A Summer of Film

A virtual series highlighting the global Jewish experience, playing now through August.

A Summer of Film, presented by the Ann Arbor Jewish Film Festival and the Cinetopia Film Festival is a curated online series celebrating the depth and diversity of Jewish filmmaking and subjects from around the world.

From documentaries about the lives of trans kids in Israel, a modern-day cantor, and one of the greatest underwater photographers of all time, to an historical drama featuring Sigmund Freud, and a comedy about the power of love, A Summer of Film will bring the Ann Arbor Jewish Film Festival experience to your home.


Rent for $12 via the Michigan Theater. Must watch and finish within 5 days purchase.

Crescendo (2019)

When world-famous conductor Eduard Sporck accepts the task of creating an Israeli-Palestinian youth orchestra, he is quickly drawn into a tempest of unsolvable problems.

Having grown up in a state of war, suppression and the constant risk of terror attacks, the young musicians on both sides are far from able to form a team. Lined up behind the two best violinists – the emancipated Palestinian Layla and the handsome Israeli Ron – they form two parties who deeply distrust each other, on and off-stage alike.

Will Sporck succeed and make the young people forget their hatred, at least for the three weeks until the concert?


2019. 106 min. Drama. NR.

A remarkable theatrical movie and contribution to the worldwide efforts toward understanding, humanity and peace.” – Jewish Press

Watch the trailer here


Rent for $12 via the Michigan Theater. Must watch and finish within 48 hours

Abe (2018)

Twelve-year-old Abe (Noah Schnapp) is an aspiring chef who wants his cooking to bring people together–but his half-Israeli, half-Palestinian family has never had a meal that didn’t end in a fight.

Ditching his traditional summer camp, Abe begins working with Chico (Seu Jorge), an adventurous street chef who encourages him to think outside his old cuisines. But when Abe’s deceit is uncovered, he must grapple with his family, his background, and his passions, and whether even the most lovingly-cooked family dinner can heal old wounds.

Presented in English, Arabic and Portuguese with subtitles. 2018. Drama/Comedy. 85 min. NR.

“A great measure of Abe’s success is that it made me hungry. More than that, it’s the first movie in quite some time to make me smile.” – Ty Burr, Boston Globe

Watch the trailer here


Rent for $9.99 via the Michigan Theater. Must watch and finish within 3 days of purchase.

Picture of His Life (2019)

Amos Nachoum is one of the greatest underwater photographers of all time.

Fascinated by the most fearsome creatures on Earth, he has developed a unique approach, that puts him face to face with his subjects, without any protection. He has swam with and photographed anacondas, giant leopard seals, great white sharks, orcas and crocodiles, but now, at the age of 65, he is about to face his ultimate challenge: to swim, face face, unprotected with a polar bear.

In English, Hebrew, and Inuktitut with English subtitles. 2019. 71 minutes. Documentary. NR.

“A fascinating portrait of a modern-day, benign Ahab.”Hollywood Reporter

Watch the trailer here

Join Amos Nachoum, director Dani Menkin, and producer Nancy Spielberg for a live virtual Q&A on Sunday, June 28, at 7 PM EST. Register here.

Rent for $12 via the Michigan Theater. Must watch and finish within 72-hours of purchase.

Aviva (2020)

Aviva is a uniquely sexy dancing in the streets, sheets and bars impressionistic take on a movie romance, set in a New York world of gender-fluid and frequently fully unclothed bodies. Director Boaz Yakin ‘s (Fresh, Remember the Titans, A Price Above Rubies) dreamy film, with choreography from former member of Israeli dance company Batsheva Dance Company and co-star Bobbi Jene Smith, tells a story that is timeless, universal and yet up-to-the-moment.

Incorporating exuberant dance sequences, and featuring a pair of principal characters played by four different actors daringly expressing both masculine and feminine sides, Aviva captures a restless and changing today where who we are as women and men, and how we navigate the world, is up for grabs.

An official selection of the 2020 SXSW Film Festival.

