The largest Jewish film program in the world will be celebrated at the Miami Jewish Film Festival’s (MJFF) 23rd annual edition, Jan. 9-23, premiering an unprecedented 107 films from 25 countries, and hosting more than 50 filmmakers and special guests.
MJFF, the largest Jewish cultural event in Florida and one of the three largest Jewish film festivals in the world reaching an audience of more than 30,000, 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.
“I’ve been thrilled to lead the Miami Jewish Film Festival for the last seven years and watch it evolve into a premier organization that provides film programming and education to more than 30,000 film lovers throughout the region,” said Igor Shteyrenberg, executive director of the Miami Jewish Film Festival.
“The arts — and, in particular, film — bring us together as a community, and that’s at the heart of the festival. With the new addition of two juried competitions offering a total of $23,000 in prizes, the Miami Jewish Film Festival has become an essential platform for filmmakers, established and new, to showcase their latest work to audiences in a city renowned for its creativity,” he added.
“As we head into our 23rd edition, we are excited to welcome audiences on our new journey and invite them to join us in experiencing the best in world cinema at the largest Jewish film program in the world,” Shteyrenberg said.
“This year’s festival builds on our prior success by offering an extraordinary selection of films, learning experiences and performances as well an expansion to new venues throughout Miami Dade County. We are also excited to announce the inauguration of two prizes recognizing the achievements of Jewish filmmakers, which is a first in the Jewish Film Festival World,” said Barbara Black Goldfarb, board chair of the Miami Jewish Film Festival.
The 23rd annual Miami Jewish Film Festival will open with the World Premiere of the tenderhearted music documentary Saul & Ruby, To Life!, centered on two Holocaust survivors in South Florida who begin an extraordinary musical journey when they form the world’s first ever Holocaust Survivor Band.
Closing night will feature the premiere of the Israeli caper comedy Forgiveness, directed and starring Guy Amir and Hanan Savyon, the acclaimed writers and stars behind Israel’s box office smash-hit comedy Maktub.
The festival has also announced the 14 films playing in its inaugural Grand Jury Prize Competition, which will offer the winning film an $18,000 cash prize courtesy of Crescent Heights — the first such award to be offered by any Jewish film festival in the world.
The films playing in competition include Erik Greenberg Anjou’s A Cantor’s Head (North American Premiere), Dani Menkin’s Aulcie (World Premiere), Beth Elise Hawk’s Breaking Bread (Southeast US Premiere), Yaron Shani’s Chained (Southeast US Premiere), Pavel Lungin’s Esau (North American Premiere), Itay Tal’s God of the Piano (Southeast US 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), Barnabás Tóth’s Those Who Remained (Southeast US Premiere), and the festival’s opening night film, Saul & Ruby, To Life! (World Premiere).
Playing in the festival’s Next Wave Jury Prize Competition, which offers a $5,000 prize selected by a jury from the festival’s Next Wave membership (composed of 21- to 35-year-old college students and young professionals), 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 and 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).
New this year, MJFF will host several free movies under the stars at the Miami Beach SoundScape wallcast that will be specially curated and paired with thematically relevant films premiering at the Festival in Miami Beach venues.
Some of Hollywood’s fabled stars will be featured in several films, from Billy Crystal in the coming of age drama Standing Up, Falling Down; Academy Award-winning actress Anjelica Huston and Stranger Things star Noah Schnapp in Waiting for Anya; Academy Award-nominee Harvey Keitel in the modern retelling of the biblical story of Esau, and Bill Pullman in the spy thriller The Coldest Game, to a touching tribute to the artists and creators of many Hollywood classics in Sunset Over Hollywood.
Politics is also a common theme running through this year’s festival with three potent documentaries premiering about Israel’s leadership, Golda and Dayan: The First Family, in addition to the world premiere of Menachem Begin: Peace and War, which is playing in the Festival’s Grand Jury Prize Competition.
Tickets for the Festival now are on sale to the public continue throughout the festival.
Patrons are encouraged to purchase tickets online. In addition to $15 single tickets, MJFF offers festival badges for $325. More information is available at www.miamijewishfilmfestival.org and by calling 305-573-7304.
The Miami Jewish Film Festival is a program of the Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education (CAJE), a subsidiary of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation.