Film & TV

Miami Jewish Film Festival Announces $18,000 Prize, a First for Any Jewish Film Festival

The Grand Jury Prize is open to any filmmaker whose feature film work either presents a substantial portion of its content as Jewish interest or is produced in Israel.
The Grand Jury Prize is open to any filmmaker whose feature film work either presents a substantial portion of its content as Jewish interest or is produced in Israel. Photo courtesy of Miami Jewish Film Festival
The Miami Jewish Film Festival announced today it will launch a competition sidebar in which select films will be judged and compete for the $18,000 Grand Jury Prize. This cash prize marks the first such award to be offered by any Jewish film festival in the world.

Sponsored by the American real-estate firm Crescent Heights, the new Grand Jury Prize will be open to any filmmaker whose feature film work, both narrative and documentary, either presents a substantial portion of its content as Jewish interest or is produced in Israel. The prize is to be split equally between the film's lead production company and the U.S. distributor (and if no distributor is available, a 30-day window will open for a U.S. theatrical sale to be made). A jury of international film professionals and scholars, to be announced at a later date, will judge the competition.

“Crescent Heights is proud to support the Miami Jewish Film Festival’s mission to present the best international Jewish cinema to South Florida audiences and to bridge communities through film," Russell Galbut, managing principal of Crescent Heights said in a statement. "We hope our sponsorship of the festival’s Jury Prize contributes to the festival’s discovery of new talent, recognition of established filmmakers, and its aims of creating cultural understanding, promoting tolerance, and encouraging artistic development through film.”

“The Miami Jewish Film Festival is committed to establishing itself as the home of Jewish and Israeli filmmakers," Igor Shteyrenberg, executive director of the Miami Jewish Film Festival, said in the statement announcing the jury prize. "In our current industry landscape, we know that film festivals provide a vital support system for filmmakers, and we are so excited to take our support to the next level with Crescent Heights through our inaugural Jury Prize.”


In addition to offering this competition sidebar, the Miami Jewish Film Festival will also award a Next Wave Jury Prize of $5,000, selected by a jury of voices from the festival's Next Wave — audience members who are 21 to 35 years old. The competition category is open to all new feature films of any genre playing at the festival and is sponsored by Diane and Alan Lieberman.

Plus, the festival will continue to present its Critics Prize, which was most recently awarded to Christian Petzold's Transit. Also returning this year is the Short Film Competition, presented by Film Movement, a U.S. distributor that gives $500 cash and a distribution deal to the best short.

Miami Jewish Film Festival. January 9 through 23, 2020, at multiple venues throughout South Florida; miamijewishfilmfestival.org.
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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.