By Jewish Community Alliance


Jewish Film returns to the JCA next month as part of its Jewish Cultural Arts Festival, November 1-15. Four superb films are screening to celebrate Jewish life, culture, and history. Regular attendees of the Jacksonville Jewish Film Festival know they can count on thoughtful and thought-provoking film selections, and this year will not disappoint. 

“The goal is to bring an excellent representation of the Jewish experience in a well-curated selection of films,” said festival chair Sherrie Saag. “This year, several of the films should appeal to wider audiences, and our first screening is a film appropriate for families with children age 13 and older.”


JCA Discover Culture Film line up:

A Bag of Marbles, Sunday, Nov. 4 at 2 p.m.

France – 2017 – 112 min – Narrative – French with English subtitles 
Director: Christian Duguay
In Paris, 1941, brothers Joseph and Maurice, ages 10 and 12, have so little understanding of the persecution of Jews that Joseph thinks nothing of swapping his yellow star for a bag of marbles. Despite their naiveté, their father, Roman, knows that their best chance to escape the Nazi roundup is to flee on their own to Vichy France.
A truly heartwarming story of brotherly love set against the war’s atrocities in occupied France. French Jewish author Joseph Joffo’s memoir was an instant bestseller. The film was a box office success in France and has received accolades at Jewish film festivals across the U.S. 


Sammy Davis, Jr.: I Gotta Be Me, Sunday, Nov. 11 at 2 p.m.

USA – 2018 – 100 min – Documentary – English 
Director: Sam Pollard
An undisputable legend and uniquely gifted entertainer, Sammy Davis, Jr. strove to achieve the American Dream through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress during 20th century America. He was the most public Black figure of his time to embrace Judaism. 
Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me is the first major film documentary to examine Davis and features interviews with Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis and Whoopi Goldberg, never-before-seen photographs from Davis’ vast personal collection and excerpts from his electric performances. 

Director Sam Pollard called Davis, Jr., “the Michael Jackson of his time, and the response to this film has been mind-boggling.” 


Wendy’s Shabbat, Thursday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.

USA – 2017 – 10 min – Documentary – English 
Director: Rachel Myers
An Act of Defiance, Closing Night 
Netherlands – 2018 – 123 min – Drama – English, Afrikaans 
Director: Jean van de Velde   
A double feature? Not quite. But the festival begins closing night with a special short documentary, Wendy’s Shabbat, an official selection of the Tribeca Film Festival. In just ten minutes, delight in the lengths to which Jewish seniors go to find connection and meaning in modern-day America. This is a story of rediscovering the joys of community and the longing for ritual, however unorthodox it may appear. “It’s impossible to watch this film and not have your faith in humanity restored. That’s just how heartwarming it is,” said Saag.

Abram “Bram” Fischer was a gutsy Jewish lawyer who risked career and family to defend Nelson Mandela and his inner circle (some of whom were also Jewish) when they faced possible death sentences after their arrests during a 1963 raid.

In An Act of Defiance, Dutch filmmaker Jean van de Velde captures a dark period in South Africa’s history, skillfully balancing a nail-biting political thriller with spectacular courtroom intrigue while paying tribute to the legendary figures who fought to end segregation and corruption in their country.
Fischer has been called one of the bravest unknown Jewish heroes of the 20th century and An Act of Defiance has screened to rave reviews across the country. 


Running November 1-15, the JCA Jewish Cultural Arts Festival events, including all films, are free and open to the entire community. We are grateful to all our generous sponsors who make this possible. Visit for a list of festival events or contact Lior Spring at 730-2100 ext. 318 or for more information or to donate.