The Hippo


Jul 4, 2020








 2015 New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival lineup

• Southern New Hampshire University: 2500 N. River Road, Manchester; The Outrageous Sophie Tucker Thursday, March 19, at 7 p.m., with Susan and Lloyd Ecker
• SERESC: 29 Commerce Drive, Bedford; Little White Lie Saturday, March 21, at 8 p.m.; Gala Night on the Town Film, with speaker Lacey Schwartz
• Cinemagic: 11 Executive Park Drive, Merrimack; 24 Days Sunday, March 22, 1 p.m.; Hill Start Sunday, March 22, 4 p.m.
• The Music Hall Loft: 131 Congress St., Portsmouth; Run Boy Run Sunday, March 22, at 1:30 p.m.; Hill Start Sunday, March 22, at 4 p.m.
• Putnam Arts Lecture Hall: Keene State College, 229 Main St., Keene; Run Boy Run Sunday, March 22, at 2 p.m., with post-film discussion; Kidon Saturday, March 28, at 8 p.m.; Magic Men Sunday, March 29, at 2 p.m.
• Red River Theatres: 11 S. Main St., Concord; Magic Men Thursday, March 26, at 7 p.m.; Kidon Saturday, March 28, at 8 p.m.; Jon Imber’s Left Hand Sunday, March 29, at 12:30 p.m., with Richard Kane and Ron Hoffman; God’s Slave Sunday, March 29, at 2:30 p.m.; and Deliman Sunday, March 29, at 4:30 p.m., includes wrap party

Compelling stories
10 films, six cities for NH Jewish Film Festival

By Kelly Sennott

Granite State premieres, filmmaker Q&As and distinct “Jewish” personalities — that’s what you’ll get at the 2015 New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival.

Audiences will hear Jewish stories from the United States, Israel, France, Germany, Argentina and Uruguay, and they’ll meet a variety of Jewish people, including a deli owner, a New England artist with ALS and the “Forrest Gump” of the early 1900s. The festival spans March 19 through March 29 and comprises 10 films in six towns. 
“We’re interested in connecting audiences with Jewish people from all over the world,” said Linda Gerson, co-chair of the 2015 festival. “We pick quality films with really compelling stories and universal themes. But we also like to mix it up and pick films in different categories.”
The festival starts off at Southern New Hampshire University Thursday, March 19, where filmmakers Susan and Lloyd Ecker will be present to talk about that day’s screening, The Outrageous Sophie Tucker. They spent the past several years compiling information about the Jewish female singer who paved the way for performers like Marilyn Monroe, Bette Midler, Cher, Madonna and Lady Gaga. Tucker was “proudly Jewish” during the height of anti-semitism and felt that women can do whatever they want.
“She was the first woman in the United States to get up and talk about sex on the stage!” Lloyd Ecker said in a phone interview.
Their book, I am Sophie Tucker, is based on 400 scrapbooks Tucker left behind. The outspoken singer tried for nine years to get her memoir published, but nobody was interested — it was too risque for the time. All the better for the Eckers, who, through their research, learned she was friends with seven presidents, King George VI, young Queen Elizabeth, Charlie Chaplin, J. Edgar, Al Capone, Judy Garland, Jerry Lewis, Frank Sinatra and an assortment of other VIPs. For the film, the Eckers interviewed 60 witnesses still alive (including Tony Bennett and Barbara Walters), and there’s also talk of the story moving to Broadway.
Afterward, the festival will stop in Bedford, Portsmouth, Keene, Merrimack and Concord. Most films are stand-alones — topics include the new anti-semitism, terrorism and Holocaust survivors — while others will be accompanied by lectures or Q&As. 
Filmmaker Richard Kane will be at Red River Theatres to talk about Jon Imber’s Left Hand, about the years after New England artist Jon Imber is diagnosed with ALS. 
“His paintings knocked my socks off,” Kane said during a phone interview. 
Kane and Imber had a shared past — they were both Jewish, and Imber was born in the same town Kane was raised in on Long Island — and their backgrounds were nearly identical in terms of ages, families and activities. 
Filming began December 2012. In the beginning, “We see Jon and we document him looking and sounding very normal and very brilliant,” Kane said. 
The film follows the disease’s progression and Imber’s determination to finish his life’s work — in a four-month span, he painted more than 100 portraits. But Kane had to accelerate the process when it became clear Imber’s health was failing. He finished the film for the 2014 Maine Jewish Film Festival last March, just in time for Imber to give his approval before he died. 
“He loved it,” Kane said. “At that point, he couldn’t speak. … But he said something about how he thought this film would go far.”
Rave reviews made the front page of the Boston Globe. Kane has been showing a newly edited version of the film, with music by Noel Paul Stookey (from Peter, Paul and Mary). It won best documentary at the Boston Jewish Film Festival, so adding it to New Hampshire’s lineup was a no-brainer.
“The film is so inspiring. Throughout it, Imber is amazingly upbeat,” Gerson said.
As seen in the March 12, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

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