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!
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • 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.