116 minutes. Drama/Dance/Romance. Not rated.

“What’s fresh about it: its questioning of gender, its use of dance not as an entertaining interlude but as a primary mode of expression.”The New York Times

Watch the trailer here

Rent for $12 via the Michigan Theater. Must watch and finish within 72-hours of purchase.

Love In Suspenders (2019)

Tami is a widow in her 60s and Beno is a widower in his 70s. She is optimistic, always smiling, and still talking to her husband who has been dead for a few years already. Beno is tougher on the outside, but also still suffering from the loss of his wife. Tami and her husband were successful singers so now she lives comfortably in a beautiful retirement home. He, on the other hand, is finding it hard to pay the monthly rent. Notwithstanding their differences in lifestyle and personality, and their interfering offspring and neighbors, they eventually fall in love.

2019. Hebrew with English subtitles. Comedy/Romance. 98 minutes. Not rated.

Watch the trailer here

Rent for $12 via the Michigan Theater. Must watch and finish within 48-hours of purchase.

One Day After Peace (2012)

Can the means used to resolve the conflict in South Africa be applied to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict? As someone who experienced both conflicts firsthand, Robi Damelin wonders about this. Born in South Africa during the apartheid era, she later lost her son, who was serving with the Israeli Army reserve in the Occupied Territories

At first she attempted to initiate a dialogue with the Palestinian who killed her child. When her overtures were rejected, she embarked on a journey back to South Africa to learn more about the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s efforts in overcoming years of enmity. Robi’s thought-provoking journey leads from a place of deep personal pain to a belief that a better future is possible.

2012. Hebrew and English. Documentary. 86 minutes. Not rated.

Watch the trailer here

Rent for $12 via the Michigan Theater. Must watch and finish within 5-days of purchase. You may watch as many times as you want in those 5 days.

The Tobacconist (2018)

Seventeen-year-old Franz journeys to Vienna to apprentice at a tobacco shop. There he meets Sigmund Freud (Bruno Gantz), a regular customer, and over time the two very different men form a singular friendship.

When Franz falls desperately in love with the music-hall dancer Anezka, he seeks advice from the renowned psychoanalyst, who admits that the female sex is as big a mystery to him as it is to Franz.

As political and social conditions in Austria dramatically worsen with the Nazis’ arrival in Vienna, Franz, Freud, and Anezka are swept into the maelstrom of events. Each has a big decision to make: to stay or to flee?

2018. German with English subtitles. Drama. 114 minutes. Not rated.

“Although there have been other films made about this traumatic period of history, the unique characters and the voluptuous filmmaking contribute to one more worthwhile journey to a dark corner of the past.”The Hollywood Reporter

Watch the trailer here

Rent for $11.99 via the Michigan Theater. Must watch and finish within 48-hours of purchase.

Shooting Life (2019)

While helping his war-weary students find their own voices, a high school teacher attempts to start a new life in an Israeli town perpetually in danger, in the teen drama Shooting Life. Yigal (Mickey Leon), a middle-aged divorcé and unemployed film director from Tel Aviv, accepts a position teaching filmmaking in Sderot, near the Gaza border where air raid sirens and missile attacks are ubiquitous.

Though they’re slow to warm to him, he gains his 12th-grade students’ trust by coaxing them to film their own stories of love and loss. With their cameras on themselves, they connect with family members, discovering secrets about their lives. But Yigal’s fervent commitment to honest self-expression leads some kids into conflict with their parents, and puts him at odds with his school principal.

Bolstered by a strong ensemble cast of up-and-coming young actors, this engrossing coming-of-age story ponders, from the next generation’s viewpoint, the shattered dreams and future hopes of the Middle East.

2019. Hebrew with English subtitles. Drama. 87 minutes. Not rated.

Watch the trailer here

Rent for $12 via the Michigan Theater. Must watch and finish within 48-hours of purchase.

