There are plenty of film festivals in the world but few that curate a selection as good as the Miami Jewish Film Festival (MJFF). Think about that statement. MJFF will feature 62 films, all of which come from a host of filmmaking talent from all over the world. Out of thousands of possible pictures, the people behind MJFF carefully select all these proverbial needles in haystacks. It’s no small task.
“This year’s Miami Jewish Film Festival program is monumental in the breadth of talent breaking through in each of the beautifully rich, distinct, and emotional stories that transcend geographical boundaries” – Igor Shteyrenberg, Executive Director of the Miami Jewish Film Festival
What are some of the films to flicker on the silver screen starting this year? The festival kicks off with Itzhak. The documentary film centers on the life of legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman. Directed by Alison Chernick (The Jeff Koons Show, Matthew Barney No Restraint), Itzhak is one of many films this year that centers around music.
Between January 11th and January 25th, MJFF will feature other films such as:
• Samuel Maoz’s Foxtrot, an award-winning film is about a man and his wife coping with grief after learning that their son died in the line of duty. Foxtrot is the director’s third feature following Lebanon and Total Eclipse.
• Lisa Ades’ GI Jews: Jewish Americans in World War II. The first documentary to tell the story of the Jewish men and women who fought in the war. It features interviews with Mel Brooks and narrated by Jeffrey Tambor.
• Howard L. Weiner’s The Last Poker Game featuring legendary Oscar-winning actor Martin Landau’s final onscreen performance. The comedy is set in a nursing home and the unlikely friendship that forms.
• Menno Meyjes’ The Hero (De Held), a Dutch crime film from the Oscar-nominated writer of The Color Purple. Meyjes also co-wrote Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade! The Hero tells the story of a woman who learns a hidden truth about her father after his passing.
• Arnaud Desplechin’s Ismael’s Ghosts starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Marion Cotillard. The story is about a filmmaker whose life goes into a tailspin by the return of his wife, who disappeared 20 years ago and whom he thought dead.
The Jewish Film Festival performs another impressive feat by hosting its selection at ten different cinemas across the city. One such event will include the debut of an After Hours Presentation of the classic animated feature, Fantastic Planet. Along with the feature will be a live score performed by synthwave artist Mystvries.
To “discover and develop independent artists,” The Miami Jewish Film Festival, along with Film Movement, a renowned US Distributor, join together for a short film competition. The winner takes home a cash prize and receives a distribution contract.
“It is during uncertain and tumultuous times like these that we most need artists and storytellers, and this year’s program is a testament to the unending capacity of film to move us, impact our lives, and even provide much-needed escapism.” – Igor Shteyrenberg
No cinephile should go without a trip to the Miami Jewish Film Festival. Film is a language which transcends barriers. The MJFF prepares to put that truth on display. A host of films will show the diversity of culture, the beauty of life, the horrors we sometimes face, and the struggles that great men and women must overcome to reach a dream. Like music, movies connect the world in a powerful way.