Miami Jewish Film Festival Announces 19th Year Lineup With Over 75 Films

Nearly a year has gone since the last Miami Jewish Film Festival (MJFF), but now, the beloved festival is set to return in January for its 19th year with plenty of films to get excited about.

The festival, which is the largest Jewish cultural event in Florida and the third largest Jewish film festival in the world, will be taking place January 14 through 28, featuring over 40 film premieres and an additional 35 shorts.

“As we enter Miami Jewish Film Festival’s nineteenth annual edition and reflect upon the past years of growth, we are thrilled by how the Festival has opened itself up into the world while maintaining the core authenticity and artistry that it was first founded on,” said Miami Jewish Film Festival director Igor Shteyrenberg. “I invite everyone to come and discover the many national and international selections that make up our 2016 lineup, as each is its own unique gem and in each you will find something that will inspire and move you.”

Adding to Shteyrenberg's enthusiasm, MJFF chair Mark Kravitz comments, “We are proud to celebrate Miami Jewish Film Festival's continued growth and success with a film program that challenges our diverse community to engage and come together. We hope that by helping make such connections in real, tangible ways, we are provoking audiences to redefine their understanding of cultures and peoples around the world.” 

The film program has a lot to look forward to, especially the festival opener and premiere of the Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau starring drama Remember, a tale of WWII survivors who go in search of the person responsible for the death of their family. As for the closing night film, it's the world premiere of The Search for Israeli Cuisine — a documentary that focuses its lens on creating a portrait of the Israeli people through food — which will be hosted by Emmy Award-winning director Roger M. Sherman and feature a special Israeli-themed reception.

Even more exciting is the Spotlight on Israeli Cinema section of the festival, which is being headlined by the U.S. premiere of Natalie Portman's directorial debut, A Tale of Love and Darkness. Other films included are Tikkun and Wedding Doll, both of which received prizes at the Jerusalem Film Festival, along The Man in the Wall, Rabin, In His Own Words, The Hebrew Superheroes, and Israel's biggest commercial box office hit of the year, The Kind Words.

In partnership with Popcorn Frights Film Festival, MJFF will also be presenting the Florida premiere of Jeruzalem, Israel's first ever horror film to receive international recognition.

But that's only a small portion of the festival offerings. The Short Film Competition will showcase international shorts and award a distribution contract and cash prize in partnership with Film Movement. And for more shorts, there's a celebration of one of Israel's preeminent film schools, the Ma'aleh School of Film & Television, which will also be presenting a collection of short films.

In addition to the big screen-focused events, there will be a free outdoor screening of Mel Brook's Spaceballs that the festival is presenting at the Miami Beach SoundScape at New World Center. The comedy will be preceded by a special live performance of Star Wars music played by a brass quintet.

When it comes to guests, the festival will be featuring Academy Award-winning filmmaker Richard Trank, who will premiere his new documentary Our Boys. After the screening, he will be discussing his two decades spanning career in film during an extended conversation. Also attending are Gayle Kirschenbaum, an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, and her mother Mildred Kirschenbaum, who is the subject of the film Look at Us Now, Mother!

Miami Jewish Film Festival
The full line-up can be found on Tickets go on sale to the general public today and cost $13 for single screenings or a full festival pass for $250. 

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Juan Antonio Barquin is a Miami-based writer who programs the queer film series Flaming Classics and serves as co-editor of Dim the House Lights. Barquin aspires to be Bridget Jones.