Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Falasha Films: San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and MOAD turn spotlight on the Ethiopian-Israeli experience

Roni Hadar as Sarah (left) and Sirak M. Sabahat as Shlomo in Radu Mihaileanu's "Live and Become," the closing-night feature of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.

This week the Museum of the African Diaspora (MOAD), The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and the San Francisco Black Film Festival team up to screen films about Ethiopian Jews and Jews of Color as part of SFJFF's 26th year. I'm so excited that this fascinating but overlooked aspect of Jewish culture is finally getting some attention by filmmakers.

Israel, 2005, 54 minutes, Amharic, and Hebrew with English subtitles.

"Winner of the 1st Prize for Documentary Film at the Jerusalem International Film Festival, Sisai is an emotional and eye-opening portrait of immigrants caught between two worlds and two identities. When 23-year-old Sisai, an Ethiopian Jew living in Israel, learns that his adoptive dad has located his biological father in Ethiopia, the two of them, along with his brother (and filmmaker) David Gavro, embark on an unforgettable journey back to Africa. In San Francisco and Berkeley, followed by panel discussions as part of Spotlight on: Ethiopian Jews and Jews of Color."

Sisai will be preceded by
Motherless Haya - North American Premiere, Israel, 2004, 14 minutes, Hebrew, with English subtitles. Haya Zelka, an Ethiopian teenager in the Israeli town of Ramla turns the camera on herself.

July 27, 2006
Live and Become - Film
Director: Radu Mihaileanu
Belgium, France, Isreal, Italy
143 min.
Amharic, french, Hebrew w/ Eng. subtitles

Live and Become will be presented on the 27th as part of the SFJFF's closing night event. The film is described as a "sweeping, emotional saga [in which] an Ethiopian boy from a Sudanese refugee camp is airlifted to Israel during Operation Moses, which transported 8,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel in 1984. Adopted by a Mizrahi family, Shlomo grows up, falls in love and serves in the Israeli army but is plagued throughout by two secrets: He was not born a Jew and is not an orphan. Radu Mihaileanu has created a monumental drama following one young man’s epic quest for his roots and identity.

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