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32nd Annual San Diego International Jewish Film Festival

 

Filmmaker Q&A Recordings

Voices of Our City Choir Performance | Over My Dead Body Q&A | Larry & Me Q&A | Sounds of the Sidewalk Q&A | Space Torah Q&A | High Score Q&A
https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMSpuzhigy54w24sIIqC17lbOhyKSulrK

 

2021 Joyce Forum Jewish Short Film Festival Jury Awards

 

Best Narrative
Long Distance
Director, Or Sinai

Best Documentary
Space Torah
Director, Rob Cooper

Best Director
40 Chess Boards
Director, Alfonso Gastiaburo

Best Animated Film
Remainder
Directors, Ofer Winter, Shimon Engel

Best Comedy
Disappearing Act
Director, Billy Kent

Grand Jury Prize
Eddy’s World
Director, Lyn Goldfarb

Special Jury Mention
Sounds of the Sidewalk
Directors, Michele Zousmer, Benjamin Huerta Cristobal

We are lucky when a chance encounter leads to an important creative and emotional journey.  After losing her husband to cancer, photographer Michele Zousmer attended a performance of a homeless choir at SDSU and showed up at their following rehearsals in downtown San Diego.  Steven Ried, a choir member, was diagnosed with cancer and asked Michele to document his remaining months. Michele Zousmer, a first time film director, tells the story of one man’s life and demise which changes our perception of an unsheltered person.”   That’s a tricky balance and Zousmer achieves it beautifully.

 

Lori Beber Holmes
Juror

Best Narrative
Long Distance
Director, Or Sinai

Long Distance is a poignant, yet charming story of loneliness about an older Israeli woman who is losing her eyesight.  When she accidentally drops her cell phone in water, she has great difficulty trying to contact her daughter who is about to give birth across the ocean in New York.  She reaches out for help and finally finds it in the form of a man and his precocious daughter.  LONG DISTANCE is well-acted and does a superb job of depicting the isolation and difficulties of a widow who not only has no family members nearby but also does not have the skills to survive in our digitally social world.  

Best Documentary
Space Torah
Director, Rob Cooper

Space Torah is an intriguing documentary about a Jewish astronaut who decides to bring a Torah with him on the Space Shuttle.  The film chronicles the first Jewish astronaut, Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman, an MIT Professor of Aerospace Engineering, and of his quest to do a Torah lesson in space.  Considering the size limits of what he can bring with him, it isn’t an easy project.  This film, using various narrators, historical footage, graphics, and often breathtaking photography from space, entertainingly brings this story to life.

Best Director
40 Chess Boards
Director, Alfonso Gastiaburo

In 1939 Argentina a Polish Jewish Chess Master is about to perform the feat of playing 40 chess games “blindly” from a hotel room, without the ability to actually view each board.  Just as he is about to begin, he sees a newspaper article that reports that the Germans have invaded Poland.  He struggles to concentrate on the chess games as he worries about the family he has left behind in Poland.  Director Alfonso Gastiabura does a bravura job of creating tension and concern through the work of a talented group of actors, skilled editing and sound, beautifully crafted cinematography and strong symbolism.

Randall Christopher
Juror

Best Animated Film
Remainder
Director, Ofer Winter, Shimon Engel

Remainder tells the story of a young man who survives the Holocaust only to lose his life during the War for Independence in Israel.  It is a beautifully crafted film.  The simple, flowing graphics have an elegant design and pleasing colors.  But the power of the film lies in the clever transitions which weave the story of a life full of immense hope marked by great tragedy.  It is a tale that has been told many times and yet this film finds a voice and makes a moving contribution to the collection of stories that must never be forgotten.

Best Comedy
Disappearing Act
Director, Billy Kent

Disappearing Act follows a conversation between a mother and a son on Zoom to create a surprisingly fun and memorable slice of family life.  The story builds in clever ways and has an originality that keeps the film engaging.  The film zips along with great comic timing and continual hilarious surprises.  Josh Evans’s portrayal of the manic Xander is especially fun to watch.  Great acting, writing and directing make this short film a gem.

Wendy Dozoretz
Juror

Grand Jury Prize
Eddy’s World
Director, Lyn Goldfarb

Ninety-eight-year-old Eddy Goldfarb enchants us with his twinkling eyes, creative energy, and joy for life.  Eddy is an ingenious toy inventor who designed and fabricated over three hundred toys, among them the classic wind-up chattering teeth and many of the tiny toys we used to discover in cereal boxes. From the initial shot of rows of colorful, bobbing toys over Eddy’s kitchen sink, we are launched into “Eddy’s World.” Lovingly directed by his award-winning daughter, documentary filmmaker Lyn Goldfarb, we are introduced to a grinning Eddy as he mischievously blows soap bubbles from one of his inventions. This delightful film tells his amazing story, from his start as a Navy radar technician to his huge success as a toymaker. It is guaranteed to make you smile.

 

Special Jury Mention
Sounds of the Sidewalk (A Journey of Goodbye)
Director, Michele Zousmer, Benjamin Huerta Cristobal

We are lucky when a chance encounter leads to an important creative and emotional journey.  After losing her husband, photographer Michele Zousmer attended a performance of a homeless choir at SDSU, where she introduced herself to the keyboard player and decided to document the choir over the course of the next several years.  The resulting documentary, co-directed with Benjamin Huerta Cristobal, tells the uplifting story of Voices of Our City Choir, while simultaneously focusing on one man’s battle with cancer.  That’s a tricky balance, and Zousmer achieves it beautifully.


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