Russian Film Symposium Looks At Sequels And Repeats


The University of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Filmmakers will present the 18th annual Russian Film Symposium from May 2nd through May 7th. Titled Recycle, Restage, Rewind, the event will interrogate the curiously frequent production of sequels and remakes recently in the Russian film industry. The symposium will also bring well-recognized scholars and critics working in Russian film.

May 2nd

10 a.m.

The Postman’s White Nights (2014)


Directed by Andrei Konchalovskii, and featuring a cast of non-professional actors, this drama produces an elegiac portrait of an isolated Far Northern village where the postman is the only connection to the outside world.

2-ASSA-2 (2009)

2 p.m.


In director Sergei Solovjev‘s sequel to ASSA, the heroine of the original cult film completes her 22-year prison sentence for killing her lover. Once out, she experiences some peculiar twists of fate.

May 3rd

10 a.m.

The Forty First (1956)


Based on the eponymous novel by Boris Lavrenyev, director Grigorii Chukhrai‘s groundbreaking Soviet exploration of sentiment and sexuality tells the story of a tragic romance between a female Red Army sniper and a White Army officer.

2 p.m.

Dukhless 2 (2015)


Playboy Max Andreyev tries to turn over a new leaf, living on an island in South-East Asia. But certain circumstances force him to go back home, where he faces a difficult choice.

May 4th

10 a.m.

Elki 2 (2011)


The continuation of a highly popular Russian franchise about people coming together for the holidays follows a little a little girl writing a letter to Santa, a group of teenagers, a evil official and a wealthy businessman.

7:30 p.m.

Forbidden Empire (Viy) (2014)


An 18th century English cartographer, Jonathan Green, sets out on a journey to map the uncharted lands of Transylvania, only to discover the dark secrets and dangerous creatures hidden in a cursed, fantastical Ukrainian forest.

May 5th

10 a.m.

Vocal Parallels (2005)


A film “tapestry” finely woven from the preserved threads of the Soviet empire. Directed by Rustam Khamdamov.

7:30 p.m.

Angels of Revolution (2014)


Legendary Communist fighter, the beautiful Polina-Revoluzia, is asked by the newborn Soviet government to bring order to the north of the Soviet Union. The shamans of the two native populations, Khanty and Nenets, refuse the new ideology. Polina convinces five of her friends to go with her, former colleagues-in-arms who have now become metropolitan artists: a composer, a sculptor, a theatre director, a Constructivist architect, a famous director. They will have to try and reconcile the culture of the Russian Avant-garde with the Ancient Paganism of the peoples who live in the virgin forest around the great Siberian river Ob. Based on a true story.

May 6th

10 a.m.

Kiss Them All! 2: We Will Live (2014)


A comic battle for control over the usually somber funeral ritual. Directed by Zhora Kryzhovnikov.

2 p.m.

The Irony of Fate 2 (2016)


The classic 1976 romantic comedy continues when a batch of new characters, all children of the original film’s heroes, finds their fates becoming intertwined.

7:30 p.m.

The Dawns Are Quiet Here (2015)


A remake of a World War II film about a group of young female anti-aircraft gunners. Directed by Renat Davletiarov.

May 7th

7:30 p.m.

The Land of Oz (2015)


Set in the industrial, frozen Urals, this modern interpretation of the classic Oz story is full of incredible events, unexpected meetings, spontaneous confrontations and fairy-tale solutions of emotional conflicts.

Daytime panels and screenings are free and will take place on Pitt’s campus at 1500 Wesley W. Posvar Hall. Evening screenings will take place at Melwood Screening Room and are $8 regular admission, $7 for seniors and students, $4 for Pitt and Art Institute students.

Best Limited Releases Coming To Pittsburgh: May 2016 Edition

The Family Fang – Hollywood Theater


Adult siblings Baxter (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Nicole Kidman), scarred from an unconventional upbringing, return to their family home after an unlikely accident. When their parents (Christopher Walken and Maryann Plunkett) — performance artists famous for elaborate public hoaxes — suddenly go missing under troubling circumstances, Baxter and Annie investigate. Unsure whether it’s foul play or just another elaborate ruse, nothing can prepare them for what they discover. The Family Fang opens on May 6th at the Hollywood Theater.

