19 Memorable Moments from the 2019 AJFF


We could tell you more about the success of 2019 AJFF, but our preferred medium is visuals. So, we'd rather show you a handful of some of our favorite moments from this year (19 for our 19th year to be exact). Thank you again to all who supported, volunteered and attended. 

1. The glitzy Opening Night Gala at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center featured delicious bites from some of Atlanta's finest chefs and the spectacular vision of Jim White Designs.

2. Talented jazz pianist Joe Alterman, also Executive Director of the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival, was a welcome fixture at the 2019 AJFF, including Opening and Closing Nights, and in conjunction with the jazz documentary It Must Schwing!: The Blue Note Story.

3.  Some 1,600 moviegoers had a strong emotional connection to the Opening Night film Shoelaces, a tender father-son dramedy that captured the Audience Award for Best Narrative.

4. Under the direction of Mira Hirsch of Theatrical Outfit, high school students perform a moving piece of Holocaust testimony, inspired by the World Premiere of Witness Theater.

5. Filmmaker Lisa D'Apolito discusses her poignant, intimate Gilda Radner biopic, Love, Gilda, in a Q&A moderated by AJFF Film Programming Manager Shellie Schmals.

6. Actress Rosanna Arquette and writer-director Amanda Sthers take questions from Gabe Wardell and the audience following a screening of the popular, crowd-pleasing dramedy Holy Lands.

7. A sold-out musical recital featuring Itzhak Perlman included the presentation of the Icon Award, and a stirring tribute video featuring congratulations from composer John Williams, director Steven Spielberg and conductor Zubin Mehta.

8.  After a rousing standing ovation, violinist Itzhak Perlman received the Icon Award for Contributions to the Cinematic Arts from AJFF Board President Max Leventhal.

9. Leona filmmaker Isaac Cherem and award-winning lead actress Naian González Norvind discuss the melancholic romance in a Q&A moderated by entertainment blogger Emma Loggins, at Young Professionals Night, presented by ACCESS.

10. Celebrated photojournalist Henri Dauman, subject of the film Henri Dauman: Looking Up, poses with his family, filmmaker Peter Kenneth Jones, and members of Atlanta Celebrates Photography, which sponsored the film screening at the festival.

11. Fulfilling the AJFF mission to spark dialogue and promote cross-cultural understanding, more than 38,000 moviegoers flocked to 180 screenings over 21 days, often converging in the theater lobby to discuss and debate the themes, topics and artistry of this international collection of cinema.

12. Preeminent Israeli filmmaker Avi Nesher presented multiple screenings of his compassionate and empowering ensemble drama The Other Story, is shown here in a post-film Q&A with Emory Film Studies Chair and AJFF Board member Matthew Bernstein.  

13. Emmy award-winning journalist Art Harris leads a provocative discussion with Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center and reformed neo-Nazi Shannon Martinez following the Southeast Premiere of Alt-Right: Age of Rage.

14. Amit Tsuk describes her coming out as a transgender woman in the bold and touching documentary Family in Transition, pictured here in a post-film Q&A with Rebecca Stapel-Wax, Executive Director of SOJOURN.

15. Journalist David Lewis shares a moment with Don Ferencz, son of former Nuremberg prosecutor and human rights advocate Ben Ferencz, the subject of the film Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz, which won the 2019 Audience Award for Best Documentary

16.  Filmmaker Shawn Snyder and actor Géza Röhrig unpack the complex, uncomfortable spiritual and scientific themes of the offbeat buddy comedy To Dust, in a post-film Q&A with Emory Film Studies Chair Matthew Bernstein.

17. AJFF audiences embraced the festival’s popular new home at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center, a luxurious and spacious theater that hosted more than 40 screenings at the 2019 AJFF.

18. Comedy duo Eli Batalion and Jamie Elman, creators and co-stars of YidLife Crisis, whet the Closing Night audience’s appetite for laughter following the screening of their nosh-umentary Chewdaism: A Taste of Jewish Montreal.

19. Just a taste of the deli-inspired Closing Night food tasting generously provided by Added Touch Catering, following the screening of Chewdaism: A Taste of Jewish Montreal.

For more photos and highlights of the 2019 AJFF, take a look here

A special thank you to all of our photographers who helped to capture this year's festival!