Announcing the 2020 New York Sephardic Jewish Film Festival’s Pomegranate Award Winners


The American Sephardi Federation’s New York Sephardic Jewish Film Festival (NYSJFF) will honor iconic fashion designer Elie Tahari, film directors Elie Chouraqui and Keren Yedaya, and actor Dan Yedaya with Pomegranate Awards for Sephardi Excellence in the Arts, each sculpted by world-renowned artist Oded Halahmy.

On Opening Night (February 23rd at 6 pm), Elie Tahari will receive the Pomegranate Lifetime Achievement Award for Fashion Designer and filmmaker Keren Yedaya (winner of the Caméra d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival) will receive the Pomegranate Award for Director. The evening will feature the New York première of her film RED FIELDS, starting Sephardi stars Neta Elkayam and Dudu Tassa, followed by a Moroccan After Party.

On the NYSJFF’s Moroccan Night, February 27th at 7 pm, French-Sephardi filmmaker and stage director Elie Chouraqui (THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, O JERUSALEM) will receive the Ronit Elkabetz A”H Pomegranate Award for Lifetime Achievement on Stage and Screen. The evening will feature the NY première of WHERE ARE YOU GOING MOSHÉ?.

Dan Hedaya (ADAMS FAMILY VALUES, CHEERS), a member of the Syrian Sephardic community, will receive the Pomegranate Lifetime Achievement Award for Actor on the Festival’s Iraqi Closing Night, which will also feature the world première of THE WOLF OF BAGHDAD.

This 23rd edition of the NY Sephardic Jewish Film Festival delivers an action-packed program of 19 films. Showcasing 11 première films, including two world premières (THE WOLF OF BAGHDAD and THE HUG OF DESTINY). The NYSJFF specializes in bringing to NY audiences compelling, Greater Sephardi narratives and documentaries, comedies and critical perspectives that celebrate the beauty, diversity, and vitality of the Jewish experience. 10 filmmakers will be joining the NYSJFF for post-screening Q&As and several stars will be honored with the Pomegranate Award for Sephardi Excellence in the Arts. The Pomegranate Awards are hand-sculpted by world-renowned Baghdad-born artist Oded Halahmy of the Pomegranate Gallery in Soho and Jaffa.

All films and events are taking place at the Center for Jewish History located at 15 West 16th Street except the special screening of LEONA for Mexican Night, which will occur at Instituto Cervantes (211 East 49th Street, New York, NY, 10017).

The complete list of selected NYSJFF films with dates, times, pass and ticket information can be found at

Passes or special night tickets may be purchased at or by calling the box office at 1.800.838.3006


Elie Tahari is the founder, designer, and chairman of Elie Tahari, Ltd. His passion for dressing sexy, sophisticated, feminine, and powerful women over the last four decades has evolved into a $300 million enduring and privately held fashion brand, with a global presence in 40 countries, and more than 800 points of distribution worldwide. Elie Tahari began his self-taught fashion career in 1973 after immigrating to the US from Israel, where he had grown up in an orphanage. Arriving with empty pockets, his desire to work hard translated into selling clothing from a boutique in Greenwich Village. His determination to learn, and his attraction to the energy of New York’s famous Studio 54 club scene in the 1970s, inspired the initial designs that propelled him into the world of fashion. Less than one year later, he was one of the first fashion designers to open a boutique on Madison Avenue in 1974 at the young age of 22. Elie Tahari’s collections can be found in every major department store around the world such as Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Harrods, Tsum, and Harvey Nichols Dubai. His designs have been worn by celebrities — Angelina Jolie, Bradley Cooper, Kim Kardashian, Beyoncé, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Elizabeth Hurley, Gwyneth Paltrow, and have been featured globally in every major fashion publication such as Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, W, and Elle.


Elie Chouraqui is a director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and writer, born in Paris to a Sephardi immigrant family. He is one of the most celebrated filmmakers in France. In 1974, his encounter with Anouk Aimée was decisive. For her, he wrote MON PREMIER AMOUR, his first film, which was nominated four times at the French César Award. After directing for French television an adaptation of Emile Zola’s novel Une page damour, he wrote and directed QU’EST-CE QUI FAIT COURIR DAVID?, which he also produced, as he produced or co-produced all his films. In 1984, his movie PAROLES ET MUSIQUE, starring Catherine Deneuve, Christophe Lambert, Richard Anconina, and Charlotte Gainsbourg received three César Award nominations. His film HARRISON’S FLOWERS, starting Andie McDowell, Adrien Brody, David Strathairn, Brendan Gleeson, and Elias Koteas was shown at the San Sebastian Festival. Chouraqui wrote, produced, and directed THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, a musical that was seen by more than 1.8 million people in France before touring in Italy, Japan, Belgium, Switzerland, South Korea (where its theatrical trope celebrated surpassing 800 performances in 2007), and the United States. His next musical was SPARTACUS THE GLADIATOR, featuring the music of Maxime Leforestier, which was followed by the film O JERUSALEM, adapted from the best-selling book by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins, and starring Saïd Taghmaoui. He staged “Le Prénom” and then “Miroirs,” a play he co-wrote, in Tel Aviv, where he has lived since 2016. In Israel, an Israeli-American-French television channel, I24NEWS asked Elie Chouraqui to do a live show every Sunday evening “Elie sans interdit.” In this show, he interviews international personalities from the political, intellectual, and artistic worlds.


Dan Hedaya, a member of the Syrian Sephardic community, has been enjoying a fulfilling career as an actor for many years. He has appeared in some sixty feature films, including BLOOD SIMPLE, THE FIRST WIVES CLUB, CLUELESS, THE USUAL SUSPECTS, HURRICANE, ADAMS FAMILY VALUES, and DICK, in which he portrayed Richard Nixon. On TV he guest starred numerous times on Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue (for which he received an Emmy nomination), Family Ties, and Law & Order. His most notable character was the eccentric Nick Tortelli in Cheers. His stage work includes appearing with Al Pacino in THE BASIC TRAINING OF PAVLO HUMMEL on Broadway, as well as numerous Off-Broadway productions, including many at the New York Shakespeare Festival.


Keren Yedaya is an award-winning Israeli director. She has directed the features OR (Caméra d’Or winner at the Cannes Film Festival, 2004), JAFFA (Cannes Film Festival, 2009), and THAT LOVE- LY GIRL (Un Certain Regard, Cannes Film Festival, 2014), as well as the shorts ELINOR (1994), LULU (1999), and UNDERWEAR (2001). RED FIELDS (2019), her latest feature film, premièred at the Toronto International Film Festival and has won the Israeli Ophir Awards for Best Original Soundtrack and Best Sound Mixing. Yedaya is known as a feminist and activist for women’s rights. Yedaya trained at the Camera Obscura School of Art in Tel Aviv.

Media Contact: The Culture News


New York Jewish Guide