Film Fest to hold second virtual film/event

By: Reporter staff

The Jewish International Film Fest of Greater Binghamton will hold a virtual showing of the film “Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel” directed by Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller and Jeremy Newberger. Newberger will lead the online discussion of the film. (See spotlight in this issue.)

“After the success of our first virtual Film Fest, where we had more than 50 households and 26 people on the discussion, the Film Fest Committee has decided to hold a second virtual showing,” said Shelley Hubal, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Binghamton. “I am so excited that we will have one of the directors of the film speaking to us!” 
People will be able to register on the new Federation website, The film will be streamed free for up to 100 computers. On June 6, after Shabbat ends, a link to the film will be sent to those who sign up in advance. The film will be available for viewing on personal devices for 48 hours. On Monday, June 8, at 7 pm, Newberger will facilitate the online video discussion of the film.
“Heading Home” charts the underdog journey of Israel’s national baseball team when it competed for the first time in the World Baseball Classic. After years of defeat, Team Israel finally ranked among the world’s best in 2017, making it eligible to compete in the international tournament. The team’s line-up included several Jewish American Major League players – Ike Davis, Josh Zeid and ex-Braves catcher Ryan Lavarnway – most of whom had a tenuous relationship to Judaism, let alone having never set foot in Israel. Their odyssey took them from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, where they were greeted as heroes, to Seoul where they sought to debunk their has-been, wannabe reputations. 
The film has been called “a stirring story of sports, patriotism and personal growth. With their Mensch on the Bench mascot by their side, the team laughs, cries and does much soul-searching, discovering the pride of representing Israel on the world stage.”  
“We have chosen to go with ‘Heading Home’ because nothing feels more like summer than baseball,” Hubal said. “Even if you are not a sports fan, you will like the ‘coming home’ aspect of this film: Jewish athletes finding their roots in Israel. The film is appropriate for younger folks so families can watch it together.” 
“Heading Home” received the Audience Favorite Award at the Harrisburg Jewish Film Festival in 2019, Cincinnati’s Mayerson JCC Jewish and Israeli Film Festival in 2019, the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival in 2018 and the Washington, DC, Jewish Film Festival 2018. It received the Best Documentary Award at the Cherry Hill Volvo Cars Jewish Film Festival at the Katz JCC in 2019, the Gold Coast International Film Festival in 2018, the Jewish Arts and Film Festival of Fairfield County in 2018 and the Boca Raton Jewish Film Festival in 2018.