Spring 2023 Festival

The dates for the screenings are February 1 – March 8. (Every Wednesday). All movies will be screened at the Wesleyan University Center for Film Studies, at the Jeanine Basinger Center for Film Studies in the Goldsmith Family Cinema, 301 Washington Terrace, Middletown, CT at 8pm.

Free Admission. On site parking.

The Festival is organized by Dalit Katz, Professor of the Practice in Religion and Director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Wesleyan University. It is sponsored by the Ring Family, the Center for Jewish Studies, and co-sponsored by the College of Film and the Moving Image.


(February 1, 8:00 p.m.) 
Director’s Talk: Ofir Raul Graizier
Hebrew with English Subtitles
Directed by: Ofir Raul Grazier, 2022   

Watch trailer Following the screening of his hit debut film, “The Cakemaker”, at the Ring Family Wesleyan University Israeli Film Festival in 2018, writer/director Ofir Raul Graizer returns to Wesleyan with his most recent film, “America”. A Chicago-based swimming coach returns to his native Israel after 10 years in America. His encounter with a childhood friend and his future wife changes everyone’s lives. Set between a flower shop and an ancient monastery, a swimming pool and the Mediterranean Sea, life and death, the film makes an affectionate tribute to 60s and 70s cinema in a film full of emotion, color and fragrance paying homage to values such as friendship, love and moral responsibility.


All I Can Do
(February 8, 8:00 p.m.) 
Director’s Talk: Shiri Nevo Fridental
Hebrew with English subtitles
Directed by Shiri Nevo Fridental, 2023        

Watch trailer Reut, a young prosecutor, takes over a sexual assault case based on the sole testimony of Efrat – a rebellious yet fragile victim, who lives with her wild female partner. Reut is reluctant, but as the trial progresses and Efrat collapses, Reut learns the true nature of strength, love and sisterhood. Shiri Nevo Fridental who is an attorney and a film maker will introduce the movie and conduct a Q/A session with the audience.


(February 15, 8:00 p.m.)
Director’s Talk: Mordechai Vardi
Hebrew with English Subtitles
Directed by Mordechai Vardi, 2022       

Watch trailer Feigi and Naftali are a young childless ultraorthodox couple living with Naftali’s parents. Naftali travels to Ukraine to pray for a child during the holiday at Rabbi Nachman’s grave. During Naftali’s absence, a guest is invited to stay for the holiday with the family. He introduces himself as “Rabbi Eliyahu, the barren healer”. When Naftali returns, the couple faces a difficult crisis, ignited by Eliyahu’s dubious presence, which raises fundamental questions about faith and trust. Mordechai Vardi, a rabbi and a film director, will share with the audience the unique experience of making this film.


Fire Dance – Screening of two episodes
(February 22, 8:00 p.m.) 
Speaker: Avner Shavit, Jewish Studies Silberberg Scholar in Residence
Hebrew with English subtitles
Created and Directed by Rama Burshtein-Shai, 2022      

Watch trailer The first television series from acclaimed filmmaker Rama Burshtein-Shai, (Fill the Void, The Wedding Plan) is the coming-of-age story of a young, troubled woman, in a tight-knit ultra-orthodox religious sect. Feigi, 18, grew up in a broken home, without a father figure. She attaches her future happiness to Nathan, the 35-year-old married son of the leader of the ultra-orthodox community in which they both live. Following a failed suicide attempt, Feigi grows dangerously close to Nathan, who is expecting his first child with his wife. Feigi’s feelings and her longing for a relationship with Nathan can never materialize. It is this delicate tension, between passion and fulfillment, set on the backdrop of a conservative, devout community in which Fire Dance exists.


(March 1, 8:00 p.m.) 
Speaker: Katja Kolcio, Associate Professor of Dance, Wesleyan University
Hebrew with English subtitles
Written and Directed by Moshe Rosenthal, 2022      

Watch trailer Meir and Tova live a middle-class life in a sleepy suburb, plagued by an unspoken sense of disappointment and regret. When Itsik Marziano (Lior Askenazi), a former Miami based model agent, moves into their building, their lust for life is reignited. The couple is fascinated by the international open-minded bachelor, who doesn’t succumb to social expectations. Meir tries to alter his appearance, in an attempt to transform himself into a modern man, while Tova attempts to turn Itsik into their best friend. But soon enough, they become obsessive towards Itsik as they compete with their neighbors for his affection. In their attempt to win him over, their entire existence is turned on its head.

Valeria is Getting Married (March 8, 8:00 p.m.)
Speaker: Avner Shavit, Jewish Studies Silberberg Scholar in Residence
Hebrew and Russian with English subtitles
Directed by Michal Vinik, 2022       

Watch trailer Valeria, a young Ukrainian woman, arrives in Israel to meet her future husband, for an arranged marriage brokered online. She joins her sister Christina, who has been living in Israel for some time and met her own husband through a similar arrangement. Christina is happy with her new life and wants the same for her sister, but over the course of the day doubts begin to appear.