Jewish Women in Global Perspective Films

Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman
Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman features filmmaker and master storyteller Jennifer Fox. Laying bare her own turbulent life to penetrate what it means to be a free woman today, she films her drama of work and relationships as it unfolds over four years. Our protagonist travels to over seventeen countries to understand how diverse women define their lives when there is no map. Employing an ingenious new camera technique, called "passing the camera", Fox creates a documentary language that mirrors the special way women communicate. Over intimate conversations around kitchen tables from South Africa to Russia, India and Pakistan, she initiates a groundbreaking dialogue among women, illuminating universal concerns across race, class, relationships, reproduction, autonomy, and nationality. (Source:
Directed by: Jennifer Fox
About the Director: Jennifer Fox is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning director, producer, camera woman and educator who has been involved in countless documentaries over the last 25 years. Her first film, Beirut: The Last Home Movie was broadcast in 20 countries and won seven international awards, including Best Documentary Film and Best Cinematography at the 1988 Sundance Film Festival and Best Documentary of the Year at 1988 Cinema Du Reel Festival. She directed the groundbreaking ten hour PBS television series An American Love Story, which received a Gracie Award for Best Television Series and was named ”One of the Top Ten Television Series of 1999” by The New York Times and five others major American papers. Her current work, the cutting edge six-part film, Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman was made through a unique Danish American co-production and was funded by the Danish Film Institute, TV-2 Denmark, BBC, ARTE, YLE-1, SBS, SVT, ICON & Humanist Channels Netherlands and HBO -- and was awarded a prestigious Creative Capital Grant. Fox is currently preparing to edit a new feature documentary, filmed over fifteen years, called Learning to Swim, co-produced with the Dutch Buddhist Television Network (BOS). Fox has Executive Produced many films including the award-winners:  Love & Diane; On the Ropes; Double Exposure; Project Ten: Real Stories from a Free South Africa; Cowboys, Lawers and Indians; and the soon to be released, Absolutely Safe?. She has consulted on numerous documentaries, including Southern Comfort and Stone Reader . Fox is one of the subjects of two documentaries on filmmaking, The Heck With Hollywood! by Doug Block, and Cinema Verite, Defining the Moment,by Peter Wintonick. (Source: Jennifer Fox will be at the screening to answer questions about her film.
Date of Screening: Saturday, October 11th: Part I- 6:15pm; Part II-8:45pm
Location: Indiana Memorial Union, Frangipani Room
Duration: 240 minutes (120 minutes shown in two separate, consecutive screenings with a small intermission)
Countries: Britain/Cambodia/France/Germany/India/Pakistan/Russia/South Africa/Switzerland/USA
Languages: Multi with English Subtitles
In Search of Bene Israel
In Search of Bene Israel is the story of filmmaker and author Sadia Shepard’s journey to reconnect with her maternal grandmother’s Bene Israel community of Western India. The film follows a group of 3500 Jews in and around Bombay which believes that it was shipwrecked in India two-thousand years ago and is currently in the process of a community-wide migration to Israel. (
Directed by: Sadia Shephard
Film Website:

About the Director: Sadia Shepard's documentaries have been shown at film festivals around the country including Sundance, IFP/West Los Angeles, Full Frame, San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, and on the Sundance Channel. She is the recipient of the Director's Choice Award at NextFrame; a Director's Citation and Director’s Choice Award from the Black Maria Film and Video Festival; the Festival Director Award from the Magnolia Independent Film Festival; and grants from the Jeremiah Kaplan Foundation and the Foundation for Jewish Culture. She recently produced The September Issue, a feature-length documentary about Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, directed by RJ Cutler. (Source:
Date of Screening: Sunday, October 12th: 10:15am
Location: Indiana University Memorial Union, Oak Room
Duration: 35 minutes
Country: India
Language: English
The Longing: The Forgotten Jews of South America
The Longing: The Forgotten Jews of South America, set in Ecuador, tells the story of a small group of South Americans longing to affirm their faith. Their ancestors— European Jews—were forced to convert to Catholicism during the Spanish Inquisition. Isolated in Catholic countries, rejected by local Jewish communities, they battle to become Jews regardless of the consequences. (Source: Bohm Productions)
Directed by: Gabriela Bohm