Elstree 1976 – Harris Theater


When George Lucas began work on a mysterious project named Star Wars in North London back in 1976, no one could have predicted how it would go on to shape cinema as we know it, least of all the legions of on-screen extras. In this affectionate, crowdfunded documentary, we meet ten of those bit performers who appeared, however fleetingly, in Lucas’ box office behemoth. The film paints an intimate portrait of these performers, examining how their brushes with Lucas shaped the paths of their lives. With a cast ranging from Darth Vader himself, David Prowse, to a performer whose character was cut entirely from the finished film, this is not so much a film about Star Wars as the story of a group of people united by one life-changing experience. Elstree 1976 opens on May 13th at the Harris Theater.

Tale of Tales – Harris Theater


In one yarn, the Queen of Longtrellis (Salma Hayek) desperately yearns for a child, which she and her husband the King (John C. Reilly) are willing to go to dark extremes to conceive and protect. Meanwhile, the King of Highhills (Toby Jones) is so obsessed with raising a giant flea that he barely notices his own daughter (Bebe Cave), whom he mistakenly marries off to a brutish monster. And in Strongcliff, two impoverished old sisters mistakenly attract the attention of the womanizing king (Vincent Casell) who is drawn to their song but has not yet seen their faces. Tale of Tales opens on May 20th at the Harris Theater.

Franocofonia – Regent Square Theater


Set against the backdrop of the Louvre Museum’s history and artworks, master director Alexander Sokurov (Russian Ark) applies his uniquely personal vision onto staged re-enactments and archives for this fascinating portrait of real-life characters Jacques Jaujard and Count Franziskus Wolff-Metternich and their compulsory collaboration at the Louvre Museum under the Nazi Occupation. These two remarkable men – enemies then collaborators – share an alliance which would become the driving force behind the preservation of museum treasures. Franocofonia opens on May 27th at the Regent Square Theater.

Riverside Drive-In Bites Into April Ghouls Monster-Rama


Horror fans will have a reason to venture outside when Riverside Drive-In presents the latest April Ghouls Monster-Rama. On April 29th and April 30th, the theater will present a lineup of movies featuring various representations of zombies and vampires. See schedule and details below:

April 29th

Night of the Living Dead (1990)


Makeup effects artist and actor Tom Savini directed this remake of the 1968 film, which re-imagines the clash between a farmhouse full of survivors and an encroaching undead horde.

Night of the Creeps (1986)


Undead teens infected with alien brain parasites crash a frat party. Features Pittsburgh’s own Tom Atkins.

Night of the Comet (1984)


Two sisters must battle zombies in post-apocalyptic California after a freak comet wipes out most of the human race.

Flesh Eater (1988)


A group of college students encounter zombies during an overnight hayride. The movie is directed by and stars S. William Hinzman, the first ghoul in NOLTD.

April 30th

Monster Squad (1987)


A group of young horror nerds are put to the test when Count Dracula and his monster henchmen invade their town in this fun, hilarious cult hit.

The Lost Boys (1987)


Two brothers (Jason Patric and Corey Haim) move to a new town, only to discover it’s crawling with sexy teen vampires.

Fright Night (1985)


A teen boy and a midnight movie host (Roddy McDowall) team up to defeat a vengeful vampire in this beloved horror comedy.

Near Dark (1987)


A vampire family kidnaps a young cowboy after he’s turned by one of their own. The atmospheric film from director Kathryn Bigelow features stunning action sequences, an impressive ensemble cast, and a stylish soundtrack by Tangerine Dream.

Gates open at 7 p.m. with films starting at dusk. Each evening will also include an array of vintage monster and exploitation movie trailers, cartoons, and short subjects in between features. Admission is $10 per person each night, free for children 12 and under with parent or adult guardian. Overnight camping is available on both nights for an additional $10 per person. Breakfast and access to restroom and shower facilities are provided.

Weekly Movie Roundup: April 18th – April 24th

April 18th

Durant’s Never Closes – Oaks Theater


The Oaks Theater will present the Pittsburgh premiere of Durant’s Never Closes. Based on the works of Mabel Leo and Terry Earp, the film stars Tom Sizemore as Jack Durant was a restaurateur, ladies man, and mysterious gentleman who maintained many connections to the mafia. From the backwoods of Tennessee to the world of Vegas at the time of Bugsy and finally as the owner of his famous steakhouse, Durant is a legend and dynamic character, at once charming, powerful and dangerous. This film tells his story during one day at his restaurant. The screening will begin at 7:30 p.m. A Q&A with director Travis Mills will follow. Tickets cost $10.

