For one week, June 1st through 6th, the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival will screen over 20 “chosen” films from around the world. The LAJFFs goal to present films that preserve and celebrate the rich tapestry of Jewish heritage has been truly accomplished this year with an amazing group of films.
The star-studded line up of films touch on subjects that include many of America’s most influential and controversial celebrities. Roman Polanski, Neil Diamond, Johnny Cash, Arthur Hiller, Carl Reiner, Sid Cesar, Hal Kanter, Jerry Lewis, Mort Sahl, Lenny Bruce, Jackie Mason, Jerry Stiller and civil rights leader Medgar Evers all have a place in this year’s film line up. Tickets and full screening information are available here.
The Red Carpet, Opening Night Gala is a “must attend” event held at the Writer’s Guild Theater, Each year the opening night attracts top celebrities, industry VIP’s and fans of the festival including: Joan Rivers, Elliott Gould, Theodore Bikel, Jon Voight, MamieVan Doren, Sally Kellerman, Shirley Jones, Arthur Hiller, Walter Koenig and many others. Arrivals begin at 7:30m followed by a Q&A, program with the filmmaker’s and stars from the opening night film and a fabulous dessert reception.
This year the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival opens with the Los Angeles premiere for an award winning romantic comedy, “Putzel.” http://www.putzelmovie.com/the-cast/
This laugh-out-loud film, directed by Jason Chaet, has everything a Jewish Film Festival could want: Lox and laughs and New York Jewish humor. “Putzel” stars Melanie Lynskey (“Two and a Half Men”) Jack Carpenter (“The Good Wife”) Susie Essman, (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and John Pankow, (Episodes with Matt LeBlanc, Ira in “Mad About You”) and Fran Kranz (“Cabin in the Woods/Joss Whedon's “Much Ado About Nothing”). Plus, writer/producer Rick Moore will attend the Q&A.
Here are highlighted films:
“My Father and the Man In Black”
This is the Los Angeles premiere for a revealing documentary about Johnny Cash’s sometimes elevated sometimes down relationship with his Jewish manager, Saul Holiff. Jonathan Holiff, the son of Saul Holiff worked on the film for six years, driven by newly discovered audio diaries and telephone calls recorded by Holiff and Cash in the sixties and seventies, showing another side to Johnny Cash. This is not your typical "talking heads" documentary. TRAILER: http://youtu.be/jtovAxxPo2Q
LAJFF screens this film twice. Monday, 7 pm, June 3rd at the Muvico Theater in Thousand Oaks and screens again on Wednesday, June 5th at 7:30pm, at the Laemmle’s Music Hall Theater in Beverly Hills with a Q&A at both screenings attended by Jonathan Holiff, the filmmaker.
“Roman Polanski: A Memoir”
Directed by Laurent Bouzereau United Kingdom/90 mins/2012 Actor, director, Krakow Ghetto survivor, American fugitive -- filmmaker Roman Polanski addresses every aspect of his celebrated, tragic and scandalous life in this intimate documentary. Interviewed by a long-time friend, Polanski sets the record straight on the 1968 murder of his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, by the Manson cult, and his 1977 sexual encounter with a 13-year-old girl that led to his exile and, 30 years later, arrest in Switzerland. Clips from such Polanski classics as ROSEMARY'S BABY, CHINATOWN and THE PIANIST connect the Oscar-winner’s anguished past with his artistic achievements, making for the definitive picture of this complex artist. Sunday, June 2, 7:00 pm Laemmle’s Music Hall, Q&A with director Laurent Bouzereau moderated by Danielle Berrin, “Hollywood Jew” of the Jewish Journal.
“The Last White Knight, Is Reconciliation Possible” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85z_pYawYJM
This is the Los Angeles Premiere with a special Q&A session attended by the Director, Paul Saltzman .
This special program of the LAJFF is being held in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the murder of Medgar Evers and will examine the state of racism and race relations in the New South. The film looks at Saltzman’s early life and a violent run-in with the Ku Klux Klan. As a Jewish civil rights activist he returns to Mississippi to understand his assailant. The film touches on that relationship with the assailant, Byron de la Beckwith Jr., (whose father, Byron de la Beckwith Sr. murdered NAACP Field Secretary Medgar Evers). This film screens: Tuesday, June 4, 7:30 pm at Laemmle’s Music Hall, Beverly Hills and again, Wednesday, June 5 at 7:30 pm - Laemmle’s Town Center, Encino- Q&A with director Paul Saltzman. Community Partner: Anti-Defamation League and the Urban League
“Lunch” Directed by Donna Kanter is the story of a group of writers and directors who have been meeting for lunch every other Wednesday for the past 40 years. The members are legends in writing for television, books and film. This documentary stars Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner, Monty Hall, Arthur Hiller, Rocky Kalish, Hal Kanter, Arthur Marx, Gary Owens, John Rappaport, Matty Simmons and Ben Starr. There is one screening as LAJFF serves up “Lunch” on Sunday, June 2 at 3 pm Laemmle’s Music Hall, Beverly Hills with a Q&A including,: Donna Kanter, Arthur Hiller, Ben Starr, Rocky Kalish.
“When Comedy Went to School”
(World Premiere at LAJFF)
Directed by Ron Frank, Lawrence Richards and Mevlut Akkaya, this film focuses on the birth of modern stand-up comedy as it began in the Catskill mountains ( a boot camp for the greatest generation of Jewish-American Comedians). Narrated by Robert Klein the documentary stars Sid Caesar, Larry King, Jerry Lewis, Jerry Stiller, Mort Sahl and others. There will be a Q&A to follow with director Ron Frank, stand-up comedienne Judy Carter and special guest Larry King (he appears in the film). Thursday, June 6 at 7:30 pm at the Laemmle’s Town Center Theater in Encino.