Wednesday, April 7th, 2010...8:51 am

Mpls. Jewish Film Festival kicks off April 8

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Opening night will feature party and screening of A Matter of Size

AJW Staff Report

The comical story of failed Israeli dieters becoming sumo wrestlers opens the 2010 Sabes Foundation Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival. The local smorgasbord of Israeli and Jewish-themed films also includes documentaries on the aftermath of the Holocaust (The Debt, Killing Kastzner and Stumbling Stone), gay and lesbian themes (Off and Running and City of Borders), and the work of a Jewish doctor tending to impoverished residents in rural Ethiopia (Bewoket: By the Will of God).

The film festival will take place April 8-18 at the Sabes JCC, 4330 Cedar Lake Rd. S., St. Louis Park, unless otherwise noted. Tickets for all films are $9, unless otherwise noted.

The opening night party will take place 5:45 p.m. Thursday, April 8 at the Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Mainstreet. The opening night film will be A Matter of Size, which will be screened at 7:15 p.m. at the Hopkins Mann Theater, 1118 Mainstreet.

A Matter of Size, a fictional narrative film, provides a hearty helping of laughs as it recounts the adventures of Herzl, a 340-pound chef who is shuttled from the restaurant’s dining room to the kitchen, because he does not present a proper image. When he lands a lowly job at an Israeli sushi parlor, he learns about sumo wrestling, a sport where considerable girth is an advantage.

Tickets for the party and film are $15 ($9 for film only).

In the area of family dynamics, Off and Running introduces viewers to the unconventional Cloud-Kleins. Avery Cloud-Klein, the protagonist of the documentary, is a mixed-race Brooklyn teenager who is being raised by two white Jewish lesbians. Her older brother is also mixed race and her little brother is Korean. Avery is a champion runner, but her life starts going off-track, so to speak, when she tries to contact with her birth mother.

Off and Running will be screened 12 p.m. Sunday, April 11.

Avery Cloud-Klein, a champion runner being raised by two white Jewish lesbians, begins a search for her birth mother in Off and Running. The film will be screened on April 11 as part of the 2010 Sabes Foundation Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival. (Photo: Jacob Okada)Avery Cloud-Klein, a champion runner being raised by two white Jewish lesbians, begins a search for her birth mother in Off and Running. The film will be screened on April 11 as part of the 2010 Sabes Foundation Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival. (Photo: Jacob Okada)

In Bewoket: By the Will of God, Andrea Mydlarz Zeller and Sam Shnider document the healing work of Dr. Rick Hodes, an internist and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s medical consultant and advisor in Ethiopia.

At the center of the story is an orphan named Bewoket, who needs surgery to correct a heart defect. He travels to America for the reparative surgery, which gives him a new life and shows him a new world. Hodes, who adopted more than a dozen young Ethiopians, will speak at the film screening, which will take place 12 p.m. Sunday, April 18 at the Sabes JCC.

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The 2010 Sabes Foundation Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival will run through April 18. For tickets and a complete listing of the festival offerings, call 952-381-3499 or visit: sabesjcc.org.

The AJW is a media sponsor of the festival.

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