April 21st

Visual Rhythms: An Evening with Victor Grauer – Carnegie Museum of Art


The Carnegie Museum of Art will present Visual Rhythms: An Evening with Victor Grauer as part of their Double Exposures Series. The evening will look at various work from Grauer, a Pittsburgh-based filmmaker, composer, and musicologist. Grauer will appear to introduce two of his early works, Voices and Archangel, as well as Book of the Year 3000, a film version of his concrete poem and soundpiece. Visual Rhythms will take place at 6:30 p.m. After the screening, Grauer will discuss his process and work with local writer and filmmaker Brett Kashmere. The event is free. 

April 22nd

The Last Dragon – Hollywood Theater


The Hollywood Theater will welcome martial arts star Taimak for two screenings of Berry Gordy‘s The Last Dragon. The 1985 film features Taimak as young fighter who must take on an evil martial arts expert and rescue a beautiful singer (the late Vanity) from an obsessed music promoter. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. Shows begin at 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Taimak will introduce the film, and sign copies of his new book Taimak: The Last Dragon. A Q&A will follow each screening. Tickets are available for purchase at Showclix.

Monster Madness – Row House Cinema


It’s a Battle in the Burgh when Monster Madness week runs at Row House Cinema. Guest programmer Alternate Histories will present King Kong, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Tremors, and Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack on the big screen. Showtimes continue through April 28th. Also included is a live riffing of Attack of the 50 Foot Woman with improv comedy team The Ink & Paint Club on April 23rd at 9:15 p.m. On April 27th at 7 p.m., meet Alternate Histories mastermind Matthew Buchholz for a sale and signing of his book Alternate Histories of the World, as well as a chance to win an exclusive print.

They Will Have to Kill Us First – Harris Theater


Harris Theater will present the film They Will Have to Kill Us First. The feature-length documentary from director Johanna Schwartz follows musicians in Mali in the wake of a jihadist takeover and subsequent banning of music. Music, one of the most important forms of communication in Mali, disappeared overnight in 2012 when Islamic extremists groups rose up to capture an area the size of the UK and France combined. But rather than lay down their instruments, Mali’s musicians fought back. Showtimes for They Will Have to Kill Us First will continue through April 28th.

April 23rd

JCCP Presents Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical – Hollywood Theater


The Junior Chamber of Commerce Players (JCCP) returns to the Hollywood Theater to act out scenes from Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical. Based on the 1936 propaganda film turned cult hit, the campy 2005 cautionary tale features a straight-laced high school principal (Alan Cumming) who warns of the demon weed by telling a frightful tale about Mary Lane and Jimmy Harper (Kristen Bell and Christian Campbell), two innocent teens who fall under the drug’s spell. The comedy musical also includes performances by Neve Campbell, Steven Weber, and Ana Gasteyer. The show begins at 10 p.m. Tickets cost between $5 and $8 and are available for purchase at Showclix or at the door.

April 24th

Chimes at Midnight – Regent Square Theater


As part of their Restored Classics series, the Regent Square Theater will present Chimes at Midnight. Directed by and starring Orson Welles, the 1966 Shakespearean adaptation focuses on Sir John Falstaff, the charming, drunken companion of young Henry V. The screening will begin at 8 p.m. 

Row House Cinema Presents Clips Beer And Film Tour


Seven years ago, Colorado-based New Belgium Brewing company launched the Clips Beer and Film Tour, an annual event featuring a selection of short films and small-batch beers. On April 22nd, the tour will stop at Row House Cinema to help raise money for a local nonprofit.

In celebration of the brewery’s 25th anniversary, Row House will present 20 films about a panda with an attitude about craft beer, a mano-a-mano mountain bike brawl, a whimsical human-powered surf rig and more. Next door in Atlas Bottle Works, guests can enjoy specials on New Belgium drafts in the Bierport Tap Room.

The Clips Beer and Film Tour will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the Bierport tasting followed by films at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10 and are available for purchase at the Row House website. A portion of ticket sales and all beer sale proceeds will go toward Bike Pittsburgh.


CMOA Welcomes Tilda Swinton For ‘Seasons In Quincy’


On April 19th, actress Tilda Swinton will stop by the Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) to introduce a sneak preview of The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger, a documentary about the prominent art critic, novelist, painter and poet. The event marks the beginning of a new collaboration between the University of Pittsburgh’s film program and CMOA.

Presented in four vignettes, the film presents a portrait of Berger who, in 1973, abandoned the metropolis to live in the tiny Alpine village of Quincy. He realized that subsistence peasant farming, which had sustained humanity for millennia, was drawing to an historical close. He determined to spend the rest of his life bearing witness to this vanishing existence, not least by participating in it. Berger’s trilogy Into their Labours chronicles the peasant life of this Alpine village and its surrounding countryside.

