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83 Park Street, Suite 5

Providence, RI 02903 USA
tel: 401/861-4445
401/490-6735 (f)


Mailing Address:

PO Box 162

Newport, RI 02840 USA

Street Address:

36 Rhode Island Avenue,

Newport, RI 02840 USA



RIIFF Photography

Courtesy of Mike Braca


Video Promotions by

Eric Latek, George T. Marshall, Shawn Quirk, Timothy Haggerty & Duncan Putney






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Curated by the National Center for Jewish Film at Brandeis University

The Rhode Island International Film Festival (August 9-14, 2005) will mount the Fourth Annual Providence Jewish Film Festival as a sidebar highlighting the diversity of the Jewish experience. The films include two USA Premieres, one East Coast premiere and five Rhode Island premieres and will be screened at the Columbus Theatre and the Providence Chamber of Commerce Theatre.


In announcing the programming, George T. Marshall, RIIFF Executive Director, stated, "Providing a focus on world cultures has long been a hallmark of the Rhode Island International Film Festival. This year we are delighted to bring this sidebar of new films about Jewish communities around the world to our Festival. Thanks to our partnership with the National Center for Jewish Film at Brandeis University we have been able to find a wonderful array of new films which touch the core of the Jewish Experience.
We hope these films will help challenge stereotypes and bring a better understanding of the human dimensions behind the headlines.”


Working with RIIFF, Sharon Pucker Rivo, Executive Director of the National Center for Jewish Films at Brandeis University, is curating the program. The six film programs being presented include the deeply emotional documentaries No. 17 and Widowed Once, Bereaved Twice, the whimsical musical American Matchmaker, the fascinating south-of-the-border portrait Tijuana Jews and the compelling archival story of Jewish American soldiers in From Philadelphia to the Front.

All screenings are $10 and can be purchased on line at www.RIFILMFEST.org or
or at the door of the theatre.

10:30 AM Wednesday August 10
Columbus Theatre

American Matchmaker (Amerikaner Shadkhn) - Rhode Island Premiere
USA, 1940, 87 minutes, B&W, Yiddish with English subtitles, restored, digitally re-mastered
Produced & Directed by: Edgar G. Ulmer
Screenplay by: S. Castle
Music and Lyrics by: Sam Morgenstern, William Mercur
Starring: Leo Fuchs, Judith Abarbanel, Judel Dubinksy, Anna Guskin,
Celia Bodkin, Abraham Lax

Great film-noir director Edgar G. Ulmer’s last Yiddish movie was also his most modern, an art-deco romantic comedy about male ambivalence and Jewish assimilation. Starring Leo Fuchs, known on Second Avenue as “the Yiddish Fred Astaire,” an elegant and eligible bachelor who appears to never be able to close the marriage deal. With its urbane, neurotic hero, American Matchmaker looks ahead to the films of Woody Allen. "As in the best Yiddish theater traditions, there is a successful combination of humor and schmaltz with the sentimentality at the end well-earned by the comic insights along the way... The title says it all – a clash between the urbane, slick manners of the new country and the old, busybody communal ways of the shtetl.” – Films, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1983

Also included, the hilarious short I Want to Be a Boarder, a small classic of Yiddish absurdism that showcases Fuch’s comic virtuosity.

6:30 PM Wednesday August 10
Providence Chamber of Commerce Theatre
Presented in association with The Consulate General of Israel New England

No. 17 - Rhode Island Premiere
Israel, 2003, 75 minutes, Hebrew with English subtitles, video
A Film by David Ofek, Ron Rotem, Elinor Kowarsky [produced and directed by?]

Best Documentary, Israeli Academy Awards, 2003
Best Feature Documentary, DocAviv 2003
Special Jury Award, Hot Docs, 2004

In June, 2002 a bus on its way from Tel Aviv to Tiberius, was bombed. Seventeen people were killed; all but one were identified. No. 17 wasn’t. A few weeks later he was buried anonymously. The police soon stopped searching, believing that he must have been a foreign worker. This is where the filmmakers stepped in, documenting over a period of six months the search for the identity of a man no one had claimed to be missing. In the form of a detective investigation, the film pursues the stories of several people who were directly and indirectly affected by this bombing, creating a tragic-comic portrait of a society living under the shadow of death.

5:00 PM - Thursday Aug 11
Providence Chamber of Commerce Theatre

Presented in association with The Consulate General of Israel New England

Widowed Once, Twice Bereaved
- Rhode Island Premiere
Israel, 2004, 60 min,
Hebrew with English subtitles
Director: Orna Ben Dor

Filmmaker Orna Ben Dor’s new documentary focuses on five women whose husbands and/or children were among the fifteen Israeli civilians killed in the suicide bombing of the Matza Restaurant in Haifa, Israel, on March 31, 2002. Ben Dor’s is a sensitive tribute to the strength and beauty of these Israeli women, including Carmit Ron whose husband, Aviel, seventeen-year-old son Ofer, and her twenty-one-year-old daughter Anat were killed while eating lunch together at the sidewalk cafe.

