The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival is pleased to announce the 2021 AJFF Jury Prize winners in six categories: Best Narrative, Best Documentary, Best Short, Emerging Filmmaker, Building Bridges, and Human Rights.
Each winner was determined by a committee of three jurors, drawn from a wide range of perspectives, including film industry veterans to community leaders and undergraduate film students. Learn more about the members of the 2021 AJFF Jury. We extend our deepest appreciation to this esteemed jury panel for their informed viewpoints and thoughtful deliberation.
See below for a complete list of 2021 AJFF Jury Prize winners and jury statements:
Narrrative Jury Prize: Here We Are
Nir Bergman, Director • Israel, Italy
"From its opening scenes on a train along the coast, Nir Bergman’s Here We Are shows how a universe of meaning can be packed into a single relationship. An Israeli father, Aharon (Shai Aviv), has a tumultuous but near-telepathic rapport with his grown son, Uri (Noam Imber), who is on the spectrum, and he believes—not without reason—that his son’s removal to a group home will be cataclysmic. Their cross-country flight has an astonishing blend of pain and humor, of feverish anger and abiding love."
Documentary Jury Prize: Love It Was Not
Maya Sarfaty, Director • Austria, Israel
"Is love possible between a Jewish prisoner and her SS captor—and is it real? Built around the unthinkable moral dilemmas of a protagonist who must betray those she loved in order to save others, this is a universal story that echoes some of the deepest ethical complexities in the Torah: who should live and who should die? This is not the kind of Holocaust story that we even imagined could exist."
Emerging Filmmaker Jury Prize: Johanne Helgeland, The Crossing
"In a cinematic genre that is already overworked,The Crossing is told as a beautifully intimate portrait of young children in a way that gives us a new perspective of one of the most tragic events of the 20th Century."
Building Bridges Jury Prize: Sublet
Eytan Fox, Director • Israel, USA
"The Building Bridges jury selected the film Sublet as our number one pick. We felt that the film had a strong story which depicted characters helping each other push beyond their comfortable limits and building a relationship that helps both of them heal in profound ways. It was solidly shot and edited. We found it to be fresh and thought-provoking, demonstrating great cinematic ambition by the director."
Human Rights Jury Prize: 200 Meters
Ameen Nayfeh, Director • Italy, Jordan, Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Sweden
"This film is an intimate portrait of the travails of one Palestinian family as it navigates life across the wall that separates the West Bank from Israel proper. With a beautiful light touch, and without political judgment, the film looks at the real-life effects on one family of an entrenched sociopolitical conflict. The gorgeous and poignant final scene is very human moment set amid the walls that too often separate us."
Shorts Jury Prize: Masel Tov Cocktail
Arkadij Khaet, Mickey Paatzsch, Directors • Germany
"We selected Masel Tov Cocktail. This confident film is a post-modern look at the complexity of Jewish legacy, being a minority as a Jew and an immigrant in a country with a troubled relationship with its past. It fearlessly showed the generation struggle, the ties that bind the oppressor and the oppressed, and the challenge of forming your identity in a world that has already decided who you should be. Stylistically, the energetic pace, slick camera work, and outstanding performances bolster the thought-provoking paradoxes that made the film such pleasure to watch."
Thank you again to our esteemed 2021 AJFF Jury.