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Gainesville Jewish Film Festival

The Jewish Council of North Central Florida is proud to once again partner with the Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Florida to offer two weeks of compelling and provocative films from around the world. The festival will kick off on Sunday, March 11 and will run through Saturday, March 24. Unless otherwise noted, most screenings will be held at 7 pm at Gainesville’s historic Hippodrome Theater.​​

​​Scroll down to view the festival schedule. 


​Monday, March 12 ~ 7 pm ~ 1945
​​2017 / drama / 91 min / Hungary

Director: Ferenc Toroc      

On a summer day in 1945, an Orthodox man and his grown son return to a village in Hungary while the villagers prepare for the wedding of the town clerk’s son. The townspeople – suspicious, remorseful, fearful, and cunning – expect the worst and behave accordingly. The town clerk fears the men may be heirs of the village’s deported Jews and expects them to demand their illegally acquired property back.

Based on the acclaimed short story “Homecoming” by Gábor T. Szántó, director Ferenc Török paints a complex picture of a society trying to come to terms with the recent horrors they’ve experienced, perpetrated, or just tolerated for personal gain. A superb ensemble cast, lustrous black and white cinematography, and historically detailed art direction contribute to an eloquent drama that reiterates Thomas Wolfe’s famed sentiment: you can’t go home again. 

Wednesday, March 21 ~ 7 pm ~ A Land Without Borders
2017 / documentary / 62 min / Israel

Director: Michael Alalu

Award-winning writer Nir Baram grew up in a political household. Both his father and grandfather were members of the Knesset and Israeli government ministers. As Baram begins to lose faith in the possibility of a two-state solution, he decides to travel throughout the West Bank to speak with both the Palestinians and the Israeli settlers living there. The surprising revelations force Baram to challenge his entire political belief system and reevaluate his own hopes for a peaceful resolution to this conflict.


14 ~ 7 pm ~ The Invisibles

2017 / drama / 100 min / Germany

Director: Claus Rafle

​​In June 1943, Germany infamously declared Berlin “judenfrei”—“free of Jews.” But at that moment there were still 7,000 Jews living in the Nazi capital: hiding in attics, basements, and warehouses, protected by courageous Berliners while desperately trying to avoid deportation. Only 1,700 lived to liberation. The Invisibles tells the stories of four survivors, interweaving their testimony with highly accomplished dramatizations, an unusual hybrid approach that brings edge-of-the-seat suspense to their years spent underground. ​


Sunday, March 18 ~ 7 pm ~ Hagiga: The Story of Israeli Cinema

2016 / documentary / 73 min / Israel
Director: Noit Geva

​The forefathers of Israeli cinema – Ephraim Kishon, Uri Zohar and Menachem Golan – came to cinema from the world of entertainment. These filmmakers stepped into the tiny, emerging film industry with practically no money – but with a keen sense for what their audience would like. Armed with humor, chutzpah and courage, they managed to make international headlines, including Oscar nominations and prizes at Cannes. The movies of the 1960s and the 1970s become more and more ambitious. These films present a portrait of the newly formed Israeli society –  a melting pot of immigrants and soldiers where irony and underdogs were the true heroes.


Tuesday, March 20 ~ 7 pm ~ The Testament

2017 / drama / 88 min / Austria & Israel

Director: Amichai Greenberg

Yoel, 45, an international expert in Holocaust research, has spent over fifteen years diligently studying the Nazi’s methods of annihilating Jews in Austria and Hungary. In the course of his research he discovers, almost by chance, classified documents which hint to the fact that his mother is living under an assumed identity. Yoel is certain that this is a mistake, but the further he plunges into his research the more he doubts his mother’s Jewish identity. A mystery about a man who is willing to risk everything to discover the truth.


Sunday, March 18 ~ 2 pm ~ Israel, Why

1973 / documentary  /  185 min  /  Italy & France
Director: Claude Lanzmann

Israel, Why (Pourquoi Israël) is Shoah filmmaker Claude Lanzmann’s first film. The documentary examines life in Israel twenty-five years after the birth of the state. Lanzmann spends time with, among others, German-Jewish émigrés, intellectuals, dock workers, police, prison inmates, and the newly arrived surveying life in the new homeland. The title of the film is often incorrectly given as a question “Why Israel?” however, Lanzmann intended it as an answer or an explanation from a collection of viewpoints.

The film premiered just three days after the Yom Kippur War in Israel. International media attention was caused by an incident in Hamburg, Germany, where leftist groups violently prevented a showing of the movie in October 2009, claiming the movie took a one-sided Zionist perspective.