The film is the result of an eight-year project by Swinton and University of Pittsburgh Professor of English and Film, Colin MacCabe. Swinton served as executive producer and directed the Harvest segment. MacCabe produced the film with the Derek Jarman Lab in London, directed the first segment Ways of Listening, and co-directed A Song for Politics with Bartek Dziadosz.


The Seasons of Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger sneak preview will take place at 8:30 p.m. in the CMOA Theater. Swinton and MacCabe will both make an appearance at the screening. Ticket cost $35, $30 for members, $25 for students with valid ID, and are available for purchase on the CMOA website.

Filmmaker Joseph Varhola Serves Up ‘A Fancy Piece Of Homicide’


Pittsburgh will get the noir treatment with a new feature film. Writer/director Joseph Varhola, a Pittsburgh Filmmakers alum whose past works include the Three Rivers Film Festival selection Dogplayers and the short sci-fi satire The Underwood Company, recently kicked off a crowdfunding campaign to help finish his latest project, A Fancy Piece of Homicide.

Starring Pittsburgh-based stage and screen actor Bingo O’Malley (Out of the Furnace, Creepshow), the “psychological murder mystery” follows a retired private eye who once served an extended prison sentence for killing a man he was hired to investigate. He now approaches the completion of his memoir to set the record straight. One night, envelopes containing photographs with connections to the past anonymously begin to show up at his front door, along with a mysterious man (indie film actor Mark Tierno) who is receiving photographs of his own.


A Fancy Piece of Homicide screened at Pittsburgh Filmmakers last March, and is slated to make its world premiere later this year. Before that can happen, Varhola and his crew require funds to cover post-production and distribution costs, including music licensing and festival submission fees. Donations will be accepted at the film’s Kickstarter campaign through April 15th.

Weekly Movie Roundup: April 4th – April 11th

April 5th

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me – Hollywood Theater


Hollywood Theater will screen the 1992 film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. The cinematic follow-up to director David Lynch‘s cult TV series delves into the sordid events leading up to Lara Palmer’s murder. Showtimes will continue through April 7th. Tickets cost between $5 and $8 and are available for purchase at Showclix.

April 6th 

Field of Dreams – AMC Loews Waterfront


AMC Loews Waterfront will present a Classic Movie Night screening of Field of Dreams. Starring Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones, the 1989 film focuses on a farmer who hears strange voices telling him to build a baseball diamond in his cornfield. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the AMC website.

April 8th

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou – Frick Art & Historical Center


In honor of their current photography exhibit Fast Cars and Femmes Fatales: The Photographs of Jacques Henri Lartigue, the Frick Art & Historical Center will screen the 2004 film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Directed by Wes Anderson – whose style is influenced by Latrigue’s images of early-1900s life and leisure – the dark comedy stars Bill Murray as a disenchanted marine biologist intent on capturing footage of a rare shark. The free screening will take place at 12 p.m. 

Poverty, Inc. – Point Park University


Point Park University will present a free screening of the documentary Poverty, Inc. The West has positioned itself as the protagonist of development, giving rise to a vast multi-billion dollar poverty industry — the business of doing good has never been better. Yet the results have been mixed, in some cases even catastrophic, and leaders in the developing world are growing increasingly vocal in calling for change. Drawing from over 200 interviews filmed in 20 countries, Poverty, Inc. unearths an uncomfortable side of charity we can no longer ignore. From TOMs Shoes to international adoptions, from solar panels to U.S. agricultural subsidies, the film challenges each of us to ask the tough question: Could I be part of the problem? The screening will take place at 7 p.m. Guests can register at Eventbrite.

Rex Manning Day – Oaks Theater


The Oaks Theater heads back to the 90s with their first ever Rex Manning Day. The event celebrates the fictional singer from Empire Records, the 1995 cult classic about a group of young record store employees. The evening will include a quote-along screening of the film, along with a record sale in the lobby, trivia and prizes, drink specials, and more. Rex Manning Day begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost between $10 and $12 and are available for purchase at the Oaks website.

Richard Linklater Week – Row House Cinema


Row House Cinema will celebrate director Richard Linklater with a week showcasing his eclectic work. Selections include the 1995 romance Before Sunrise, the hit 2003 comedy School of Rock, the trippy 2006 sci-fi film A Scanner Darkly, and the expansive 2014 coming-of-age drama Boyhood. Visit the Row House website for showtimes and details.

