For the 33rd annual Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival, which opens on Nov. 2, organizers have added new programs and initiatives designed to make the festival more appealing to new audiences.
The 33rd annual Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival, which opens on Nov. 2, can be summed up in four words, according to Olivia Antsis, festival director: the same, only different.
The same: The PJFF, which is run by the Gershman Y and is the longest-running film festival in the city — and the second-oldest of the roughly 150 Jewish film festivals in the country — will offer up two weeks’ worth of Jewish films from around the world. The 18 films range from shorts like Jay Kamen’s Not Your Time, starring Jason Alexander as a screenwriter who threatens studio heads with suicide if they don’t use his script, to Bethlehem, the festival’s closing night film on Nov. 16, which won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival and six Ophir Awards, including Best Film and Best Director.
The different: The organizers have added new programs and initiatives designed to make the festival more appealing to new audiences, many of which may be familiar to longtime attendees. “A lot of the things we are doing this year are things we have tried in the past,” Antsis says. “This is the whole megillah.”
The “megillah” encompasses events like Family Day, which will include An American Tail, the Steven Spielberg-produced animated allegory of Jewish immigration to the United States; and the Israeli film, Igor and the Cranes’ Journey, about a boy living in Israel with his mother while trying to connect with his Russian ornithologist father through a family of cranes migrating from Russia to Africa.
To appeal to those who want a little culture with their corned beef, there is the Lunch Box Docs series, which features the documentaries, Koch, a clear-eyed remembrance of Hizzoner Ed Koch, and Orchestra of Exiles, which shows how Polish violinist, Bronislaw Huberman, was able to rescue 70 Jewish musicians from Nazi Germany. A catered lunch and moderated talkback will follow each of these films.
This year’s festival also has Date Night, featuring Paris-Manhattan, and the unambiguously titled Canadian entry, My Awkward Sexual Adventure.
For more festival information and schedules: www.pjff.org; 215-545-4400
IF YOU GO
The Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival
Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. at the National Constitution Center
525 Arch St., Philadelphia
(Note: Tickets for this film must be purchased in advance;
there will be no box office at the center)
Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Gershman Y
Broad and Pine Streets, Philadelphia