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


– Peter Keough,
Boston Globe




Produced by Nancy Spielberg
Directed by Roberta Grossman

US • 2014 • 87 minutes • 16:9 • 5.1 Stereo • NR • English


link to official website

  ::  watch the trailer  
  ::  find a theater near you  
  ::  press material / photographs to download  

In 1948, a group of World War II pilots, mostly from America, volunteered to fight for Israel in its War of Independence.  As members of "Machal"– volunteers from abroad – this ragtag band of brothers turned the tide of the war, preventing the possible annihilation of Israel at the very moment of its birth.  ABOVE AND BEYOND is their story, told for the first time. 

ABOVE AND BEYOND recounts the harrowing missions of the men who helped repel five Arab armies. The film follows them from the United States – where they met and trained in secret and struggled to stay two steps ahead of the FBI – to Panama, Rome and even behind the Iron Curtain in Czechoslovakia, where they flew versions of the very Nazi planes they had tried to shoot down in World War II.

Set against the backdrop of an emerging nation still reeling from the horrors of the Holocaust, ABOVE AND BEYOND uncovers the motivations of these volunteers – Jews and non-Jews, some Zionists, many others not.  It recounts the personal stories of the young pilots, whose experiences in Israel were life altering. And ultimately, the film taps into universal themes of courage, commitment and sacrifice.  At a time when a fledgling nation was under attack, a tiny band of airmen answered the call for help. They risked their citizenship, their futures and even their lives.

ABOVE AND BEYOND is produced by Nancy Spielberg (Elusive Justice), directed by Roberta Grossman (Blessed Is the Match, Hava Nagila-The Movie) with cinematography by Harris Done (The Last Days), special effects by Industrial Light & Magic and an original score from Hans Zimmer’s studio.


“ASTONISHING!” – Sam Weisberg, Village Voice

“AMAZING. Dramatic, surprising and above all INSPIRING.”
– Kyle Smith, New York Post

“Hugely engaging. Chock-full of fascinating episodes. A flat-out terrific film that is not ashamed to celebrate heroism and derring-do attitude. Truly inspiring (and often wickedly funny). Wildly entertaining.” – Joe Bendel, Epoch Times

“Every once in a while, a filmmaker captures the essence of what the State of Israel means to the Jewish people in general and to America’s Jews in particular.
An EXQUISITE film. An AMAZING story.”
– Eric Goldman, Jewish Standard


“The saga of this contingent, who risked loss of American citizenship by fighting in a foreign armed force, reminds me of what happened during the Spanish Civil War, when brave American men enlisted in the Lincoln Brigade to fight in Spain against Franco and fascism.” – William Wolf, WolfEntertainmentGuide

“A FASCINATING little-known historical tale is stirringly recounted in Roberta Grossman's documentary about Jewish-American fighter pilots who volunteered to fight for Israel in its 1948 War of Independence. Seemingly ready-made for big screen Hollywood treatment, Above and Beyond has been a winner on the festival circuit and should have no trouble finding appreciative art house audiences upon its Jan. 30 theatrical release.”
– Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter


– Michael Fox, EatDrinkFilms.com

“At one time Steven Spielberg (whose father had fought with the 490th ‘Burma Brothers Squadron’ in the Pacific) considered making a documentary of the hastily recruited and trained Machal pilots, but instead elected to direct other war dramas. So the opportunity to produce the Machal project passed to Spielberg’s youngest sister, Nancy, 58, who’s seized an all-too-fleeting moment to assemble a stirring portrait of this band-of-brothers called Machalniks. A half dozen in their 80s and 90s are the main subjects of Above and Beyond.”
– Kurt Brokaw, The Independent-Magazine

“Heartfelt and Compelling. Viewers may feel any number of ways about Israel, but the story must be respected. These guys risked it all, out of faith and a sense of duty, and got the job done against crazy odds.”
– Max Leibowitz, TCJewFolk.com


Gala Screening – Jerusalem Film Festival
Official Selection – San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
Gala Screening – Doc NYC
Audience Award – Best Documentary – Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival
Audience Award – Best Documentary – Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema
Best Documentary – Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival
25 Other Jewish Film Festivals… and Counting


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