River of Grass – Regent Square Theater


Regent Square Theater will screen the rarely seen 1994 film River of Grass. The directorial debut from Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy, Meek’s Cutoff) focuses on a disaffected Florida housewife who goes on the run with her lover after an accidental shooting. The film was recently restored and screened at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. Showtimes will continue through April 14th.

April 9th

2016 Washington PA Film Festival – Washington & Jefferson College


Washington & Jefferson College will host the fifth annual Washington PA Film Festival. Presented by the Highland Ridge Community Development Corporation, the event showcases numerous short- and feature-length films from Pittsburgh-based and international filmmakers. The festival will take place from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Dieter-Porter Hall.

2016 JFilm Festival Schedule And Details


The 2016 JFilm Festival will present the Pittsburgh premieres of 21 films representing Jewish culture around the world. The festivities begin on April 7th with an opening night event dedicated to the documentary Norman Lear: Just Another Version Of You. The festival will close on April 17th with a screening of Natalie Portman‘s directorial debut A Tale of Love and Darkness. The festival will also include film-related talks, food presentations, and special guest appearances. See the JFilm schedule and details below:

April 7th

Norman Lear: Just Another Version Of You


From Archie Bunker to George Jefferson, Norman Lear created television’s most iconic characters of the 1970s; yet none are more memorable than Lear himself. Now in his 90s, Lear candidly reflects on his life growing up as a poor Jewish kid, his career creating provocative sitcom hits, and his later years as an activist for social equality –using laughter every step of the way. Featuring interviews with George Clooney, Amy Poehler, Rob Reiner, and others, this film tells the entertaining, nostalgic, and insightful story of one of America’s most influential figures.

The opening night screening of Norman Lear: Just Another Version Of You will take place at 7 p.m. in the Manor Theatre. Doors open 6:30 p.m. A reception at the JCC-Katz Theater will follow.

April 8th



The latest film from director Atom Egoyan tells the story of Zev Guttman (Academy Award winner Christopher Plummer), a 90-year-old struggling with memory loss, who receives a mysterious package from his close friend Max (Academy Award winner Martin Landau), containing a stack of money and a letter detailing a shocking plan. Both Zev and Max were prisoners in Auschwitz, and the same sadistic guard was responsible for the death of both their families—a guard who, after the war, escaped Germany and has since been living in the U.S. under an assumed identity. Max is wheelchair-bound but in full command of his mental faculties; with his guidance, Zev will embark on a cross-continental road-trip to finally bring justice to the man who destroyed both their lives. Remember will screen at 5:30 p.m. in the Manor Theatre.

April 9th

Frank vs. God


God has been tough on David Frank (Henry Ian Cusick). Devastated by the recent loss of his wife and a tornado that ruins his house and takes his beloved dog, Frank is fed up with these “acts of God,” and—as any good lawyer would do—serves God his papers. This delightful film brings levity to the heaviest questions of faith and spirituality as Frank calls on representatives of the world’s religions to help defend God’s actions. Frank vs. God will screen at 4:45 p.m. at the Manor Theatre.

Fire Birds

Fire Birds _jfilm

A down-on-his-luck detective reluctantly accepts a case that revolves around the mysterious murder of an 80-year-old man found with multiple stab wounds in a river. Moving between past and present, Fire Birds envelopes us in the man’s world of loneliness, desire and rejection. Starring the legendary Gila Almagor with a turn by Miriam Zohar as an aging cabaret singer who still has her pipes, Fire Birds mixes intrigue with humor, romance and melancholy. Fire Birds will screen at 7 p.m. at the Manor Theatre.



How did the Louvre survive the Nazi occupation of Paris during World War II while the rest of Europe was destroyed? In this docudrama, famed Russian director and auteur Alexander Sokurov explores the noted museum’s precarious journey through that time by examining the relationship between the Louvre’s head, Jacques Jaujard, and German officer Count Franziskus Wolff Metternich, tasked with overseeing one of the world’s best-known collections of art treasures for the Nazi conquerors. Sokurov cuts between present and past in this “art” film, which is a love story to not only the Louvre itself, but to art and its impact on civilization. In French, German and Russian with subtitles. Francofonia will screen at 9:20 p.m. at the Manor Theatre.

The screening is supported in part by the Russian Film Symposium and The Center for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.

