Mystery, history highlight Jewish Film Festival

Posted at 7:00 AM, Jan 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-31 07:00:52-05

CINCINNATI -- Film critic and author Leonard Maltin will be the closing night speaker at this year's Jewish and Israeli Film Festival, which runs Feb. 6-25.

The festival, sponsored by Cincinnati's Mayerson Jewish Community Center, will present 12 award-winning films that explore Jewish identity, history, social issues and family dynamics. Entries will be shown at several locations, including the Kenwood, Esquire and Oakley Station theaters as well as the JCC in Amberley.

Leonard Maltin

The theme for this year’s festival, “Mystery, History, Mischief and More,” is reflected in movies dealing with the Holocaust, food, family, sports and love.

Mayerson has been organizing the festival for more than 20 years, with the backing of “nearly every part of the Jewish community in Cincinnati” and other sponsors, Karli Wood of the JCC’s marketing department said in an email. The festival is unusual in its structure since it has no single director. Cultural arts manager Betsy Singer-Lefton does much of the organizing work, Wood said, but a committee of volunteers chooses the films.

“Victor ‘Young’ Perez,” based on the life of a Jewish Tunisian boxing champion who is forced to fight for his life during the Holocaust, will be shown Feb. 9 at Cinemark Oakley Station (in French with subtitles).

All the films shown have been featured in other film fests and most have won awards. The opening night feature Feb. 6 will be “Remember,” directed by Atom Egoyan and starring Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau. Tickets to the event at the Carnegie in Covington will include a free drink and dessert, plus music by a jazz trio from the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music. Kentucky bourbon flights will be available for purchase.

Closing night Feb. 25 will be devoted to Maltin's presentation, followed by a question-and-answer session, a meet-and-greet and book signing of Maltin’s “Classic Movie Guide.”

For details about the festival, movie trailers and film synopses, visit

What: Jewish and Israeli Film Festival, presented by Mayerson Jewish Community Center

When: Feb. 6-25. All shows 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted (see below).

Where: Mayerson JCC, 8485 Ridge Road, Cincinnati, 45336

            The Carnegie, 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington

            Kenwood Theatre, 7815 Kenwood Road, Kenwood

            Esquire Theatre, 3320 Ludlow Ave., Clifton

            Cinemark Oakley Station, 3025 Disney St., Oakley


  • Opening night Feb. 6: $32 members and $36 general admission.
  • Screenings Feb. 8-24: $10 members and $12 general admission.
  • Leonard Maltin discussion, meet-and-greet, book signing Feb. 25: $12 members and $14 general admission.
  • Festival passes: $130 members and $160 general admission.

Information: 513-761-7500;


  • Feb. 6, 8 p.m.: “Remember.” The Carnegie, 
  • Feb. 8: “Look At Us Now, Mother!” Cinemark Oakley Station
  • Feb. 9: “Victor ‘Young’ Perez.” Cinemark Oakley Station
  • Feb. 10:  “In Search of Israeli Cuisine,” Kenwood Theatre
  • Feb. 11:  “Serial (Bad) Weddings/The Seder,” Kenwood Theatre
  • Feb. 14: 3 p.m., “Once in a Lifetime,” Kenwood Theatre
  • Feb. 16: Rock in the Red Zone, Kenwood Theatre,
  • Feb. 17: 1 p.m., “Fire Birds,” Mayerson JCC; 7:30 p.m., Kenwood Theatre
  • Feb. 18: “Is That You?” Cinemark Oakley Station
  • Feb. 22: “Operation Sunflower,” Kenwood Theatre
  • Feb. 23: “Hill Start,” Cinemark Oakley Station
  • Feb. 24: “Oriented,” Esquire Theatre
  • Feb. 25: Leonard Maltin discussion, Mayerson JCC


Here are few highlights of the film offerings at the Jewish and Israeli Film Festival:

“Remember,” starring Oscar winners Martin Landau and Christopher Plummer as elderly Holocaust survivors bent on bringing justice to a Nazi murderer before time runs out. Feb. 6, The Carnegie.

“Victor ‘Young’ Perez,” based on the life of a Jewish Tunisian boxing champion who is forced to fight for his life during the Holocaust. (In French with subtitles) Feb. 9, Cinemark Oakley Station.

“Serial (Bad) Weddings,” an irreverent French comedy about a family dealing with cross-cultural fallout when the daughters marry men outside the faith.  (In French with subtitles) Feb. 11, Kenwood Theatre.

“Rock in the Red Zone,” a documentary about the powerful role of music in the life of a community in conflict-plagued Gaza. Director Laura Bialis will take part in an audience discussion via Skype following the movie. Feb. 16, Kenwood Theatre.

“Operation Sunflower,” a suspenseful historical drama about the beginning of Israel’s nuclear program in the 1950s and 1960s. (In multiple languages with subtitles.) Feb. 22, Kenwood Theatre.