The captivating story of the Jewish dance enthusiasts in the US who brought Cuban mambo fever to the East Coast in the 1950s.
Director: Lex Gillespie USA 2019, documentary, European premiere, 89 min., English Producer: Lex Gillespie Cinematography: John Paulson, Lex Gillespie Cast: Marvin “Marvano” Jaye, Vince Livelli, Marilyn “Buttons” Waters, “Mambo Judie” Friend, Rhea Anides
More than 30 years after the romance DIRTY DANCING, a captivating documentary tells the true story behind
the mambo fever of the 1950s on the East Coast. In New York, the dance from Cuba was the sound of the
moment; like other clubs in Miami and the vacation resorts, the Palladium Ballroom became a cultural melting
pot. Yet it was mostly young Jews who danced to the music of the big bands, and their love of Latin rhythms
earned them a Yiddish-sounding nickname: the mamboniks. Director Lex Gillespie has musicians, club owners,
and dancers of the day reminisce about music, love, friendship, and rediscovered joie de vivre. And not a few
are still avid dancers today, at 80-plus.
Washington Jewish Film Festival 2019; Miami Film Festival 2019; San Diego Latino Film Festival 2019; Gainsville Jewish Film Festival 2019; Roca Raton Jewish Film Festival 2019; Baltimore Jewish Film Festival; Knasas City Jewish Film Festival 2019; Detroit Jewish Film Festival 2019; Palm Beach Spring Jewish Film Festival 2019
Lex Gillespie has been producing features and documentaries for radio and TV stations since the 1980s. He won two Peabody Awards for the radio series “Let the Good Times Roll” (2004) and “Whole Lotta Shakin’” (2007) about US music history, and he produced the radio series “Jazz Singers” and “Black Radio: Telling It Like It Was” (1995). THE MAMBONIKS is the first documentary he directed.