OC ARTS Festival 2017 Honoring Jewish Heritage through comedy, documentary and Holocaust drama films. EACH YEAR A dedicated committee of culture-savvy-enthusiasts comb through many(!) films and stories celebrating the rich tapestry of Jewish culture to showcase in the annual OC Jewish Arts Festival. Seeking to enthrall and inspire audiences, we review over a hundred movies and select the very best to screen. Below is a sneak preview of the best of the best… like a movie trailer, an exciting teaser to what’s next. “My Hero Brother” Saturday, November 4, 7:30 p.m. “My Hero Brother” tells the remarkable true-life story of a group of young Israelis with Down Syndrome who embark on a demanding trek through the Indian Himalayas accompanied by their brothers and sisters. As the siblings deal with formidable physical and emotional challenges, unresolved conflicts surface and heart-warming friendships develop. Inspiring in its lessons of pushing boundaries, “My Hero Brother” was the Winner of Best Documentary Film Award and Audience Choice Award at the 2017 Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Film followed by Q&A with award-winning director/co-producer Yonatan Nir. Yonatan Nir grew up on a kibbutz in northern Israel, where he developed his passion for nature and adventure. After his service in the IDF, Nir embarked on a seven-year journey around the world, during which he began his career as a photojournalist. He teaches filmmaking at Israeli universities and serves as a juror in international film festivals. “The Pickle Recipe” Saturday, November 11, 7:30 p.m. A cash-strapped Jewish party emcee is corrupted by his shameless uncle to steal his grandmother’s top secret pickle recipe. This crowd-pleasing comedy stars Oscar nominee David Paymer, “Sex and the City” actress Lynn Cohen, and comedian Jon Dore. “The Pickle Recipe” is a metaphor about the people and memories that comprise the special ingredients of a family, however dysfunctional. Film followed by a pickle and deli tasting, as well as a Q&A with writer/co-producer Sheldon Cohn. “Alone in Berlin” Shown in partnership with the Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education at Chapman University Thursday, November 16, 7 p.m. Emma Thompson and Brendan Gleeson star in this fictionalized version of the true story of Otto and Elise Hampel, Germans who, after losing their only son on the front lines, start writing postcards urging the German people to take a stand against Hitler and the Nazi regime. This seemingly small act of subversion rattles the regime and the couple become a symbol of defiance against Nazi brutality. Based on the bestselling novel “Every Man Dies Alone” by Hans Fallada, the film is both a gripping thriller and a tribute to resistance. Nominated for the Golden Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival. Orange County Premiere “The Last Poker Game” Saturday, December 10, 7 p.m. The JCC just added Martin Landau’s final film, “The Last Poker Game” to its film line-up as well. A comedy-drama starring Martin Landau, Paul Sorvino and Maria Dizzia, the film follows a doctor, played by Landau, who gets into hot water after befriending a womanising gambler at his wife’s nursing home. What’s even more impressive than two old masters knocking a pair of well-written parts out of the park is that the film’s director, Howard Weiner, is a rookie filmmaker at 72 years old.
A world-renowned neurologist, Dr. Weiner first wrote the manuscript for a novel that would eventually become the basis for the film. For the schedule and tickets, visit the OC Jewish Arts Festival 2017 at www.JCCOC.org.