FanBolt had the honor of attending the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival Insider Preview Party last night at the Atlanta History Center. The evening brought together a number of festival sponsors and supporters for the unveiling of the festival’s 2017 lineup.
The festival returns for an expansive 23 days from Tuesday, January 24 through Wednesday, February 15. The full lineup and official schedule can be viewed at AJFF.org, and tickets will go on sale beginning Wednesday, January 18.
The 2017 AJFF will present a record number 202 screenings, including 75 films from 24 countries, at multiple venues in Atlanta. In keeping with AJFF’s mission to generate community dialogue through film, festival screenings include post-film Q&A conversation with filmmakers, actors, academics and other experts, creating a larger experience beyond a traditional movie outing.
“We are proud to continue a 17-year tradition of excellence by bringing audiences the most compelling, diverse, high-caliber films from around the globe,” says Kenny Blank, executive director for AJFF. “This cultural celebration of foreign and independent film will inspire, entertain, challenge and provoke. These are films that touch the heart and expand the mind, and speak to moviegoers of all backgrounds.”
This premiere cinematic experience brings major new works, on Jewish and Israeli themes, to multiple theater venues across Atlanta. From East Cobb to Midtown, AJFF is committed to making this 23-day artistic showcase as easy-to-access as possible. The festival will continue to anchor itself in the Lefont Sandy Springs theater. In addition, AJFF has added Regal’s Perimeter Pointe theater to the mix. AJFF has also expanded its run at Woodruff Arts Center with five days at their Rich Auditorium. AJFF will continue its Opening Night tradition at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Georgia Theatre Company’s Merchants Walk location, Regal’s Tara Cinemas and Atlantic Station theaters all return in 2017, serving audiences both outside and inside the perimeter. Wrapping up the 2017 events, AJFF will host Closing Night in Atlanta Symphony Hall after incredible success there last year.
AJFF’s Opening Night film is the moving Alone in Berlin, which is based on a true story of grieving parents (Emma Thompson and Brendan Gleeson) driven by the loss of their son to resist the Nazi regime.
The festival features many World, North American, U.S. and Southeast Premieres, including the gripping story of survival and rescue Across the Waters, a North American Premiere; the tender coming of age drama The Children of Chance, a North American Premiere; the timely and cautionary tale of nationalism and demagoguery Forever Pure, a U.S. Premiere; and short film Schube Strong, a World Premiere featuring a resilient Atlanta family and their courageous battle with cancer, and the generational effects of a genetic gene mutation.
A number of films tackle issues of topical concern: The Freedom to Marry documents the fight for gay marriage, while Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You explores race relations. Several films dive into political-religious extremism, from The Settlers to Keep Quiet to Mother with a Gun.
Comedies stand out in the 2017 lineup including: the quirky romance, Moos, The Pickle Recipe, and Family Commitments, which will leave audiences in stitches, while the star-studded, provocative and thoroughly entertaining The Last Laugh will make you smile and think, as it asks if there is humor to be found in history’s darkest hour.
Sports fans have much to celebrate, with The 90 Minute War, On the Map and the NAACP Image Award nominated Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, which also has an Atlanta connection through the filmmaker as well as a number of the interviewees in the film including former Mayor Bill Campbell, Ambassador Andrew Young, Olympic medalist Terrence Trammel being Atlanta-based.
Arts lovers can rejoice with a multitude of choices like, BANG! The Bert Berns Story, a biopic narrated, by Steven Van Zandt, of one of the most audacious, musically gifted and influential songwriters and producers of the 1960s; and Harmonia, a 5 time Israeli Academy Award nominee; and Mr. Gaga, which profiles leading Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin’s life and works.
The festival comes to a close with The Women’s Balcony, an inspiring blend of comedy and feminism that sees a divided Orthodox community reunited by a rebellious spirit.