Always the first festival that cinephiles anticipate in the new year, the Miami Jewish Film Festival returns this January. For its 20th year, the festival will present 64 films from 20 countries while hosting 50 filmmakers and special guests throughout South Florida.
One of the largest and most respected Jewish film festivals in the world, MJFF will take place January 12 through 26 and feature North American, U.S., and Florida premieres throughout the weeks.
"This year’s milestone 20th anniversary is a celebration of what the Miami Jewish Film Festival has accomplished over the past two decades in becoming a world-class destination event known for showcasing the best in cinema and providing audiences with an unparalleled opportunity to experience film amidst the natural beauty of Miami," says Igor Shteyrenberg, director of festival. "From star-studded features directed by master filmmakers to the most acclaimed and noteworthy foreign films, our 2017 program will captivate hearts, bodies, and minds, and inspire a true sense of wonder."
The festival opens with the premiere of Israel’s biggest box office hit of the year, The Women’s Balcony, and will close with the premiere of Israeli auteur Avi Nesher’s highly anticipated new film, Past Life. The closing night will feature a live choral performance as an exciting complement to the film’s central theme of music and will also include an Israeli-themed reception.
Among the special guests attending the 20th-annual festival are Nancy Spielberg and Roberta Grossman, who will present a work-in-progress preview of their highly anticipated documentary, Who Will Write Our History. This is the first time any audience will have the privilege of seeing footage from the film, which is the followup feature to their acclaimed documentary Above & Beyond, winner of last year's MJFF Audience Award. Spielberg and Grossman will also present a discussion about their careers as women filmmakers.
Among the other guests attending the festival are goodwill ambassador of Israel and sports legend Tal Brody, supporting the Florida premiere of his inspiring new film, On the Map, and Emmy Award-winning actor Stuart Margolin (Days of Heaven), who will host the premiere of his new touching romantic drama, The Second Time Around.
Music will be featured prominently as a theme at the festival, not only in the closing-night performance but also in many of the featured films. There’s the Canadian drama Night Song and the documentary Exit: Music, both of which will be accompanied by live musical performances from Second Avenue Jewish Chorale and the Amernet String Quartet, respectively. Mr. Gaga, a film about contemporary dance, will be accompanied by a performance by Miami dance ensemble Dance Now! Also featured are the documentary Bang! The Bert Berns Story, the World War II romantic drama Cloudy Sunday, and the internationally acclaimed Harmonia.
A specially curated Spotlight on French Cinema will feature the North American premiere of the thriller Tout, Tout de Suite and the slapstick comedy The Jews, starring Charlotte Gainsbourg (Antichrist) and Yvan Attal (Munich). Other films are Fanny’s Journey, Thank You for Calling, and The Origin of Violence. The festival’s New Voices sidebar has also been expanded to support more debut filmmakers by featuring the critically acclaimed drama In Between, the documentary Aida’s Secrets, the family comedy One Week and a Day, and the documentary S for Stanley. This highlight of emerging filmmakers by MJFF also includes the second-annual Short Film Competition, which showcases some of the most prestigious international short films and is presented in partnership with Film Movement, which will award one winner a distribution contract and cash prize.
Ticket sales began Monday, December 5, and will continue throughout the festival. Patrons are encouraged to purchase tickets online. In addition to $13 single tickets, MJFF also offers full festival passes for $250. Visit miamijewishfilmfestival.org or call 305-573-7304.