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Broken Branches

A Film by: Ayala Sharot
(Israel, 2014, 25 Minutes, Color, Hebrew,  English subtitles)

Broken Branches is an animated documentary about loss, family and hope.  Michal Rechter was only 14 years old when, on the eve of the Second World War, she left her family in Poland and travelled to Israel. Now, at the age of 92, she tells her story to her granddaughter, the film’s director, who brings her grandmother’s memories to life in colorful animation.

Michal shows us essays she wrote as a schoolgirl in Poland. One essay describes "The Land of Israel" as a beautiful and magical place while another describes the life in her Polish village and the rise of Hitler.

Eager for the family to start a new life, Michal’s parents sent her together with a Jewish youth group to live in a boarding school in Israel. Her parents were supposed to join her the following year but after the War broke out everything changed.

When Michal arrived at the boarding school she realized that her life would not remain the same. Together with her classmates, she had to lose her former Diaspora identity and become a “Sabra”, a true Israeli.

As World War II progressed it became harder for Michal and her classmates to keep in touch with their families who were still in Europe. The letters she received from her father and sister, describing the despair of the family left behind, reveal dark undertones. However, Michal's optimistic nature remained strong even during the War years. The vibrant social life of the boarding school distracted her from her worries regarding her family and the realization of their probable fate.

Michal tells her story as she remembers it, through the eyes of an innocent child, with no pain or regret. She shows us pictures and letters from her childhood, and gives us a glimpse of how she viewed the world as a young girl. Her youthful energy shines through the film.  Filled with hopes and dreams, Michal left her family behind but, despite the circumstances, retained her innocence and joyfulness and managed to build a home of her own in her adopted country.


"Mimosa d'Or" 2016 for Best Short Film - Nice JIFF
WINNER of the Athens Jewish Film Festival Shorts Competition for 2016.

• 30th Haifa International Film Festival - BEST SHORT
• Athens Film and Video International Festival, Ohio - BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY
• 54th Krakow International Film Festival - OFFICIAL SELECTION
• Ofir Awards (Israeli Oscars) - Nominated for Best Short Documentary
• Cinema Saint Louis International Film Festival 2014 - OFFICIAL SELECTION
• Savannah Film Festival 2014 - OFFICIAL SELECTION
• Klik! Amsterdam Animation Film Festival
• Animix - The 14th Israel International Animation Comics and Caricature Festival
• Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema 2014
• Cleveland JFF 2014
• Tulsa JFF 2014
• Tucson JFF 2015
• Denver JFF 2015
• Jewish Cinema Mississippi 2015
• Palm Beach JFF 2015
• Tricky Women, Austria 2015
• NJ JFF 2015
• UW Hillel, Madison WI 2015
• Buffalo Int'l JFF 2015
• Australia JFF 2015
• Paris Israeli FF 2015
• Robinson Short Film Competiton 2015 - Best Short Award
Animasivo animation festival, Mexico City •
Documenta Madrid - Official Competition • 
Cleveland Int'l Film Festival - Best Woman's Short 
Atlanta Int'l Film Festival - Official Competition •
Shoa Museum Paris 2015 * 
Austin FF 2015  
 Zagreb FF 2015  
Coumbia JFF FF 2015  

 Nice JFF 2016 • 
  Greenwich JCC 2016 • 
Cincinnati FF 2016   
Maine JFF 2019   

Moscow JCC 2019  

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Screening fee:  $300.00

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