On Thursday, March 15, the Cinerama Theater will be opening its doors once again to a flood of anxious film festival attendees, kicking off the 17th Annual Seattle Jewish Film Festival (SJFF). Presented by the American Jewish Committee, the SJFF is the largest Seattle film festival after the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), hosting 29 films from all over the world. Throughout the 10-day festival, audiences will screen films dealing with portrayals of Jewish and Israeli life. Festival screenings and events are scheduled for the Cinerama, AMC Pacific Place, and SIFF Uptown theaters.
In honor and celebration of Seattle’s unique heritage, which boasts the third largest Sephardic Jewish population in the US, this year’s SJFF will be featuring five films focusing on Sephardic culture. Most notably in the “Sephardic Spotlight” series is the opening night film, Mabul/The Flood, a critically acclaimed Israeli film showing at 6:45 p.m. at the Cinerama. From Israeli director, Guy Nattiv, the film centers on a family, the parents on the brink of separation, and their young son Yoni’s approaching bar mitzvah. The drama unfolds as the family is suddenly faced with the return of Yoni’s older, autistic brother who attempts to resolve the family’s differences in time for the big day. In June 2010, the movie was nominated for several Ophir Awards (equivalent to the American Oscars in Israel) and was shown at last summer’s San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. After the film, the Palace Ballroom will be hosting a SJFF premier gala event, the Tom Douglas Opening Night After Party, featuring food from Tom Douglas catering as well as beer, wine, and other refreshments.
This year’s SJFF will also feature the world-premier of local filmmaker, Lisa Cohen’s short film, B-Boy. Described as, “A short documentary about coming of age in two world,” Cohen delves into the life of ambitious thirteen-year-old, Eli. While studying for his bar mitzvah, Eli is also faced with the hard work and determination as he attempts to make a name for himself as a talented young break dancer. Having worked in technical post production in the film industry for over 15 years, Lisa Cohen is debuting B-Boy as the first documentary she has written and directed.
Film festival participants can expect many of the screenings to be accompanied by a presentation by the film makers after the screenings, with discussion of the film and audience question and answer sessions. In addition to film screenings, special events sponsored by Seattle Jewish organizations will take place throughout the 10-day festival, including live performances, family film events and senior events. Additionally, IndieFlix launched this week the SJCC short films festival which you can watch streaming from their website, a great option for those who can’t make it to the short film festival on March 25. The entire film line-up as well as special event information and tickets can all be found on the SJFF and the SIFF websites.
Seattle Jewish Film Festival // Thursday, March 15 – Sunday, March 25 // Locations include Cinerama, AMC Pacific Place and SIFF Uptown // $12 General Admission (student/senior/SIFF members $9), prices vary for festival passes and special events, visit SJFF ticket page for details or call 206.324.9996