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SIFF, Jewish Community present Sedona Jewish Film Festival Nov. 5-7


The United States of Elie Tahari

The United States of Elie Tahari


Originally Published: November 2, 2022 1:35 p.m.

The Sedona International Film Festival is proud to team up with the Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley to present the Sedona Jewish Film Festival Nov. 5-7 at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre. The program will feature five award-winning feature films from around the world.

iMordecai — Opening Night Film

Saturday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m.

Opening night kicks off with a heart-warming comedy based on a true story — “iMordecai” — starring Academy Award-nominated and two-time Emmy-winning actor Judd Hirsch (star of the Emmy-winning sitcom “Taxi,” “Ordinary People,” “Independence Day”), alongside Oscar nominee Carol Kane (“Hester Street”) and Oscar-nominee Sean Astin (“The Lord of the Rings”).

Marvin is an ambitious cigar maker trying to support his own family while still being there for his aging parents, Mordecai and Fela. When Mordecai’s ancient flip phone breaks, he starts to take lessons on his new iPhone, opening him up to all kinds of novel experiences and adventures, which makes him feel like a kid again.

“iMordecai” is an uplifting comedy that urges us all to live the one life we have to the fullest.

WET DOG

Sunday, Nov. 6, at 4 p.m.

Solheil is 15, when his Jewish-Iranian family moves to Wedding, one of Berlin’s multicultural, mostly Muslim, neighborhoods. While the other kids listen to hip hop music, and the Wedding Tigers gang dominates the city with their graffiti and start fights with other local crews, eager to fit in, Soheil hides his true origins. At night he becomes the writer King Star, covering the city in colorful tags and mural paintings; during the day, he flirts with Selma — one of the cool girls.

Until one day, Soheil’s gang of friends decides to rob the local “Jew-lery”, as they call it, ran by none other than Soheil’s parents. It’s then that Soheil has to embrace who he is and where he comes from, with regular visits to the local library to learn about Judaism.

Based on a provocative autobiography written twenty years ago, “Wet Dog” raises questions of cultural diversity, religious identity, and how they intersect with friendship, especially during the phase of rawness and exploration that are one’s teenage years.

BERENSHTEIN

Sunday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m.

The last surviving member of the great partisans who located Hitler’s secret weapon, the V2 missile development facility, revisits his past as a soldier in World War II. By diving into his traumatic memories, he is forced to grapple with the dissociation and loss of identity that ensued after the war. Despite this adversity, it becomes clear that he is able to stay true to his values through it all. Based on the true story of Leonid Berenshtein.

THE RESTLESS HUNGARIAN

Monday, Nov. 7, at 4 p.m.

Director Tom Weidlinger retraces his famous father Paul Weidlinger’s footsteps across the globe, from his early childhood in Budapest to founding an internationally renowned structural engineering firm in the United States. Paul Weidlinger collaborated with some of the world’s most famous architects and artists to create brilliant, innovative buildings influenced by Bauhaus and modernist design and based on his own philosophy of the “Joy of Space,” inspired by dance.

Told through hand-drawn sketches, archival footage, photographs, letters, paintings, songs and dramatic reenactments, this documentary paints a vivid portrait of the challenges Paul Weidlinger overcame as a refugee who fled Europe for Bolivia and ultimately the US during the Holocaust. While celebrating his accomplishments and legacy, Weidlinger grapples with his father’s involvement in the Cold War building missile siloes as well as the history of mental illness in his family, particularly the tragic stories of his mother, sister and nephew. Few know that Paul Weidlinger founded his own engineering firm to afford the cost of the mental institution where his first wife had been committed.

With readings from his memoir, The Restless Hungarian: Modernism, Madness, and the American Dream, Tom Weidlinger powerfully uncovers his father’s secrets.

This special screening of “The Restless Hungarian” will be followed by a Zoom Q&A with director Tom Weidlinger, moderated by Rabbi Alicia Magal.

THE UNITED STATES OF ELIE TAHARI

Monday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m.

Fashion Designer and Mogul Elie Tahari has been living the American Dream for more than 50 years. He came to New York in 1971, from Israel, with less than $100 in his pocket, slept on benches in Central Park, and went on to build a billion-dollar fashion empire. There are thousands of fashion companies worldwide, but only three have lasted for being more than 45 years globally and are still run by their founders: Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, and Elie Tahari.

“The United States of Elie Tahari” is the first documentary ever produced about Elie Tahari. Filmed in 2020, this highly anticipated documentary tells the life of Elie Tahari from his birth and origins (born in Israel with Iranian parents) throughout all of his achievements and legacy. Part of the documentary is also dedicated to Tahari’s creative process and endurance in the fashion world.

Several fashion personalities such as Fern Mallis (aka the Godmother of Fashion), Melissa Rivers, Fashion designers Nicole Miller and Dennis Basso, Arthur S. Levine, Wallstreet Journal Fashion Journalist Teri Agins, as well as Disco music, models, Studio 54 and more, are part of the film.

The Sedona Jewish Film Festival is presented by the Cultural Committee of the Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley and the Sedona International Film Festival.

Tickets for each show are $12 general admission, or $9 for Film Festival members. For tickets and more information, please call 928-282-1177. Both the theatre and film festival office are located at 2030 W. Hwy. 89A, in West Sedona. For more information and to order tickets online, visit SedonaFilmFestival.org.

Information provided by SIFF.