About the Director: Gabriela Bohm was born in Argentina, later moved to Israel and is now living in Los Angeles, California. After graduating from NYU she worked in various films of her own including Voiceless, The Wild Side and now Passages. Her mission as a documentary filmmaker is to evoke questions about the human spirit, by telling stories that raise awareness to personal and collective meanings of identity. (Source: Woodstock Film Festival)
Date of Screening: Sunday, October 12th: 1pm
Location: Indiana Memorial Union, Oak Room
Duration: 75 minutes
Country: Ecuador
Languages: Spanish and English with English Subtitles
Be Fruitful and Multiply
How does it feel to have been pregnant or breastfeeding for most of your married life? This is one among many questions posed frankly in Be Fruitful and Multiply, which exposes the consequences of the biblical commandment—the mother of all Mitzvot—upon ultra-orthodox Jewish women, for whom life is a continuing cycle of pregnancy, childbirth, nursing and nurturing. The film profiles four ultra-orthodox women, in the U.S. and Israel, including Miriam, the mother of 16 children in Brooklyn, New York; Emunah, mother of 14 in Jerusalem; Yaffa, mother of 5 in Kfar Chabad; and Yentl, mother of 4 in Meah Shearim. Be Fruitful and Multiply documents the women's daily routines of cooking, shopping, housework and child care, with the older children assigned chores to help their overburdened mothers. (Source: First Run/Icarus Films)
Directed by: Shosh Shlam
About the Director: Shosh Shlam is the directorof Be Fruitful and Multiply as well as the director of Last Journey Into Silence,an award-winning film about elderly Holocaust survivors in the Shaar Menashe Hospital. (Source: Museum of Jewish Heritage)
Date of Screening: Sunday, October 12th: 10:15am
Location: Indiana Memorial Union, Dogwood Room
Duration: 50 minutes
Country: Israel/USA
Languages: English and Hebrew with English Subtitles
Sentenced to Marriage
Nominated for a Silver Wolf at IDFA, this shocking documentary exposes the Kafkaesque process of divorce for women in Israel where secular law does not exist, and divorce is dealt with according to archaic and fundamentalist orthodox Jewish law. Filmmaker Anat Zuria, maker of the award-winning Purity, gained rare access to the rabbinical courts to follow two women caught in the demoralizing legal labyrinth. Though husbands can live with other women and even withhold child support, wives are forbidden contact with other men. In some cases, these very modern, independent and well-educated women are forced to buy a divorce from their husbands for huge sums. As a result, thousands of Jewish women have lived in limbo indefinitely, both in Israel and in other communities around the world. (Source: Women Make Movies)
Directed by: Anat Zuria
About the Director: Anat Zuria graduated from the Ramat Hasharon Arts College and the Ma’ale School of Communications, Israel. She has worked as a writer for various magazines dealing with arts and Judaism, in addition to being an artist herself. Her works of art have been shown in distinguished galleries in Israel and abroad. She directed the award winning films Klachi in the Holyland (1999), Purity (2002), and Sentenced to Marriage (2004). (Source: Women Make Movies)
Date of Screening: Sunday, October 12th: 12:30pm
Location: Indiana Memorial Union, Dogwood Room
Duration: 65 minutes
Country: Israel/USA
Languages: Hebrew with English Subtitles
A Good Uplift
A Good Uplift features Magda, a Jewish grandmother and owner of a lingerie shop on New York’s Lower East Side. With effortless grace, humor, and tact, Magda supports her customers’ bustlines and self-esteem in this uplifting short. (Source: Squeeze the Stone Productions)
Directed by: Faye Lederman

Film Website:

About the Director: Producer/Director Faye Lederman holds MJ/MA degrees in documentary film and Judaic Studies from UC Berkeley and NYU. Her independent films include Women of the Wall, about the Jerusalem women’s prayer group, The New Old Country, about memory, nostalgia and history on Manhattan’s lower east side, and A Good Uplift, about a bra store in the same neighborhood. Faye has traveled extensively to self-distribute Women of the Wall and facilitate workshops for young women and girls using A Good Uplift. Her work has screened on PBS and in festivals, universities, museums, conferences and community/political organizations in the U.S., Europe and Africa. She served on the steering committee of New Day Films, a cooperative of independent social issue media makers and is a member of the Jews, Religion and Media working group at NYU. She has taught at the School of Visual Arts and the Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning. Her work has received support from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, the NY State Council on the Arts, the NY Foundation for the Arts and the Funding Exchange. She and her partner Jeremy Nacht are completing a project about organic farmers using still photography and audio recordings. Faye will be at the screening to answer questions about the film at the festival and to give a presentation.
