The Houston Jewish Film Festival


Shalom! This weekend, Saturday, March 12th – Sunday, March 13th, is the 11th Annual Houston Jewish Film Festival at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. In collaboration with the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center, the MFAH presents an entertaining and thought-provoking lineup of the best Jewish and Israeli films from across the world. This year’s festival features five diverse works by contemporary filmmakers with movies from Canada/Germany, France, Israel/Denmark, and the USA.

They all look interesting, but the opening and closing films do the most to pique my curiosity. Remember stars old pros Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau as concentration camp survivors who embark on an outlandish mission to exact revenge on their former oppressor, directed by Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Felicia’s Journey). In Very Semi-Serious: A Partially Thorough Portrait of “New Yorker” Cartoonists, director Leah Wolchok takes us behind the scenes to witness the creative process of the cartoonists working for the New Yorker. Giddyup!

Tickets for individual screenings are available here.

Check out the full schedule:

Saturday, March 12, at 6 p.m.
Directed by Atom Egoyan, Canada/Germany, 2015, 95 min.

Renowned actors Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau star as elderly friends who both miraculously survived a World War II concentration camp. They devise a shocking plan that leads one of them to embark on a cross-continental journey to settle the score with the man who nearly destroyed their lives.

Serial (Bad) Weddings (Qu’est-ce qu’on a fait au Bon Dieu?)
Saturday, March 12, at 8 p.m.
Directed by Philippe de Chauveron, France, 2014, 97 min., French with English subtitles

In this comedy, a conservative French couple have their lives turned upside down when their three eldest daughters marry Jewish, Asian, and Muslim men outside of their Catholic faith. When their youngest daughter announces her engagement to a Catholic man, the parents rejoice, but then the fiancé’s father arrives from Africa with objections of his own.

Carvalho’s Journey
Sunday, March 13, at 1 p.m.
Directed by Steve Rio, USA, 2015, 85 min.

Introduced by Malcolm Daniel, curator in charge, department of photography and special projects at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, this 19th-century adventure story documents the extraordinary career of Solomon Nunes Carvalho and his life as a photographer, artist, and pioneer exploring the West as one of the only Jewish participants on the expedition.

Mountain (Ha’har)
Sunday, March 13, at 3 p.m.
Directed by Yaelle Kayam, Israel/Denmark, 2015, 83 min., Hebrew with English subtitles

A devout wife, Tzvia, spends her days cooking and doing housework while her teacher husband and four young children are away at school. Lonely, and puzzled by her husband’s lack of affection, she takes walks at night, developing an unexpected connection with an irreverent group of prostitutes and drug dealers who have set up shop on the cemetery grounds where Tzvia’s family lives.

Very Semi-Serious: A Partially Thorough Portrait of “New Yorker” Cartoonists
Sunday, March 13, at 6 p.m.
Directed by Leah Wolchok, USA, 20145, 83 min.

The cartoons of the New Yorker are renowned for being clever, hilarious, and topical. This offbeat meditation on humor, art, and the genius of the single-panel comic, takes an unprecedented, behind-the-scenes look at the meticulous, often infuriating process of selecting and creating the magazine’s popular cartoons. Featured are interviews with the magazine’s staff and insights from legendary artists Roz Chast and Mort Gerberg.

Other Pertinent info:

Location- The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Admission– Admission is $10 for the general public and $8 for MFAH members, students with ID, and senior adults.

Funding- The MFAH film department is supported by Tenaris; Gensler; Salle and James Vaughn;
Nina and Michael Zilkha; James V. Derrick; the National Film Preservation Foundation;
Franci Neely; and Lynn S. Wyatt.

About MFAH Films- The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Film Department offers moviegoers a unique venue for appreciating both classic and contemporary films. Presenting more than 200 screenings annually, programming includes premieres of significant new independent productions. Since screening its first films in 1939, the goals of MFAH Films include introducing audiences to the genius of film; responding to an evolving medium; stimulating discourse through the shared experience of watching films; and inspiring the next generation to value film and other moving-image arts. Screenings take place in Brown Auditorium Theater, designed by renowned Bauhaus architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. This unique venue offers a superb movie-going experience with stadium seating, Dolby Digital sound, and projection capabilities ranging from 35mm reel-to-reel to 4K digital formats. In conjunction with the film screenings, the Museum hosts appearances by filmmakers, critics, and scholars, whose perspectives add fresh insights. Visit for more information.

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Salty Winters once said, "Everything I learned I learned from the movies." He was quoting Audrey Hepburn.