Transkids (2019)

Four Israeli teenagers undergo an irreversible life-altering process. Four Israeli families must grapple with the unsettling process their child goes through during the already brutal enough teenage years; each in its one way.

Four years of intimate and raw documenting paint an emotional, dramatic, and eye-opening picture at the heart of which are some fundamental questions: what does it mean to be born in a body that is misaligned with your gender? How would we, as parents, react when the child we have raised turns out to be a different person to the one we thought they were? And is our love for our children truly unconditional?

In a long, unprecedented documentary journey, the director chronicles the physical, emotional and social ups and down in the foursome’s and their families’ lives – Israeli teens who, despite the hefty price, are no longer afraid of being themselves.

2019. Hebrew with English Subtitles. Documentary. 103 Minutes. Not rated.

Watch the trailer here

Rent for $9.99 or buy for $19.99 via the Michigan Theater. Must watch and finish within 3-days of purchase.

The House on Wannsee Street (2020)

Generations of an Argentinean family’s secrets are uncovered in this sweeping international story that begins with the Second World War and concludes with an emotional twenty-first-century revelation.

THE HOUSE ON WANNSEE STREET tells the story of film director Poli, who lives in Buenos Aires. Her son decides to take his Bar Mitzvah, in spite of the fact that Poli has no religious traditions, though she does know her mother is of Jewish origin. Poli digs deep into her family’s history, asking herself why she was not raised as a Jew. She searches in family albums and 8mm movies, and finds turn-of-the-century images of her great grandfather Otto, a lay Jewish German philosopher persecuted by the Nazi. The family is forced to leave their house in Berlin because of Nazi persecution. They first move to Egypt, then Switzerland and finally Argentina, where they need to get Church papers to enter the country, since after Second World War Jewish were not accepted as immigrants. Poli investigates how her mother and her two aunts live in the present this story of exile, where the Jewish and German identity is marked by exile. Eighty years later, Poli returns to Germany to her grandmother’s house on Wannsee Street, a few meters from where the Final Solution was decreed for all Jews in Europe.

2020. English and Spanish with English Subtitles. Documentary. 70 Minutes. Not rated.

Watch the trailer here

Rent for $9.99 or buy for $19.99 via the Michigan Theater. Must watch and finish within 3-days of purchase.

A Cantor’s Head (2020)

One of the world’s leading cantorial masters departs the bema, prompting questions about the dwindling tradition of Jewish sacred music. With his outsized Brooklyn personality, Cantor Jack Mendelson has been dubbed the Michael Jordan of Hazzanut. As both a performing artist and teacher, he has inspired legions of admirers worldwide, combining spiritual exploration, communal bonding and dazzling showmanship. But after years of service, his operatic voice is no longer wanted, as his White Plains synagogue replaces him with a younger cantor. Running the gamut of emotions, Cantor Mendelson, his protégés, and other musical luminaries explain the magic of this centuries-long art form, and what its loss represents.

2020. English and Hebrew with English Subtitles. Documentary. 87 Minutes. Not rated.

Watch the trailer here

Available to stream August 7-14

Rent for the discounted price of $10 via the Michigan Theater. Use discount code Mich20 to receive discount. Must watch and finish within 48 hours.

The Keeper (2019)

The Keeper tells the incredible true story of Bert Trautmann (David Kross), a German soldier and prisoner of war who, against a backdrop of British post-war protest and prejudice, secures the position of Goalkeeper at Manchester City, and in doing so becomes a footballing icon. His signing causes outrage to thousands of fans, many of them Jewish. But Bert receives support from an unexpected direction: Rabbi Alexander Altmann, who fled the Nazis. Bert’s love for Margaret (Freya Mavor), an Englishwoman, carries him through and he wins over even his harshest opponents by winning the 1956 FA Cup Final, playing on with a broken neck to secure victory. But fate will soon twist the knife for Bert and Margaret, when their love and loyalty to each other is put to the ultimate test.

2019. English. Drama. 113 Minutes. Not rated.

Watch the trailer here

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