Join us for premieres and previews, meet filmmakers, and engage in conversations about topics central to our community.

Cinematters: Film @ the JCC

JCC Manhattan's film program showcases films that promote change and reflect on pertinent themes. Featuring previews and special engagements, CINEMATTERS emphasizes films on social justice, social action, and matters crucial to our New York community and society at large. Presenting movies from around the world, our screenings include special guest speakers, filmmakers, actors, and other interactive opportunities to further engage with the themes in our award-winning films. We believe films move and impact audiences and are one of the most compelling ways to effect change. We invite you to be inspired, join the conversation, and begin to change our world.


Upcoming Screenings

Tree Man
  • Tue, Dec 08 7:30 PM
  • $9.00 / $12.00

Dir. Jon Reiner & Brad Rothschild (USA, 2015, 82 min.)

Every holiday season, hundreds of Christmas tree sellers descend upon the streets of New York City to ply their trade. Having left their homes and families behind, often living out of their cars and vans, they endure the adversity of a migrant's survival. Francois, a "Tree Man" and father of three from Quebec, returns to the same Manhattan street corner each year to deliver the magic of the season. TREE MAN explores Francois' journey and the relationships that sustain him -- with his customers, employees and the people of his adopted neighborhood. While he may sell trees for a living, it is his role as the neighborhood Tree Man that draws the community closer together and gives meaning to his grueling month far from home.

Special Preview: Son of Saul
  • Tue, Dec 15 7:30 PM
  • FREE for Everybody

Dir. László Nemes (Hungary, 2015, 107 min.)

Winner of the Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix

October 1944, Auschwitz-Birkenau. Saul Ausländer is a Hungarian member of the Sonderkommando, the group of Jewish prisoners isolated from the camp and forced to assist the Nazis in the machinery of large-scale extermination. While working in one of the crematoriums, Saul discovers the body of a boy he takes for his son. As the Sonderkommando plans a rebellion, Saul decides to carry out an impossible task: save the child's body from the flames, find a rabbi to recite the mourner’s Kaddish and offer the boy a proper burial.

Son of Saul opens in theaters Dec 18.

Autism in Love
  • Tue, Jan 12 7:30 PM
  • $9.00 / $12.00

Dir. Matt Fuller (USA, 2015, 76 min.)

Autism in Love explores the lives of four adults with autism as they pursue and manage romantic relationships. The film captures those unexplored experiences and harnesses the power of cinema to reveal the truths of this otherwise marginalized community, presenting a personal and critical perspective on the most important aspect of the human condition -- love.

  • Mon, Jan 18 5:00 PM
  • $9.00 / $12.00

Dir. Aviva Kempner (USA, 2015, 100 min)

The incredible story of Julius Rosenwald, who never finished high school but rose to become the President of Sears. Influenced by the writings of the educator Booker T. Washington, this Jewish philanthropist joined forces with African American communities during the Jim Crow South to build over 5,300 schools during the early part of the 20th century. Inspired by the Jewish ideals of tzedakah (charity) and tikkun olam (repairing the world), and a deep concern over racial inequality in America, Julius Rosenwald used his wealth to become one of America’s most effective philanthropists. Because of his modesty, Rosenwald’s philanthropy and social activism are not well-known today. He gave away $62 million in his lifetime.

Every Face Has a Name
  • Tue, Jan 26 7:30 PM
  • $9.00 / $12.00

Dir. Magnus Gerten (Sweden, 2015, 73 min.)

On April 28, 1945, the lives of hundreds of refugees changed. Now, 70 years later, they are discovering that someone filmed them. In Every Face has a Name, survivors from World War II tell their stories as they discover themselves in an archive reel on the day they were finally liberated from the German camps. In the archive film, they are anonymous faces in large crowds of refugees. But they all have a name. And they all have a story to tell. Just like the many stories we hear about refugees in Europe today.

