24 May 2008

Chicago 2008: Film Festival additions

Film Festival coordinator Pamela Weisberger has announced that the film screening schedule at the Chicago conference has been finalized.

The schedule for the film festival at the IAJGS conference has been finalized and we will be showing an exciting, eclectic array of international productions, documentaries, shorts and theatrical features. Some films are strictly genealogical in nature, others historical, and many pure entertainment, and they will screen starting at 8am and into the evening each conference day.

Chicago-area premieres: "Tovarisch: I Am Not Dead," about dashing Galician-born doctor Garri Urban who managed to survive the Holocaust, the Gulag and working for the KGB; and "The World Was Ours," dedicated to the memory of pre-war Vilna.

Nazi-era looted art: The Rape of Europa, an epic journey through seven countries and into the violent whirlwind of ideological fanaticism, greed and warfare which threatened to wipe out Europe's artistic heritage of Europe; and "Stealing Klimt," in which conference keynote speaker Randy Schoenberg appears

Popular films: The Counterfeiters, Everything is Illuminated, and Golden Door will keep you on the edge of your seats, while personal family stories like 51 Birch Street get you thinking:"Do we ever really know our parents? Would we want to if given the opportunity?"

Globe-trot: Mahjong and Chicken Feet, (Harbin, China and Russian-Jewish emigres, and the 1,000 year old community of Kaifeng); Adio Kerida on the Jews of Cuba. Go south with De Bessarabia a Entre Rios about Argentina's Jews, while Disneyland meets Stalin-era deportations in a controversial Lithuanian amusement park, Stalin World.

Hit BBC series: Who Do You Think You Are?, take celebrities on a search for their roots, from the UK, back to Slovakia, Belarus, Prussia, South Africa and the Netherlands. Kinderland, Cinderland joins a middle school reunion, where 12 women in their 70s - children when the Nazis came to power in 1933 - are reunited with Christian German classmates in Germany 60 years later.

Brown University Professor Omer Bartov will speak on "The 'Jew' in Cinema: From The Golem to Don't Touch My Holocaust," at 9.30am Tuesday, August 19; both films will be screened. The restored 1920 print of "The Golem" portrays the ancient Hebrew legend as the precursor to Frankenstein myth.

Classic films: Yiddle with His Fiddle, with Molly Picon. Shot in 1936 Kazimierz and Warsaw, Poland, with shtetl residents as extras.

Music lovers: From Shtetl to Swing, and the musical metamorphosis born in darkest Russia to blaze across the Great White Way. Included is rare, archival footage of Eddie Cantor, Fanny Brice, George Gershwin and Al Jolson among others. Theatre lovers: Yiddish Theatre: A Love Story about Holocaust survivor Zypora Spaisman, who keeps alive the oldest running Yiddish theater in America.

Sports fans: Watermarks, about the Jewish women's Hakoah swimming team, pre-war Vienna; and Jewish Women in American Sports, the history of Jewish female athletes.

Holocaust and World War II: The Attic: The Hiding of Anne Frank, (Paul Scofield, Mary Steenburgen) telling the Frank family story through the Miep Geis, who helped hide; Uprising, (Donald Sutherland, Jon Voight, David Schwimmer) chronicles the Jewish Fighting Organization, youthful Polish guerrillas and freedom fighters; Swimming in Auschwitz offers six stories of the female concentration camp experience; I Have Never Forgotten You, on the life and legacy of Simon Wiesenthal, famed Nazi hunter and humanitarian.

Back by demand: Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and The American Dream, about the men who founded Hollywood, showing how major American films were influenced by the Eastern European Jewish culture shared by most of the major movie moguls who controlled the studios.

Brooklyn: Pearl Gluck's film A Tour of Chasidic Williamsburg into the heart of Satmarland, including restaurants, shops, shuls and the Rebbe's House - a humorous insider’s glimpse of Williamsburg's Hasidic world.

Last, but not least: Budapest filmmaker Peter Forgacs's Miss Universe 1929: A Queen in Wien, a true story about Lisl Goldarbeiter, a nice Jewish girl growing up in Vienna, crowned Miss Universe and then swept up in the horror of World War II; documented by her Hungarian cousin, Maurice, with a home movie camera.

The complete schedule should be online soon.

Film-only conference registrations are available for friends, spouses, and anyone living in the Chicago area interested in a different kind of Jewish film festival. For all conference details, click here.


  1. Schelly

    Wow - you have so many great items on the IAJGS conference that this Gentile boy might consider attending!

    I wanted to say that I am in Chicago so if you or any readers need a local's perspective of the city or information on places to stay etc, please feel free to ask.

  2. Hi, Thomas,

    While the main objective, of course, of our annual conference is Jewish genealogy, many programs are applicable to all sorts of research. Check out the computer workshops also at http://www.chicago2008.org

    If you decide to attend, please let me know so we can meet.

    And thank you for offering your bird's-eye view of Chicago for Tracing the Tribe's readers.