23 and Me: Miami Jewish Film Festival
By Carl Rachelson - January 6, 2020
The largest Jewish film program in the world will be celebrated at the Miami Jewish Film Festival’s (MJFF) 23rd annual edition from January 9-23, 2020, premiering an unprecedented 107 films from 25 countries, and hosting more than 50 filmmakers and special guests.
MJFF, one of the largest Jewish film festivals in the world, has unveiled its biggest film lineup ever featuring 6 World Premieres, 6 International Premieres, 7 North American Premieres, and a record setting 29 films directed by women (31 percent of films announced), all being shown at 14 different venues across Greater Miami. There are many films near you.
That press information comes from Igor Shteyrenberg, Executive Director of the Miami Jewish Film Festival who has been at this for the past seven years. Writing these kinds of straight press releases is not what I do, so let me do what I do. Igor is an expanding man. He is warm, engaging, delightful, and responsive. That should be enough, but then he goes and spoils it all by saying something stupid like “I hope all is well with you,” and holding this thrilling film experience. Props to Steely Dan, Frank, and Nancy Sinatra for the references.
Opening night features the World Premiere of the music documentary Saul & Ruby, To Life!, centered on two Holocaust survivors in South Florida who form the world’s first ever Holocaust Survivor Band. Closing night will feature the premiere of the Israeli caper comedy Forgiveness, directed by and starring Guy Amir & Hanan Savyon, the writers and stars behind Israel’s box office smash-hit comedy Maktub.
14 films will vie for the Grand Jury Prize Competition including Dani Menkin’s Aulcie (World Premiere), Yaron Shani’s Chained (Southeast US Premiere), Pavel Lungin’s Esau (North American Premiere), Yaron Zilberman’s Incitement (Southeast US Premiere), Dan Friedkin’s Lyrebird (Southeast US Premiere), Levi Zini’s Menachem Begin: Peace and War (World Premiere); Daniel Roher’s Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band (Southeast US Premiere), Walter Tejblum’s Shalom Taiwan (International Premiere), Boaz Armoni’s The Electrifiers (International Premiere), as well as Barnabás Tóth’s Those Who Remained (Southeast US Premiere).
Playing in the Festival’s Next Wave Jury Prize Competition, films by millenials, are the following films: Fernando Grostein Andrade’s Abe (Southeast US Premiere), Oren Gerner’s Africa (US Premiere), Yossi Atia’s Born in Jerusalem and Still Alive (Southeast US Premiere), Dror Zahavi’s Crescendo (Southeast US Premiere), Zack Bernbaum’s Dancing Dogs of Dombrova (Florida Premiere), Tal Granit & Sharon Maymon’s Flawless (Southeast US Premiere), Aliza Rosen’s Latter Day Jew (Florida Premiere), Jeremy Teicher’s Olympic Dreams (Florida Premiere), and Oren Jacoby’s On Broadway (Southeast US Premiere). These films will hopefully attract the Bernie Bros and fans of the Squad, a constituency, how should I say this delicately, that is sorely and unfortunately underrepresented in the stereotypical MJFF audience.
Four official entries for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film will also premiere at the Festival, including the Czech Republic’s The Painted Bird, Latvia’s The Mover, Israel’s Incitement, and Hungary’s Those Who Remained. In addition to the Best Foreign Language Film entries, the Festival will premiere Hate Among Us, an entry for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Film. This timely film shines a light on the rise of anti-Semitism worldwide and is executive produced by Dean Cain and Montel Williams, who will attend the film’s premiere and participate in a special panel discussion.
MJFF will host several free movies under the stars at the Miami Beach SoundScape wallcast. Films featured in this program include Casablanca paired with Curtiz, a stylishly dramatized biopic of filmmaker Michael Curtiz and his efforts to produce Casablanca; the presentation of the Academy Award-winning period epic Amadeus paired with Forman vs. Forman, the first ever authorized documentary about filmmaker Miloš Forman, who won his second Academy Award for directing Amadeus; and the 35th anniversary presentation of The Goonies paired with Dave Grusin: Not Enough Time, a poignant documentary about the adventure-filled life of composer Dave Grusin, who wrote the music for The Goonies.
Tickets for the Festival are on sale and will continue throughout the Festival. More information is available at www.miamijewishfilmfestival.org and by calling 305-573-7304.