Refugee Kids: One Small School Takes On the World
  • Tue, Feb 02 7:30 PM
  • $9.00 / $12.00

Dir. Renee Silverman and Peter Miller (USA, 2014, 40 min)

The film follows students at a New York City summer program for children seeking asylum from the world’s most volatile conflicts. It presents an intimate, emotionally gripping account of the students’ stories of escaping war and conflict and resettling in America, chronicling their triumphs and setbacks as their lives unfold over the course of one formative summer. Refugee Kids humanizes complex geopolitics and depicts the challenges and urgency of immigration to America in an increasingly dangerous -- and interconnected -- world.

  • Tue, Feb 09 7:30 PM
  • $9.00 / $12.00

Dir. Atom Egoyan (Canada, 2015, 96 min)

Remember tells the story of Zev Guttman (Academy Award-winner Christopher Plummer), a 90-year-old struggling with memory loss. A week following the death of his wife, he gets a mysterious package from his close friend Max (Academy Award-winner Martin Landau), containing a stack of money and a letter detailing a shocking plan. Both Zev and Max were prisoners in Auschwitz, and the same sadistic guard was responsible for the death of both their families—a guard who, immediately after the war, escaped Germany and has been living in the U.S. ever since under an assumed identity. Max is wheelchair-bound but in full command of his mental faculties; with his guidance, Zev will embark on a cross-continental road trip to bring justice once and for all to the man who destroyed both of their lives.

A Shtetl in the Caribbean
  • Tue, Feb 16 7:30 PM
  • $9.00 / $12.00

Dir. Sherman De Jesus (Netherlands, 2014, 99 min.)

This road movie documentary tells the never-before-seen and compelling story of two childhood friends, children of Jews who fled pogroms and poverty and ended up in the Caribbean. In search of their family history in Eastern Europe, they travel through the Caribbean, the United States, Belarus, Ukraine, and Israel. We witness their discoveries, courage, and despair as they are confronted with the sacrifices their parents had to make to provide them with a better future. The film offers a unique voice to the mostly unknown story of the Jewish communities in the Caribbean.

The Chaos Within
  • Tue, Feb 23 7:30 PM
  • $9.00 / $12.00

Dir. Yakov Yanai Lein (Israel, 2014, 85 min.)

Yannai's mother, Faiga Ashlag, wanted him to be the Messiah and help her in saving the world by spreading the secrets of Kabbalah. He chose instead, at the age of 14, to run away to the streets of Tel Aviv where he became a drug addict. Faiga is a holocaust survivor, who at the age of 45 married Rabbi Ashlag, 85. He taught her the secrets of Kabbalah and thereafter passed away. Since then, Rebbetizin Faiga has been trying to save the world from self-annihilation. An autobiographic documentary.

The Good Son
  • Tue, Mar 01 7:30 PM
  • $9.00 / $12.00

Dir. Shirly Berkovitz (Israel, 2013, 52 min)

The incredible story of 22-year-old Or, who secretly finances his sex change operation in Thailand by lying to his conservative parents, and then returns home as a woman to face her new life, her family, and the cost of living her dream.

Projections of America
  • Tue, Mar 22 7:30 PM
  • $9.00 / $12.00

Dir. Peter Miller (Canada, 2014, 52 min.)

During the darkest hour of the WWII, a team of idealistic filmmakers hoped the power of the movies could reshape the world. Led by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Robert Riskin, the filmmakers created 26 short documentaries about American life, which were shown to millions of people around the world. The “Projections of America” films told stories of cowboys and oilmen, farmers and window washers, immigrants and school children, capturing the optimism and messiness of American democracy. But 70 later, the films have disappeared. John Lithgow narrates this story of war, idealism, and the power of cinema.

Most Likely to Succeed
  • Tue, Mar 29 7:30 PM
  • $9.00 / $12.00

Dir. Greg Whitely (USA, 2015, 86 min.)

The current educational system in the United States was developed a century ago, during the rise of the industrial age, and was once the envy of the world. However, the world economy has since transformed profoundly, but the US education system has not. Schools are attempting to teach and test skills, when mastered, that still leave graduates woefully unprepared for the 21st Century. After presenting this problem, the documentary focuses on the story of a school in San Diego that is completely rethinking what the experience of going to school looks like. As we follow students, parents, and teachers through a truly unorthodox school experience, the audience is forced to consider the question: what sort of educational environment is most likely to succeed in the 21st Century?

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