NYJFF Shorts Program

  • New York Jewish Film Festival
  • Harvey Wang
  • Miriam Luc-Berman
  • Panda Shi Berman
  • Dhimitër Ismailaj-Valona
  • Emily Cheeger
  • Arkadij Khaet
  • Mickey Paatzsch
Last Chance to Rent Jan 23, 12:00 PM ET

New works by Harvey Wang, Miriam Luc-Berman & Panda Shi Berman, Dhimitër Ismailaj-Valona, Emily Cheeger, and Arkadij Khaet & Mickey Paatzsch.

For this program, please click the menu button in the upper right hand corner of your player window to select the next video in the playlist.

The Jewish Museum caught up with each filmmaker for a brief Q&A. Read below:

New York Jewish Film Festival continues through January 26! Get tickets.

Program Features

The Cantor's Last Cantata

Harvey Wang, 2020, USA

This delightful short film follows a local production of the 1947 fringe hit Brooklyn Baseball Cantata by a small reform Jewish synagogue in Brooklyn. Written by George Kleinsinger with lyrics by Michael Stratton, the composition tried to counterbalance the Brooklyn Dodgers’ 1930s losing streak by imagining a glorious World Series victory performance sung across the borough. It didn’t work the desired magic, but the charm of that effort continues to captivate the small ensemble at the heart of Harvey Wang’s film and their cantor, who is about to retire. We watch them as they rehearse, prepare, nosh, and finally perform with joy for their congregation.

Closed captioning available for virtual screenings of The Cantor’s Last Cantata.

To enable closed captions, click on the [CC] button in the bottom right of the player while watching the film.

Mimi and Panda

Miriam Luc-Berman & Panda Shi Berman, 2019, Canada English

In this pair of succinct yet profound short films, first cousins Mimi and Panda reflect on their Chinese and Jewish identities and their family relationships.

Ismail's Dilemma

Dhimitër Ismailaj-Valona, 2020, Albania Albanian with English subtitles

This short narrative film is set in Nazi-occupied Albania in 1944. Ismail is a poor farmer. When two Jewish men on the run seek his help, he welcomes them and allows them to hide in his house. Ismail is upholding a centuries-old Albanian tradition named Besa, a national code of honor which demands that anyone who knocks on your door should be accepted at any cost, no matter their religion or ethnicity. But the Nazis also arrive at Ismail’s door, and he is forced to contend with sacrificing either his family or the guests in his home. Inspired by numerous true stories, director Dhimiter Ismailaj-Valona’s film gives a voice to the many Albanians who protected Jewish refugees at great danger to themselves during World War II.

Holy Woman

Emily Cheeger, 2020, USA Yiddish with English subtitles

By turns sweet and dark, Emily Cheeger’s humorous short about female empowerment in the Hasidic community involves an errant fish bone, facial hair, and a dazzling protagonist. Set in Brooklyn’s Borough Park, , Neshama (Melissa Weisz) is present at the death of a rebbe, which becomes the catalyst for an unprecedented shift in her mind and body. While infused with magical realism, this tale, set in Brooklyn’s Borough Park, examines the very real issues that many men and women in the ultra-Orthodox community face.

Mazel Tov Cocktail

Arkadij Khaet & Mickey Paatzsch, 2020, Germany German and Russian with English subtitles

Khaet and Paatzsch’s entertaining and provocative short film swirls around the story of a 19-year-old Russian Jewish man living in Germany. Note: This film contains strong language.

Bonus Content

New York Jewish Film Festival Trailer
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