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Virtual SJCC: Weekly Film Conversation with Filmmaker Dani Menkin

May 26 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Divan-a-Thon with Dani Menkin

Filmmaker Dani Menkin joins Pamela Lavitt to talk about his Oscar-shortlisted film 39 POUNDS OF LOVE, the heartwarming story of Ami Ankilewitz (z”l), a 3-D animator who suffers from a rare form of muscular dystrophy. The documentary follows Ankilewitz’s riveting cross-country journey to find the doctor who said he wouldn’t survive past the age of 6. Menkin is joined by Ami’s caretaker, Asaf Shaul, and the film’s composer, Christopher Gubich, for this Zoom conversation. Find links to watch this film (as well as Menkin’s film DOLPHIN BOY) below; then register to join us for this conversation.

Join the conversation live on Zoom:
(please register in advance)



Or watch live on Facebook:



Shortlisted for an Oscar and winner of the Seattle Jewish Film Festival’s first Audience Choice Award in 2006, 39 POUNDS OF LOVE, is the heartwarming story of Ami Ankilewitz (z”l), an American-born Israeli who, at the age of one, was diagnosed with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy. His doctor predicted he would die before the age of six.

At age 36, weighing only 39 pounds, Ami is considered a medical miracle. Due to his condition, he is immobile except for one finger, which he uses to work as a 3D animator, yet he “moves” everyone with his zest for life. In the documentary, Ami and two friends (his caretaker Asaf Shaul and filmmaker Dani Menkin, both joining us for the Zoom) embark on a riveting cross-country motorcycle journey to find the doctor who said he wouldn’t survive. Filmmaker Dani Menkin is joined by Asaf Shaul, Ami’s caretaker who now works with Menkin, and Christopher Gubich, the film’s composer for this Zoom interview.

Watch the Films:
39 POUNDS OF LOVE: Watch on Vimeo >> (password: ami18)
DOLPHIN BOY: Watch on Vimeo >>  (password: dolphin)

More about Dani Menkin:
Filmmaker Dani Menkin is a two-time Israeli Academy Award-winning filmmaker, winning for 39 POUNDS OF LOVE and IS THAT YOU? The documentary 39 POUNDS OF LOVE, sold to HBO, was shortlisted for an Oscar. Menkin’s other award-winning films include DOLPHIN BOY (SJFF 2012) co-directed with Yonatan Nir and ON THE MAP (SJFF 2017) about the 1977 Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team, including Tal Brody, that miraculously won the first European Cup for Israel.

Menkin’s newest films PICTURE OF HIS LIFE and AULCIE were slated for this year’s 25th SJFF (postponed – stay tuned for a future announcement coming soon!), where he was to receive both our REEL Difference Award and the first SJFF juried prize, the Golden Or (“Light” in Hebrew).

Follow Hey Jude Productions
Facebook: @heyjudeproductions | Instagram: @heyjudeprod | Twitter: @heyjudecompany

Follow Dani Menkin
Facebook: @dani.menkin | Instagram: @dani.menkin


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Mercer Island, WA 98040 United States


Stroum Jewish Community Center