Part of what makes the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival different from just another night at the movies are our intro speakers. They provide insight into the films and give each audience a unique perspective on what they are about to see.
We have many film festival industry professionals that assist in our film introductions and one in particular is Shelton Stanfill, a member of the AJFF Steering Committee and Chair the Natural Board for the Telluride Film Festival.
We got a chance to speak with him before one of the films this weekend.
Q: You have had a unique chance to really be apart of the festival. Can you tell me about your experience being at the 2015 festival?
A: Well first of all, it has come so far, but maintains its connection with the community. People that come here, learn from each other. As frustrating as standing in the lines can be, its one of the greatest parts of the festival. People are seeing people that they haven't seen since the High Holidays or since the last festival. The conversations that take place are really about forming community. It's not just the Jewish community, it's the 20% of people that come here and aren't Jewish, but come to the festival to learn about this world. It's truly wonderful.
Q: Which films this year really stand out to you?
A: I would really have to look back on all the films to be fair to them all, but most certainly Gett:The Trial of Vivian Amsalem really hit me as a very powerful film. Also, Dancing Arabs is beautiful. As well as Apples from the Desert is a lovely film.
Q: We are talking before the screening of the film Raise the Roof. Can you give your thoughts on this particular film and the project that they take on?
A: The project is amazing. The couple that did this out of Massachuettes, who had no background in Jewish issues and Poland, but found this book about these great wooden synagogues, all 200 of which were lost during World War II, and they became obsessed with it. It's what I love about these documentaries. You learn so much. I knew nothing about these synagogues at all and they are just extraordinary. That's what really struck me about this film. You just sit back in amazement on how people put these back together.
Shelton will be moderating our Q&A after the Raise the Roof screening on February 13th at 11:10 AM, after Félix and Meira on February 13th at 1:45 PM, and after Dancing Arabs on February 14th at 8:30 PM.