(New York Jewish Week) – Now 21 years old, New York’s biggest film festival is also reliably rife with Jewish connections. And this year, the festival — which runs at various venues throughout Manhattan, beginning Wednesday evening and continuing through June 18 — boasts a cool crop, ranging from a profile of Jewish comics legend Stan Lee to a mystery surrounding an Iranian dissident artist whose daughter formerly oversaw one of the city’s most unusual Jewish film festivals.
Here are some of the Jewish-interest films premiering at Tribeca this year. If you can’t make it in person, select films this year will be available for streaming following the festival.
Screening in the international narrative competition, this Israeli sci-fi drama plays off the deep divides in Israeli society today. The story is a murder mystery: The head of the country’s space program is killed in the run-up to Israel’s first mission to the moon, and the leader of a new “Minority Report”-esque algorithm designed to predict future acts of terrorism decides to interview a Palestinian university student who has confessed to the murder.
Playing June 10, 11 and 17.
In advance of its streaming premiere on Disney+, this documentary tells the life story of the Jewish Marvel Comics legend who co-created pop culture’s most recognizable superheroes (including Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four). The film also profiles other Jewish comics pioneers in Lee’s orbit, including underground comics publisher Flo Steinberg, who began her career as his secretary.
Playing June 10, 11 and 18.
“A Revolution on Canvas (Untitled Nicky Nodjoumi)”
The former artistic director of the New York Sephardic Film Festival, Sara Nodjoumi has also produced documentaries like “The Iran Job” and “When God Sleeps,” both about the explosive intersection of pop culture and the Iranian regime. Now, Nodjoumi has turned the lens on her own father, Nickzad, an Iranian “treasonous” artist who saw more than 100 of his paintings mysteriously disappear. Co-directed by Nodjoumi and her husband Till Schauder, the documentary attempts to trace the paintings’ disappearance while asking larger questions about the fate of artists in a repressive society.
Playing June 11, 13 and 15.
This timely documentary on intersex activists from “RBG” co-director Julie Cohen profiles three people born with ambiguous genitalia who hope to push back on common misconceptions about the gender binary and “corrective” surgery in the wake of sweeping legislation targeting trans people in a growing number of states. One of the film’s subjects, Austin-based Alicia Roth Weigel, is Jewish, and has talked about studying Kabbalah because the Book of Genesis describes “the image of God” as “male and female.” The film will receive a broader theatrical release June 30.
Playing June 11, 12 and 16.
“Scream of My Blood: A Gogol Bordello Story”
Self-proclaimed “Gypsy punk” band Gogol Bordello, which has rotated several Jewish members, has been a global cult sensation for decades (with one heck of a live act). This documentary, which will be screened before a live performance from the band, chronicles the group’s raucous history and its explosive new chapter as a loud protest voice in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the homeland of charismatic frontman Eugene Hütz. While Hütz is not Jewish, he told the Manchester Jewish Telegraph that his family often experienced antisemitism from neighbors who had assumed they were. (Hütz also starred in the film adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s Jewish metafiction “Everything Is Illuminated.”)
Playing June 13, 14 and 16.
Bonus: Jewish issues in audio storytelling
As podcasts grew in popularity in recent years, TriBeCa has introduced an “audio screening” program to complement its film selections. A few of its audio selections this year are of interest to Jewish audiences. There’s “Shalom, Amore,” a docu-fictional series about an Italian Jewish family during Mussolini’s Fascist regime, featuring the voice talent of Stanley Tucci. “Aisha,” a short audio drama, follows developing tension between a Palestinian girl in Gaza City and an Israeli-American aid worker.
Check festival guide for showtimes.
For more details and information about this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, click here.
Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.
Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary
By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”
Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)
Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station
This is a developing story.
(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.
An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.
Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.
The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.
The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.
Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.
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