Saturday, March 24 ~ 8:30 pm ~ Holy Air

2017 / comedy / 81 min / Israel

Director: Shady Srour

Adam is a Christian Arab living in Nazareth – member of a vanishing minority within a minority in the Holy Land and the Middle East. His wife Lamia is a strong, beautiful and progressive Arab woman, who runs a foundation for women’s rights. When Adam hears that Lamia is pregnant and his father falls very ill, he evaluates his life and realizes that he has not achieved much. Despite all his business ideas failing so far, he gives one last try to make it big. And what’s better to sell in the Holy Land other than the very air that Virgin Mary breathed during her annunciation? But in order to, as one priest tells Adam during confession, bring such product into the market he needs to find allies from the three cultures ruling over Nazareth – the Jewish politicians, the Muslim mafia boss and the Catholic church officials. In a politically unstable world where religion is just another merchandise, can the Holy Air be Adam’s salvation or is it just an illusion

​​​​​​​​Sunday, March 11 ~ 7 pm ~ The Museum

​​2017 / documentary / 74 min / Israel

Director: Ran Tal

The Museum is a film that observes, examines and ponders Israel’s most important cultural institution, the Israel Museum. The film follows the visitors, observes the observers, listens to the speakers and descends to the storerooms, labs and conference rooms. The American museum director, the singing security guard, the Jerusalemite curator, the Haredi kashrut inspector, the Palestinian guide and the visitor who lost her vision are some of the characters that take part in a chain of activities which add up to the museum. For about 18 months director Ran Tal collected footage of the daily routine of the museum that seeks to both reflect and mold the Israeli legacy and culture.


​​​​​​Saturday, March 17 ~ 8:30 pm ~ The Wedding Plan
2016 / romantic comedy / 110 min / Israel

Director: Rama Burshtein

​At 32, Michal is finally looking forward to the comfort and security if marriage, when she is blindsided by her fiance’s decision to call off the wedding with only a month’s notice. Unwilling to return to a lonely single life, Michal decides to put her trust in fate and continue with her wedding plans, believing Mr. Right will appear by her chosen date. Confident she will find a match made in heaven, she books a venue, sends out invitations and buys a wedding dress, as her skeptical mother and sister look on with trepidation.

During Michal’s month-long search for a spouse, she enlists the help of two different matchmakers, goes on a series of disastrous blind dates and finds an unexpected connection with a charming but utterly unsuitable pop star – all while dismissing pleas by concerned family members that she reconsider her risky plan. As the day of the ceremony grows closer and no suitor appears, Michal puts everything on the line to find happiness.


Thursday, March 15 ~ 7 pm ~ West of the Jordan River

2018 / documentary / 84 min / France & Israel

Director: Amos Gitai

Amos Gitai (RabinThe Last DayKadoshFree Zone) returns to the screen for the first time since his 1982 documentary Field Diary with this portrait of the citizens, Israelis and Palestinians, who are trying to overcome the consequences of occupation. West of the Jordan River shows the human ties woven by the military, human rights activists, journalists, mourning mothers, and even Jewish settlers. Faced with the failure of politics to solve the occupation issue, these men and women rise and act in the name of their civic consciousness. This human energy is a proposal for long-overdue change.​​


Monday, March 19 ~ 7 pm ~ Operation Wedding

2016 / documentary /63 min / Israel  & Latvia

Director: Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov

Leningrad, 1970. A group of young Jewish dissidents plots to hijack an empty plane and escape the USSR. Caught by the KGB, they were sentenced to years in the gulag and two were sentenced to death. 45 years later, filmmaker Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov reveals the compelling story of her parents, “heroes” in the West, “terrorists” in Russia.

It started as a fantasy; under the disguise of a trip to a local wedding, the hijackers would buy every ticket on a 12-seater plane, so there would be no passengers but them. While the Soviet press prints “the criminals are punished”, tens of thousands of people in the free world demand “Let My People Go!” Through a collage of intimate interviews, rare archives and reenactment made both in Israel and Russia, Anat reveals the full story of her parents who cracked the Iron Curtain.​


Tuesday, March 13 ~ 7 pm  ~ Menashe

2017 / drama / 82 min / United States

Director: Joshua Z. Weinstein

Set within the New York Hasidic community in Borough Park, Brooklyn, Menashe follows a kind but hapless grocery store clerk trying to maintain custody of his son Rieven after his wife, Lea, passes away. Since they live in a tradition-bound culture that requires a mother present in every home, Rieven is supposed to be adopted by the boy’s strict, married uncle, but Menashe’s Rabbi decides to grant him one week to spend with Rieven prior to Lea’s memorial. Their time together creates an emotional moment of father/son bonding as well as offers Menashe a final chance to prove to his skeptical community that he can be a capable parent.

