Saturday, January 19, 2013

2013 East Bay International Jewish Film Festival

I just received a brochure for this year's East Bay International Jewish Film Festival, its 18th year, which runs March 9-17.  Films for the festival will be shown at three locations:  CineArts, 2314 Monument Boulevard, Pleasant Hill; Orinda Theatre, 4 Orinda Square, Orinda; and Vine Cinema, 1722 First Street, Livermore.  Several of the films being screened are relevant to Jewish family history research.

Playing at CineArts, the primary theater for the festival:  Numbered (2012), 11:50 a.m. on March 10, is a documentary about the numbers that were tattooed on prisoners, both Jewish and non-Jewish, in Auschwitz.  The First Fagin (2012), 10:30 a.m. on March 11, portrays the life of British convict Ikey Solomon (possibly the inspiration for the villain in Charles Dicken's Oliver Twist), including his transportation to an Australian penal colony.  The Flat (2011), 3:00 p.m. on March 12, was shown in Oakland and Berkeley this past November.  It is the story of a man discovering unexpected secrets about his grandparents when he cleans out their apartment after the death of his grandmother.  Disobedience:  The Sousa Mendes Story (2008), 10:30 a.m. on March 13, is about the Portuguese Consul General in Bordeaux, France, during World War II who issued visas, against his government's wishes, that allowed Jews to flee the country.  The Fire Within (2008), 12:30 p.m. on March 14, relates the story of Moroccan Jewish men who went to Peru in the 19th century for economic opportunity and who married local women.  Some of their descendants immigrated to Israel, while others have stayed in Peru to maintain the community.  Süskind (2012), 7:30 p.m. on March 14, a drama "inspired by" actual events, is about a man who organizes the deportation of Jews from Amsterdam until he learns what happens when they reach their destinations, at which point he decides to become a double agent.

One film to be shown at Theatre I in Orinda is of interest:  Besa: The Promise (2012), 11:00 a.m. on March 15, is a documentary about the rescue of Jews in Nazi-occupied Albania by local Muslims.

Tickets are available for individuals films or as a pass for the complete festival.


  1. Thank you for the mention, Janice. As we were making this film, we hoped it would be a catalyst to Survivors and Rescuers finding each other. As is said in our film, "a hidden history is meaningless." Many of the stories of rescue in Albania were lost after 50 years of communism. Since filming our interviews, twenty people have died. We are deeply honored to have recorded these stories and preserved them for future generations.

    Survivors should know that this documentary is a modern-day journey, a story of fathers and sons, of keeping promises, with no difficult to watch scenes. It is an emotional - and often funny - story about good people who did good deeds.

  2. Thank you for the post and the additional information. It sounds like a very interesting film, and it is wonderful that you were able to document the stories and bring them to current generations.


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