The JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival returns for its 11th year

JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival returns June 2024 to theaters across Chicagoland featuring 23 films including documentaries, dramas, and even comedies with special post film Q&As.

Heading into its 11th year, the JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival has been an important and highly anticipated cultural event within the community, screening more than 250 films, debuting over 100 premieres and hosting 65,000filmgoers throughout Chicago to date.

The JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival presents films that depict Jewish life, values, and history, with a mission of fostering an understanding of Jewish contributions to world culture. This year the festival is connected to the J’s mission, Growing Hope, which is designed to combat hopelessness, fear and anxiety among our young people, and to give communities tools of empathy, kindness and creativity to help build a brighter future.

“The Jewish Film Festival is an opportunity to experience films from all over the world that show Jewish experiences and reflect all aspects of being Jewish,” said Ilene Uhlmann, Director of Community Engagement, JCC Chicago. “My goal with this film festival is for people to come out and feel like they’ve learned something, like they’ve been inspired and transformed in some way. Every year we do our best to offer a wide range of films, to experience everything from documentaries to comedies.”

This year’s films include: Growing Hope, The Secret Sabbath, The Boy In The Woods, Stay With Us, Fighting Antisemitism, The Way To Happiness, The Death of Zygielbojm, Rabbi On The Block, Kindertransports to Sweden, Revenge: Our Dad the Nazi Killer, Fioretta, The Narrow Bridge, No Name Restaurant, Golda’s War Diaries, The Shadow of the Day, March 1968, Martha Liebermann-A Stolen Life, Left Alone Rhapsody-The Musical Memoir of Pianist John Bayless, The Three of Us, 999: The Forgotten Girls, Eva’s Promise, The Story of Annette Zelman and UnBroken.

“Building on JCC Chicago’s mission of “growing hope,” we want these films to help ignite meaningful conversations and empower viewers to use the values of empathy, kindness, and inclusivity to build a stronger community overall,” added Hillary Wenk, Manager of Operations, Community Engagement at JCC Chicago. “It’s a social movement designed to create and engage upstanders in the community—especially young people. We are using stories, films and the arts to combat hate, bigotry and intolerance.”

The Film Festival will take place over three weeks in June 2024: June 1-2, 8-9 and 15-16, as well as Wednesday showings on June 5 and 9. There will also be a special screening on June 23 at the Illinois Holocaust Museum. 

Film Highlights Include:

Growing Hope tells the story of how one woman, J President & CEO Addie Goodman, reimagined an entire organization to create community and capture the hearts and minds of young people as an outgrowth of the J’s incredible 6-month Violins of Hope residency. Admission is complimentary with registration. June 1, 1pm at the Wayfarer Theater in Highland Park.

Left Alone Rhapsody – The Musical Memoir of Pianist John Baylesis a special film shown in celebration of the J’s new partnership with the ReelAbilities Film Festival International which showcases films by and about people with disabilities. At 25, Leonard Bernstein protégé, John Bayless, debuted at Carnegie Hall. At 54, a stroke immobilized his dominant right side. Soon after, his husband, Bruce, died of cancer. The music stopped. John struggles to transcend paralysis and reinvent himself as a one-handed musician and storyteller. Playing June 1, 3:30pm at Landmark Century Centre in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.

Rabbi On The Block is a feature-length documentary film that features Tamar Manasseh, the charismatic rabbi and community activist from the south side of Chicago who wants African Americans and Jews to become closer allies. Black Jews like Tamar are the natural bridge to help overcome decades of fear, misunderstanding, and lack of communication between these two communities. Playing June 5, 7pm at Wayfarer Theater in Highland Park.

UnBroken, directed, produced and written by Beth Lane, is a documentary that follows the daughter of a Holocaust survivor as she embarks on an international quest to uncover answers about the plight of her mother and her six siblings who, as children, escaped Nazi Germany. Beth Lane and the family will be at the premiere on June 8, 7:30pm at the Wayfarer Theater in Highland Park and June 9, 4pm at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Eva’s Promise is a documentary about Eva, the posthumous stepsister of Anne Frank, who promised to retrieve her brother’s hidden artwork should he not survive the war. Eva’s Promise introduces the teenage painter and poet Heinz Geiringer and his sister’s commitment to share his remarkable legacy with the world. Playing June 16, 4pm at Wayfarer Theater in Highland Park. 

Film Locations:

Wayfarer Theater
1850 2nd Street/Highland Park, IL 60035

Landmark Century Centre
2828 N Clark St/Chicago, IL 60657

Illinois Holocaust Museum
9603 Woods Drive, Skokie, IL 60077

Gene Siskel Film Center
164 N State St/Chicago, IL 60601

The cost for the Film Festival is $15 per film. Special festival pass pricing available for a limited time.

For more information and to purchase tickets VISIT HERE