Shot in secret entirely within the Hasidic community depicted in the film, and one of the only movies to be performed in Yiddish in nearly 70 years, Menashe is a warm, life-affirming look at the universal bonds between father and son that also sheds unusual light on a notoriously private community. Based largely on the real life of its Hasidic star Menashe Lustig, the film is a strikingly authentic and deeply moving portrait of family, love, connection, and community.


Thursday, March 22 ~ 7 pm ~ Siege

1969 / drama / 100 min / Israel

Director: Gilberto Tofano

Gila Almagor plays Tamar, an Israeli woman who loses her husband during the Six Day War. Her husband’s friends do not want his memory to be forgotten, and this forces her into the role of the ever-mourning widow. Her story is not uncommon in Israel. Also with Dahn Ben Amotz and Yehoram Gaon.

This recently digitized and restored classic is considered by some to be the best Israeli feature film ever made.

Individual film tickets are $10 each.

Festival passes are

$108 for all 13 screenings,

$72 for 8 screenings and

$36 for 4 screenings.

Please note that we cannot accept MoviePass for ticket sales.

UF student tickets are 

FREE with valid ID 

on a space available basis.

Students who wish to reserve seats,

should call 352.371.3846 to do so.

The Gainesville Jewish Film Festival is made possible,  in part, by these generous sponsors:

Alexander Grass Chair in Jewish Studies, Anonymous, Bud Shorstein Professorship in American Jewish Culture and Society, Friends of Jewish Studies Tree of Life Fund, Gary R. Gerson Annual Lecture Series, Harry Rich Endowment for Holocaust Studies, Jewish Council of North Central Florida, Jewish Student Union, Mikki and Morris Futernick Visiting Professorship, Norman and Irma Braman Chair in Holocaust Studies


Pulling the ‘Ripcord’ at the Hipp — The Gainesville Scene preview

Excerpt from the Gainesville Scene’s preview of “Ripcord”:

“It’s just the best,” he said. “You have to do that thing that artists love to do, which is to figure out how to tell that story with human actors, not with big Broadway tricks.”

Heidenreich and the cast praised the play for being surprising, real and hilarious.

“It goes to places unannounced and surprisingly,” Morsey said. “You are in a very real emotional situation and the unannounced and surprisingly you are in another very real emotional situation. The first one’s very dramatic, the next one is very comic.”

Morsey also praised her character for being very real. Abby is a reader who cares a great deal about some things, but often keeps those things to herself. In many ways, this story is about Abby’s growth and acceptance of people into her life after trials in her past closed her off to the world.

“It’s astonishingly and excruciatingly funny and surprising and imaginative while also being a heartfelt and honest portrayal of transformation and of hope in a world that needs more of it,” Heidenreich said.

“Ripcord” runs Tuesdays through Sundays at the Hippodrome.


Call 352.375.4477 for tickets or click here!


Gainesville Downtown’s review of “Ripcord”

Excerpt from Gainesville Downtown’s article, by Noel Leroux:

Ripcord then goes on a wild ride that includes a visit to a spooky Halloween house, a breathtaking skydiving adventure (thus, helping lend the play its name) and several other outrageous pranks involving everything from Craigslist to Xanax— not necessarily all in good fun or good taste.

“David Lindsay-Abaire’s imagination is extraordinary,” said V Craig Heidenreich, who is making his Hippodrome directorial debut with Ripcord. “He goes where no one else goes. He’s fearless — like skydiving!”

What makes Ripcord work, however, is the chemistry Morsey and Page display onstage as their characters try to push each other’s buttons with one practical joke after another.

“The playwright is brilliant in creating a story-line that presents characters who are real and dealing with a variety of situations that any audience can relate to,” Page said. “What makes the play funny is that he takes ordinary situations and spins them to ridiculous levels. And there are so many of those situations in this show.”

Read more on Gainesville Downtown.

Call 352.375.4477 or click here for tickets!


Ripcord onstage March 2 -25!

