John Daly, an ex-neo-Nazi skinhead, fled to Israel after his own gang attempted to murder him for being Jewish. Years later he receives an e-mail from someone in his long forgotten past.
Kevin Connell, a former friend and fellow ex-neo-Nazi is on a mission to change his own life and make amends for his past. He invites John to meet him in Eastern Europe to discover first hand the effects of what they both practiced and preached.
Suffering from PTSD and a brain tumor John is reluctant at first. Is this another attempt on his life? Or is this actually a man trying to better himself and make amends for the pain he caused so many people so many years ago?
Code of Silence follows the parallel journeys of a fervently Orthodox Jewish father and his now-secular son, after the son Manny breaks the code of silence in Melbourne’s Orthodox community and goes public with his story of being sexually abused as a school student.
Manny Waks claims he was abused by an Orthodox Jewish security guard, who also taught boys karate, at the Yeshivah Centre in Melbourne. Now Manny is demanding his abuser be brought to justice, and the rabbis and Chabad leaders who tried to cover it up, are brought to account.
His father Zephaniah joins forces with his son, but soon finds he has been virtually excommunicated for breaking an ancient Jewish law forbidding Jews from informing secular authorities about other Jews.
We see how father and son split this tightly-knit, powerful Jewish community as we open the door into their insular world of study and duty, charity and faith, power and piety.
Will Manny get justice in court? Will the rabbis be held to account? And, what price will the father and son pay for blowing the whistle?
Code of Silence from Sideways Film on Vimeo.
Breaking the Silence follows the journey of Manny Waks who was, until recently, the only survivor of child sexual abuse within Melbourne’s Orthodox Jewish community to speak publicly.
This is the dramatic follow up to the Walkley Award winning Code of Silence.
Breaking the Silence begins with Manny Waks as he gives evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, during which two ultra-Orthodox Jewish institutions are accused of covering-up and protecting perpetrators in the 1980s and 90s.
Over two explosive weeks inside Melbourne’s County Court, viewers will witness, for the first time, those rabbis and officials accused of the cover-ups take the stand and be grilled. For the first time, it is also revealed that Manny was not the only member of the family who was abused; Manny’s father Zephaniah Waks reveals two other sons were abused by a Yeshivah Centre teacher, David Kramer in the 1990’s. He had tried to have the abuse handled by community leaders but was subject to an ancient code of silence that forbids Jews from speaking about the allegations involving other Jews, to the police.
The result was that Zephaniah and his wife were virtually excommunicated and feeling isolated, they decided to relocate to Israel. Now his other son Yanky agrees to speak on camera for the first time.
After the hearings, Manny travels to the United States to confront one of the two men who he claims abused him. The film’s climax follows Manny to Los Angeles, where he meets a convicted pedophile who was given a suspended sentence for abusing AVB in Sydney in the 1980s. It’s a powerful moment between victim and abuser that delivers an unexpected conclusion.
Will Manny’s confrontation with the man he claims abused him give him peace of mind? And will his meeting with the convicted pedophile give him a crucial sense of resolution?
Breaking the Silence from Sideways Film on Vimeo.
J Street is on the frontlines of the world’s most “intractable” problem. An upstart lobby group in Washington, D.C., J Street dares to assert what to many seems obvious: that a two-state solution is Israel’s only future, and any peace deal will require robust American participation. It sees itself playing David to AIPAC, the Israel Lobby’s Goliath, and, less than five years old, has been making surprising gains.
With full access to the inside workings of a lobby group struggling to represent the centre ground of Jewish American thought, this documentary tracks J Street as it attempts to change what it means to be pro-Israel in America. We see their missteps and their triumphs as they push the Obama administration to take an active role in negotiating a two-state solution, fend off accusations of harbouring ‘anti-Israel’ objectives and gain influence among America’s Jewish population.
In this urgent political story told with the intimacy of cinema vérité, we feel the pulse of an organization, taking viewers to high-level strategy meetings, and long nights on the road. It is here that our characters come to life and the J Street story unfolds. J Street: The Art of the Possible is at once a gripping story about the desperate need for a two-state solution, and a captivating glimpse at the role of Lobbyists in the American political process.
Shawney calls himself a filmmaker, but he’s been a strip-club manager for longer. When he was six his father bought “The Manor”, a small-town strip club.
Thirty years later, the family’s lifestyle has got the better of them. While his 400-pound father prepares for stomach-reduction surgery, his 85-pound mother has her own complicated relationship with food. Shawney’s role as struggling filmmaker and outcast son provides a rare glimpse into a family facing the consequences of their livelihood and dependence.
Told with humor and frankness, The Manor is an intimate portrait of people struggling to call themselves a family.
“There’s more than a faint echo of ‘Grey Gardens’ in this Canadian-gothic portrait of an unusual family business.”
“The Manor… [rises] to the ranks of some of the best family portrait documentaries.”
“in the vein of Capturing the Friedmans and Crazy Love”
“78 minutes rich with character, incident, friction, deadpan humour and voyeuristic thrills.”
The Globe & Mail
***Opening Night Film – Hot Docs***
***Official Competition – Karlovy Vary – Winner, Honorable Mention Best Documentary***
***Official Competition Opening Night – Zurich***
***Official Competition – Woodstock – Winner, Best Editing***
***Official Selection – Bergen***
***Official Selection – Goteborg***
***Official Selection – DOCNYC***
***Official Selection – Antenna***
***Official Selection – DMZ***