“We have a phenomenal lineup this year…Films that will make you think, make you laugh, make you cry” Rahmani says. “Above all, you get to experience the best Jewish and Israeli films around the world.” One of the highlights of the festival is Above and Beyond. “We’re very excited to have the producer of the film [Nancy Spielberg] with us…she will be introducing the film and leading a question-and-answer session. The film is…a nice documentary that tells a story that you just don’t hear very often about the birth of the Israeli air force. And you’ll hear the story directly from the pilots, who just add a lot of color and fun to the experience,” Rahmani says.
There’s also a 90-minute shorts program that includes half a dozen films that range from six minutes to 25 minutes and from tragedy to comedy. There’s tragedy in the festival opener, Run Boy Run, on March 8. The short chronicles a nine-year old Polish boy’s fight to preserve his life and his Jewish faith in Nazi-occupied Poland. Comedy comes in the form of The Funeral. “Though it doesn’t sound like it, [The Funeral] is actually a funny short.” And there’s a little of both in the tragic yet entertaining Auschwitz On My Mind. Filmmaker Dani Menkin is also expected to attend the festival to introduce his newest film, a romantic comedy, Is That You, and lead a post-film discussion on closing night, March 22.
Rahmani believes the filmmakers attending the festival “bring insights into their films and the background of how the stories came about…I think it’s just always a wonderful addition for the audience to be able to talk with the filmmakers.” In total, the festival boasts 28 films, from full-length features to shorts, screened over a 15-day period.
Screenings will be held at the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Holocaust Museum Houston; and Landmark River Oaks Theatre. Screening times and locations vary. For information, call 713‑551‑7255 or visit erjcchouston.org. $10 to $80.
March 8-22, 2015