“The Art Dealer” — An ambitious journalist investigates what happened to a work of art supposedly stolen by the Nazis. 5 p.m. April 18, Manor; and 7 p.m. April 22, Seton Hill’s Reeves Auditorium.

“10% My Child” — A free-spirited filmmaker falls for a woman but must win the affection of her precocious 7-year-old daughter. 7 p.m. April 18, Manor.

“24 Days” — Dramatization of the kidnapping of a young Parisian Jew and the 24-day search for him. 9 p.m. April 18 at Manor (those observing Shabbat can reserve seating, 412-992-5203); 5:30 p.m. April 24, Manor, followed by Film Schmooze.

“The Muses of Bashevis Singer” — A look at the prolific author, including interviews with the female translators he called his “harem.” 1 p.m. April 19, Manor, with Film Schmooze.

“The Farewell Party” — Darkly humorous fictional story of friends at a Jerusalem retirement home who build a mercy-killing machine to help a terminally ill friend. When rumors of the device spread, more and more people ask for assistance. 3:30 p.m. April 19, Manor, followed by panel.

“Above and Beyond” — Documentary about Jewish-American pilots who secretly flew for Israel in 1948. Producer Nancy Spielberg to speak after public and private showings. 7 p.m. April 19 at Rodef Shalom and private Women’s Philanthropy Spring Event, 7 p.m. April 20 at Manor.

“Dough” — British dramedy about a struggling baker (Jonathan Pryce) who enlists the help of a refugee from Darfur whose pot-selling side business accidentally fuels sales. 4:30 p.m. April 20 and 5 p.m. April 25, both Manor.

“The Best of Men” — Drama about the birth of the Paralympics in 1948 starring Eddie Marsan. Dan McCoy, gold medalist in sled hockey at 2014 Paralympic Games, will speak. 7 p.m. April 20, Rodef Shalom.

“Theodore Bikel: In the Shoes of Sholom Aleichem” — Portraits of Mr. Bikel and Mr. Aleichem are woven together in a documentary narrated by Alan Alda. 5:15 p.m. April 21 at Manor followed by free light Israeli dinner at theater and Jewish Federation’s Yom Hazikaron service at 8 p.m. at JCC. Repeats 1 p.m. April 26, Manor.

“The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films” — The story of Israeli-born cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, the men behind Cannon Films. Director Hilla Medalia to speak afterward. 7:30 p.m. April 21, Waterworks.

“Serial (Bad) Weddings” — French rom-com about the racial tensions that arise after a couple gain sons-in-law who are Jewish, Muslim, Chinese and — soon — a Catholic who is also African. 5:15 p.m. April 22, Manor, and 7 p.m. April 25, Manor, followed by Film Schmooze.

“Censored Voices” — Fresh from the Sundance Film Festival, this documentary was forged from audiotapes made one week after the end of the Six-Day War but long censored. 7:30 p.m. April 22, Manor, followed by panel.

“Felix and Meira” — A young married woman from Montreal’s Orthodox Jewish community finds freedom from the strictures of her faith through her relationship with a young man who is mourning the death of his estranged father. 5 p.m. April 23, Manor.

“Beneath the Helmet: From High School to the Home Front” — Coming-of-age story following five Israeli high school graduates drafted into the army. 7:30 pm. April 23 for young adults, Manor, and 7:30 p.m. April 23 at JCC-Katz Theatre for teens and general admission.

“Anywhere Else” — When a 30-something Israeli, living in Berlin, skips town and heads home it doesn’t take long for the strained relations with her dysfunctional family to resume in this humorous drama. 9:15 p.m. April 23, Manor.

“A Borrowed Identity” — A boy who is the first and only Arab to be accepted at a prestigious Jewish boarding school in Jerusalem tries to fit in, befriending a boy with muscular dystrophy and falling in love with a Jewish girl. 9 p.m. April 25, Manor. (Late seating may be reserved, 412-992-5203, for those observing Shabbat.)

“Bulgarian Rhapsody” — Love triangle envelops three teens during the tumultuous summer of 1943 in Bulgaria. 3 p.m. April 26, Manor. With introduction and Q&A by Winchester Thurston School’s Michael Naragon.

“Is That You?” — Story of a 60-year-old Israeli film projectionist, fired from his job, who heads to U.S. n search of his first love. Director Dani Menkin to speak. 7 p.m. April 26, Manor.

By Barbara Vancheri / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette