Butter the Popcorn! The 16th Annual Louisville Jewish Film Festival Starts February 8th
Now in its 16th year, the Louisville Jewish Film Festival is known for its excellence in selecting diverse films from around the world that explore the Jewish experience. Over 100 award-winning features, documentaries, and short films have screened with the festival, films that have gone on to be nominated for and have won Academy Awards. The festival is dedicated to showcasing incredible filmmaking talent with subject matter that examines Jewish identity throughout various periods and contemporary times in hopes of educating their audience and creating a more tolerant world. Much of this doesn't just start with the viewer. This year’s films prove that tolerance begins with an idea, and the filmmaking process that succeeds it.
On an International Level
From Israel, Germany, Poland, France, The Netherlands, and The United States, to name a few, a line up of everything from dramas to comedies meets the big screen. The most poignant films this year are the risk takers, which tear down the walls between the stories they should tell and the stories they want to tell.
Stirring much controversy in Poland, as in many parts of Europe, where the topic of the Second World War is still considered taboo, Aftermath is one of the best foreign films of the year. The film is based on true events that took place in a small Polish village in 1941, where two brothers began to investigate the murders of Jews in their village and unveiled a horrific secret.
Other great risk takers include: The Other Son from France, where the filmmakers explore the repercussions faced when children from Israeli and Palestinian families are switched at birth during the Gulf War, and Sonny Boy, from the Netherlands, adapted from a best selling novel about a mixed race couple sheltering Jews during the occupation.
Breaking the Barriers
Perhaps the best example of tolerance in this year's festival comes from a co-production between Israel, Palestine, and Lebanon. The Attack, also based on a novel, is a thriller about an Arab doctor living in Israel who suspects that his wife may have been involved in planning the explosion that took her life. This co-production and filmmaking process brings hope to the region as it attests to the proposed notion of Israelis and Palestinians working together toward a common goal. It's not the first co-production between the two countries, and it certainly won't be the last.
Something to Laugh At
Amongst the dramas, this year’s special event includes a showing of When Comedy Went to School, which features a star studded cast including Mel Brooks, Jerry Lewis, Jackie Mason, Jerry Stiller, Larry King, Woody Allen, Jerry Seinfeld, and more in a documentary about the origins of Jewish comedians, and why there are so many of them. After the film, Mark Klein, a well-known Jewish comedian, will make an appearance and engage the audience in a live talkback. A little bit of laughter to balance out the heavy subject matter that generally sets the tone of the festival is a comforting reminder of how Jewish people and their neighbors have persevered through their hardships.
Taking place over a period of two weeks from February 8th to the 23rd at various venues including the Village 8 Theaters, The Muhammad Ali Center, and the Adath Jeshurun Synagogue, this year’s festival line up is inspiring and something to look forward to.
Make sure to check out your local papers and city events calendar for screening dates and times so you can catch one of the wonderful films this festival has to offer.
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