Ventura Country Jewish Film Festival 2020 logo

Read on for details on how to participate.

We postponed the Ventura County Jewish Film Festival earlier this year in the hope that it would be possible to reschedule it later in the year when it became safe to congregate. Sadly, that time still seems far in the future.

Instead, we decided to hold this year’s festival as a “virtual“ event as many of the Jewish Film Festivals around the country are doing. Everyone who is a sponsor, or a pass or ticket holder will be able to view all the films.

To do this, we have arranged links and passwords which will allow you to view the films at home using an internet-connected device like a computer, a tablet such as an iPad, or a smart TV. And, should you have either Apple TV or Chromecast, you can watch the movies on your large screen TV. Each film’s link will work for a 48 -hour window, so you can choose the viewing time that best suits your convenience.

If you are a film festival sponsor, a pass holder or a ticket holder (even if you bought just one ticket), just follow the instructions below.

On the other hand, if you are not already a film festival supporter, you can still participate in the same way. We are asking for a donation of $36 per person or more if you can afford it. This is on the honor system. DONATE HERE (specify Jewish Film Festival) or mail your donation to the Temple office.

Because we need to do this by means of links to the films, some of our original selections will not be available, so we have arranged for substitutes of high quality. Moreover, all our scheduled speakers will be able to speak and take questions from the audience by a Zoom meeting. For the two films without speakers, we will have a “talk back” about the film at the end of the 48-hour viewing window. (We know almost all of you have become proficient with Zoom and many of you are participating in the TBT services via Zoom.) To hear our speakers and to participate in the “talk backs”, click on the link you will receive by email just prior to start of each Zoom session. (All TBT members are invited. We will use the email you have on file with TBT to send out links and notices.)

Shortly before each time window opens to view to film, you will receive an email containing a link and password.

Here is the schedule. Movie summaries and trailers are below.

2020 Schedule Calendar

    1. The Keeper, available from 7PM Sunday, July 5th to 7:PM Tuesday, July 7th. Rabbi Michael Lotker will speak via Zoom at 7PM, Tuesday, June 7th.
    2. Who Will Write Our History, from 7PM, Tuesday, July 7th to 7PM Thursday, July 9th. Roberta Grossman, the film’s director, will speak via Zoom at 7PM, Thursday, July 9th.
    3. Tel Aviv on Fire, from 7PM, Thursday, July 9th to 7PM, Saturday, July 11th. Talk back via Zoom at 7PM, Saturday, July11th.
    4. Love in Suspenders, from 7PM, Sunday, July 12th to 7PM, Tuesday, July 14th. Talk back via Zoom at 7PM, Tuesday, July 14th.
    5. Golda’s Balcony, from 2PM (this one is different), Thursday, July 16th to 2PM, Saturday, July 18th. David Fishelson, the film’s producer, will speak via Zoom at 2PM. Saturday, July 18th.

In addition, one of our festival films, Maktub, is now available in Netflix readily available for those who have a streaming subscription.

We know this is not the ideal way to have a film festival. There is nothing like being in an audience with everyone enjoying the viewing experience together and having the fun of greeting friends and hearing their reactions to the films. We hope that the pandemic subsides quickly enough that we can hold our traditional festival next year.

In the meantime, please stay safe. And we will “see” you at the movies!!

Gary Feldman,
Festival Chairman


The Keeper
(UK, 2019) directed by Marcus H. Rosenmüller, 120 minutes, subtitles

The Keeper tells the incredible true story of Bert Trautmann, an ex-German soldier and British prisoner of war who, against a backdrop of British post-war protest and prejudice, secures the position of goalkeeper at Manchester City, and in doing so becomes a soccer icon. Manchester’s signing of Trautmann provoked outrage from thousands of fans, many of them Jewish. Through the assistance of his wife Margaret, and unexpected support from an influential local rabbi who urges the city’s fans to examine all men without bias, Trautmann eventually wins support from even his harshest critics. Based on a true story, this romantic and gripping film speaks about the power of sports to bridge differences among people and the possibilities of forgiveness.

Love in Suspenders
(Israel, 2019) directed by Yohanan Weller, subtitles

A sentimental romantic comedy that explores the relationship between Tami, a 60-year old optimistic widow, who is always smiling and living comfortably in a beautiful retirement home, and Beno, a grouchy widower in his 70s struggling to pay his rent. Tami and Beno are complete opposites – but love has its own rules. From their first unfortunate encounter when Tammy hits Beno with her car, the twosome experience emotional and amusing struggles. Their relationship evolves as they get close, break up, reunite and then fight again. Will love triumph?

Who Will Write Our History
(USA, 2019) directed by Roberta Grossman, 95 Minutes

Who Will Write Our History tells the story of Emanuel Ringelblum and the Oyneg Shabes Archive, the secret archive he created and led in the Warsaw Ghetto. With 30,000 pages of writing, photographs, posters, and more, the Oyneg Shabes Archive is the most important cache of in-the-moment, eyewitness accounts from the Holocaust. It documents not only how the Jews of the ghetto died, but how they lived. The film is based on the book of the same name by historian Samuel Kassow.

Tel Aviv on Fire
(Israel, 2018) directed by Sameh Zoabi, 100 Minutes, subtitles

This award winner is a comedic tale of Salem, an East Jerusalem Palestinian who works as a low-level production assistant on a soap opera. Following a lie he tells Assi, an officer he sees daily at the checkpoint he must pass through to get to work, Salem is suddenly promoted to be a screenwriter…the problem is Salem can’t write screenplays. He makes a deal with Assi to help him write in exchange for fine Palestinian hummus, and a promise that the series’ plot will end with a wedding. However, the Palestinian investors have another idea, putting Salem in a serious bind.

Golda’s Balcony, The Film
(USA, 2019) directed by Scott Schwartz, 86 Minutes

Golda’s Balcony, The Film TOVAH FELDSHUH recreates her award-winning performance as GOLDA MEIR (and 44 other characters) in GOLDA’S BALCONY, THE FILM (2019), as this final masterpiece by the author of “The Miracle Worker,” William Gibson, makes its motion picture debut at film festivals in 2019 (directed by Scott Schwartz). The rise of Golda Meir from Russian schoolgirl to Prime Minister of Israel is one of the most thrilling and amazing stories of the 20th Century. In GOLDA’S BALCONY, THE FILM (2019), her life has been transformed into a cinematic event of overwhelming power and inspirational triumph. While perhaps ‘a film of a play,’ this new work nevertheless plays like a film. Like the recent high-definition video shoot of Broadway smash Hamilton, this multi-camera, kinetically-edited version of Golda’s Balcony is likely to be the standard motion picture version of this Golda-bio-drama for years to come. As a play on Broadway and Off, Golda’s Balcony sold out over 500 performances, becoming the longest-running, one-woman show in Broadway history. TOVAH FELDSHUH’s galvanizing, TONY-Award Nominated rendition of Golda has been so dramatically edited, and cinematically ‘put together,’ that audiences who may have originally adored the performance from the upper tiers on Broadway may now ‘get up close and personal’ to Tovah’s marvelous work: her face, her expressions, the subtlety and unprecedented brilliance of her Golda Meir. Former HADASSAH PRESIDENT JUNE WALKER perhaps put it best: “Run, don’t walk, to Golda’s Balcony, to spend an emotional hour and a half with one of the great women of history. Jews especially will be touched, but people of all religions will marvel at this triumph: it is not to be missed!”

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