Virtual Boca Raton Jewish Film Festival

Friday, Feb 5, 2021

Boca Raton, FL 33427

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The Book of Curses and Alina

The words of a long-lost diary crying out to be heard. The film moves from dramatic narration of the diarist’s descent into hell to interviews with the daughter of the diary’s saviour; from a desperate search for Berkovitch’s fate to a man who witnessed the liquidation of the ghetto; from the archives in Warsaw to actors performing a play on the site of the ghetto from which the diary was written. And what of his call for revenge? The film tackles this delicate subject through the eyes of a Nazi hunter, a psychologist, and grandson of a survivor.

Director Biography - Iouri GOROULEV

Iouri GOROULEV graduated from the film-engineering department of the Leningrad film engineers institute in 1971, from the camera department of the Moscow cinema institute in 1982. Since 1975 he works at the "Belarusfilm" state studio: a cameraman at first, now a director & cameraman. Owner of a private studio "STOPSHOT”, produces the documentaries there. As a cameraman: over 100 documentaries on culture, history, arts and religion issues. As a director-cameraman: some 40 films.

Iouri Goroulev is the organizer and chairman of the International Festival of Christian Films and Television Programme Magnificat. In 2006, he was awarded the State Prize of the President of the Republic Belarus "For Spiritual Revival".

Cost: $10


The Polish countryside, a wooden house standing by the road. A poor Jewish shoemaker, Benjamin Wrona, once lived here. In 1886, he left with his family for America. – Rumor has it that this used to be the home of the Wrona family here, then they left and changed their last name… Werner, Wagner, something like that – says a neighbor.

Benjamin’s sons set up small businesses in order to survive in the USA. They went bankrupt every time. One day they borrowed money to buy a movie projector. They called the company Warner Bros. In 1885, Szmul Gelbfisz left Warsaw on foot for the port in Calais in France with no money in the pocket but with a head full of dreams. He was 15. Twenty-seven years later, he was making his first movie in New York, “The Squaw Man”. In the middle of the production, he had to run away from Edison’s mafia, as they are known. Coincidentally, he finished the film in a remote village in California. It was the first movie made in Hollywood. Szmul changed his name to Sam Goldwyn.

A Polish filmmaker, Pawel Ferdek, comes across the story of Hollywood Moguls by chance. He feels that he has found a theme for a movie which will finally bring him success. Ferdek sets on an exciting journey following the traces of Warner brothers and SamuelGoldwyn.

It turns out there are no archival materials from the most interesting time of their lives - the immigration period and their difficult beginnings in America. How can he make a movie? Ferdek goes further. He goes to America to meet people similar to the Moguls – immigrants who made it in Hollywood. He wants to discover the ways the pioneers acted, to find the recipe for success. Not only does he want to tell their story, but also to experience it firsthand. There is one obstacle – he doesn’t know anybody in Hollywood.

Some of the people Pawel wants to talk to indeed throw him out. He doesn’t give up. He feels a little bit at home –Hollywood was founded by his neighbors. He manages to makes first contacts. The meetings are friendly and personal – Ferdek’s interlocutors keep Eastern Europe and their families’ immigration stories in mind. Among these people there are Bret Rattner, Paul Maslansky, Michael Gruskoff, Sandy Liberson, Richard Gladstein...

Ferdek learns step by step from those experienced people. He learns storytelling and how to aim at success. The interlocutors direct him to their friends, which allows him to go deeper into Hollywood. He sees success and its price.

“Pollywood” turns into a personal journey. Ferdek takes the audience inside a dream – the American dream that created powerful Hollywood. “Pollywood” is a universal story about courage and desperation, about the origins of the Dream Factory and modern-day Hollywood, going through some important changes now.

Cost: $12

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