JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival features documentary on Ravinia's chief conductor

The JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival is proud to present the Fall Virtual Fest with eight films over three weekends, including six Midwest and Chicago premieres, from Nov. 5-21.

Featuring documentaries and dramas from around the world, all these films revolve around the powerful theme of decisions. It's estimated that the average adult makes more than 35,000 decisions or choices per day. While some are split-second, others are highly considered and may be based on beliefs, theologies, and fears, resulting in having little impact to profound - and even life-changing effects - for those who have made them.

In the Chicago premiere of "The Conductor," 9-year-old Marin Alsop aspires to follow in the footsteps of Leonard Bernstein, a decision that takes her on an emotionally challenging life path to ultimately becoming the Chief Conductor and Curator for The Ravinia Festival.

In "American Birthright," the producer and director of the film, Becky Tahel, takes us on her journey of self-discovery to answer the question of "why marry Jewish?"

For Israeli filmmaker, artist, and TED Fellow, coping with personal challenges of depression, the decision to explore the true value of art in overcoming extreme adversity is the motivation behind "8000 Paperclips."

The Chicago premiere of "Persian Lessons" involves a split-second decision, with life and death consequences for the protagonist. In this film, Mustafa chooses to live 200 meters and a border away from his wife and children for political reasons, a decision that has significant implications for his family.

In the Midwest premiere of the moving documentary "Irmi," we are inspired by the power and strength of the human spirit that allows for the decision to begin anew after horrific circumstances.

Faith, determination, and the decision to risk it all for an ultimate goal are explored in the Midwest Premiere "Yerusalem, The Incredible Story of Ethiopian Jewry."

The film "Betrayed," based on a true story, reflects the outcome of conflicting decisions made by members of a family, with elders who stuck to Jewish traditions while their children integrated into Norwegian society.

For the past nine years, the JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival has aspired to entertain, educate, and inspire thought, conversation, and action as we explore issues of hate, prejudice, cultural assimilation, and inequality while also striving to reinforce tolerance, acceptance, and cultivate a sense of belonging. The Fall Festival will be virtual this year with films streaming for a specific three-day period from 9 a.m. Friday to 11:45 p.m. Sunday. Each film will be accompanied by a live Zoom discussion with the filmmakers. Tickets are $15, with discounted festival passes available for a limited time. For more information on the JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival to purchase tickets, visit or call (847) 763-3507.

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