The annual Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (AJFF)‘s lineup this year is incredible (as usual!) From documentaries, narratives, scary movies, short films–old and new–every film is guaranteed to strum on the heartstrings of our large Atlanta Jewish population and bring us closer together as a community. The vision of the AJFF is to “inspire communities to new levels of social and cultural understanding (source: AJFF website).”
Not Jewish? No problem! The mission of the AJFF is to “entertain and engage diverse audiences with film through a Jewish lens (source: AJFF website).” Film is really the art of our generation. We love movies–they are made in a way to manipulate our emotions and transport us to places around the world (and out of this world!) that we can only dream of in our imaginations.
The AJFF is brilliant in picking which movies will show where and at what time in that they have movies that older, retired generations will like during the weekday in the afternoon and films that younger, working generations can enjoy at night. Everything is strategic, and their public relations is incredible. They have press “access nights” where you can enjoy a cash bar and hors d’ouevres, they have a “preview party” as well as a “closing night party.” This three week long event defines the vibrancy of Atlanta’s diverse population and is a must for all locals.
After picking apart the schedule and finding times that I can get to after work, then narrowing the films down to ones that interest me, these four are the ones I will be at:
I’m a sucker for scary supernatural movies, and this one is set in the Holy Land? I am definitely not missing this one! The film is from the perspective of an American traveller wearing a digital lens (so yes, shaky camera, yes, things that jump out at you, YES, flying demons!). There is an infection spreading through Jerusalem so our characters find themselves underground while leaders battle above ground. Perfect formula for a horror flick, and creepier set in the ancient Old City.
Showtimes: Friday, Feb. 5 @2:15pm @Regal Atlantic Station, Tickets: $9; Saturday, Feb. 6 @9:25pm @Regal Atlantic Station, Tickets: $13
The Shorts program is a series of six short films screened back to back. This collection in particular interests me because half of them are animated, breathing Jewish artistic interpretation into the stories.
The first film is called Dear God, a love story with notes hidden in the Wester Wall. (Think “Letters to Juliet” except more Jewish)
Film two is a 3 minute cartoon titled The Holy City and follows a rabbi’s lesson on intolerance.
The third film is Showfolk, a short film where Jewish actors share their secrets of showbiz. It is a Palm Springs International ShortFest Best Documentary Audience Award winner.
Film four is Wiener Blut which the AJFF’s summary is: “As she moves into a Jewish retirement home, an elderly woman’s disturbing and dissonant visions signal the dawn of Nazi influence in Croatia (source: AJFF website).” I guess you can’t have a Jewish film festival without something really depressing.
Film five is The Train, a narrative of a Holocaust survivor teaching a lesson. This is Eli Wallach’s final performance and a must-see.
The last film is the one I am most excited about. It’s called Blue Like Me: The Art of Siona Benjamin. The visuals looks incredible and unique in this blend of Indian-Jewish art. This documentary “fuses global religions with mythology and pop culture to create new worlds (source: AJFF website).”
Showtimes: Sunday, Feb. 14 @ 3:40pm, LeFont Sandy Springs, Tickets: $9; Monday, Feb. 15 @1:45pm, LeFont Sandy Springs, Tickets: $9
This closing night performance at the Woodruff Arts Center is perfect for everyone because we all know that food is a universal language, with every culture adding their own twist. This documentary follows the intriguing recipes of Israeli food, and how it blends with Palestinian food, being the one thing the two cultures can agree on.
There is an Israeli cuisine tasting by Hal’s Kitchen, Cafe Sababa, and Cooking with Margot after the show.
Closing Night: Tuesday, Feb. 16 @7pm @Woodruff Arts center, Tickets: $18 (includes the tasting)
A lot of films are completely sold out. Make sure you get your tickets early at their website.
See you at the Festival!