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Considering the current crisis in the Middle East, The Winnipeg Jewish Film Festival and Dave Barber Cinematheque  have determined it would be most respectful to postpone the Challah-Ween: A Night of Jewish Horror Films until another time.

We’ve all heard word of the fantastical and frightening world of Jewish spirits and monsters such as Dybbuks (possessing spirits) and Golems (creatures made of mud or dust brought to life through Hebrew letters and incantations). Though North American horror movies have largely borrowed from Christian and Pagan concepts of the supernatural, there is a growing body of cinema, from arthouse to mainstream, finding inspiration in other traditions, including the fascinating and ancient supernatural world of the Jewish imagination. 

Presented by The Dave Barber Cinematheque and Winnipeg International Jewish Film Festival. 

The Vigil
2019, USA, 99 min
English, Hebrew and Yiddish with English subtitles

The Vigil is a supernatural horror film set over the course of a single evening in Brooklyn’s Hasidic Borough Park neighborhood. Low on funds and having recently left his insular religious community, Yakov reluctantly accepts an offer from his former rabbi and confidante to take on the responsibility of an overnight “shomer,” fulfilling the Jewish practice of watching over the body of a deceased community member. Shortly after arriving at the recently departed’s house to sit the vigil, Yakov begins to realize that something is very, very wrong.

“There is an eerie creepiness about The Vigil which is both terrifying and impressive in its treatment of folklore and old superstition.” – Linda Marric , The Jewish Chronical

“Keith Thomas’ demonic Jewish horror freak-out summons the spectre of The Exorcist.” – Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News 

Plays with  Demon Box, Dir. Sean Wainsteim, 14 mins, 2023, Canada

Tired of constantly getting rejected by film festivals, Toronto filmmaker Sean Wainsteim goes over everything that is wrong about his short film about the Holocaust. Inspired by dark fairytales and Jewish folklore, this brilliant film-within-a-film explores how young Jews today are still being affected by generational trauma.

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