Jewish Film Series Includes Chicago Premiere of 2 Documentaries

Stills from "Carvalho's Journey," "Raise the Roof"Stills from "Carvalho's Journey," "Raise the Roof"

Two documentaries will receive Chicago premieres this month via a four-part Sunday film series at the Spertus Institute, a Jewish museum and education center in the downtown area.

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The premieres are "Raise the Roof," a feature documentary from father/son filmmakers Yari and Cary Wolinsky about a student and artisan-driven effort to reconstruct a mural-covered synagogue destroyed by the Nazis; and "Carvalho's Journey," a documentary from Emmy Award-winning director Steve Rivo about a 19th century Jewish photographer who was one of the first to document landscapes of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and California. 

Watch the trailer for "Raise the Roof"

The series also includes the films "Camera Obscura," a feature from Argentinean director María Victoria Menis about a 19th century woman married of to a wealthy Jewish rancher; and "How to Re-establish a Vodka Empire," a feature documentary from British filmmaker Daniel Edelstyn about Edelstyn's search for his roots via a vodka distillery first opened by his great-grandfather in 1904.

Watch the trailer for "How to Re-Establish a Vodka Empire"

Screenings for all the films start at 2 p.m. and include post-screening discussions. The schedule is as follows:

Feb. 7: "Raise the Roof" with Kayla Ginsburg, one of the students who worked on the synagogue project

Feb. 14: "Carvalho's Journey" with director Steve Rivo

Feb. 21: "Camera Obscura" with film critic Alejandro A. Riera on behalf of the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago

Feb. 28: "How to Re-establish a Vodka Empire" with an adults-only discussion and vodka tasting from Sonat Birnecker Hart, founder of gold medal-winning KOVAL Distilleries

Tickets are $18 for each film, $8 for students. Access to all four films costs $65, $20 for students. Post-film discussions and receptions are included. For more information, visit Spertus' website

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