Vancouver Jewish Film Festival 2023

My Neighbor Adolf (2022)

My Neighbor Adolf (2022), © My Neighbor Adolf (2022)

03.03.2023 - Article

The 34th Vancouver Jewish Film Festival will take place March 9-26, 2023, and will thrill audiences with a wealth of exciting films, many of them Canadian premieres.
In-person events will take place March 9-19, and some films will be screened online again March 19-26. 
Check out the fantastic program here.
The following films with a connection to Germany are only a small selection from the rich program:

Lost Transport

Wednesday, March 15, 2023 | 1:00 pm
Canadian Premiere 
Country: Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany
Language: Dutch, German, Russian w/English subtitles

In the spring of 1945 a train deporting hundreds of Jewish prisoners gets stranded near a small German village occupied by the Red Army. Condemned to each other and in a context of deep mistrust, desperation and revenge, an unexpected friendship emerges between Russian sniper Vera, village girl Winnie and Jewish-Dutch woman Simone.

My Neighbor Adolf

Tuesday, March 14, 2023 | 8:00 pm
Canadian Premiere 
Language: English, Spanish, German with English subtitles

South America, 1960. A lonely and grumpy Holocaust survivor convinces himself that his new neighbour is none other than Adolf Hitler. Not being taken seriously, he starts an independent investigation to prove his claim, but when the evidence still appears to be inconclusive, Polsky is forced to engage in a relationship with the enemy in order to obtain irrefutable proof.

I'll Be Frank 

Thursday, March 16, 2023 | 5:45 pm
Country: Germany, Australia
Language: English, Polish w/English subtitles
Runtime: 52 minutes (short film)

After receiving a German passport, Aaron takes to his grandfather’s (Frank’s) memoir to understand his connection to his new-found identity. Guided by Frank’s animated memories, Aaron searches for traces of his family’s life in Germany and for his own connection to the place his family once called home. But when his research leads him down a dark path, Aaron is forced to confront a trauma that has long lay hidden under the surface of his family’s identity.

Holy Holocaust

Thursday, March 16, 2023 | 5:45 pm 
Language: English
Runtime: 17 minutes (short film)

A dark family secret from the past is revealed unexpectedly and opens an abyss between two close friends: Jennifer, a German, discovers that she is the black granddaughter of a notorious Nazi commander, and her life is turned upside down, while Noa, an Israeli, is doing whatever she can to prevent her life from turning.

The Basketball Game

Thursday, March 16, 2023 | 5:45 pm
Language: English
Runtime: 6 minutes (short film)

This animated short tells the story of an epic basketball game between kids attending Jewish camp and students of a notorious local Holocaust denier. Nine-year-old Hart is attending Jewish summer camp for the first time. He is both curious and afraid. What awaits him on the basketball court? 
2012, Leo Awards: Nominee – Best Direction in an Animation Program or Series; Nominee – Best Screenwriting in an Animation Program or Series; Nominee – Best Performance in an Animation Program or Series; Nominee – Best Animation Program or Series


Monday, March 13, 2023 | 8:00 pm
Canadian Premiere
Language: Yiddish w/English subtitles

One of the most spell-binding films of this year’s festival, Shttl beautifully captures the life and loves of a Yiddish-speaking village on the eve of the Nazi invasion of Soviet Ukraine. “Mendele, who is living a modern, secular life in Kyiv finds himself drawn back to the familiar and comforting world of the shtetl. Unravelling the simmering tensions between tradition and modernity, director Ady Walter’s debut masterpiece, which is filmed in one extraordinary long shot, recreates a world on the precipice of disaster.” – UK Jewish Film Festival

The Cure for Hate

Sunday, March 12, 2023 | 1:00 pm
Country: Poland, USA, Canada, Germany
Language: English

Tony McAleer is a former Skinhead and Holocaust denier who went on to become a founding member of the anti-hate activist group Life After Hate. Profoundly aware and deeply ashamed of the lineage of hate he’d once promoted, Tony had long contemplated travelling to Auschwitz in the spirit of tshuvah – to bear witness to the inconceivable ravages of the Holocaust, and deepen his personal work against the rise of extremist politics. This film documents his profoundly personal journey of atonement to Auschwitz/Birkenau – exploring the conditions that allowed for the rise of fascism in 1930s Europe; shedding a unique light upon how men get into, and out of, violent extremist groups; and serving as a cautionary tale for our time that underscores the dangers in allowing hate to be left unchecked.


With Guests Director Peter Hutchison and Tony McAleer

Three Minutes a Lengthening

Tuesday, March 14, 2023 | 1:00 pm
Canadian Premiere 
Language: English, Polish, German, Yiddish w/English subtitles

Bianca Stigter’s documentary transforms rare colour home-movie footage shot in 1938 Poland into a testament to victims of the Holocaust. Home movies may be the most haunting cinema of all, taking on the lustre of loss and mortality with each passing year. The home movies Glenn Kurtz found in his parents’ home in Florida were rarer and more precious still. His award-winning book, Three Minutes in Poland, explores the amateur footage his grandfather shot on a European trip in 1938, focusing on members of the Jewish community in Nasielsk, Poland, just one year before the Nazis invaded on their murderous campaign.

You Will Not Play Wagner

Friday, March 10, 2023 | 1:00 pm
Canadian Premiere 
Language: English

Performing Wagner has been unofficially banned in Israel since the creation of the State because he was a cultural touchstone of Nazism. But could Wagner’s music transcend the antisemitic views of its creator? When Ya’akov, an Israeli conductor, announces he will play Wagner in the finals of the Esther Greenbaum International Conductors’ Competition, Esther, a Holocaust survivor, must face a moral dilemma: whether the trauma of the past justifies stifling the future of young talent.

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