THE 2017 ATLANTA JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL isn’t interested in just screening movies. It wants to set records.
The festival, opening Jan. 18 and running through Feb. 15, is practically crazy with numbers: 202 screenings (a record number) of 75 films from 24 countries.
As previously announced, the U.S.-made feature Alone in Berlin opens the AJFF, with a screening at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center. The drama, set during World War II, features Emma Thompson and Brendan Gleeson as an ordinary working-class German couple quietly waging a personal campaign of anti-Nazi resistance.
The closing film, also previously announced, is The Women’s Balcony, a feminist comedy nominated for five Israeli Academy Awards. It screens Feb. 15 at the Woodruff Arts Center’s Symphony Hall.
The world’s largest Jewish film festival screens a mix of North American and U.S. premieres, comedies and art films in 19 categories: African-American life, American Jewish life, anti-Semitism, Arab-Israeli relations, the arts & biographies, classic cinema, family-friendly stories, French life, funny stories, German stories, Hispanic life, the Holocaust & WWII, Israeli themes, LGBTQ, Muslim life, romantic stories, social justice, sports themes and women’s stories. Whew!
You might say there is something for everybody.
Screenings take place at seven venues:
- Cobb Energy Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway in Atlanta on the cusp of Cobb County.
- Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE in Midtown Atlanta.
- Georgia Theater Company’s Merchants Walk, 1301 Johnson Ferry Road in Marietta.
- United Artists’ Tara Cinemas 4 on Cheshire Bridge Road in northeast Atlanta.
- Regal Cinemas’ Perimeter Pointe 10, 1155 Mount Vernon Highway in Sandy Springs.
- Lefont Sandy Springs in the Parkside Shopping Center at 5920 Roswell Road.
- Regal Cinemas’ Atlantic Station Stadium 18 on 19th St. NW in Midtown.
To sort through the lineup by schedule, venue, type, country or subject, go HERE. Read on for a sneak peek at a few of the movies scheduled:
Across the Waters | Denmark 2016, 95 mins. North American premiere. A Jewish musician, unsure of whom to trust, tries to escape Nazi-occupied Denmark with his family. Based on true events. The screenwriter/director is Nicolo Donato, whose grandfather was among Danish fishermen who helped ferry war refugees to safety. In Danish with English subtitles. Five screenings (different theaters). Details HERE.
The Children of Chance | France 2016, 100 mins. U.S. premiere. Also based on a true story. A Jewish boy finds friendship, camaraderie and safety in the shelter of a children’s hospital in Nazi-occupied France. Winner of the European Children’s Film Association award. In French, with English subtitles. Five screenings (different theaters). Details HERE.
Forever Pure | Israel, Norway, Russia and the U.K. 2016, 86 mins. U.S. premiere. This documentary details a secretive deal to transfer Muslim players to an Israeli soccer team, a gambit that triggers a crisis of politics, money and race. In Czech, Hebrew and Russian, with English subtitles. Four screenings (different theaters). Details HERE.
Schube Strong | USA 2016, 13 minutes. World premiere. A documentary featuring a resilient Atlanta family battling courageously with cancer and the generational effects of a genetic gene mutation. Part of Shorts Program 1 (five films playing Jan. 28 at Regal Perimeter Point and Jan. 29 at GTC Merchants Walk). Total time: 84 mins). Details: HERE.
Moos | Netherlands 2016, 91 mins. A socially awkward young woman takes her first tentative steps toward independence and fulfilling a lifelong dream in this Dutch romantic dramedy. In Dutch with English subtitles. Five screenings at three venues. Details HERE.
The Pickle Recipe | USA 2017, 97 mins. The cash-strapped king of Detroit’s Jewish party scene and his conniving uncle scheme to steal a secret family recipe in this family comedy co-starring comedian Jon Dore, Oscar nominee David Paymer and Lynn Cohen (“Sex and the City”). Five screenings (different venues). Details HERE.
Family Commitments | Germany 2015, 85 mins. Regional premiere. Ethnic identity, family dysfunction and an unexpected pregnancy complicate the planned nuptials of an Arab-Jewish gay couple in this romantic comedy. In Arabic and German with English subtitles. Five screenings (different venues). Details HERE.
The Last Laugh | USA 2016, 89 mins. Atlanta premiere. Some of the world’s foremost comedians debate the outer limits of comedy and subjective taste in this documentary, which explores the taboo topic of Holocaust humor and the implications for free speech. With Mel Brooks, Gilbert Gottfried, Carl Reiner, Chris Rock, Harry Shearer and Sarah Silverman, plus Holocaust survivors and Jewish leaders. Five screenings at four venues. Details HERE.
Bang! The Bert Berns Story | USA 2016, 95 mins. Music meets the mob in this rock-docu-bio of 1960s hitmaker and 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Bert Berns. Berns, who wrote or co-wrote such classics as “Twist and Shout,” “Piece of My Heart,” “Hang on Sloopy” and “Under the Boardwalk.” Four screenings (different venues). Details HERE.
Harmonia | Israel 2016, 97 mins. A five-time Israeli Academy Award nominee. A retelling of the biblical story that casts Abraham as director of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, and Sarah, a harpist, as his childless wife. Hagar, a horn player of French-Arab descent, befriends Sarah, and offers to carry a child for the couple. In Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles. Five screenings at four venues. Details HERE.
Mr. Gaga | Germany, Netherlands, Israel, Sweden 2015; 100 mins. This documentary illuminates the creative process of Ohad Naharin, an Israeli choreographer widely considered an icon of modern dance. Naharin, who has choreographed works for Atlanta Ballet, has spent 25 years pushing the boundaries of physical and political expression through movement. Winner of the Audience Award for documentaries at the SXSW Film Festival, held each March in Austin, Texas. One screening only: 7 p.m. Feb. 7 at Regal Atlantic Station. Details HERE.