Date of Screening: Sunday, October 12th: 3:30pm
Location: Indiana Memorial Union, Frangipani Room
Duration: 13 minutes
Country: USA
Languages: English
Hineini (Hebrew for 'Here I am') chronicles the story of Shulamit Izen, a student's who courageously fights to establish a gay-straight alliance at a Jewish high school in the Boston area. Longing to connect more deeply with her Jewish identity, Shulamit enters 9th grade at The New Jewish High School (now Gann Academy) in Waltham, Massachusetts. She also starts school as an out lesbian. Using interviews with Shulamit, her family, teachers, and other students - both those who support her campaign and those who oppose it - the film allows the members of this community to tell their own stories. What emerges is a potent and inspiring story of Jewish pluralism and a community navigating the cross-currents of Jewish tradition and social change. (Source:
Director: Irena Fayngold
About the Director: Irena Fayngold wrote, directed, and co-produced Hineini: Coming Out in a Jewish High School. She studied painting, Philosophy and video art at the Cooper Union School of Art in NY, Tufts University, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Her previous independent production, a personal short film called Getting to Home Base: The All-American Pastime, premiered at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts and has played at a number of festivals around the country. She has worked in documentary production for over ten years in a variety of roles. At WGBH, Boston's public television station, Fayngold produced short videos and web activities about math and science for the Educational Productions department. Her editing credits include the WGBH children's program ZOOM, Home and Garden Television, CBS, as well as corporate clients Ab Initio, Bose, and EMC. Fayngold is a past board member of Women in Film and Video, New England (WIFVNE) and co-founded the WIFVNE mentoring project, Media Mentors. Irena was born in the former Soviet Union and came to the United States with her family in 1979. (Source:
Date of Screening: Sunday, October 12th: 4:15pm
Location: Indiana Memorial Union, Frangipani Room
Duration: 60 minutes
Country: USA
Languages: English and Hebrew with English Subtitles
Making Trouble
Making Trouble tells the story of six of the greatest female comic performers of the last century — Molly Picon, Fanny Brice, Sophie Tucker, Joan Rivers, Gilda Radner, and Wendy Wasserstein. Where did they come from? What types of struggles did they face as women? As Jews? As immigrants? Hosted by four of today’s funniest women — Judy Gold, Jackie Hoffman, Cory Kahaney, and Jessica Kirson — this film explores what it means to be Jewish, female and funny. (Source: Jewish Women’s Archive)
Directed by: Rachel Talbot
Film Website:
About the Director:Rachel has worked in television since 1989 and has produced five documentaries. She produced and created, with Ken Bowser, Hollywood, CD (Bravo, 2000) about the relationship between Hollywood and politics which aired on Bravo the night before the 2000 presidential election. Easy Riders, Raging Bulls (BBC/Trio 2003) premired opening night at Slamdance and screened at the Cannes Film Festival. Rachel was the supervising producer on NBC's The First Five Years of Saturday Night Live (2005), which was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Non-Fiction Programming and Saturday Night Live in the 1980s (NBC, 2005). Making Trouble marks her directing debut. (Source: Jewish Women's Archive)
Date of Screening: Sunday, October 12th: 5:45pm
Location: Indiana Memorial Union, Frangipani Room
Duration: 85 minutes
Country: USA
Languages: English
Watermarks is the story of the champion women swimmers of the legendary Jewish sports club, Hakoah Vienna. Hakoah (“The Strength" in Hebrew) was founded in 1909 in response to the notorious Aryan Paragraph, which forbade Austrian sports clubs from accepting Jewish athletes. In the 1930s Hakoah's best-known triumphs came from its women swimmers, who dominated national competitions in Austria. After the Anschluss, the political unification of Nazi Germany and Austria in 1938, the Nazis shut down the club, but the swimmers managed to flee the country before the war broke out, thanks to an escape operation organized by Hakoah’s functionaries. Sixty-five years later, director Yaron Zilberman meets the members of the women’s swim team in their homes around the world, and arranges for them to have a reunion in their old swimming pool in Vienna, a journey that evokes memories of youth, war, and femininity, all the while strengthening lifelong bonds and a passion to “always be their best." (Source: Kino International)
