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!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • 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.