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New York Sephardic Jewish Film Festival: 25th Anniversary Edition

Now in its 25th year, the New York Sephardic Jewish Film Festival is running May 7 to 11 at the Center For Jewish History (15 West 16th Street, NY, NY). The festival centers around Jews descended from the Iberian Peninsula, and their history of culture and diasporism.  The festival has a slate of features, documentaries, and shorts from the US, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, and more.

The festival opens with the 1988 documentary From Toledo to Jerusalem, in which Israeli singer and actor Yehoram Gaon retraces the footsteps of Jewish refugees from Spain and Portugal after the Expulsion of 1492, and the journey Sephardic Jews have gone on across Europe since then, with each site of the journey is accompanied by music from Gaon. On Monday, May 8 is the world premiere of The Guards of Memory, directed by Said Belli. A documentary set in the Moroccan city of Fez, it looks at the dwindling Jewish population in the city which has persisted for over 2000 years, but faces great hardships.

The comedy Matchmaking, directed by Erez Tadmore, in which a Jewish Orthodox Yeshiva student sets out to woo a Sephardic girl. Offspring, directed by Shirly Sasson-Ezer and Dana Keidar, is a dark comedy about a 32 years old careerist who is struggling to get pregnant amidst massive social pressure. She is dragged to a circumcision ceremony by her superstitious Bukharan grandmother, who has her own grotesque ideas about how to remedy the situation. Live and Become, directed by Radu Mihaileanu, is the story of an Ethiopian boy who is airlifted from a Sudanese refugee camp to Israel in 1984 during Operation Moses. Queen of the Deuce, directed by Valerie Kontakos, is a documentary on Queer icon and 42nd Street sleaze entrepreneur Chelly Wilson, who escaped the Holocaust to become a New York icon.

The Opening Night Ceremony on Monday, May 8th, with the festival’s Pomegranate Award for achievements in the arts will be going out to:

  • Hélène Cixous, the Algerian-born, French writer and novelist, who will be the first woman to receive the “Pomegranate Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature.”

  • Yasmin Levy, the world’s most popular contemporary Ladino singer-songwriter, will receive the “Pomegranate Award for Music.” Opening Night will feature a special performance by Levy.

  • Shlomi Elkabetz, the Israeli-born Moroccan screenwriter/director/producer/actor, will receive the “Pomegranate Award for Filmmaking.” Elkabetz, a member of the Jury of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, will be part of the festival’s tribute series to his sister, Ronit Elkabetz, A”H. 

  • Ghiora Aharoni, the Israeli-born Yemenite artist and designer, will receive the first “Pomegranate Award for Art, Design, and Architecture.” "Selected works for The Pomegranate Award", an exclusive, limited installation by Aharoni will be presented in the Centre for Jewish History's Great Hall on Opening Night

To learn more, go to:

New York Sephardic Jewish Film Festival: 25th Anniversary Edition
May 7 - 11, 2023

Streamed online and live at
Center For Jewish History
15 West 16th Street
New York, NY 10011

Gods, Chimps, & Zombies at The 2023 Tribeca Festival

All Up in the Biz

One of the biggest festivals for film, TV, and entertainment returns this summer as The Tribeca Festival runs June 7 to the 8th in NYC.

With over 100 films being showcased there’s an ample selection of titles to pick from, including narrative features, documentaries, animation and more.. One of the fest’s highlights is the documentary Stan Lee directed by David Gelb (Jiro Dreams of Sushi), which looks at the life and legacy of one of Marvel’s founding fathers. Sav Rodger’s Chasing Chasing Amy is a documentary in which a filmmaker goes on a journey of self-discovery while also making a film about the creation of Kevin Smith’s controversial LGBTQ+ film, Chasing Amy. Starring Zachary Quinto, He Went That Way is a true crime period piece set in 1964 about celebrity animal trainer Dave Pitts and how he crossed paths with serial killer Larry Lee Ranes. Adipurush, directed by Om Raut, is an action packed special effects bonanza that retells the epic poem “Ramayana”. In All Up in the Biz, director Sacha Jenkins creates a collage of celebrity interviews, rare film, reenactments, and playful animation to share how Biz Markie left his mark on the history of hip-hop.

