Thomas Jefferson started building Monticello in 1769 on the slave plantation he inherited from his father. Upon his death in 1826, his heirs sold the property to pay his debts. This is the little-known story of U.S. naval officer Uriah Phillips Levy, a fifth-generation American Jew born in 1782 and admirer of Jefferson’s dedication to religious freedom, and his nephew Jefferson Monroe Levy, who rescued the property from bankruptcy and carefully preserved it for posterity. The Levy family would go on to own Monticello for nearly a century, far longer than Jefferson and his descendants.
That the iconic Monticello was owned by Jews did not go unnoticed. Steve Pressman’s award-winning film uncovers the legacy of one of America’s oldest Jewish families while confronting the racism and antisemitism that are woven into our nation’s history. “The Levys of Monticello” was produced under the aegis of The National Center for Jewish Film.
Director: Steve Pressman, USA, 2022, 71 minutes, English.
Massachusetts premiere. Q&A with Brandeis University professor Jonathan Sarna, who is interviewed in the film, to follow the screening.
Preceded by “Life Is All There Is”: A gem from award-winning Boston filmmaker Ron Blau (“Our Time in the Garden”), this sensitive, inventive film about Blau’s German-Jewish father’s emigration to America in 1933 and subsequent challenges in the U.S. is told entirely through 8mm home movies his father shot in the 1930s.
Director: Ron Blau, USA, 2020, 15 minutes, English.
New England premiere. Introduction by filmmaker Ron Blau to precede the screening.+ More... - Less...
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