The Hippodrome Theatre proudly presents
by Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lindsay-Abaire
directed by V Craig Heidenreich

February 28-March 25, 2018


GAINESVILLE– Everyone’s had that roommate. The one who reveled in grinding your gears. The one you didn’t quite strangle in their sleep but if they did that one thing one more time…

The Hippodrome Theatre presents the hilariously heartfelt Florida Premiere of “Ripcord.” A tale of two roommates who should not be in the same state, much less the same room!

Two of Gainesville’s theatre icons Nell Page and Sara Morsey take it to the limit when a simple bet escalates into a no-holds-barred epic battle. It’s the Thunderdome in the old folks home for a wild night of hilarity and hijinks at the Hipp.

Pulitzer-prize winning playwright, David Lindsay-Abaire, has created a play of high-stakes hilarity, watch for yourself as each character tries to rip the other to bits.

 “‘Ripcord’ invites the audience and anyone who experiences this story to embrace the idea of being present and joyful, because life is going to end whether you like it or not,” said director VC Heidenreich. “You get to choose if you want that peach cobbler to taste like peach cobbler or taste like paste.”

 The New York Times calls RIPCORD “An expertly engineered comedy!” and Deadline calls it “vastly entertaining… a show to treasure.”

“Ripcord” is as heartfelt as it is deliciously inappropriate, directed on the Hippodrome Mainstage by VC Heidenreich. A Florida Premiere!

  • Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 7pm: Discount preview
  • Thursday, March 1 at 7pm: Discount preview
  • Friday, March 2 at 8pm: Opening Night
  • Tuesday, March 6 at 7pm: $10 Tuesday (All tickets just $10)

Tickets at the Hippodrome Box Office: (352) 375-4477 or click here.

Tickets at the Hippodrome Box Office: (352) 375-4477 or click hereOn stage March 2 – March 25, with 7 performances a week Tuesdays at 7 p.m. | Wednesdays at 7 p.m. |Thursdays at 7 p.m. | Fridays at 8 p.m. | Saturdays at 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. | Sundays at 2 p.m.

Sherrie Pettigrew’s Artwork

The Hippodrome Theatre proudly presents Sherrie Pettigrew’s Artwork

Opening Feb. 28 with “Ripcord” previews & featured for Art Walk on Friday, March 30, 7 to 10 p.m.

GAINESVILLE – Sherrie Pettigrew’s art exhibit will be featured in the Hippodrome Art Gallery for the next Artwalk Gainesville on Friday, March 30, from 7 – 10 p.m., opening the week before the first preview of “Ripcord” at the Hippodrome Theatre.

Pettigrew is a Florida artist who composes her drawings based on the people and objects around her in everyday life.  Graphite powder and pencil are her primary materials, and she sometimes incorporates paint, pastel chalk and found objects.

“These images come to me in the shower, theater, market, and street complete with smells, sounds, and visions seldom shared until they are actualized,” Pettigrew said.

Pettigrew admires artists Chuck Close, Joan Miro and Cy Twombly, and they inspire her artistic style. She describes her collection as an evolution from hyperrealism to psychological surrealism.

“I come from honesty in my approach, making work that isn’t always pretty,” Pettigrew said. “These pieces are about emotion, often without cognitive consideration: recording reality with a twist and my own hypersensitive view.”

We hope to see you there!

– Your friends at the Hipp


Karaoke at the Hipp: March. 23

Karaoke at the Hippodrome

Friday, March 23 | 7:30 p.m. – 12:00 a.m

Come to the Hipp to belt out your favorite songs with us — we’re bringing karaoke back to the Lower Level on Friday, March 23!

Have fun with your friends at the Hipp during this FREE event. If you’re fearless, you can head right up to belt out your favorite lyrics. For everyone else, we’ll keep our bartender pouring drinks if you need a dose of liquid courage.

It’s time to mark your calendars, Gainesville. Our doors will be open at 7:30 p.m., and you can sing Madonna and Prince all the way until midnight.


Letter to the Editor: Powerful Production | “The Royale”

Letter to the Editor in the Gainesville Sun:

Powerful production

As a longtime Hippodrome patron, I am moved to share my experience at the recent production of “The Royale” by Marco Ramirez. It was one of the most powerful, profound and entertaining evenings of theater I’ve ever witnessed.

The play, inspired by Jack Johnson, the first African American heavyweight boxing champion, is a searing, brutal, example of theater at its best. The direction by Lauren Warhol Caldwell and Ryan George is inspired. The movement direction by Rudi Goblen is magnificent as is the extraordinary ensemble cast of Bryce Michael Wood, E. Stanley Richardson, Renata Eastlick and Dylan Kammerer. The atmosphere, created by lighting designer Bob Robins, set designer Mihai Ciupe, costume designer Jessica Kreitzer and technical director Michael Eaddy is simple, beautiful and effective.

