The Boston Jewish Film Festival has announced the official selections for this year’s festival. Thirty-nine films have been selected and will be screened from Nov. 8-20, 2017, at theaters around Greater Boston. This year’s Festival covers global themes across topics including post World War II Europe, disability, the intersection of sports and politics, immigration, complicated family dynamics, and more.
With more than 55 screenings and events, the 2017 Boston Jewish Film Festival includes the Opening Night screening of “Bye Bye Germany,” the MidFest screening of “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story,” the Community Spotlight Screening of “Etched in Glass: The Legacy of Steve Ross,” and the Closing Night screening of “Keep the Change.” The Festival will also feature BJFF Jr.!, a live recording of WBUR’s Circle Round; the NuWave Virtual Reality Experience; Marlee Matlin Presents; and Women on the Verge: Short Film Program.
“We are thrilled to be incorporating a variety of new media into the 29th annual Boston Jewish Film Festival,” said Ariana Cohen-Halberstam, the artistic director at the BJFF. “In presenting this media, including a live podcast and virtual reality experiences, we are able to explore the age-old tradition of storytelling in a new way.”
“This will be one of the most engaging and dynamic Festivals we’ve had,” continued Cohen-Halberstam. “The diversity of films provides a unique lens into the history that makes us who we are, as we reveal the stories that have helped to shape today’s world.”
Highlights of the 2017 festival include:
The 29th annual Boston Jewish Film Festival will open on Wednesday, Nov. 8, with the Boston premiere of “Bye Bye Germany” at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. Directed by Sam Garbarski, this narrative comedic film takes place in Frankfurt in 1946; Jews remaining in Displaced Persons Camps must make new rules to survive. “Bye Bye Germany” was an Official Selection at the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival.
Hedy Lamar takes the stage at the MidFest Event for a screening of “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story” on Wednesday, Nov. 15, at 6:30 p.m. at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. Hedy Lamarr is best known as a beautiful starlet, but “Bombshell” introduces us to a much richer life — from Lamarr’s earliest role in an erotic film to her invention of the cellular technology used in WiFi. Directed by Alexandra Dean. This event will be preceded by a performance of History at Play’s “Tinseltown Inventor: The Most Beautiful Woman in the World, Hedy Lamarr.”
Actress Marlee Matlin will join the Boston Jewish Film Festival for a screening and conversation about a Jewish film that inspired her on Sunday, Nov. 19, at 12 p.m. at the Museum of Fine Arts. Matlin won an Academy Award for her role in the 1986 film, “Children of a Lesser God.” She has starred in film and TV across genres and works with deaf and hard-of-hearing children throughout the world.
The Community Spotlight Screening, held at the Coolidge Corner Theatre on Nov. 10 at 12 p.m., will be “Etched in Glass: The Legacy of Steve Ross,” directed by local filmmaker Roger Lyons. Bostonian Steve Ross was only 9 years old when he was first taken by the Nazis. His miraculous survival inspired him to spend his life sharing his story and making the world a better place.
Initiated in 2016, BJFF Jr.! brings the Boston Jewish Film Festival to a young audience. This year’s event will be a live recording of WBUR’s Circle Round, a new storytelling podcast for kids and the young at heart on Sunday, Nov. 12, at 2:30 p.m. at the Coolidge Corner Theatre.
Designed for young professionals, the FreshFlix series will celebrate new voices in Jewish film. Seven screenings will be held throughout the festival, including the Short Film Competition on Thursday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. at the Somerville Theatre.
New to the festival this year and part of the FreshFlix program is NuWave: The Virtual Reality Experience. This interactive experience will allow attendees to explore virtual reality (VR) as a new medium for storytelling. This event is presented in partnership with Brookline Interactive Group on Nov. 16, with discussion at 5:30 p.m. and cocktails and VR experience at 6:30 p.m.
The festival will close on Monday, Nov. 20, at 6:30 p.m. with the New England premiere of “Keep the Change” at the Boston Public Library. A rom-com about David, who is obsessed with being perceived as “normal” and Sarah, a woman he meets at a social skills support group who exudes positivity and confidence. The “Keep the Change” cast includes actors on the autism spectrum and also stars Tibor Feldman (“The Sopranos”) and Jessica Walter (“Arrested Development”). Directed by Rachel Israel, who was recognized as Best New Narrative Director at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, where “Keep the Change” won the award for Best Narrative Feature.
The Boston Jewish Film Festival will take place at 14 locations: The Capitol Theatre in Arlington, Brookline Interactive Group, Boston Public Library, Brattle Theatre, The Center for the Arts in Natick, Coolidge Corner Theatre, Institute of Contemporary Art, JCC Riemer-Goldstein Theater, Maynard Fine Arts Theatre Place, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Orchard Cove, Showcase Cinema de lux Patriot Place in Foxboro, Somerville Theatre, and West Newton Cinema.
Tickets for individual screenings can be purchased online at bjff.org, by phone at 888-615-3332 or in person at cinema box offices. Group sales and Festival passes are available online or by phone from the BJFF office. For the full film schedule or for additional information, visit bjff.org.
The Boston Jewish Film Festival, a not-for-profit arts organization, celebrates the richness of the Jewish experience through film and media. Throughout the year, the Festival engages and inspires the community to explore the full spectrum of Jewish life, values, and culture.
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