The Boston Jewish Film Festival has announced the official selections for this year’s festival. Thirty-eight films have been selected and will be screened from November 9-21, 2016. Covering topics from same sex marriage to how the Holocaust is represented in the world of social media, the 2016 Boston Jewish Film Festival will explore the evolution of the Jewish identity in the 21st century and how individual characters wrestle with linking the past to who they are now.
Some of the highlights of the 2016 festival include Sand Storm, Israel’s official entry to the 89th Academy Awards, a film that examines gender inequalities in a Bedouin village, through the eyes of a young woman who struggles to make her own way in a traditional family. First shown at the Tribeca Film Festival this year, Keep Quiet follows Csanad Szegedi, who rose through the ranks of Hungary’s far-right extremist party before learning his grandmother was a Jewish Auschwitz survivor; and The Tenth Man, an Argentinian film that follows the return of a young man to the Jewish neighborhood in Buenos Aires where he grew up.
There will be four featured screenings at the 2016 Boston Jewish Film Festival, including an Opening Night event, the Mid-Fest event, the Spotlight Screening and the Closing Night event. In addition to the featured screenings, the 2016 Boston Jewish Film Festival will include a several series and special programs, designed to appeal to a wide variety of audiences. The festival will also hold a live taping of the podcast Ronna & Beverly, a live chat show hosted by America’s favorite fictional Jewish mothers from Marblehead and Swampscott.
The 28th annual Boston Jewish Film Festival will open on Wednesday, November 9, 2016 with the Boston Premiere of A.K.A. Nadiaat the Coolidge Corner Theatre. The narrative film from Israel explores the life of Maya Goldwasser, a mom, successful choreographer and wife of an Israeli official at the Ministry of Justice. Born to a Palestinian family as Nadia, Maya abandoned her roots after becoming involved with a PLO activist in her youth and took on a new identity as an Israeli Jew. But leaving the past behind isn’t always possible. A.K.A. Nadia won The Israel Critics’ Forum Award for the Best Feature Film at the 2015 Jerusalem Film Festival.
Can we laugh about tragedy? That’s the question raised by The Last Laugh, the Mid-Fest event at the Festival on Wednesday, November 16, at 6:30 p.m. at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. Through interviews with individuals such as Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, Etgar Keret, Abraham Foxman and many others, along with clips from comedians, TV shows and movies, The Last Laugh offers insights into the Holocaust, our own psyches and our senses of humor. This screening will be followed by a conversation with the director, Ferne Pearlstein, producer Robert Edwards, author of The Big Book of Jewish Humor, Rabbi Moshe Waldoks, and moderated by journalist James Carroll.
The Spotlight Screening, held at the Coolidge Corner Theater on Nov. 15 at 6:45 p.m. will be One Week and A Day, a dark comedy that deals with the aftermath of loss. When Eyal and his wife finish the week of shiva for their son, she urges him to return to his usual routine. Instead, he enlists his young neighbor to join him in smoking his son’s medical marijuana. The film won awards at the 2016 Jerusalem Film Festival and at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.
Finally, the festival will close on Sunday, November 20 with a 7 pm screening of the film Who’s Going to Love Me Now? at the Museum of Fine Arts. This Massachusetts premiere tells the story of Saar, raised on an Orthodox kibbutz in Israel, who moves to London after coming out to his family as a gay man. When he learns he is HIV positive, he struggles to reestablish relationships – both with his family and his homeland.
“The line-up for the 28th annual Boston Jewish Film Festival is one of the best we’ve had in years,” said Ariana Cohen-Halberstam, the Artistic Director at the BJFF. “The films selected represent all genres, from documentaries to comedies. What they have in common is the unique perspectives offered by a group of accomplished filmmakers into how daily life is shaped by Jewish identity. We are really looking forward to sharing these films with a wide audience across Greater Boston.”
Designed for young professionals, the FreshFlix series will celebrate new voices in Jewish film. 8 screenings will be held throughout the festival, including a short film competition honoring Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016.
Other series include Pushing Boundaries, a short film program about individuals who are stepping outside their comfort zone; BJFF Jr., an afternoon screening of family-friendly films; TLV-TV, featuring some of the biggest television hits out of Israel; and a series of surprise screenings that will be announced as the festival draws closer.
The Boston Jewish Film Festival will take place at 11 theaters, including AMC Framingham, Arlington Capital Theatre, Brattle Theatre, Coolidge Corner Theatre, JCC Greater Boston Riemer-Goldstein Theater, Maynard Fine Arts Theatre Place, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, NewBridge on the Charles, Showcase Cinema de Lux at Patriots’ Place, Somerville Theatre, and the West Newton Cinema. Tickets for individual screenings can be purchased online at www.bjff.org, by phone at 888-615-3332 or in person at cinema box offices. Festival passes are available online or by phone from the BJFF office. For the full film schedule or for additional information, visit www.bjff.org
The Boston Jewish Film Festival, a not-for-profit arts organization, celebrates the richness of the Jewish experience through film and media. Throughout the year, the Festival engages and inspires the community to explore the full spectrum of Jewish life, values, and culture.