Above and Beyond

  • Leon Frankel 1923-2015

    With heavy hearts, we announce that Leon Frankel passed away yesterday morning surrounded by his loving family in Minnesota. He was 92. We were all completely charmed by Leon when we filmed his interview for Above and Beyond. We feel so fortunate that we got to know him and bring his story to new generations.

    Though Leon was modest about his accomplishments, he was a true hero and a gentleman. A bomber pilot in the Pacific in World War II, Leon flew 25 combined missions while assigned aboard the USS Lexington and the USS Yorktown. On April 7, 1945, Leon’s unit was sent to intercept Japanese forces led by the battleship Yamato. Despite facing intense anti-aircraft fire, Leon scored a direct hit and contributed to the sinking of the hostile cruiser, Yahagi. For his actions, he was awarded the Navy Cross.

    In 1948, Leon flew 25 missions for the Israeli Air Force as a member of the 101 Squadron. After he returned home to Minnesota, he joined the Navy Reserve and served until 1959. In addition to receiving the Navy Cross, Leon was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses, three Air Medals and two Presidential Citations for his service.

    We will miss him.

    Nancy Spielberg with Leon Frankel and friends at a 2014 screening of Above and Beyond.

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  • Common Sense Seal

    We're honored that ABOVE AND BEYOND has received a Common Sense Media Seal. Common Sense Media recognizes standout movies that offer an exceptional media experience for families. The Seal distinguishes movies that meet Common Sense Media's highest editorial standards for being entertaining, engaging, and/or effective, in addition to offering worthwhile themes, messages, and/or role models. The honorees of the Common Sense Seal have the potential to spark family conversations, entertain families of all types, and/or make a significant, lasting impact on individuals within a family or on the culture as a whole.

    You can read the review here:

    Above and Beyond – 4 stars, 13+


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  • Lou Lenart 1921-2015

    With heavy hearts, we announce that Lou Lenart passed away on Monday, July 20, at age 94. He was a hero through and through. A former World War II Marine Corp pilot who flew in the Pacific, Lou was one of the first volunteer pilots to arrive in Israel in May 1948. He led the Israeli Air Force’s first combat mission on May 29, 1948, striking a column of Egyptian trucks and tanks less than 30 miles from Tel Aviv. Lou’s actions stopped the Egyptians in their tracks. The mission is considered one of the most important ones in Israel’s War of Independence. After the war, Lou helped airlift Iraqi Jews to Israel and flew for El Al Airlines. He became a film producer and consultant.

    "I am so very grateful for Lou and the help he gave us when he agreed to allow us into his life with ABOVE AND BEYOND,” says producer Nancy Spielberg. "He is legendary. And it's not often that we are blessed to have spent time with a legend, someone who has truly impacted all of our lives and has given us a gift which we all treasure - the State of Israel."

    You can read more about Lou here:


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  • Spring Awards

    This spring, we had an amazing run with ABOVE AND BEYOND at film festivals! We picked up nine additional awards:

    1. Audience Award for Best Documentary, Houston Jewish Film Festival
    2. Audience Award for Best Documentary, JFilm Festival in Pittsburgh
    3. Audience Award for Best Documentary, Jewish & Israeli Film Festival in Cincinnati
    4. Audience Award for Best Documentary, Dayton Jewish Film Festival
    5. Audience Award for Best Documentary, Boulder Jewish Film Festival
    6. Best Documentary, Mobile Jewish Film Festival
    7. Best Documentary, Chattanooga Jewish Cultural Center Documentary Series
    8. Audience Award for Best Documentary, The Berkshire International Film Festival
    9. Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary, Edmonton Jewish Film Festival

    This brings our total to 22 awards!

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  • Capitol Hill

    We were honored to show ABOVE AND BEYOND at a special screening at the US Capitol on June 10.

    Thank you to our honorary co-hosts: Representatives Steve Israel (D-NY), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Tom Cole (R-OK)

    Representative Illeana Ros-Lehtinen, Nancy Spielberg, Representative Steve Israel


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  • We're on iTunes!

    Now you can watch ABOVE AND BEYOND instantly. Check us out on iTunes, with exclusive never-before-seen extras!



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  • Thank you, Seattle

    Seattle audiences picked ABOVE AND BEYOND as the winner for best documentary at the Seattle Jewish Film Festival.


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  • Two More Awards!

    ABOVE AND BEYOND has picked up two more awards, notching its 11th and 12h festival wins.


    Best Documentary - Washington Jewish Film Festival

    Audience Award - Charlotte Jewish Film Festival


    Thank you, Charlotte and DC!

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  • Big Night in Atlanta

    ABOVE AND BEYOND opened the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival in January with Nancy Spielberg in attendance, and a packed crowd. An incredible night!

    We were thrilled to win the Audience Award at the festival. We love Atlanta!

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  • Props in Denver

    Above and Beyond wins another Best Documentary award, this time at the Denver Jewish Film Festival.


    Thanks to the Mizel Arts & Culture Center!


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  • San Diego Awards

    We're thrilled to win Best Feature Documentary and the Audience Award at the San Diego Jewish Film Festival!


