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Boston Jewish Film Announces 2018 Audience Awards

The 30th Annual Festival Announces Winners from Around the Globe

NEWTON, MA – November 29, 2018 – The Boston Jewish Film Festival has announced the official Audience Award Winners for the 30th annual film festival.

The winners were voted on by the Boston Jewish Film Festival attendees and selected from thirty-one feature length films and twelve short films that screened during November 7-19, 2018 at theaters in and around Boston:

Best Feature: Promise at Dawn, Director Éric Barbier (France)

Best Documentary: Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me, Director Samuel D. Pollard (USA)

FRESHFLIX Short Film Competition Winner: The Double Date, Directors Eli Batalion & Jamie Elman (Canada)

Promise at Dawn Audiences were captivated and moved by Promise at Dawn, which won the Best Feature Award. Promise at Dawn is a drama about French writer Romain Gary’s extraordinary life. Based on Gary’s autobiographical novel, the film’s sweeping narrative takes Gary through his early years in Poland, his adolescence in Nice, his student years in Paris, and his pilot training during WWII.

Director Éric Barbier said, “The prize awarded by an audience is always very important for the directors. I am so touched that the audience was sensitive to this moving story, which concerns us and haunts us all; how dreams guide us or how they deceive us. But also why you should never give up.”

Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me was voted Best Documentary and took the audience on a journey throughout Sammy Davis, Jr.’s legendary career as Davis strove for the American Dream despite the odds of racial prejudice. Audiences saw electrifying performance excerpts, never-before-seen photographs, and interviews which took them through the highs and lows of his amazing career and witnessed his impact on American culture.

Director Samuel D. Pollard, who attended the Festival and participated in a conversation after the screening on Opening Night said, “It is fantastic to receive the award. What an honor to be recognized by the Boston Jewish Film Festival. A heartfelt thank you.”

The annual FRESHFLIX Short Film Competition celebrates the next generation of filmmakers. This year’s program included short films from Israel, USA, and Canada. The winner of the FRESHFLIX Short Film Competition, The Double Date, tells the story of a blind date with the perfect woman, Chaya (Mayim Bialik), which quickly becomes a battle of nebbish proportions. The film comes to us from two directors, Eli Batalion and Jamie Elman, creators of the comedy web series YidLife Crisis.

Director Eli Batalion said, “It was dayenu just to be included in the FRESHFLIX Short Film Competition, but to win? A mekhaye!”

The Boston Jewish Film Festival is a program of Boston Jewish Film. Visit www.bostonjfilm.org for upcoming screenings and events.

About Boston Jewish Film

Boston Jewish Film offers the finest in film programming, education, and conversation to audiences across the Greater Boston community. Created in 1989 as the Boston Jewish Film Festival, it is now the largest film-based organization in New England, welcoming more than 15,000 attendees annually. From year-round premieres to its marquee Fall Festival – one of the oldest and most prestigious Jewish film festivals in the world – the not-for-profit arts organization hosts screenings, multimedia presentations, live podcasts, music and dance performances, discussions with filmmakers, and ReelAbilities Boston — the city’s disability film festival. Boston Jewish Film invites the community to Go Beyond the Screen and celebrate the global Jewish experience.

Boston Jewish Film Unveils Lineup for 2018 Festival

Tickets Now on Sale for 30th Anniversary Festival Running November 7-19

NEWTON, MA – September 27, 2018 – Boston Jewish Film is excited to announce the official selections for its annual Boston Jewish Film Festival, showcasing a wide array of films that explore intriguing themes, including music, women in film, intimate first-person narratives, cross-cultural identities, and more.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the festival will feature 41 films at 12 venues throughout Greater Boston from November 7-19, 2018. With more than 60 screenings and events, the Boston Jewish Film Festival (BJFF) is a destination to view thought-provoking films and new media, and to join lively conversations with filmmakers.

The 2018 festival kicks off with an Opening Night screening of Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me. Other highlights on the big screen include the MidFest screening of The City Without Jews, (a recently restored silent film screening with musical accompaniment), as well as two short film series: the 8th Annual FRESHFLIX Short Film Competition and the Find Your Tribe Short Film Program. New this year, the Festival will feature a TLV TV Binge, screening several episodes of popular Israeli TV shows. The festival draws people of all ages, with BJFF Jr.! presenting An American Tail for young families and the new Teen Screen program Almost Famous.

“Our 30th annual Boston Jewish Film Festival delves into many of the profound themes we’ve been exploring throughout the years, as well as newly relevant ideas. And, this year’s festival enriches the conversation around identity and community with new media and new programs,“ said Ariana Cohen-Halberstam, Artistic Director for Boston Jewish Film. “For the first time, we are bringing an all-day binge of hot Israeli television shows, as well as a new program for teens. The 2018 Festival is the place for rich and varied film programs that will entertain, challenge, and inspire filmgoers of all ages and backgrounds.”

