New Film by Nancy Spielberg Tells the Story of Machalniks who Turned the Tide of Israel’s 1948 War of Independence

International Film Circuit presents a film by Playmount Productions in association with Katahdin Productions.

From producer Nancy Spielberg and director Roberta Grossman (Blessed is the Match, HavaNagila: The Movie)

January 30 – February 5
Village East Theater

129 Second Ave (@ 11th St.)


Check local listings for additional locations

“An impeccably crafted adventure saga.”
– Michael Fox,

– Peter Keough, The Boston Globe

“Unexpectedly moving, intermittently tragic, and oftentimes funny.”       
– Drew Taylor, Studio System News


Would you risk everything – your future, your citizenship, even your life – to help a brother in need? 

In 1948, just three years after the liberation of Nazi death camps, a group of Jewish American pilots answered a call for help. In secret and at great personal risk, they smuggled planes out of the U.S., trained behind the Iron Curtain in Czechoslovakia and flew for Israel in its War of Independence. As members of Machal – “volunteers from abroad” – this ragtag band of brothers not only turned the tide of the war; they also embarked on personal journeys of discovery and renewed Jewish pride. ABOVE AND BEYOND is their story. 

The first major feature-length documentary about the foreign airmen in the ’48 War, ABOVE AND BEYOND brings together new interviews with the pilots, as well as stunning aerial footage, to present a fascinating, little-known tale filled with heart, heroism and high-flying chutzpah. The film follows the pilots on their circuitous route from the United States – where they met and trained in secret and struggled to stay two steps ahead of the FBI – to Panama, Italy and Czechoslovakia, where they flew versions of the very Nazi planes they had tried to shoot down in World War II.

More than a retelling of the ’48 Arab-Israeli War, ABOVE AND BEYOND examines the motivations of the foreign volunteers – both Jews and non-Jews. It mines the tensions between the Israelis and Machal soldiers. Would the foreign pilots stay in Israel after the war? Were they Americans first or Jews first? The film recounts the personal (sometimes wild) stories of the young pilots, whose experiences in Israel were life altering. And through their stories, ABOVE AND BEYOND reveals how under-equipped and isolated the Israelis were, how desperately they needed planes and pilots and how critical the actions of these young American men were for the country’s survival.

Filmed in the U.S., Israel and the United Kingdom, ABOVE AND BEYOND is produced by Nancy Spielberg (Elusive Justice) and directed by Roberta Grossman (Blessed Is the Match), with cinematography by Harris Done (The Last Days), special effects by Industrial Light & Magic and an original score from Hans Zimmer’s Studio.



An accomplished businesswoman, fundraiser and philanthropist, Nancy Spielberg has in recent years turned her energy and talents to producing documentary films. She served as consultant on the Oscar-winning documentary Chernobyl Heart, and is executive producer of Elusive Justice: The Search for Nazi War Criminals, which aired nationally on PBS. Before creating and producing Above and Beyond, Spielberg produced a project for the Israeli government, Celebrities Salute Israel’s 60th, which was featured in Times Square on the NASDAQ screens for one month. Spielberg grew up surrounded by the film industry, where she worked on her brother Steven’s early films. She attended Arizona State University and UCLA and, after moving to New York, studied film at Sarah Lawrence College and the New School in New York. She is founder and co-founder of several charities including “A Bid for Charity,” “Children of Chernobyl,” “Project Sunshine” and the U.S. branch of The Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance.


Roberta Grossmanis an award-winning filmmaker with a passion for history and social justice. She has written and produced more than forty hours of documentary film and television. Grossman’s most recent film, HavaNagila (The Movie) was the opening or closing night film at 46 of the 80 film festivals where it screened. HavaNagila had a theatrical release in 2013 and is now available on Netflix. Grossman’s previous film, Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh, was shortlisted for an Academy Award, won the audience award at 13 film festivals, was broadcast on PBS and nominated for a Primetime Emmy. Grossman is the producer of Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning for PBS/American Masters (Fall 2014) and was the series producer and co-writer of 500 Nations, the eight-hour CBS mini-series on Native Americans hosted by Kevin Costner. Her feature documentary, Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action, premiered in 2005, screened and won awards at more than 40 festivals worldwide and aired on public television stations.


International Film Circuit’s recent releases include Peter Nicks’ acclaimed and award-winning documentary The Waiting Room, Robin Hessman’sMy Perestroika and Joseph Dorman’s Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness. The distribution company’s release of Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg in 2009 grossed over $1 million. International Film Circuit’s Wendy Lidell has handled distribution for two Academy Award® nominated documentary films, Darwin’s Nightmare by Hubert Sauper and On The Ropes by Brett Morgen and Nanette Burstein. Other releases include Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story.

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