Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles | SFJFF39's OPENING NIGHT FILM


The jaunty tune of the musical's opening strains, played on a plaintive fiddle, seems like a call from an ancient, long-lost Yiddish world. The songs feel as if they've always been here ("If I Were a Rich Man," "Sunrise, Sunset," "Tradition!"). The shtetl of Anatevka has come to stand in for every homeland left behind, and Tevye the milkman for every father of a restless new generation of children. That's the power of the 1964 Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof-a theatrical phenomenon which is now the subject of a joyous documentary revealing the creative origins and long-lasting cultural impact of a show that not only held the record, for 10 years, as the longest-running musical on Broadway, but also became, for many, the very definition of the Eastern European Jewish experience. As Max Lewkowicz's captivating, clip-filled film makes clear, Fiddler on the Roof, despite its broad appeal, was the product of a very specific team of Jewish American musical theater artists. Composer Jerry Bock and lyricist Sheldon Harnick (Fiorello!, She Loves Me) teamed up with book writer Joe Stein and the brilliant director/choreographer Jerome Robbins (né Rabinowitz, West Side Story) to breathe theatrical energy into Sholom Aleichem's rueful, funny, turn- of-the-century tales of Russian Jewish life. The documentary is chock full of insightful interviews with the musical's creators, performance clips from productions around the world (including the iconic film version and the current Yiddish-language adaptation that is taking New York by storm), and lively commentary from admirers like Stephen Sondheim, Itzhak Perlman and Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda-a Puerto Rican who surprised his Dominican/Austrian bride with a rousing rendition of "To Life" at their wedding reception. Talk about crossover appeal-Fiddler has it in spades. -Peter L. Stein

opening night bash
Thursday, July 18 | 9:00 pm | 21+ older
Contemporary Jewish Museum | 736 Mission Street, San Francisco
Film & Party: $65 Members | $75 General Public
Film Only: $30 members | $35 General Public

Carry on the joy and celebration following the opening film Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. Experience a wide variety of new nosh options from Oren's Hummus, L'Chaim Foods, Wise Sons, and Taste Catering. Indulge in other delights from Cinderella Bakerya and Fairytale Brownies as we welcome our friends, fans, and family to the 39th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival!

Director Max Lewkowicz in person 

Max Lewkowicz

Max Lewkowicz founder and principal of Dog Green Productions located in New York City, has written, directed, and produced hundreds of productions for network and publictelevision, museums, and multinational organizations in a career that has spanned over 30years. Mr.Lewkowicz's documentary works include award winning films about the mercury pollution afflicting Native American tribes in Northern Canada, the Dance Theater of Harlem, the generational cycles of poverty in America's inner cities, Nelson Mandela's struggle against Apartheid in South Africa, as well as Across the Bridge, a documentary about the American Military Doctrine in Germany during the Cold War and Ours to Fight For, which tells the stories of American GIs in World War II.

In addition, Mr. Lewkowicz has written, produced and directed museum exhibition films and interactive presentations domestically and internationally. His works in this area include the media for the core exhibits of Normandy American Cemetery Visitor Center (for which he produced eighteen films and interactives) and the Pointe du Hoc Visitor Center, The Museum of Jewish Heritage-A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York, The South Africa Heritage Museum in Cape Town, and the Montreal Memorial Holocaust Center. Mr. Lewkowicz's writing and directorial expertise haswon critical acclaim and numerous awards, including the Silver Screen Awardat the U.S. International Film and Video Festival, the grand prize of The Chicago International Film Festival, and the 2003 Award of Excellence from the National Association of Museum Exhibitions.His film MORGENTHAU shown on public television,won an Emmy for best historic documentary in 2015. Mr. Lewkowicz's latest film, UNDERFIRE: THE UNTOLD STORY OF PFC. TONY VACCARO premiered on HBO in November 2016 and has been shown in over 30 film festivals around the world. It was nominated for an Emmy in 2017.

Mr. Lewkowicz is a graduate of McGill University and has a Masters Degree in Communications from  New York University. Max lives in New York City with his wife Elissa and Pete the dog.

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