April 10th

Peter the 3rd


Growing old is not easy, but when a group of lifelong friends meet each day in a coffee shop to solve the world’s problems and laugh at each other’s foibles, they find the support they need to get by. In pursuit of a better pension, one of the friends, Peter, decides to run for the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) with the help of the feisty—and much younger—waitress, Alona. Gathering signatures for his newly formed Widows and Widowers Party, Peter and Alona develop an unlikely friendship that reveals that loneliness and unrealized dreams can hinder us all—at any age. In Hebrew with subtitles. Peter the 3rd will screen at 2 p.m. in the Manor Theatre.

The Three Hikers


An innocent hike through Northern Iraqi territory turns into a 2+ year international incident when three American civilians mistakenly cross into Iran. This documentary chronicles the fate of those three—Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, son of an Israeli citizen—as they are first captured and then imprisoned for what seems like an indeterminate amount of time. Falsely charged with spying, the three hikers endure inhumane conditions, trumped up charges and the American government’s apparent disinterest in their circumstances. Working almost exclusively from interviews with the three captives, director Natalie Avital tells the story of their imprisonment, the impact on their families back home and the ramifications of the Iranian action on American-Iranian relations. The Three Hikers will screen at 3:45 p.m. in the Manor Theatre.

A conversation with hiker Joshua Fattal will follow. The film is shown in collaboration with the World Affairs Council.

A Grain of Truth


Polish Academy Award-winning actor Robert Więckiewicz plays Teodor Szacki, a maverick prosecutor who digs deep into Poland’s anti-Semitic past in this stylish detective thriller. Set in southeast Poland, the newly arrived Szacki is met with suspicion by the close-knit community when he is enlisted to solve a string of murders gripping the small town. As the killer remains on the run, tempers flare and rumors run rampant among some of the locals who believe that these are ritual killings by Jews. In Polish with subtitles. A Grain of Truth will screen at 7 p.m. in the Manor Theatre.

Guests are welcome to join Film Schmooze after the screening. The film is shown in collaboration with Three Rivers Film Festival.

April 11th

To Life


Thrown together at Auschwitz, three friends reconnect 15 years after their release at a sunny resort in the north of France. Overcome with both good and bad memories, the women open up about their lives as their noble attempt at forging ahead ebbs and flows like the nearby seaside. Based on his own mother’s story, director Jean-Jacques Zilbermann lovingly portrays the women, as well as the men in their lives, as flawed but real people. In French with subtitles. To Life will screen at 5 p.m. in the Manor Theatre.

Guests are welcome to join Film Schmooze after the screening.

Baba Joon


Baba Joon is a story about fathers and sons set in a Persian-immigrant farming community in the Negev during the early 1980s. Yitzhak (Navid Negahban) runs the turkey farm that his father built after emigrating from Iran to Israel. Now it is time to teach his son, Moti, the family business, but the 13-year-old is not interested and would rather build and fix things. The struggle escalates when Yitzhak’s absent brother visits from America, giving Moti the courage to stand up for himself. In Farsi and Hebrew with subtitles. Baba Joon will screen at 7 p.m. in Carmike 10 – South Hills Village.

This screening is supported in part by the South Hills Community Engagement

Touchdown Israel


Since the 1990s, the Israel Football League has been adding teams and players while battling more popular sports like soccer and basketball for attention. With a recent infusion of funds from the Kraft Family (owners of the New England Patriots), the League has grown steadily. Touchdown Israel appeals to everyone who loves Israel (if not football) and shows how the gridiron sport is bringing diverse communities together in the Holy Land. In English and Hebrew with subtitles. Touchdown Israel will screen at 7:15 p.m. in the Manor Theatre.

A conversation with former Pittsburgh Steeler Chris Hoke.will follow. The screening is supported in part by the Zionist Organization of America-Pittsburgh District.

April 12th

Raise the Roof


With only a few black and white photographs to guide them, an international team of artists embark on the ambitious endeavor to reconstruct one of the world’s greatest wooden synagogues, built in Gwozdziec, Poland during the 18th century. Its distinct architecture inspired over 200 synagogues that dotted the Polish countryside for more than two centuries, until Nazis burned them to the ground during World War II. Teaching artists Rick and Laura Brown discover the history of these architectural marvels and set out to rebuild the landmark Gwozdziec synagogue using only hand tools, artisanal techniques, and the skills and labor of over 300 volunteers. After ten years this improbable dream is realized, and Poland is once again home to this great synagogue of the past. In English and Polish with subtitles. Raise the Roof will screen at 5:30 p.m. in the Manor Theatre.

