Black athlete who put Israeli basketball on the map part of Dayton Jewish Film Festival

The 2021 Dayton Jewish Film Festival features "Aulcie," an award-winning story of retired American-Israeli basketball star Aulcie Perry. The superstar athlete won two EuroLeague championships with Maccabi Tel Aviv (1977, 1981) during his nine seasons with the team. CONTRIBUTED
The 2021 Dayton Jewish Film Festival features "Aulcie," an award-winning story of retired American-Israeli basketball star Aulcie Perry. The superstar athlete won two EuroLeague championships with Maccabi Tel Aviv (1977, 1981) during his nine seasons with the team. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

“The films of this year’s festival reflect the general human condition that anyone can relate to,” festival chair Michael Caruso said.

Stories of courage, hope, humor, adventure, sports, romance and more encompass the 21st annual Dayton Jewish Film Festival, presented in-person and virtually June 8-July 11, courtesy of the Jewish Community Center.

The lineup of internationally award-winning selections of feature films and documentaries will kick-off Tuesday with a screening of “Picture of His Life” at the Dixie Twin Drive-In, 6201 N. Dixie Drive, Dayton.

The 2021 Dayton Jewish Film Festival opens with "Picture of His Life," a documentary about underwater photographer Amos Nachoum. CONTRIBUTED
The 2021 Dayton Jewish Film Festival opens with "Picture of His Life," a documentary about underwater photographer Amos Nachoum. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

The documentary follows underwater photographer Amos Nachoum, who uniquely approaches the most fearsome creatures on Earth face to face without any protection. In fact, he swam with and photographed anacondas, giant leopard seals, great white sharks, orcas and more. The film details his ultimate challenge at age 65: to swim, face to face, unprotected with a polar bear. Along the way, he reflects on his past, particularly serving in an elite commando unit and witnessing the horrors of war.

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“The cinematography for this film is breathtaking,” said Jane Hochstein, JCC director. “Amos contemplates the series of unspoken events that drove him here, to the end of the world. Join us as we watch this long painful journey unfold as Amos finds redemption.”

Other inspirational stories include, “Aulcie,” an award-winning story of retired American-Israeli basketball star Aulcie Perry who played for Maccabi Tel Aviv for nine seasons (1976-1985), “Golda,” chronicling Israeli prime minister Golda Meir, and “Here We Are,” an award-winning drama about a son with special needs.

“As the festival continues, we have diverse genres and stories including a biography, the Holocaust, friendship and valued relationships including unity, empathy and partnership,” Hochstein added.

The 2021 Dayton Jewish Film Festival features "Golda," chronicling Israeli prime minister Golda Meir. CONTRIBUTED
The 2021 Dayton Jewish Film Festival features "Golda," chronicling Israeli prime minister Golda Meir. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: ISRAELI GOVERNMENT PRESS OFFICE: ELDAN DAVID

Credit: ISRAELI GOVERNMENT PRESS OFFICE: ELDAN DAVID

“The films of this year’s festival reflect the general human condition that anyone can relate to, which makes these films relevant to all in the Miami Valley who enjoyed independent films,” echoed Michael Caruso, film festival chair. “The selection committee reviewed many films in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are confident the attendees will share our enthusiasm for the selected films.”

The opening festivities coinciding with “Picture of His Life” begin Tuesday at 7 p.m. Admission is $15 per car. DJ Butch Brown and the Graeter’s Ice Cream truck will be on hand. The remainder of the lineup will continue online with a virtual schedule including three special Zoom programs with directors from four films at no additional charge.

In particular, Hochstein says director Dani Menkin (“Picture of His Life,” “Aulcie”) will auction an official Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball signed by him and Perry. The tax deductible donation will go to the non-profit On The Map Foundation and “will support telling more inspirational stories through film.”

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As the festival approaches, organizers are excited to once again spotlight the diversity of the Jewish people by offering films promoting awareness, appreciation and pride of the culture.

“Our goal is to educate and entertain through evocative, narrative and documentary films that portray the Jewish experience from historic to current global perspectives,” Hochstein said. “It is our hope that our festival plays a role in fostering and promoting connections and a sense of community.”

Virtual films are available for $10 per film or you can purchase a season pass for $50, which includes all online films as well as the opening night admission at the Dixie Twin Drive-In.

For tickets or additional information, visit JewishDayton.org.

Contact this contributing writer at rflorence2@gmail.com.

The 2021 Dayton Jewish Film Festival features "Kiss Me Kosher," a multicultural tale of forbidden love between an Israeli woman and a German woman. CONTRIBUTED
The 2021 Dayton Jewish Film Festival features "Kiss Me Kosher," a multicultural tale of forbidden love between an Israeli woman and a German woman. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

2021 Dayton Jewish Film Festival schedule

June 8 – Opening Night at the Dixie Twin Drive-In – 7 p.m. “Picture of His Life” starting at 9 p.m.

Virtual films:

June 10 – 13: “Aulcie”

June 14 – Zoom with Dani Menkin, director of “Picture of His Life” and “Aulcie”

June 14 – 16 “Here We Are”

June 17 – 20 “My Dearest Enemy”

June 20 – Zoom with director Tziip Trope, facilitated by Marcy L. Paul, PhD

June 21 – 23 “My Name is Sara”

June 24 – 27 “Love It Was Not”

June 28 – 30 “Shared Legacies”

July 1 – 4 “The Crossing”

July 5 – 7 “Kiss Me Kosher”

July 8 – 11 “Golda”

July 11 – Zoom with director Udi Nir

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