created at: 2011-11-23

Kaddish for a Friend, the debut film of director Leo Khasin, and Beating Time, a documentary about the struggle to overcome ALS, were the winners of The 23rd Boston Jewish Film Festival’s Audience Awards for Best Feature and Best Documentary films respectively.

“I feel very honored to win this year’s Audience Award at the Boston Jewish Film Festival,” said Khasin. “I had the chance to be here in Boston and be part of a wonderful vivid, receptive and, at the same time, profound audience. That’s why this award is so special and important to me – a spontaneous impartial and truthful approval of my work.”

“And because a film is not a creation of a person alone, I want to take this prize in the name of all those, who put all their passion in this project, starting with the producers, the crew and finally the wonderful actors who gave all their heart to the roles and made out of anti-heroes true heroes. Thank you!”

Kaddish for a Friend is about the relationship between an aging Russian Jewish widower and a teenage neighbor in Berlin, originally from a Palestinian refugee camp. The youth, Ali, vandalizes Alexander’s apartment, jeopardizing his family’s immigration status. Ali then refurbishes the dwelling, leading to a friendship with Alexander.

Khasin was born in Russia and now lives in Berlin. He turned to directing full-time two years ago after a career as a dentist. Kaddish for a Friend was the Opening Night film of The Festival.

created at: 2011-11-23Beating Time Director Odett Orr won the award for her first effort as a feature documentary director. The film tells the story of Avi Kremer, an Israeli and Harvard Business School graduate, who learns he has ALS. Beating Timefollows his personal fight against ALS and his efforts supporting research.

“What a wonderful surprise,” Orr said of the award. “Thank you very much. This kind of response is what a film maker waits for at the end of the day. You know that making this film was not easy and at the same time I feel that  I was privileged  to  follow Avi Kremer’s battle against ALS for five years, a  battle which has had enormous impact on science and the research of ALS.”

Starring David (David de Ster) previously was announced as the winner of the first annual Short Films Competition. The film from Ester Gould is about a boy born to a Jewish father and Chinese mother, who converts prior to celebrating his bar mitzvah in the Netherlands. “”That’s absolutely great news!” Gould said. “Wow, I’m so pleased and I just forwarded the message to David, the ‘star’ of my short doc.”

Those attending the film screenings voted for the awards.

Khasin will receive Media Composer 5 film editing software from Avid, while Orr and Gould will receive Sony Vegas Pro 11 film editing software.