Guests are welcome to join Film Schmooze after the screening. The screening is shown in In collaboration with the Polish Cultural Council of Pittsburgh.

The Kind Words


In the wake of their mother’s death, three Israeli siblings have reason to doubt the identity of their father, leading them to embark on a journey in search of a mysterious Muslim man from their mother’s past. The discovery of their mother’s deep secrets affects each one in different ways, but it is the sister, Donora, who seems to bear the most pain as she yearns to be a mother herself with husband Ricky (played by Tsahi Halevi of the 2015 film Bethlehem). The latest box-office hit from Israeli writer director Shemi Zarhin uses wry humor and relatable characters to reflect on parenthood, love and identity in our modern world. In French and Hebrew with subtitles. The Kind Words will screen at 7:30 p.m. in the Manor Theatre.

April 13th

The Midnight Orchestra


Like many Jews who fled Morocco during the rising racial tension spurred by the Yom Kippur War, Michael Abitbol left Casablanca as a child and never looked back. Estranged from his father, a once famous Jewish musician, Michael reluctantly returns to his boyhood home years later. With the help of a comical Muslim cab driver and the eccentric members of his father’s former orchestra, the legacy of his father is revealed to him along with a story of his past that was long ago buried. In Arabic, English & French with subtitles. The Midnight Orchestra will screen at 5 p.m. in the Manor Theatre.

Frank vs God will screen at 7 p.m. in Carmike 10 – South Hills Village. The screening is supported in part by the South Hills Community Engagement Initiative.

In Search of Israeli Cuisine

Shay Seltzer, goat farmer, master cheese maker near Jerusalem

Join the Israeli-born, Pittsburgh-raised chef Michael Solomonov as he travels throughout Israel feeding his curiosity and appetite for the diverse foods of his native country. Solomonov’s journey reaffirms that Israeli cuisine is a beautiful and delicious reflection of the country’s unique diversity. Exhilarated by the eclectic melding of traditions and tastes, he’s sure to return to his trendy Philadelphia restaurant Zahav inspired by what he’s learned. In Search of Israeli Cuisine will screen at 7:30 p.m. in the Manor Theatre.

A conversation with Chef Michael Solomonov will follow.

April 14th

Fire Birds will screen at 4:30 p.m. at the Manor Theatre.

Flory’s Flame


Legendary Sephardic composer and musician Flory Jagoda delights contemporary audiences with ancestral songs and lyrics that stretch back centuries. Born in Sarajevo to a musical family, Flory became the family’s only Holocaust survivor. She now shares with the world the songs that were lovingly passed on to her before World War II,bringing to life a part of Sephardic Jewish culture that is seldom still heard. This film weaves Flory’s compelling personal story, warmly told by Flory and her family, with selections from her highly acclaimed concert at the Library of Congress in 2014. In Croatian, English and Ladino with subtitles. Flory’s Flame will screen at 7 p.m. in the Rodef Shalom Congregation.

A post-screening performance by Jagoda and her band will follow. Special ticket prices apply.

Frank vs. God will screen at 7 p.m. in the Seton Hill University Performing Arts Center. The screening is supported in part by Seton Hill University’s National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education.

Atomic Falafel


The Israel/Iran nuclear conflict takes center stage in this hilarious farce by the director of Israel’s cult hit, Operation Grandma. On a small army base in the Israeli desert, two teens accidentally come across secret codes that could blow up the world, specifically Iran, where their Facebook friend lives. The film boasts a wild cast of characters including an eye-patched commander, a widowed activist who sells falafel from a food truck and an allergic German nuclear inspector (Alexander Fehling) who breaks out in hives around enriched uranium, as well as a catchy soundtrack including indie rock, Iranian rap and folk tunes. With verbal and visual humor that holds nothing sacred, be prepared to hold your belly. In English, Farsi and Hebrew with subtitles. Atomic Falafel will screen at 7:30 p.m. in the Manor Theatre.

The screening is supported in part by the Film Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh.

April 15th

Frank vs. God will screen at 5:30 p.m. at the Manor Theatre.

April 16th

Peter the 3rd will screen at 5 p.m. in the Manor Theatre.

Baba Joon will screen at 7 p.m. in the Manor Theatre.

