AJFF Playback Documentaries Week Eight Results

The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival’s 20th anniversary season continues online with an interactive film contest. We invite you, our loyal audience, to cast a vote for your favorite films from our festival vault, and help determine which will claim the title of “2020 AJFF Playback Winner" in the categories of short, documentary, and narrative.

Hava Nagila (The Movie) vs. Rene and I: From Auschwitz to America


Hava Nagila (The Movie)
Dir: Roberta Grossman • USA • 2012 • 75 mins • English

Encapsulating 150 years of Jewish history with humor and heart, this immensely entertaining, toe-tapping celebration traces the cultural impact of the instantly recognizable Hebrew folk song that transcended its origins to become a worldwide hit. From the shtetls of Eastern Europe to the formative years of Israel to Bar Mitzvah staple, the ubiquitous dance melody (which translates to “Let us rejoice”) was later popularized by such mainstream crooners as Harry Belafonte, Glen Campbell, Lena Horne, and even Chubby Checker. Surprisingly, the song was eventually adopted by seemingly every nationality, even in countries with no connection to the tune’s Jewish roots. Packed with celebrity interviews and lighthearted pop culture references, and narrated by actress Rusty Schwimmer, director Roberta Grossman revels in the jubilant spirit and cross-cultural connections that can be achieved only through music. Featured at the 2013 AJFF.


Rene and I: From Auschwitz to America
Dir: Gina Angelone • USA • 2004 • 72 mins • English

In this gripping true story, Irene Hizme and her twin brother, Rene Slotkin are sent to Auschwitz at barely 6 years old, among the 3,000 twins subjected to Josef Mengele's experiments in his quest to create a Master Aryan race. But in most cases, Mengele murdered the twins he studied, so that he could autopsy them together. Only 160 twins survived Auschwitz. After the war, a stunning set of coincidences led to a bittersweet reunion for Irene and Rene. A chance encounter with an American rabbi, a Life Magazine photographer, President Truman and even a Jewish mobster forever changed the course of their lives. More than just a record of one of the Holocaust's darkest chapters, Rene and I is about love and courage, demons and saviors, and how rare individuals are able to rise above inhumane circumstances. Featured at the 2005 AJFF.

See the Results on Who Gets to Advance to the Next Round