    From San Diego Jewish World writer Jack Forman:

    In its comprehensiveness, depth, and documentation, the story told in this heartfelt and riveting feature length documentary rises over, above and beyond any film or book chronicling the American Jewish contribution to defending the nascent State of Israel during the 1948 War of Independence. Most of the participants portrayed directly or indirectly in Above and Beyond were motivated not by an abiding commitment to Judaism or allegiance to the State of Israel; they were mostly secular Jews who had little knowledge of or connection to Israel. But the overwhelming passion that drove these volunteers to risk their lives for this mission was to ensure that the Holocaust would not be repeated ever again, and the only way to guarantee this was to secure a Jewish homeland.

    Nancy Spielberg and Roberta Grossman and the many other film professionals they engaged to make this film deserve our deep gratitude and everlasting thanks for this tour de force. And so does the San Diego Jewish Film Festival for screening Above and Beyond.



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  • Palm Beach Prize

    ABOVE AND BEYOND wins the 2015 Audience Award for Best Documentary Film, Donald M. Ephraim Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival. Thanks, Palm Beach!


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  • Go West Virginia

    Above and Beyond screened January 25 in Charleston at the West Virginia Jewish Film Festival. Thanks to festival director Fred Pollock and to sponsors Janet and Michael Victorson, who hosted Nancy Spielberg at the event!


    Nancy Spielberg with festival director Fred PollockNancy Spielberg with sponsors Janet and Michael Victorson

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  • Audience Award

    We're thrilled that Above and Beyond won the audience award for best documentary at the Miami Jewish Film Festival. Thank you, Miami!


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  • Florida's Top Gun

    We were thrilled to have special guest Gideon Lichtman at our ABOVE AND BEYOND screenings at the Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival and Miami Jewish Film Festival. He is one of our featured pilots in the film.

    Thank you, Giddy, for your courage and service as a member of Israel's 101 Squadron -- and for keeping us in stitches with your colorful stories!

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  • Trailer Debuts!

    Check out our new trailer that premiered today exclusively on The Hollywood Reporter!





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  • Top Prize in Philly

    ABOVE AND BEYOND wins its fourth award in the past month -- taking home the audience award at the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival!

    For more info, visit http://pjff.org/

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  • Hong Kong's Best Documentary

    ABOVE AND BEYOND takes home the prize for Best Documentary at the 15th Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival! That's the third award in the last month.

    Check out all the winners at www.hkjff.org/about-hkjff/

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  • Best in Chicago

    ABOVE AND BEYOND won the Audience Award at the Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema. It's the Bevie Award (named for Festival founder Beverly Braverman z”l)

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  • Best Doc Award

    ABOVE AND BEYOND received the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Rutgers Jewish Film Festival.

    Thank you to Karen Small and the team at Rutgers!


    Karen Small and Yael Zerubavel with producer Nancy Spielberg

    Nancy gives a shout-out to her father, Arnold Spielberg

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  • Sold Out at Doc NYC

    ABOVE AND BEYOND had its New York premiere to a sold-out crowd at Doc NYC. A second screening has been added for this Thursday, November 20!



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  • Thank you, Milwaukee

    ABOVE AND BEYOND was honored to screen at the Milwaukee Jewish Federation's Israel Bonds 2014 Annual Event. Thank you to co-chairs Greg and Linda Marcus!

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  • Coming Soon to NYC

    Dear Friends of Above and Beyond:

    Happy New Year!

    Above and Beyond is off and running! The film is booked in festivals around the world with more requests coming in every day. We are very excited that Above and Beyond is going to screen at the prestigious DOC NYC! The screening is on November 16th, 2014 at 4:30pm. I will be there doing Q&A. Click here to buy tickets.

    Here are the other cities where the film is playing in the next four months:

    Toronto JFF weekend: Oct 19 with director Roberta Grossman

    Heartland Film Festival, Indianapolis: Oct 18, 20, 21, 23

    Or Shalom Film Society, London, ON: Oct 19

    Twin Cities Jewish Film Festival, Minneapolis: Oct 26 with  Nancy Spielberg

    Rutgers Jewish Film Festival: Oct 26, Oct 29 with Nancy Spielberg, Nov 4

    Milwaukee Israel Bonds: Nov 3 with Nancy Spielberg

    Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema: Nov 2, Nov 4 with Nancy Spielberg

    Warsaw Jewish Film Festival : Nov 5

    Israel Film Festival, Los Angeles: Nov 3, Nov 6 with director Roberta Grossman

    Vancouver Jewish Film Festival: Nov 6 with Nancy Spielberg

    Gold Coast Film Festival, Long Island: Nov 8

    Beth Tzedek Calgary Jewish Film Festival : Nov 8 with Nancy Spielberg

    UK Jewish Film Festival: Nov 8,11,13,16

    Boston Jewish Film Festival: Nov 11 and 12 with Nancy Spielberg

    Nashville Jewish Film Festival: Nov 12 and 13 with Nancy Spielberg

    Philadelphia Festival of Israeli Film: Nov 15 with Nancy Spielberg

    DOC NYC: Nov 16 with Nancy Spielberg

    Jewish International Film Festival, Australia and New Zealand: Nov 16 and 23

    Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival, Dec 7

    I look forward to seeing many of you as I travel with the film.


    Nancy Spielberg

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  • Hot in Cleveland!

    Thank you to the Mandel JCC and the Cleveland Jewish Film Festival for two great screenings in Cleveland! What amazing crowds.