Canada | 53 minutes | 2021
Just As I Am
A little film with a great big heart, Evan Beloff’s (MJFF 2020’s A People’s Soundtrack) new documentary follows the lives of several members of the Shira Choir, comprised of an exceptional group of singers with special needs, and the choirmaster that unites them. In Just As I Am, we meet Daniel Benlolo, a cantor and rabbi who founded the Shira Choir for special needs adults who must leave the structured confines of school once they've reached age 21. He has seen how singing in the ensemble provides these individuals with motivation, goals, and community, and the results are transformative. His efforts are as extraordinary as his choristers' longing to be together again amid the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis. This touching journey through sorrow and joy, life and death, shows us how music challenges, heals, and uplifts those who are devoted to it.
Accompanying the film premiere is a discussion with director Evan Beloff, Cantor Daniel Benlolo, and moderator Nancy Zaretsky, Inclusion Specialist at the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. To view the conversation please click here.
Directed by Evan Beloff