18th Annual St. Louis Jewish Film Festival begins June 9

An image from ‘Orchestra of Exiles,’ one of two films kicking off the St. Louis  Jewish Film Festival on Sunday, June 9. The film’s director, Josh Aronson, will introduce the film. 

The 18th Annual St. Louis Jewish Film Festival opens Sunday, June 9 at the Landmark Plaza Frontenac Cinema with two musical films. The first, “Hava Nagila  (The Movie),” starts at 4 p.m. The film explores how the  Jewish musical staple has become a worldwide phenomenon. 

After the film, participants will celebrate together with birthday cake in honor of Israel’s 65th birthday as members of local Klezmer band Klezundheit  plays “Hava Nagila.”

At 7 p.m., “Orchestra of Exiles” will be introduced by the film’s director, Josh Aronson. The filmtells of Bronislaw Huberman, a Polish-born (1882) violin prodigy.  Nazism transformed Huberman from artist to prophetic activist. He rescued 1,000 Jewish exiles and brought them to Palestine in 1936, where he founded a national orchestra whose initial concerts were conducted by the renowned Arturo Toscanini. Tickets are $15 each for the opening day films (or $25 for the double feature).

The St. Louis Jewish Film Festival continues through Thursday, June 13 with its celebration of Jewish life in 15 documentary and feature films. 


Historical personalities Theodore Hertzl, the father of the State of Israel, the rock-and-roll hit songwriter Doc Pomus, Broadway legends Irving Berlin and the Gershwins, and the creators of  “Fiddler on the Roof” are featured in documentaries.

The Short Film Competition for emerging filmmakers continues, and this year’s theme is “PEACE.” Students and professionals were challenged to create a five-minute film in a variety of formats including documentary, feature and animation. The winning film will be shown on the opening day of the festival.

All films will screen at the Landmark Plaza Frontenac Cinema (Lindbergh Boulevard and Clayton Road). Ticket prices vary. Tickets for weekday films are $11 in advance and $12 at the door. Or, purchase a four-pack of weekday films for $40. Student tickets (age 16 and under) are $8 for weekday films and $10 for opening day. 

Purchase tickets by phone (314) 442-3179 or online at brownpapertickets.com. A complete Film Festival Schedule is available at stljewishfilmfestival.org  

This year’s Jewish Film Festival co-chairs are Louise Levine and Jeffrey Korn. The festival is a program of the Jewish Community Center.