The Tribeca TV portion of the festival includes the premiere of the new The Walking Dead spin off series The Walking Dead: Dead City. Set in a zombie infested and lawless NYC, Dead City stars Lauren Cohan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Following the screening is a conversation with executive producer and cast members Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan, cast members Gaius Charles and Zeljko Ivanek, along with the chief content officer of The Walking Dead Universe and executive producer Scott M. Gimple, and showrunner and executive producer Eli Jorné.

This is but a small sampling of the screenings looking to become one of NYC’s biggest events for film and television.

To learn more, go to:

Tribeca Festival
June 7 - 18, 2023

Locations TBA

ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York Lifts Voices Onto the Screen

Pushing Boundaries

Since 2007 ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York has grown to become the largest festival in the United States dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with disabilities. Now in it’s 15th annual installment, ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York will be running April 27 to May 3 as an in person and online festival. 

The opening night celebration, held at Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan (334 Amsterdam Ave) honors 2022’s Academy Award winner for Best Supporting Actor, Troy Kotsur (CODA) as the recipient of the ReelAbilities 2023 Spotlight Award. On April 28th is the Remembering Judith Heumann spotlight event, celebrating the life and legacy of the notable disability activist, who passed away earlier this year with film excerpts and personal stories The second annual Industry Accessibility Summit features industry professionals discussing topics of inclusion, representation, and accessibility in the film industry and performing arts. 

Films being screened include the documentary Being Michelle, the story of a woman who survived incarceration in a system that refused to accommodate her needs as a deaf person with autism. Michelle’s trajectory changed when she met Kim Law, a blind life coach who teaches in the prison. A story of redemption, this award-winning film is about the bonds between two women committed to thriving in a broken system and forging a path to healing. Pushing Boundaries follows the Ukrainian Paralympic National Team  who lose their training base due to the Russian annexation of Crimea. The film tracks the team’s fight to qualify for the upcoming games under poor training conditions as they push themselves to the limit against a backdrop of global political turmoil. Along with feature films the fest includes shorts and animated works from filmmakers around the world.

“Disability arts is experiencing a revolution, and we are proud to help amplify the need for equity along with the Mayor’s Office for Media and Entertainment, who are taking a leading role in planning our Industry Summit,” said Isaac Zablocki, Director and co-founder of ReelAbilities Film Festival. “ReelAbilities takes us beyond the films and dives deeper into the themes of the festival through conversations and artistic presentations. We pride ourselves in raising the bar on accessibility and leading the art world's standard for inclusivity.”

To learn more, go to:

ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York
April 27 - May 3, 2023

Screened online and at

Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan
334 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10023


Cinema From Around the World at Venice Film Festival Presents: Next Generation


For 10 years, the Biennale College Cinema has nurtured emerging directors and low budget films from around the world. Now, the “Venice Film Festival Presents: Next Generation” series offers a sampling of the Biennale’s work over the past decade raising cinema. Screened at New York’s Paris Theater (4 West 58th Street), the festival runs from April 20th to the 23d and features six films:

  • Beautiful Things (dir. Giorgio Ferrero)
  • The Cathedral (dir. Ricky D’Ambrose)
  • The Fits (dir. Anna Rose Holmer)
  • Hotel Salvation (dir. Shubhashish Bhutiani)
  • Our Father, the Devil (dir. Ellie Foumbi)
  • This is not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection (dir. Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese)

The screenings include in-depth discussions pairing new filmmakers with established directors, producers, and writers. The festival showcases cinema from around the world including India, France, Italy, the United States, and more with a combination of comedy, documentaries, and heart wrenching drama.

To learn more, go to:

Venice Film Festival Presents: Next Generation
April 20 - 23, 2023

The Paris Theater
4 West 58th Street
New York, NY 10019



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