The numbers tell a tale unprecedented for the annual showcase: Six official entries for the Academy Awards, 12 world premieres, 10 signature programs, 29 Israeli films, 22 movies directed by first-time filmmakers and 27 films directed by women, all taking place at 15 venues across Greater Miami. It'll even take advantage of January's cooler weather and screen three free movies under the stars, a brand-new component of the program encouraging attendees and South Florida residents to enjoy the classic cinema experience, with a twist.
MJFF is about bringing together a global community, says executive director Igor Shteyrenberg. "In presenting a wealth of undiscovered stories and unique perspectives — including those of a record number of female directors — these 80 films offer a collective journey toward narrower divides and smaller obstacles. We take pride in celebrating each of these beautifully rich, distinct, and emotional stories. They are a testament to film’s unending capacity to fill us with hope and discovery.”
In the past, MJFF premieres have hosted stars like Natalie Portman, Logan Lerman
Most buzz-worthy is the sweeping bow MJFF is making in the 2019 lineup, with an ode to female filmmakers. "Spotlight on Women" is a new initiative for the festival, featuring 27 productions directed by women to screen. Among these are the Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic On the Basis of Sex starring Felicity Jones; Toronto Film Festival award-winner Fig Tree; and a #MeToo-inspired film, Working Woman.
always, live music is a given. Seven events presenting live performances are set, including an appearance by Israeli singer Ehud Gad at the premiere of Hasidistock, a live synth score performance for the silent film The City Without Jews and a live musical accompaniment of a commissioned score for The Ancient Law.
MJFF will also dedicate segments to the memory of two epic human beings. Honoring the timing of the festival, which coincides with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, MJFF has announced a partnership with the Overtown Performing Arts Center for a live blues performance leading into a free screening of Satan & Adam, billed as a documentary about music and friendship. Distinguished director Stanley Kubrick will be commemorated as well. A 20th-anniversary tribute to Kubrick's final film Eyes Wide Shut is scheduled to be shown in a program partnership with Coral Gables Art Cinema.
Miami Jewish Film Festival. January 10 through 24, 2019, at various venues; Single screening tickets cost $14; festival passes cost $295. For tickets and more information go to miamijewishfilmfestival.org.