Coming soon to a theater near you, the 22nd Miami Jewish Film Festival promises to deliver even more of what has become Miami’s finest, most substantial cinema experience. This year’s films will be, as always, excellent. Executive Director Igor Shteyrenberg, the force behind this, has that certain something that is never easily defined but perceptibly evident. He has something that winning coaches have, and his festival team is outstanding. Of course, the proof is in the screening, so once again, there will come great films from one of the three largest Jewish film festivals in the world.
The upcoming celebration runs from January 10-24 at 15 venues throughout greater Miami. If you build it, they will come, and they come more and more: 80 films, 50 filmmakers, 25 countries. Moreover, 25 films directed by women, 12 World Premieres, and 10 special programs. Whether these figures are a result of some sort of MJFF analytics or not, I do not know; however, the statistics alone are noteworthy. These are big numbers.
MJFF is curated with lofty idealism in mind: film’s unique power to inspire wonder and illuminate the world.
“These 80 films offer a collective journey toward narrower divides and smaller obstacles,” said Shteyrenberg. “We take pride in celebrating each of these beautifully rich, distinct, and emotional stories. They are a testament to film’s unending capacity to fill us with hope and discovery.”
In these times, which feel unsettling, the Miami Jewish Film Festival is offering perspective and inspiration. Bravo to the design; encore to the insight. Just check the lovely trailer. Five official entries to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film premiere at the Festival: Never Look Away, Sunset, The Interpreter, The Waldheim Waltz, and Sobibor. In addition to these, MJFF will feature 27 films directed by women, including the Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic On the Basis of Sex starring Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer; the Toronto Film Festival award-winner Fig Tree; the dramedy Holy Lands starring James Caan, Rosanna Arquette, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers; the tale of forbidden first love Red Cow; the audience award-winning film Who Will Write Our History produced by Nancy Spielberg and directed by Roberta Grossman; the #MeToo inspired film Working Woman; and the international premieres of A Mirror for the Sun and Cellfish, both portraits of courageous women.
This year, MJFF will also host free movies under the stars, including two at Miami Beach’s SoundScape: 2001: A Space Odyssey and Little Shop of Horrors. Also outdoors, MJFF will premiere an animated musical comedy Seder-Masochism at the Faena Bazaar.
Other notable films include Academy Award-winner Bille August’s A Fortunate Man and the gorgeous A Rose in Winter; foodie delight Chewdaism: A Taste of Jewish Montreal; King Bibi Prime Minister Netanyahu; Leto an ode to Russia’s rock scene; To Dust starring Matthew Broderick; the rapturous period piece Paris Song; César Awards nominated Promise at Dawn; and Redemption about a rock band attempting to get back together after the lead singer becomes religious.
Tickets for the Festival go on sale to the public on Monday, December 12 and sales continue throughout the Festival. Patrons are encouraged to purchase tickets online. In addition to $14 single tickets, MJFF offers Festival badges for $295. More information is available at www.miamijewishfilmfestival.org or by calling 305-573-7304. Follow the Miami Jewish Film Festival on Facebook (/miamijewishfilmfestival) or Twitter (@MiamiJFF) for updates and the latest information about the Festival and attending filmmakers. Join the conversation using the hashtag #mjff on social media.