If you want a once-in-a lifetime experience that will leave you changed, inspired and uplifted by the sheer artistry of the event, “The Royale” is a knockout.

Mark Sexton, Alachua County


A Glimpse of Insight into the actors in “The Royale” video interviews

A Glimpse into "The Royale" with Ryan George

Check out this video for a bit of insight on one of the actors, and co-director, Ryan George, and for a sneak-peek glimpse of what "The Royale" holds, for those of you who haven't seen it yet. Showtimes for today, Saturday, January 20th are 5pm and 8:30pm!Tickets and information at 352.375.4477 and https://tickets.thehipp.org/TheatreManager/1/online?event=1725

Posted by Hippodrome Theatre on Saturday, January 20, 2018

A Glimpse into "The Royale" with E. Stanley Richardson

Get to know E. Stanley Richardson, the actor who plays Wynton in our amazing mainstage production, "The Royale." Hear some insight into his character and some of his favorite things about the production and get a sneak peek of the show! Showtimes for today, Sunday, January 28th are 2pm and 7pm! Tickets and information at 352.375.4477 and https://tickets.thehipp.org/TheatreManager/1/online?event=1725

Posted by Hippodrome Theatre on Sunday, January 28, 2018

A Glimpse into "The Royale" with Bryce Michael Wood

Good morning Gainesville! We sat down with Bryce Michael Wood, the actor who plays Jay "The Sport" Jackson, and asked him about himself and the wonderful show him and his fellow cast have been performing on our mainstage, "The Royale." If you haven't seen it yet, you've got to come check it out! The showtime for today, Tuesday, January 30th is 7pm! Tickets and information at 352.375.4477 and https://tickets.thehipp.org/TheatreManager/1/online?event=1725

Posted by Hippodrome Theatre on Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Stay tuned for upcoming insight from actors Renata and Dylan!


Mainstage Media: “The Royale” video!

A Must-See! "The Royale" on stage at the Hipp

We're so excited to share this production with all of you! Performances of "THE ROYALE" start next week! Tomorrow (Sunday 1/7) is the final day for 50% off presale tickets with coupon code ROYALE50. Call now! 352-375-4477 or visit https://tickets.thehipp.org/TheatreManager/1/online?event=0

Posted by Hippodrome Theatre on Saturday, January 6, 2018


Mainstage News: “The Royale” Reviews

Mainstage News: “The Royale” Reviews

The rave reviews are in! “The Royale” delivers a knock-out punch! The Gainesville Sun reviewer Ron Cunningham writes, ‘The Royale’ plays out more like a dreamy ballet set to gritty rhythm. And the effect is sublime.” Come see for yourself what made audience members jump to their feet in a full standing ovations every single night! Make your reservations for THE ROYALE now at 352.375.4477 or online at thehipp.org



Read all about “The Royale” and the electrifying partnership of co-directors Ryan George and Lauren Warhol Caldwell through the eyes of local acclaimed writer Timothy Shamrock McShane:
“Ryan George has in-the-ring know-how to apply to The Royale, intimate experience of playing it in a hit production in Coral Gables, Warhol has Hipp know-how, expressionistic chops and a social conscience.” Discount previews start tonight! Tickets to The Royale at 352.375.4477 and thehipp.org.

Read here:

Counter Punch


Gainesville Downtown previews THE ROYALE at the Hipp! Tickets at 352.375.4477 and thehipp.org

“Dylan Kammerer, a UF grad who now lives in Brooklyn, said that any good ensemble piece “lives and dies by the heartbeat that is one.” Such is the case with The Royale.

“I think what Marco’s done really well is offer a piece of theater that is so exciting and so nonstop and almost filmic in a way in that you can’t take your eyes off of it, and we don’t give you the opportunity, and when we do, it just rips your heart out.”

“People who have never been to the Hippodrome before are going to love it.” UF School of Theatre + Dance

Hipp Delivers Knockout Punch with ‘The Royale’

Check out today’s cover story of the Gainesville Scene! The preview article for “The Royale” is featured, by Sara Marino. Come down to the Hipp for a discount preview performance at 7 tonight to see what it’s all about.

“I think that it’s an ensemble in that it lives and dies by the heartbeat that is one with this cast,” Kammerer said. “What it’s done really well is provide a piece of theater that is so exciting and so nonstop, and it’s almost like a film in a way that you can’t take your eyes off of it.”