Presenting Princess Shaw


An internet sensation who goes by the name Kutiman is an experimental composer living in Israel who creates video mash ups from clips he finds on YouTube. He discovers Samantha Montgomery, a soulful singer in New Orleans, who cares for the elderly by day and becomes her alter ego—Princess Shaw—by night, performing at open mics and uploading her songs to the internet in hopes of being discovered. A star is born in this crowd-pleasing documentary, which also examines loneliness, anonymity and connectivity in the Internet age, where showbiz dreams remain but a mouse-click away for the lucky and talented few. In English and Hebrew with subtitles. Presenting Princess Shaw will screen at 9 p.m. in the Manor Theatre.

The screening is presented in collaboration with Repair the World and the Young Adult Division of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

April 17th

Plastic Man: The Artful Life of Jerry Ross Barrish


Years before DIY and working with recyclables became the rage, Jerry Barrish started collecting discarded plastic and repurposing it into sculptures. Now retired from 50+ years as a bail bondsman, the gruff sculptor focuses entirely on his whimsical, evocative art. Plastic Man: The Artful Life of Jerry Ross Barrish will screen at 12:30 p.m. in the Manor Theatre.

Barrish and producer Janis Plotkin will join local artists Clayton Merrell and Carin Mincemoyer for a conversation after the screening. In addition, artists from I Made It! Market will sell goods made with reused and recycled materials in the lobby.

Flory’s Flame

Flory’s Flame will screen at 3 p.m. in the Manor Theatre.

Cartoonists: Foot Soldiers of Democracy


Last year’s attack on cartoonists at France’s satirical journal, Charlie Hebdo, proved that cartoons can provoke powerful responses. Featuring 12 talented cartoonists from the far reaches of the globe, including a Belgian-Israeli cartoonist and one from Palestine, this compelling documentary draws on the power of political cartooning—and the unusual artists who inhabit this world. The film includes footage from cartoonists who practice under extreme censorship, risking their lives to defend democracy and practice their craft, and proving that cartooning is a resilient and universally provocative form of art. In Arabic, Danish, English and French with subtitles. Cartoonists: Foot Soldiers of Democracy will screen at 4:30 p.m. in the Manor Theatre.

A conversation with Rob Rogers, editorial cartoonist at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, will follow. The screening is presented in collaboration with the ToonSeum.

A Tale of Love and Darkness


Academy Award-winning actor Natalie Portman makes her writing and directing debut in this stunning adaptation of the highly acclaimed memoir by Israeli author Amos Oz. Told through the eyes of the young Amos, the story revolves around his troubled yet adoring mother who was raised in privilege in her native Poland, but struggles to adjust to her life as a poor newcomer in the fledgling nation of Israel. In Hebrew with subtitles. A Tale of Love and Darkness will screen at 7:15 p.m. in the Manor Theatre.

Tickets are available for purchase at the JFilm Festival website. Advance tickets for the opening night film and reception cost $65, $18 for full-time students (26 and under) if purchased by or before 12 p.m. on April 1st. Regular tickets cost $80 online or at the door.

Tickets for all other screenings cost $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Youth  (18 and under) tickets cost $5 in advance, $6 at the door. Advance tickets for groups of 12 or more cost $8 each. $15 limited reserved seats are also available for purchase. Late seating may be reserved for those observing Shabbat by calling (412) 992-5203.

Tickets for the Flory’s Flame concert event cost $15 in advance, $17 at the door.

Sembéne Presents An Evening With Julie Dash


On April 5th, the Sembéne Film & Arts Festival will spend a retrospective evening with celebrated filmmaker Julie Dash at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Homewood.

Over the course of her distinguished career, Dash has written, directed and produced stories about the black experience for film and TV. In 1991, her debut feature Daughters of the Dust, a period drama about three generations of Gullah women on St. Helena Island, became the first theatrically released feature-length film by an African-American woman in the US. She has also received honors and awards from various organizations and festivals for her work.

An Evening with Julie Dash will begin at 5:30 p.m. and includes an informal Q&A with Dash and screenings of clips from her extensive filmography. Filmmaker Billy Jackson will moderate. A dessert reception will follow. The event is free and open to the public. Guests can register at Eventbrite.

The talk is in correlation with the Carnegie Mellon University Lecture Series presentation of Requiem for Rice. The national multimedia event is a tribute to those enslaved, exploited and brutalized on Lowcountry South Carolina and Georgia rice plantations who remain, unburied, unmourned and unmarked. Dash, who serves as part of the project’s creative team, will also appear at the event.

Requiem for Rice will take place on April 4th at 4:30 p.m. in CMU’s Porter Hall 100.