GJFF’s SummerFest to feature the S.C. premier of Call Me Dancer this August

June 4, 2024

The Greenville Jewish Film Festival’s SummerFest 2024 promises a captivating blend of cultures with the spotlight on a Mumbai street dancer’s journey under the guidance of an Israeli ballet master.

Call Me Dancer is a 2023 documentary by director and producer Leslie Shampaine. It is a story of perseverance, passion, culture and an unlikely friendship. The documentary follows Manish Chauhan, a street dancer from Mumbai, whose working-class parents depend on their only son’s financial support.

When he accidentally walks into an inner-city dance school and encounters the brilliant but curmudgeonly 70-year-old Israeli ballet master Yehuda Maor, a hunger develops within him. The ambitious Manish becomes determined to make it as a professional dancer, but the odds are stacked against him. Together, Manish and Yehuda transform each other’s lives, searching to uncover who and what they are. Yehuda seeks purpose and a place to call home. Manish dreams of dancing on the world stage but struggles to break free from the confines of his economic and social circumstances.

“Our goal since we started in 2018 is to show films with cultural diversity,” said Caroline Warthen, co-chair of the festival. “We want people to come away from the movie with a little something that they weren’t aware of, a new nugget of understanding.”

SummerFest will be held Sunday, August 25 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Gunter Theatre, 300 S. Main Street, Greenville. Tickets can be purchased through the Peace Center website at www.peacecenter.org. Adult tickets are $50 and students are $25. Tickets include: a dance workshop with Manish, the film screening, a guest appearance by Manish, and Indian Street Food from Saffron Indian Cuisine.

In addition to the screening, the festival is offering a Master Dance Workshop with Manish at the Gunter Theatre on Sunday, August 25 from Noon to 1:30 p.m. with the ticket purchase. This one-of-a-kind advanced beginner masterclass features athletic contemporary dance movement fused with a Bollywood flair.

“Because the story of Call me Dancer revolves around Manish Chauhan, our special guest at the event, we wanted to expand our cultural reach by coming together with the Indian Association of Greenville to share this enriching experience,” said Helaine Meyers, a festival co- chair. “We are proud to share this amazing story with Greenville.”


About The Greenville Jewish Film Festival

The Greenville Jewish Film Festival, established in 2018 by Osnat Rosen, Caroline Warthen, and Helaine Meyers, is dedicated to curating a diverse selection of films that celebrate Jewish heritage and contemporary issues. Our founders are passionate about exposing the Upstate community to the richness and diversity of Judaism through the power of cinema. Learn more at greenvillejewishfilmfestival.com.