25th Annual San Diego Jewish Film Festival
Article by Anna Robert
The 25th San Diego Jewish Film Festival starts its 11 days of programming on February 5. The indisputable popularity of the event in previous years makes the milestone of 2015 even more exciting for its habitués and newcomers. The audience will have an opportunity to enjoy more than ninety films of different genres, formats, and countries of origin.
While the mission of the festival is to “promote awareness, appreciation, and pride in the diversity of Jewish people”, the films’ subject-matter varies greatly. Unlike the early years of the Festival’s existence, when the majority of documentaries and fiction movies were related to Holocaust, this year’s selection of films is rather outstanding. They highlight the broad scope of topics, such as politics, racism, religion, art and culture, history, gay and lesbian matters, and so on.
Other than traditional film screenings, audience discussions, meetings with guest actors and filmmakers, the programming includes a new element – the India-Jewish Showcase featuring the “Indian version of Charlie Chaplin”, the film from 1955 Shree 420 – a classic film from the Kapoor Family of India. On February 9, fans of short films will be more than welcome to attend the Joyce Forum offering a great selection of Jewish-themed short-subject films from all over the world.
The high quality of films’ selection and programming is based on a very thorough and complex process. According to the Festival Chair Saundra Saperstein, it consists of several steps. After making the initial film selection, the special committee rates their top 20-30 films. Then they are evaluated “based on film’s availability, cost, compatibility with what has been programmed prior to or following it, running time, emotional tone relative to given time slot, diversity within the festival, personal favorites, etc.”
In his interview with Vanguard Culture, Craig Prater, the Director of the Festival who has been in film festival business for 23 years and who saw all the films that will be presented to the public, shared his personal favorites – Serial (Bad) Weddings, Run Boy Run, and Raquel: A Marked Woman.
The Festival will take place February 5-15, 2015 in five main venues throughout San Diego County: in Reading Cinemas in Clairmont, in Carlsbad Village Theatre, in Edwards Cinemas in San Marcos, in ArcLight Cinemas in UTC mall, and in David and Dorothea Garfield Theatre in La Jolla. For more information and to purchase tickets visit: http://www.sdcjc.org/sdjff/
(Image: Source: Festival Agency. Serial (Bad) Weddings. Philippe de Chauveron. France, 2014)