The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (AJFF) is proud to announce its first-ever edition of AJFF On Campus, a mini film festival for student audiences, to be presented in partnership with Emory University. AJFF On Campus will take place at Goodrich C. White Hall on the campus of Emory University, Thursday, October 19 to Saturday, October 21, 2017.
The lineup includes six highly-lauded films from the catalog of films previously screened at the annual Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. AJFF On Campus will include both an Opening and Closing Night reception, introductory remarks by Emory faculty and students, as well as a select number of post-film Q&A discussions with filmmakers, expert speakers and actors. Among guests featured will be former star of The Mindy Project – and How to Make It in America and October Road grad – Bryan Greenberg, who will be attending for a post-film Q&A following the Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong screening.
AJFF On Campus is one of several new programming initiatives debuting this year, as part of AJFF’s new year-round offerings. Curated and produced with student participation and the support of Emory faculty and administration, AJFF On Campus features the same outstanding mix of international and independent films establishing AJFF as Atlanta’s preeminent film festival, amongst the largest Jewish film festivals in the world.
“With the inaugural AJFF On Campus, the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival is delighted to continue and build upon our longstanding partnership with Emory University,” adds AJFF Executive Director Kenny Blank. “Through the collaboration of students and staff, we’ve created a truly compelling lineup of films that speak to current events, issues of particular interest to students and fun film works that offer pure escapist entertainment.”
Schedule of Featured Screenings:
CUPCAKES (Opening Night) | Thursday, October 19 – 7:30 PM (Narrative • Israel, France • 90 minutes)
A perky group of fresh-scrubbed young Israelis finds themselves the underdogs in an international singing contest in CUPCAKES, a kitschy musical comedy from celebrated Israeli director Eytan Fox.
Eager to escape the stress of their daily lives, the Tel Aviv neighbors congregate to watch Universong, a spoof of the televised Eurovision song contests of the 1970s. Uninspired by the dull Israeli entry and seeking to cheer up a heartbroken friend, the group spontaneously composes its own cheesy tune and, on a whim, submits it to the judges. To their surprise, the song is chosen to represent Israel in the finals competition in Paris. Facing creative pressures from the comically inept Israel Broadcasting Authority, the group is forced to choose between friendship and fame.
Singing and dancing their way to the top, the all-star cast includes Yael Bar-Zohar as a former beauty queen; Dana Ivgi as a stressed-out aide to a cabinet minister; Anat Waxman as an unhappily married baker; Keren Berger as a shy blogger; Efrat Dor as a frustrated singer-songwriter; and Ofer Shechter as a nursery school teacher. Stuffed with pop ditties and Technicolor production design, CUPCAKES is an unabashedly guilty pleasure that celebrates life, love and loyalty.
A BORROWED IDENTITY | Friday, October 20 – 2:00 PM (Narrative • France, Germany, Israel • 105 minutes)
A young Palestinian outsider struggles to find his place in Israeli society in the coming-of-age drama, A BORROWED IDENTITY, by acclaimed veteran filmmaker Eran Riklis (The Syrian Bride).
A whip-smart but introverted teenager from an Arab village, Eyad Barhum (Tawfeek Barhum), earns a place in Jerusalem’s most prestigious boarding school – the first and only Arab to be accepted. Initially isolated and lonely in his new surroundings, he slowly overcomes social, cultural and language barriers with the help of his peers. The compassion of a Jewish girl, Naomi (Danielle Kitzis), blossoms into a forbidden romance across religious divides. Meantime, Eyad also finds kinship with Yonatan (Michael Moshonov), a classmate with muscular dystrophy, their relationship lending strength to the wheelchair-bound boy’s mother Edna (Yael Abecassis), a single parent. As heartbreak, personal tragedy and sociopolitical strife intrude on his adolescent idyll, Eyad soon realizes that he must make a life-changing compromise of identity in order to be accepted.
Arab-Israeli journalist Sayed Kashua’s semi-autobiographical screenplay is a plea for understanding between both sides of an intractable political divide. Nominated for four Israeli Academy Awards, including Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor.
ROCK IN THE RED ZONE | Friday, October 20 at 4:45 PM (Documentary • Israel, USA • 92 minutes)
Rock music is a means of coping and expressing defiance in an isolated southern Israeli border town under nearly constant state of attack in ROCK IN THE RED ZONE.
Fear and danger are never far for residents of Sderot, where missiles rain down routinely from militant Islamic forces in the nearby Gaza Strip. Despite the daily trauma of air raid sirens and mortar explosions, war-weary Sderot has also managed to thrive as the epicenter of a music revolution. A united community of young artists—Jews of mainly Moroccan, Kurdish and Persian descent—has found an artistic outlet for their anger and hope, creating music that fuses various world influences, including contemporary Israeli sounds and North African rock. This collision of conflict and song can even be found in a bomb shelter that doubles as a music club and rehearsal studio. Both an observer and participant in this phenomenon, filmmaker Laura Bialis is so captivated by the spirit of bravery she sees in Sderot, her experience changes not only the course of her film, but her own life as well.
