From documentaries to a family-friendly narrative, to an animated adult comedy, these films will leave you with plenty of culinary cravings and inspiration. Film titles are linked with information on where to watch.
Recently featured at the 2020 AJFF, Noah Schnapp (of Netflix’s hit series Stranger Things) is a Brooklyn kid with an identity crisis hoping to unify his mixed-heritage family through food. Learning his way around a professional kitchen as an unpaid intern, Abe uses his newfound cooking skills to prepare a Thanksgiving feast, hoping to finally bridge his family’s differences.
The Apple Pushers
This documentary is the uplifting story of immigrant street cart vendors and an urban initiative to bring nutritional food to those who need it most. Attempting to address a lack of access to fresh and affordable produce, New York City launched an experiment in which “Green Carts” bearing fruits and vegetables would be deployed to “food deserts,” low-income neighborhoods where obesity rates are skyrocketing. In the face of entrenched political opposition, immigrant small business owners (including a Russian Jew who fled anti-Semitism) align with health advocates to take on this tough task with dignity and sacrifice, overcoming extraordinary challenges to carve out an economic niche. Narrated by Oscar-nominee Edward Norton, the film chronicles public-private efforts to mitigate a national health crisis through the intersection of entrepreneurship and the American Dream. Featured in the 2012 AJFF.
A mouthwatering salute to 160 years of gastronomic bliss, this documentary, featured in the 2015 AJFF, travels the nation and beyond in pursuit of the great Jewish deli experience. Founded on ancestral recipes from Eastern Europe, old-time North American deli houses once numbered in the thousands, while estimates today sadly put the number of authentic delicatessens in the dozens. Against the threat of extinction, deli owners and connoisseurs describe their love affair with the business of corned beef, matzo balls, blintzes, pastrami and pickles. Notable deli fans Larry King, and actors Fyvush Finkel and Jerry Stiller, add their voices to a chorus of foodie affection.
In Search of Israeli Cuisine
In a gastronomical expedition, celebrity chef-restaurateur Michael Solomonov zigzags Israel to savor a food revolution rooted in centuries-old tradition in this documentary, Closing Night film of the 2016 AJFF. Combining a procession of mouthwatering dishes and interviews with chefs, home cooks and farmers of all backgrounds, Oscar-nominated documentarian Roger Sherman presents a diverse portrait of the Israeli people told through the very personal language of food.
Jerusalem on a Plate
Internationally renowned Israeli-born chef Yotam Ottolenghi takes an immersive culinary journey through the streets of his childhood in this documentary, a tantalizing portrait of the mouthwatering and diverse Middle Eastern food culture. From humble street food vendors to the modern culinary arts of fusion chefs, the film uncovers the essence of what makes the ever evolving Israeli food revolution not only a delicious melting pot, but an inspiring symbol of unity amongst disparate communities. Featured in the 2013 AJFF.
Oma & Bella
Having endured the ghettoes and camps of WWII, Regina Karolinski of Poland and Bella Katz of Lithuania live together in a Berlin apartment. The documentary, featured in the 2013 AJFF, follows their daily routine, busy with shopping, social engagements, gossip-filled visits to the hairdresser, and above all else, a passion for cooking. Lovingly produced and directed by Regina’s granddaughter Alexa Karolinski, this observational film presents a beautiful companionship between a pair of magnetic and spirited personalities, which has endured for decades.
You'll have to see it to believe it but Variety is not the only fan of this film that they're calling the "R-rated Inside Out." This animated film about one sausage's mission to discover the truth about his existence has a star-studded Jewish cast including Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill and Nick Kroll.