AJFF Expands Screenings By 25 Percent


The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (AJFF), already the biggest film event in the city and the world’s second largest Jewish film festival, is expanding screenings by more than 25 percent in 2014, ensuring that more festivalgoers have access to the festival’s hottest tickets. 

As Atlanta’s largest exhibitor of foreign and independent cinema, AJFF continues to bring influential, touching and often controversial films to a region that might otherwise never get a chance to see them.  Having drawn nearly 32,000 attendees in 2013, this year’s festival will run January 29-February 20, 2014 and features 65 films (52 features and 13 shorts) from 20 countries.

Beyond hosting screenings, AJFF is also expanding to more venues.  This year, the festival will show films at seven different venues throughout metro Atlanta, and it will host an immersive art experience celebrating iconic Jewish filmmakers at an eighth venue.  The festivities kick off with an Opening Night Gala at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, featuring a screening of the Polish drama Run Boy Run.

“Every year we strive to make the festival better for our audience,” said Kenny Blank, executive director of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.  “The 2014 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival represents a huge leap forward in meeting the overwhelming demand and improving the quality of the festival.  Festivalgoers will have more opportunities to see the most sought after films than ever before. We want everyone to experience these meaningful and entertaining films that might not ever play in Atlanta otherwise.”

AJFF has become a leader in global cinema by not shying away from challenging topics and continuing to embrace the full range of emotions that have defined movie-going since its inception. 

“Our programming purposely focuses on the ways Jewish life intersects with the broader world,” said Blank. “We’re very proud the festival appeals to non-Jews, as well as both the affiliated and unaffiliated Jewish community, and teaches us things not just about ourselves, but about each other as well.”

A few notable selections include:

Run Boy Run: Based on the true story of a boy who escapes the Nazis and survives on his own until the end of World War II, this film is an inspirational narrative that will appeal to audiences of all ages.  This film will be screened at Opening Night on January 29 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

Next Year Jerusalem: An inspiring story of eight nursing home residents who take one last adventure together on a trip to Israel.  The film is a tribute to the wisdom acquired in the course of a lifetime...beautiful and extremely touching.  This film will be screened at Closing Night on February 20 at the Woodruff Arts Center’s Rich Theatre.

“The quality of the films in this year’s festival is remarkable,” said Shelton Stanfill, co-chair of the 2014 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival and chair of the Telluride Film Festival’s Board of Governors.  “Our screeners have truly outdone themselves, sifting through thousands of hours of film to find the gems that make up our 2014 lineup of world-class cinema.  This year’s festival really does have something for everyone.”

AJFF is also targeting new audiences with unique programming and events.  AJFF will host the Creative Loafing Art Party, in partnership with the publication. The event will take place February 8 at the Westside Cultural Arts Center, a new addition to Atlanta’s rapidly growing cultural district.  The immersive party will celebrate iconic Jewish filmmakers – Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, and the Coen Brothers – through pop art produced by MailChimp and interactive photo booths themed around famous film imagery.

The festival will also host a special panel on two of its films – Bethlehem and Omar – which tell similar stories, but from different sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both films are garnering Oscar buzz, and Omar is the first film fully financed and produced within the Palestinian film industry. The event, Bethlehem vs. Omar: Conflict and Context, will take place February 16 at Regal Atlantic Station theater.

About Atlanta Jewish Film Festival
Produced by the Atlanta Regional Office of American Jewish Committee, the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival showcases international and independent works of cinema that are otherwise unavailable to local audiences. Founded in 2000, the AJFF has grown to be Atlanta’s largest film festival and the second largest Jewish film festival in the country.  The 2014 festival will run January 29-February 20 at venues across metro Atlanta.  Tickets go on sale January 5 at www.AJFF.org.