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raymac Written by raymac
May. 21, 2013 | 4:51 PM

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The 8th Annual Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival Gala Opening Film is PUTZEL

Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival

Beverly Hills – For one week, June 1st through 6th, the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival will screen over 20 “chosen” films from around the world. The LAJFFs goal to present films that preserve and celebrate the rich tapestry of Jewish heritage has been truly accomplished this year with an amazing group of films. The star-studded line up of films touch on subjects that include many of America’s most influential and controversial celebrities. Roman Polanski, Neil Diamond, Johnny Cash, Arthur Hiller, Carl Reiner, Sid Cesar, Hal Kanter, Jerry Lewis, Mort Sahl, Lenny Bruce, Jackie Mason, Jerry Stiller and civil rights leader Medgar Evers all have a place in this year’s film line up. Tickets and full screening information are available at

The Red Carpet, Opening Night Gala is a “must attend” event held at the Writer’s Guild Theater, Each year the opening night attracts top celebrities, industry VIP’s and fans of the festival including: Joan Rivers, Elliott Gould, Theodore Bikel, Jon Voight, MamieVan Doren, Sally Kellerman, Shirley Jones, Arthur Hiller, Walter Koenig and many others. Arrivals begin at 7:30m followed by a Q&A, program with the filmmaker’s and stars from the opening night film and a fabulous desert reception.

This year the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival opens with the Los Angeles premiere for an award winning romantic comedy, “Putzel.”

This laugh-out-loud film, directed by Jason Chaet, has everything a Jewish Film Festival could want: Lox and laughs and New York Jewish humor. “Putzel” stars Melanie Lynskey (“Two and a Half Men”) Jack Carpenter (“The Good Wife”) Susie Essman, (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and John Pankow, (Episodes with Matt LeBlanc, Ira in “Mad About You”) and Fran Kranz (“Cabin in the Woods/Joss Whedon’s “Much Ado About Nothing”). Plus, writer/producer Rick Moore will attend the Q&A.

Tickets for opening night and all the films “chosen” for this year’s Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival are at

Here are highlighted films:

My Father and the Man In Black
This is the Los Angeles premiere for a revealing documentary about Johnny Cash’s sometimes elevated sometimes down relationship with his Jewish manager, Saul Holiff.  Jonathan Holiff, the son of Saul Holiff worked on the film for six years, driven by newly discovered audio diaries and telephone calls recorded by Holiff and Cash in the sixties and seventies, showing another side to Johnny Cash. This is not your typical “talking heads” documentary.  TRAILER:
LAJFF screens this film twice. Monday, 7 pm, June 3rd at the Muvico Theater in Thousand Oaks and screens again on Wednesday, June 5th at 7:30pm, at the Laemmle’s Music Hall Theater in Beverly Hills with a Q&A at both screenings attended by Jonathan Holiff, the filmmaker.

Neil Diamond: Solitary Man, a BBC Documentary
Directed by Mark Cooper, Produced by Samantha Peters
 this 60-minute documentary is making its US Premiere through the LAJFF. It includes interviews and exclusive location filming with Neil Diamond in New York and Los Angeles. There are intimate interviews with Robbie Robertson, Neil Sedaka, Jeff Barry, Mickey Dolenz and other contributors who track Neil from his childhood in Brooklyn to his early days in the Brill Building to his nascent solo career and then superstardom in the early 70s. With a look at the lean years of the 80s and Neil Diamond’s career reboot via Rick Rubin to his Glastonbury, England success. Screening only one time on Sunday, June 2 at 5 pm 
Laemmle’s Music Hall, Beverly Hills with community partner: MorningStar Commission.

Roman Polanski: A Memoir
Directed by Laurent Bouzereau
 United Kingdom/90 mins/2012
 Actor, director, Krakow Ghetto survivor, American fugitive—filmmaker Roman Polanski addresses every aspect of his celebrated, tragic and scandalous life in this intimate documentary. Interviewed by a long-time friend, Polanski sets the record straight on the 1968 murder of his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, by the Manson cult, and his 1977 sexual encounter with a 13-year-old girl that led to his exile and, 30 years later, arrest in Switzerland. Clips from such Polanski classics as ROSEMARY’S BABY, CHINATOWN and THE PIANIST connect the Oscar-winner’s anguished past with his artistic achievements, making for the definitive picture of this complex artist.  Sponsored by LAMOTH, Randol and Pamela Schoenberg, and the Goldrich Family Foundation

The Last White Knight, Is Reconciliation Possible
This is the Los Angeles Premiere with a special Q&A session attended by the Director, Paul Saltzman
. This special program of the LAJFF is being held in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the murder of Medgar Evers. 

The film details 21-year-old Torontonian, Paul Saltzman in 1965 and his trip to Mississippi, as a civil rights volunteer with a Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. Saltzman was arrested with 10 days in jail.  The story picks up after leaving that jail and the resulting interaction he had with a young Klansman who assaulted him. In 2007, Saltzman returned to find the KKK member who had punched him in the head, to explore if individual reconciliation was possible. Once found, a 5-year dialogue ensued. The assailant was, Byron de la Beckwith Jr., whose father, Byron de la Beckwith Sr. murdered NAACP Field Secretary Medgar Evers. This film screens: Tuesday, June 4, 7:30 pm at Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills and again, Wednesday, June 5 at 7:30 pm - Laemmle’s Town Center, Encino- Q&A with director Paul Saltzman. Community Partner: Anti-Defamation League and the Urban League.

Directed by Donna Kanter
 is the story of a group of writers and directors who have been meeting for lunch every other Wednesday for the past 40 years. The members are legends in writing for television, books and film.  This documentary stars Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner, Monty Hall, Arthur Hiller, Rocky Kalish, Hal Kanter, Arthur Marx, Gary Owens, John Rappaport, Matty Simmons and Ben Starr. There is one screening as LAJFF serves up “Lunch” on Sunday, June 2 at 3 pm 
Laemmle’s Music Hall, Beverly Hills with a Q&A including,: Donna Kanter,  Arthur Hiller, Ben Starr,  Rocky Kalish.

When Comedy Went to School” (World Premiere at LAJFF)
Directed by Ron Frank this film focuses on the birth of modern stand-up comedy as it began in the Catskill mountains ( a boot camp for the greatest generation of Jewish-American Comedians). Narrated by Robert Klein the documentary stars Sid Caesar, Larry King, Jerry Lewis, Jerry Stiller, Mort Sahl and others. There will be a Q&A to follow with director Ron Frank, stand-up comedienne Judy Carter and special guests.- Thursday, June 6 at 7:30 pm at the Laemmle’s Town Center Theater in Encino.

The Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival
Sponsored by The Jewish Journal -
“Our films were not just selected, they were chosen.”

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