Jewish Films Take On Sundance

By Nathan Burstein

Published December 09, 2009, issue of December 18, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The January 2010 Sundance Film Festival, the hypercompetitive showcase of indie cinema held annually in Utah, has announced a lineup that includes films inspired by Brooklyn Hasidism and the Holocaust.

“Holy Rollers,” a drama about a naive Brooklyn Hasid who becomes a mule in the international ecstasy trade, was chosen as one of 16 films — from 1,058 submissions — to compete in the U.S. Dramatic Competition. Based on a true story, the film stars Jesse Eisenberg (of “The Squid and the Whale” and “Adventureland” fame) as a conflicted drug carrier, and features such characters as a rabbi and an Ethiopian Israeli.

Screening in the festival’s foreign documentary competition will be “A Film Unfinished,” Israeli director Yael Hersonski’s look at life in the Warsaw Ghetto. The documentary, a co-production between Israeli and German film companies, uses archival footage captured by the Nazis as its explores the history of the ghetto and how that history has shaped wider understandings of World War II and the Holocaust.

The foreign documentary category comprises 12 films, chosen from more than 780 submissions. “A Film Unfinished” will compete against such documentaries as the French-Palestinian-Swiss co-production “Fix Me,” about a filmmaker in Ramallah, and “Kick in Iran,” a German-produced documentary about a female tae kwon do fighter attempting to become the first Iranian woman to compete in the Olympics.

Scheduled to run January 21–31, the Sundance Film Festival often provides an early indicator of commercial and critical success. The drama “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire,” which won three top Sundance prizes last January, is now considered a frontrunner for the March 2010 Academy Awards.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Yeshiva University's lawyer wanted to know why the dozens of former schoolboys now suing over a sexual abuse cover-up didn't sue decades ago. Read the judge's striking response here.
  • It’s over. The tyranny of the straight-haired, button nosed, tan-skinned girl has ended. Jewesses rejoice!
  • It's really, really, really hard to get kicked out of Hebrew school these days.
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.