A powerful expression of creativity and perseverance on the frontlines of an endless conflict, ROCK IN THE RED ZONE finds solace and salvation in the most unexpected of places.
LITTLE WHITE LIE | Saturday, October 21 at 3:00 PM (Documentary • USA • 66 minutes)
A Harvard Law School graduate unravels a life-long facade of family secrets and betrayal in order to come to terms with her true origins in LITTLE WHITE LIE.
Lacey Schwartz grew up in Woodstock, New York with loving parents and a strong sense of Jewish identity, assuming herself to be the product of an ordinary white, upper-middle-class household. As those around her, however, questioned how a Caucasian girl could have such tawny skin, family members cheerfully explained away her looks as inherited from her Sicilian grandfather’s recessive gene. At the age of 18, the abrupt split of her parents finally prompts Lacey to put nagging doubts to rest, as she confronts her mother and learns the startling truth about her genesis. Years later, Lacey decides to turn a camera on herself, documenting a cathartic quest to understand the hidden pieces of her life. Daring to reconcile her mysterious childhood and biological roots, Schwartz gently but firmly peels back painful layers of revelation and reverberation.
Through candid interviews with loved ones, and the memories within home movies and photos, LITTLE WHITE LIE explores in very personal terms larger questions of race, redemption and self-discovery.
*Screening includes a post-film Q&A with director Lacey Schwartz.
ZERO MOTIVATION | Saturday, October 21 at 5:20 PM (Narrative • Israel • 100 minutes)
A stir-crazy platoon of paper-pushing Israeli female soldiers does battle with boredom – and one another – in the aptly titled black comedy, ZERO MOTIVATION.
Situated in a remote military outpost, the human resources office is a den of sloth and ineptitude. Far from the combat action of their male counterparts, a motley crew of gal pals finds all manner of mindless ways to pass the time until their thankless service ends. While airhead Daffi (Nelly Tagar) dreams of being transferred to the big city of Tel Aviv, her rebellious best friend Zohar (Dana Ivgy) is hell-bent on losing her virginity. The hapless duo is a constant irritant for supervising commander Rama (Shani Klein) whose career ambitions are constantly undercut by her apathetic conscripts. The gags and wisecracks take a series of bizarre and ruthless turns, the claustrophobia building to a climactic catfight.
A raucous and freewheeling ride through the inanity of military bureaucracy, ZERO MOTIVATION scored 12 Israeli Academy Award nominations, with wins for Best Screenplay, a Best Actress prize for Dana Ivgy, and Best Director honors for Talya Lavie. Best Narrative Feature and Best Director winner at the Tribeca Film Festival. Amy Poehler and Natasha Lyonne are currently adapting the film for television as well.
ALREADY TOMORROW IN HONG KONG (Closing Night) | Saturday, October 21 at 8:10 PM (Narrative • Hong Kong, USA • 79 minutes)
Two attractive young strangers forge a magnetic if uncertain connection in ALREADY TOMORROW IN HONG KONG, a charming fish-out-of-water romance with stunning visuals and sparkling banter.
A chance encounter on Hong Kong’s lively nighttime streets brings together Josh (Bryan Greenberg), a handsome expatriate investment banker, and Ruby (Jamie Chung), a Chinese-American toy designer. Both are American, but ironically Ruby is the tourist who is lost, while New York native Josh is the Cantonese-speaking local who guides her. Strolling the pulsing port metropolis, the pair’s playful flirtation leads to shared dreams and personal complications. Just as an awkward twist might end their brief but alluring bond, fate intervenes.
Real life couple Greenberg and Chung bring natural chemistry and authenticity to the film’s witty, wistful dialogue. Hong Kong itself is the other shining costar, with cinematographer Josh Silfen capturing the postcard wonder of neon landscapes and exotic culture. ALREADY TOMORROW IN HONG KONG contemplates the challenges of modern relationships via a travelogue of two engaging characters risking it all to find what they want, even if timing is not on their side.
*Screening includes a post-film Q&A with actor Bryan Greenberg.
All screenings during the 2017 AJFF On Campus take place in White Hall 208, with the Opening Night and Closing Night Receptions taking place on the second floor of White Hall. For those coming in from off campus, please be aware that other events related to Emory University’s Homecoming celebrations and Parents’ Weekend may make parking difficult. We strongly encourage you to take advantage of ride sharing services, or carpool with friends. The exact address of White Hall is 301 Dowman Dr., Atlanta, GA 30307.
If you do drive onto campus, the closest available parking is at the Peavine Lot on Eagle Row (on campus) or the Oxford Road Visitors Deck (1390 Oxford Road). More information about Emory parking, including rates and hours of service, can be found on their website.
AJFF’s annual festival will return for another expansive 23 days from Wednesday, January 24 through Thursday, February 15, 2018. For more information about AJFF and its expanded, year-round programming, visit AJFF.org, and stay connected via on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @ATLJewishFilm.
Tickets are $5 for Students and $10 for General Admission and now available at ajff.org/oncampus. This event is open to the public.