2018 NH Jewish Film Festival Awards

Feature Film Winner: An Act of Defiance

Director Jean van de Velde 

Netherlands, 2018

English, Afrikaans 

Drama 123 minutes

In this riveting historical drama, 10 political activists (including Nelson Mandela and his inner circle of Black and Jewish supporters) face a possible death sentence for conspiracy to commit sabotage after they are arrested by the apartheid South African government during a raid in the town of Rivonia during the summer of 1963.

Bram Fischer (exceptionally played by Peter Paul Muller), a sympathetic lawyer, risks his career and freedom to defend these men, attempting to hide the fact that he, too, frequently convened on the farm where they were arrested. With An Act of Defiance, Dutch filmmaker Jean van de Velde (The Silent Army) captures a dark period in South Africa's recent history, skillfully balancing a nail-biting political thriller with spectacular courtroom intrigue while paying tribute to the legendary figures who fought to end segregation and corruption in their country.

Awards: Audience Favorite - Gold Award, Mill Valley Film Festival 2017

Documentary Film Winner:
The Essential Link: The Story of Wilfred Israel

Director Yonatan Nir
Documentary, 2016, Israel 
71 minutes
Hebrew, German, English (with English subtitles)

The film tells the remarkable story of Wilfrid Israel, a wealthy Jewish businessman and owner of Berlins largest department store in the 1930s, who was involved in saving tens of thousands of Jews and who played a key role in the Kindertransport operation. 

Israel was a member of one of Germanys most prominent Jewish families and acquainted with some of the most influential figures of the 20th century, yet little is known about his personal life and heroic endeavors. Why did his story remain untold? What was there to hide? Never in my life have I come in contact with a being so noble, so strong and as selfless as he was,  said Albert Einstein. The mysterious story becomes personal as filmmaker Yonatan Nir takes us on an adventure in search of this extraordinary man and the real reasons for his disappearance from history.

Best Documentary Feature, Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival, USA 2017
Selection, 21st UK International Jewish Film Festival, UK 2017

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