Miami Jewish Film Festival Announces Lineup for 23rd Edition

Saul & Ruby, To Life!
Saul & Ruby, To Life! Nomadic Pictures
The Miami Jewish Film Festival (MJFF) is set to return for its 23rd edition January 9 through 23, 2020, when it will premiere more than a hundred films from 25 countries. The fest will screen its largest collection yet and boasts 33 films directed by women (composing nearly a third of the lineup).

“I’ve been thrilled to lead the Miami Jewish Film Festival for the last seven years and watch it evolve into a premier organization that provides film programming and education to more than 30,000 film lovers throughout the region," says Igor Shteyrenberg, executive director of the Miami Jewish Film Festival. "The arts — and, in particular, film — bring us together as a community, and that’s at the heart of the festival."

As announced earlier in 2019, MJFF will also host two competitions: the Grand Jury Prize (for $18,000) and the Next Wave Jury Prize (for $5,000). Shteyrenberg adds, "With the new addition of two juried competitions offering a total of $23,000 in prizes, the Miami Jewish Film Festival has become an essential platform for filmmakers, established and new, to showcase their latest work to audiences in a city renowned for its creativity. As we head into our 23rd edition, we are excited to welcome audiences on our new journey and invite them to join us in experiencing the best in world cinema at the largest Jewish film program in the world.”

The festival will open with the world premiere of the music documentary Saul & Ruby, to Life!, which follows two Holocaust survivors in South Florida who form the world's first Holocaust survivor band. Closing night will include the premiere of the Israeli caper comedy Forgiveness.

“This year’s festival builds on our prior success by offering an extraordinary selection of films, learning experiences, and performances, as well an expansion to new venues throughout Miami-Dade County," says Barbara Black Goldfarb, board chair of MJFF. "We are also excited to announce the inauguration of two prizes recognizing the achievements of Jewish filmmakers, which is a first in the Jewish film festival world."
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The Painted Bird
IFC Films
Fourteen films have entered the Grand Jury Prize competition, including Erik Greenberg Anjou’s A Cantor’s Head (North American premiere), Dani Menkin’s Aulcie (world premiere), Beth Elise Hawk’s Breaking Bread (Southeast U.S. premiere), Yaron Shani’s Chained (Southeast U.S. premiere), Pavel Lungin’s Esau (North American premiere), Itay Tal’s God of the Piano (Southeast U.S. premiere), Yaron Zilberman’s Incitement (Southeast U.S. premiere), Dan Friedkin’s Lyrebird (Southeast U.S. premiere), Levi Zini’s Menachem Begin: Peace and War (world premiere), Daniel Roher’s Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band (Southeast U.S. premiere), Walter Tejblum’s Shalom Taiwan (international premiere), Boaz Armoni’s The Electrifiers (international premiere), Barnabás Tóth’s Those Who Remained (Southeast U.S. premiere), and the festival’s opening-night film, Saul & Ruby, to Life! (world premiere).

Meanwhile, in the Next Wave Jury Prize competition, the films are Fernando Grostein Andrade’s Abe (Southeast U.S. premiere), Oren Gerner’s Africa (U.S. premiere), Yossi Atia’s Born in Jerusalem and Still Alive (Southeast U.S. premiere), Dror Zahavi’s Crescendo (Southeast U.S. premiere), Zack Bernbaum’s Dancing Dogs of Dombrova (Florida premiere), Tal Granit & Sharon Maymon’s Flawless (Southeast U.S. premiere), Aliza Rosen’s Latter Day Jew (Florida premiere), Jeremy Teicher’s Olympic Dreams (Florida premiere), and Oren Jacoby’s On Broadway (Southeast U.S. premiere).

Four Academy Award Best International Feature Film submissions will premiere at the festival: Czech Republic's The Painted Bird, Latvia's The Mover, Israel's Incitement, and Hungary's Those Who Remained. The festival will also screen a number of Ibero-American films, including The House on Wannssee Street, My Amazing Funeral, The Jewish Experience, Your Wishes in Heaven, and Back to Maracanã.

The festival will also celebrate classic cinema by showing films in SoundScape Park in South Beach and Coral Gables Art Cinema. The former will host screenings of Casablanca (paired with the documentary Curtiz, showing at the festival), Amadeus (paired with the documentary Forman vs. Forman), and The Goonies (paired with the documentary Dave Grusin: Not Enough Time). At the latter venue, screenings of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, with a new live score, and The Shining will take place. Other screenings paired with music include The Golem (with a live score), Crescendo (featuring the Greater Miami Youth Symphony), and The Conductor (with the South Florida Jewish Chorale), among others.

Miami Jewish Film Festival. Thursday, January 9, through Thursday, January 23, at various venues. Tickets for the festival go on sale to the public Wednesday, December 11, and sales continue throughout the festival. Tickets cost $15, and badges cost $325. Additional information is available via 888-585-3456 and
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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.