Directed by: Yaron Zilberman
About the Director: A graduate of MIT (1994), with a BS in Physics and a MS in Operations Research and Finance, Yaron brings to filmmaking a diverse background which ranges from science studies and international finance to Internet technology. In the last five years, Mr. Zilberman has dedicated himself to art through filmmaking. After working on an yet unfinished feature-film documentary focusing on the world’s greatest soccer stars, Yaron has devoted the last three years to researching, writing, directing and producing Watermarks. (Source:
Date of Screening: Monday, October 13th: 9:15am
Location: Indiana Memorial Union, Frangipani Room
Duration: 80 minutes
Country: Austria/Britain/Israel/USA
Languages: English, German, and Hebrew with English Subtitles
Praying with Lior
Praying With Lior introduces Lior Liebling, also called "the little rebbe." Lior has Down syndrome, having spent his entire life praying with utter abandon. Is he a "spiritual genius" as many around him say? Is he a vessel that contains everyone's unfulfilled wishes and expectations? Lior - whose name means "my light" in Hebrew- lost his mother at age six, and her words and spirit hover over this incredible film. While everyone agrees Lior is closer to God, he is also a burden, a best friend, an inspiration---even an embarrassment, depending on which family member is speaking. As Lior approaches his Bar Mitzvah, the Jewish coming-of-age ceremony, different characters provides a window into a life spent "praying with Lior." The movie poses difficult questions such as what is "disability" and who really talks to God? Told with intimacy and humor, Praying With Lior is a story about family, life, loss, and the divine. (Source:
Directed by: Illana Trachtman
About the Director: Ilana Trachtman is an award-winning documentary and children's television producer. She has produced and directed programs in both English and Spanish for PBS, HBO Family, ABC-TV, Showtime, Lifetime, Discovery, Trio, A&E, Thirteen/ WNET, The Biography Channel, and Sesame Workshop. Ilana is especially interested in character-driven cinema verite. She recently directed two episodes of Texas Ranch House, the PBS reality/documentary series set in 1867. Other favorite projects include the film Our Heroes, Ourselves (Lifetime), a documentary special hosted by Marlo Thomas, which profiles four grassroots women heroes with the goal of empowering viewers to become heroes in their own lives. The program won a Cine Golden Eagle, a Telly Award, and the Woody Harrelson Environmental Award. For Biography, Ilana produced, directed, and wrote specials on Sylvia Plath and Bram Stoker, and for the Trio Network, she directed the series 24 w/, a highly stylized “day in the life” program capturing some of pop culture's most interesting icons (including Vera Wang, Damon Dash, and Tina Brown). Ilana also has an extensive background in producing and directing programs for children. She recently produced the Spanish version of Sesame Street’s Talk, Listen, Connect: Helping Military Families Cope with Deployment. For HBO Family, she conceived and co-produced My Favorite Book, a 60-episode children's series in which 5 - 7 year olds tell their own versions of classic picture books. The series includes interviews with over 500 children. Other credits include What's Going On: Child Poverty in America for Showtime, profiling hunger and homelessness in the lives of Appalachian and urban children. For ABC-TV, she produced and directed two editions of ABC Children First, a magazine-style documentary series for parents. Her program, The Arts Advantage, about daring arts education programs around the country, received a Telly Award and an award from Media Rights, the on-line companion to the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. During two years on the staff of Thirteen/ WNET's City Arts (now called Egg: The Arts Show on PBS), Ilana received three New York Emmys and many nominations. She produced the special Working Actors, co-produced the special Tales from the Book Trade, and developed stories for over 100 documentary segments about the contemporary art world. Ilana recently completed serving a s the supervising producer on the Sundance Channel's series Big Ideas for a Small Planet, a magazine-style documentary series about environmental innovators. Praying With Lior is her first independent film. (Source:
Date of Screening: Monday, October 13th: 11:15am
Location: Indiana Memorial Union, Frangipani Room
Duration: 87 minutes
Country: USA
Languages: English and some Hebrew with English Subtitles


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