Second Watch
Israel 1995 14 minutes Color 16mm/ Beta Sp
Hebrew with English subtitles
Director: Udi Ben-Arie
Best Short Film, 1996 Dresden International Filmfest; Nominee for
Best Foreign Film, 1996 Student Academy Awards Berkowitz, an

An Israeli Reserve soldier on watch at a remote post along the Israeli-Jordanian border finds, just a few yards across the border, a Jordanian soldier as bored to death as he. Together they help each other pass the time and create some trouble that they manage to get away with!

8:30 PM - Saturday Aug 13
Providence Chamber of Commerce Theatre

From Philadelphia To The Front - USA Premiere
2005 USA 36 minutes Video
Directed by Judy Gelles and Marianne Bernstein

Many documentaries have been devoted to the topic of the destruction of European Jewry in Nazi-occupied Europe, but relatively little attention has been focused on Jewish Americans who participated in the Allied victory in WWII. For Jews, the war to defeat Hitler had deeply personal significance. The memories of six Jewish men in their 80's who remember grew up in Philadelphia and served their country in World War II provide a fascinating perspective. Combined with photographs from the men’s personal collections, the film includes rare archival footage, stills, and newsreels including Jewish soldiers celebrating Shabbat and Passover during wartime and the first Jewish service at Dachau after it was liberated. Milton Dank, a noted physicist and historian who flew glider planes in WWII, contributed hundreds of photographs he took on the front lines.

Appelfeld's Table USA Premiere
Israel, 2004, 47 minutes, beta
Hebrew with English subtitles
Director: Adi Japhet Fuchs
Producer: Catherine the Great Productions
Mayor's Prize for Best Jewish Documentary: Jerusalem Film Festival, 2004

Presented in association with The Consulate General of Israel New England

Imagination, memories and fiction are mixed together to portray the world and life of the Israeli writer Aharon Appelfeld. The film revolves around the acclaimed author's daily pilgrimages to the Anna Ticho House in Jerusalem, where he uses the cafe as a study and meeting place for friends and colleagues. This dramatic personal story is enriched by excerpts from Appelfeld's writings as he attempts to understand the creative process. "Appelfeld's Table beautifully transmits the humanity, optimism and joy of living with which Applefeld, both the writer and the ordinary person, managed to emerge from the horrors he endured as a youngster. At the same time, it is a film about the making of the Israeli collective and of the creative struggle that awaits those who refuse to automatically assimilate."--Jerusalem Post

12:30 pm Sunday August 14th
Columbus Cinematheque

Tijuana Jews East Coast Premiere
2005 USA 52 min
Directed by Isaac Artenstein
Produced by Jude Artenstein

Throughout the early twentieth century, thousands of European Jews sailed to Mexico escaping increasing persecution at home and searching for opportunity. A small group made its way north to the border town of Tijuana. Tijuana Jews is a documentary and personal exploration of a community that blended Jewish and Mexican cultures and customs in an unlikely place and time. Having grown up Jewish in Mexico, director Isaac Artenstein encountered reactions of surprise, even disbelief, from many people north of the border who had no idea there were Jews in Mexico, especially in Tijuana, a city with dark legends of free-flowing liquor, cheap narcotics, beautiful senoritas and black- velvet paintings. Tijuana Jews is an authentic and living testimony set against the conceptions and misconceptions of this mythic border city.

Jews of the Spanish Homeland (Los Judios de Patria Espana)
Spain 1929 13 minutes B&W Silent
Produced by Ernesto GimÈnez Caballero

This newly restored documentary visits Sephardic communities in Salonika, Constantinople, Yugoslavia, and Romania as well as former centers of Jewish life in Spain. Filmmaker Caballero addresses the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492, with the deft use drawings to depict Jewish dispersion to Europe, North Africa, and the Americas.

7:00 pm Sunday August 14th
Columbus Cinematheque

Rhode Island Premiere
USA, Israel, Pakistan, 92 minutes, video
Directed by Marjan Safinia

Presented in association with The Consulate General of Israel to New England

Imagine spending three weeks living with someone you consider to be your enemy. In Seeds, ten extraordinary teenagers undertake that challenge. Every summer, kids from Israel, Palestine, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and America meet at the Seeds of Peace International Camp in Maine. For three life-changing weeks, they learn to share their dreams and fears, listen to opposing views, see beyond prejudices, and eventually respect each other as individuals as they attempt to build the one thing they all strive for: a future. This is no “kumbaya” camp experience. Struggling through extreme highs and lows, these kids face one another with inspiring honesty and courage. In the end, among the things they learnis that “in order to make peace with your enemy, you have to go to war with yourself.”

The National Center for Jewish Film (NCJF) is a unique nonprofit motion picture archive, distributor and resource center housing the largest, most comprehensive collection of Jewish-theme films and vide in the world. The ongoing mission of NCJF is to gather, preserve, catalogue and exhibit films with artistic and educational value relevant to the Jewish experience, disseminating these materials to the widest possible audience. NCJF's first priority continues to be the preservation and restoration of rare and endangered nitrate and acetate films. The Center has long been recognized as a leader in the revival of Yiddish cinema, rescuing watershed films like The Dybbuk (1937) and Tevye (1939) from virtual oblivion. By producing and distributing pristine film and videocassette editions of such historic works with new English subtitles, NCJF effectively reintroduces modern audiences to a unique cultural and cinematic experience.