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On the Map

USA, English, 85 minutes, 2016 / Official web site:

ON THE MAP tells the against-all-odds story of Maccabi Tel Aviv’s 1977 win of the European Cup. Through the conduit of sports, ON THE MAP presents a much broader story of Israel and the Jewish people during the Cold War. The film recounts how the underdog Israeli basketball team prevailed over CSKA Moscow (known in the West as “Red Army”) – a team that refused to play against Israel. Moments after this highly charged and historical win, Israeli-American basketball hero Tal Brody captured the heart of the young nation when he famously said, “Israel is ON THE MAP, not just in sport, but in everything.” Told through the eyes of six American basketball players who joined Maccabi Tel Aviv and helped shape the team that beat Russia, and featuring interviews with NBA iconic legends Bill Walton and David Stern, ON THE MAP combines the pulse pounding action of a high-stakes game with an incendiary political situation to deliver a film that mesmerizes fans of the game and captures the spirit of a nation triumphant against all odds. ON THE MAP also features interviews with Michael Oren and Natan Sharansky, among others.



By early 1977, the people of the young State of Israel had been stunned by the murder of its athletes at Munich Olympics, demoralized by the Yom Kippur War, reeling from Entebbe, and struggling after multiple political scandals. In that climate emerges a story about an underdog basketball team, an international competition, and a triumph of enormous proportion. ON THE MAP, a documentary from award-winning Israeli filmmaker Dani Menkin, tells that story with rare footage and interviews with team members and sports luminaries. 

On the evening of February 17, streets in Israel were empty as families and friends gathered o watch, on the nation’s only TV channel, the Maccabi Tel Aviv team take on the four-time defending Soviets. The Israeli captain was University of Illinois All-American Tal Brody from Next New Jersey. His teammates included American Jews Lou Silver, Bob Griffin, Miki Berkowitz, and Eric Minkin, as well as Jim Boatwright and Aulcie Perry. As the Soviet Union did not recognize the state of Israel and there were ongoing political conflicts, the game had to be played in neutral Belgium. Brody and his team were victorious, and his statement birthed the title of the film: “We are on the map, and we are staying on the map, not only in sports, but in everything!” 

The team then went on to defeat Italy in the finals for the historic European Cup Basketball Championship title.

“This was my first childhood memory. I was seven years old when Maccabi Tel Aviv won the European Championship, and that night, my father lifted me up on his shoulders, took me to Tel-Aviv, and we danced in the streets with 200,000 people like it was Israel’s first Independence Day,” recounts director Menkin. 

This experience fueled his dogged determination to create this documentary, from finding the players to culling hidden Israeli sports archives and home movies from fans at the game to acquire footage rarely, if ever,


Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary: 

2016 JCC Rochester International Jewish Film Festival


Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary: 

2016 Berkshire Jewish Film Festival


Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary: 

2016 Boston Jewish Film Festival


Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary: 

2016 Rutgers Jewish Film Festival


Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary: 

2017 Donald M. Ephraim Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival


Winner of the Audience Choice Award: 

2017 Donald M. Ephraim Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival


Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary: 

2017 Denver Jewish Film Festival 


Winner of the Audience Favorite Award:

2017 Mayerson JCC Jewish & Israeli Film Festival in Cincinnati


Winner of the Audience Choice Award: 

2017 Houston Jewish Film Festival 


Writer, Director, and Producer Dani Menkin is an award-winning filmmaker (Dolphin Boy, 2011; 39 Pounds of Love, 2005) and founder of Hey Jude Productions. His films have been sold to Disney and HBO Productions. His latest feature film Is That You? (2014) won “Best Indie Film of the Year” award (2014), and was nominated for the “Best Film of the Year” award (2014) by the Israeli Academy.

Executive Producer Roberta Grossman, co-founder of Katahdin Productions, has written and produced documentary film and television. Grossman produced and directed Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh and Hava Nagila (The Movie); and directed Above and Beyond, a documentary about American World War II pilots who fought for Israel in the 1948 War.

Executive Producer Nancy Spielberg is the producer of the award-winning film Above and Beyond. She grew up surrounded by the film industry, where she worked on her brother Steven’s early films. An accomplished businesswoman, fundraiser and philanthropist, Spielberg has 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.