Here are the details on some of the featured screenings and events for the 2018 festival:

The Festival opens on Wednesday, November 7 with the Boston Premiere of Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve GottaBe Me at the Coolidge Corner Theatre at 7 pm. With electrifying performance excerpts, never-before-seen photographs, and interviews with renowned performers, this award-winning documentary explores the life of this extraordinary artist, and his success in the face of both racial prejudice and his decision to convert to Judaism. This Opening Night event begins with a live musical performance with local artists and concludes with a conversation featuring director Samuel D. Pollard.

On Wednesday, November 14, at 6:30 pm at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, the MidFest Event features a silent  film with English intertitles, The City Without Jews, accompanied by live musical from composer and performer Jeff Rapsis.The 1924 film begins with the election of an anti-Semitic chancellor who exiles all his city’s Jews. With the Jews gone, the city’s economy declines, inflation becomes rampant, and cultural life disappears, leaving the government to decide whether to save the city or stand by its anti-Semitic legislation.

Created for a young professional audience, the Festival’s 8th Annual FRESHFLIX Short Film Competition celebrates the next generation of filmmakers on Thursday November 8 at 7:00 pm at the Somerville Theatre.

The Find Your Tribe Short Film Program features a series of international short films, focusing on people searching for community, sometimes in the unlikeliest of places. See these shorts on Saturday, November 17 at 6:30 pm at the Museum of Fine Arts.

For children and families, BJFF Jr.! presents An American Tail, on Sunday, November 11 at 12:00 pm at the JCC Riemer-Goldstein Theater. Steven Spielberg’s first animated production follows the fun adventures of a young Russian mouse named Fievel Mousekewitz, separated from his family when he arrives in America.

With a Massachusetts Premiere, the Festival’s new Teen Screen program brings Almost Famous to the West Newton Cinema on Sunday, November 18, 6:15 pm. This Israeli film, in Hebrew with subtitles, raises the question of how far Shir, a high school student, will go to woo the attention of the popular crowd.

Stay tuned for the announcement of the Festival’s Closing Night film. The festival ends on Monday, November 19 at 6:30 pm at the Somerville Theatre with a special preview screening that will be posted on the Boston Jewish Film website on October 19.

The Boston Jewish Film Festival will take place at 12 locations: The Capitol Theatre in Arlington, Brattle Theatre, The Center for the Arts in Natick, Coolidge Corner Theatre, Institute of Contemporary Art, JCC Riemer-Goldstein Theater, Maynard Fine Arts Theatre Place, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, NewBridge on the Charles, Foxboro Patriot Place, Somerville Theatre, and West Newton Cinema.

Tickets for individual screenings can be purchased online at www.bostonjfilm.org, by phone at 888-615-3332 or in person at select box offices. Group sales and Festival passes are available online or by phone from the Boston Jewish Film office. For the full film schedule or for additional information, visit www.bostonjfilm.org.

About Boston Jewish Film

Boston Jewish Film offers the finest in film programming, education, and conversation to audiences across the Greater Boston community. Created in 1989 as the Boston Jewish Film Festival, it is now the largest film-based organization in New England, welcoming more than 15,000 attendees annually. From year-round premieres to its marquee Fall Festival – one of the oldest and most prestigious Jewish film festivals in the world – the not-for-profit arts organization hosts screenings, multimedia presentations, live podcasts, music and dance performances, discussions with filmmakers, and ReelAbilities Boston — the city’s disability film festival. Boston Jewish Film invites the community to Go Beyond the Screen and celebrate the global Jewish experience.

In The News:

The Times of Israel – November 17, 2018

The devil went down to Harlem — to team up with a Jewish harmonica player

Satan and AdamAlthough racial tensions dominated headlines in late-20th century New York, an unlikely musical duo by the name of Satan & Adam offered a different glimpse of America’s great melting pot.

The duo paired veteran African-American blues guitarist Sterling “Mr. Satan” Magee — who had once played with such stars as James Brown and Etta James — with young half-Jewish white harmonica player Adam Gussow.

Boston.com – November 8, 2018

How the Boston Jewish Film Festival can be a place for healing amid tragedy

To Dust

The 30th edition of the Boston Jewish Film Festival kicked off on Wednesday night and runs through Nov. 19, bringing together dozens of films that reflect varied perspectives on the Jewish experience. It’s a time to celebrate for the festival, which over the years has expanded from two days’ to two weeks’ worth of films, and also now offers programming year-round.