By Reporter staff
The Jewish International Film Fest of Greater Binghamton held its second virtual event. The film screened “Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel” directed by Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller and Jeremy Newberger, which charted the underdog journey of Israel’s national baseball team when it competed for the first time in the World Baseball Classic. Almost 50 households signed up to view the film, which was available free for a 48-hour period. Twenty-four people attended the Zoom film discussion on June 8, which was led by Newberger and included a surprise: Alex Katz, a professional baseball player and a member of Team Israel, joined the group.
“Jeremy Newberger, the film-maker, was really engaging!” said Shelley Hubal, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Binghamton. “He gave us some history of the documentary, where the initial idea came from, some of the rejections he got when pitching it to producers, etc. He was very entertaining and clearly has enjoyed meeting with Jewish communities all over the country to discuss the film.”
Hubal was pleased with the surprise Newberger offered. “It was wonderful to have professional baseball player, and a member of Team Israel, Alex Katz join the Zoom call,” she said. “Alex is currently signed with the Kansas City Royals and will be playing for Team Israel in the Olympics in 2021. It was a lot of fun to talk with them both. They answered questions for almost 50 minutes and covered everything from the team’s trip to Israel, to the current state of baseball during COVID-19, to antisemitism in the sport.”
Hubal also noted the positive response of viewers to the film. “Everyone I heard from really enjoyed the film,” she added. “Many felt a real sense of pride in watching. If you were not able to view the film with us, it is available on iTunes.”
In addition, Hubal noted the community’s contribution to making the event a success. “I’d also like to offer a thank you to everyone that made a donation in support of the Film Fest,” she said.
The Film Fest Committee is not certain if more films will be screened this season. If the committee does decide to offer more films, information will appear in future issues of The Reporter.