AJFF Announces First Wave of Films for the 2017 AJFF

12/28/2016

Pictured above: Harmonia, a contemporary adaptation of the biblical tale of Abraham and Sarah set inside the inner sanctum of a symphony hall.

You may have noticed a sneak peek at the line-up for this year's festival on AJC.com. These few films are just a taste of what promises to be AJFF's best lineup ever, with more films and information to be announced in coming weeks.

“The 17th annual Atlanta Jewish Film Festival will feature a record 75 feature-length and short films from around the globe,” says Kenny Blank, Executive Director for AJFF. “We’ve always believed in the power of film to bring people together, across cultures, and spark meaningful dialogue amongst audiences. Now, more than ever, we need the film arts to foster understanding through shared experiences. This selection of diverse films represents not only a wonderful celebration of cinema, but a coming together of community that inspires, informs and entertains.”

The seven films unveiled personify the tone of the 2017 festival.

Topical Films and Familiar Faces

There are plenty of topical films in the line-up like The Freedom to Marry, which showcases the efforts of the marriage equality movement with gay rights advocate Evan Wolfson and civil rights attorney Mary Bonauto.

Familiar faces will be easy to spot like those featured in The Last Laugh featuring comedy greats like Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Gilbert Gottfried, Sarah Silverman, Chris Rock and Harry Shearer as they weigh in on if there's humor to be found in dark subject matter like the Holocaust.  

Premieres and Prestige Films

There will be premieres at the festival including Across the Waters, which is based on true events. The film is directed and co-written by Nicolo Donato, whose own grandfather was among the courageous Danish fisherman to ferry war refugees to safety.

You'll find Oscar nominees from other countries like Russia's submission, Paradise, helmed by celebrated Russian filmmaker Andrei Konchalovsky, who won Best Director honors at the Venice Film Festival for his stark black- and-white depiction of a hell on earth, created by those who dreamed of a paradise.

Powerful True Stories

Biographies, as is years past, are very strong, and showcase legendary music icons like the subject of Bang! The Bert Berns Story as well as the talented artists with whom he worked. Legendary times are also spotlighted, as reflected in On the Map, a film that recounts an unforgettable upset victory by the Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team against a Cold War adversary.

And, in keeping with AJFF’s programming philosophy, to use film to spark dialogue and discussion, festival screenings will include discussions with filmmakers, actors, academics and other experts, making AJFF more than just a trip to the movies.

Keep up with all things #AJFF2017 at AJFF.org, or stay connected via social media on Twitter @ATLJewishFilm and on Facebook and Instagram at @atljewishfilm.