The piece de resistance of Warsaw’s Museum of the History of Polish Jews is a painstakingly built replica of the ceiling of an 18th century wooden synagogue the Nazis destroyed in the town of Gwozdziec, now in southern Ukraine. Its reconstruction is the subject of Yari Wolinsky’s Raise the Roof, a heartfelt documentary that captures the spirit of the project. It’s not only about the arc of Jewish history in Poland, which is both illustrious and tragic, but about the intricacies of true craftsmanship.
Artists Rick and Laura Brown are not Jewish and not Polish, and yet they set out to rebuild Gwoździec. Their vision inspires hundreds of people to join them, using their hands and old tools and techniques to bring Gwoździec’s history, culture, science, and art back to life.
Raise the Roof documents the multiyear process of re-creating by hand — from very old black-and-white photographs — the vibrantly painted complex 18th-century roof and ceiling of an wooden Polish synagogue. The uplifting documentary is an artistic, non-denominational embrace across the centuries.
“This film is about a remarkable dream and a journey of re-discovery. It is a story of larger-than-life characters—one that starts with tragedy and ends in triumph,” said director Yari Wolinsky. “It highlights the cautious optimism of a new generation and a growing dialogue between Jews and Poles about the past and the future, providing a unique and positive way to connect with Jewish history.”
· Best Film Audience Award - Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival
· Best Documentary - Seattle Jewish Film Festival
· Best Documentary - Washington Jewish Film Festival
· Best Documentary Audience Choice - Rutgers Jewish Film Festival
· Best Documentary - Audience Choice Award, New Hampshire JFF
· Audience Choice Award - Salt Lake City Jewish Arts Festival
Film Festival patrons can pick up pre-ordered tickets, purchase sponsorships, and purchase tickets at the SNEAK PREVIEW.