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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


 

February 28, 2014  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival offers a dozen dazzling films

Award-winning, intelligent films from Israel, France, Poland, Germany and Holland will be featured during the 18th annual Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival opening March 20 and running through March 31.

The lineup features a dozen films offering intrigue, romance, comedy, drama, adventure, wonderful acting and great cinematography. Topics of heroic survival, complex and discreet family situations, universal values and a bissel of Jewish humor are served up in the diverse array of films offered.

The Tampa Jewish Community Center & Federation and Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties is co-producing the Film Festival. Bright House Networks is the presenting sponsor.

Festival Chair Stewart Donnell said he is “kvelling… at the powerhouse lineup of films we are offering in this our Chai year.” Vice chair of the festival is Stuart Kessler.


Loyalties are tested in “Bethlehem” when an Israeli intelligence agent recruits a young Arab informant. Loyalties are tested in “Bethlehem” when an Israeli intelligence agent recruits a young Arab informant. The Film Festival will open with the drama “Bethlehem,” which won six Israeli “Oscars” including best feature film. It centers on the unlikely bond between an Israeli secret service agent, left, and a young Palestinian informant.The Film Festival will open with the drama “Bethlehem,” which won six Israeli “Oscars” including best feature film. It centers on the unlikely bond between an Israeli secret service agent, left, and a young Palestinian informant.This year the films will be shown at 10 venues, six in Hillsborough County and four in Pinellas County.

The festival will kick off at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa with the showing of the drama Bethlehem, winner of 6 Israeli Ophirs including best feature of film of 2013. The Ophir is considered the Israeli version of the Academy Awards.

The Opening Night festivities will include a VIP Gala for sponsors at 6:30 p.m. with entertainment by Kevin Frye’s band. Doors to Ferguson Hall open at 7 p.m. and there will be a brief opening ceremony, emceed by BayNews 9 reporter Randi Nissembaum, at 7:30 p.m.

The ceremony will include presentation of the Starr Award – named after co-founder and current chair emeritus Jesse Starr – to Sharon Feen-Wallace, who has served as an active member of the film festival committee since 2002. A dessert reception will be held following the film.


When an Israeli woman gives a Bedouin woman a ride, these strangers find a common bond. When an Israeli woman gives a Bedouin woman a ride, these strangers find a common bond. The schedule and synopsis of films being shown on opening night and during the first weekend of the festival are: Thursday, March 20, 7:30 p.m., Straz Center, Tampa Bethlehem

The opening-night film, Bethlehem, is an evocative, actionpacked drama centered on the unlikely bond between Razi, an Israeli secret service officer, and his young Arab informer Sanfur, the brother of a senior Hamas terrorist. Razi recruited Sanfur when he was 15, and developed a very close, almost fatherly relationship with him. Now 17, Sanfur tries to navigate between Razi’s demands and his loyalty to his brother and family, living a double life attempting to balance both. When the Israeli secret service discovers how deeply involved Sanfur is in his terrorist brother’s activities, Razi is faced with an impossible dilemma.


Actress Sarah Adler, in the title role of Aya, pretends to be the driver for a man arriving at the airport. Actress Sarah Adler, in the title role of Aya, pretends to be the driver for a man arriving at the airport. Co-written by Yuval Adler, who also directed, and Ali Waked, an Arab journalist who spent years in the West Bank, and based on years of research, Bethlehem paints an authentic portrait of the complex reality behind the news.

Tickets for Bethlehem are $18 in advance and $20 at the door, with dessert reception included. Tickets for that film can be purchased at www.TBJFF.org.


When the son of Jewish immigrants becomes Archbishop of Paris, he struggles with his dual identities. When the son of Jewish immigrants becomes Archbishop of Paris, he struggles with his dual identities. Friday, March 21, 1 p.m. Villagio Cinemas at Carrollwood, Tampa. Double feature Wherever You Go

This Israeli short drama, directed by Rony Sasson Angel, begins with a young Bedouin woman by the side of a deserted road, desperate for a ride. Zohara, an Israeli woman en route to a wedding, stops her car and offers the stranger a ride. As Zohara learns that her name is Neriman and her life is in danger, the women find themselves being pursued by another car. If they stop, Neriman will be killed. As the chase continues, it becomes clear that these two women, though from different worlds, share a longing to be free: free from their families and free to define themselves for who they really are.


Discoveries from the past leave a woman uncertain about her own identity in the romantic comedy “For A Woman.” Discoveries from the past leave a woman uncertain about her own identity in the romantic comedy “For A Woman.” Aya

In this romantic tale from Israel, Aya (Sara Adler) unwittingly finds herself holding a passenger pickup sign at the airport for a Mr. Overby (Ulrich Thomsen). He arrives: tall, handsome, and Danish. Enchanted by this random encounter, Aya decides to pose as his driver. The romantic tension between the two strangers builds as they get closer to Overby’s Jerusalem hotel, yet Aya’s true intentions remain hidden until the surprising final act.

Aya was directed by Mihal Brezis and Oded Binnum.

Tickets for the double feature are $6. A cinebistro menu is available. Saturday, March 22, 8 p.m., Muvico Sundial (formerly Baywalk), St. Petersburg The Jewish Cardinal

This compelling 90-minute French drama by award-winning director Ilan Duran Cohen is based on the true story of Jean-Marie Lustiger, son of Polish Jewish immigrants, who maintained his cultural identity as a Jew even while converting to Catholicism at a young age and later joining the priesthood. Quickly rising within the ranks of the Catholic Church, Lustiger is appointedArchbishop of Paris by Pope John Paul II and finds a new platform to celebrate his dual identity as a Catholic Jew, earning both friends and enemies. When Carmelite nuns settle down to build a convent within the cursed walls of Auschwitz, Lustiger becomes a reluctant mediator between the two communities and may be forced at last to choose his side. Filled with strong performances and a look behind thescenes at the Vatican, this movie swept honors and awards in France last year.

Tickets are $8 and only available at the festival website, not at the door.

Sunday, March 23 at 4 p.m. Muvico Palm Harbor 10 For A Woman

This film is an intriguing 110-minute historical melodrama directed by Diane Kurys and set in France. After the death of her mother, Anne (Sylvie Testud), a writer in her mid-30s, decides to write a screenplay about her parents, who met in a concentration camp. She discovers a photograph of her mother and a man she does not recognize. What follows is the filmmaker’s semi-autobiographical tale of a postwar ménage-àtrois between a Jewish tailor, his mysterious brother, and a young mother. As she gradually closes in on the discovery she didn’t know she was looking for, her father grows ever more ill, and may take the secret that kept them apart for so long to his grave. Romance and suspense combine to create an absorbing, emotionally driven story.

Tickets are $8 and only available at the festival website.

The schedule of films from March 24-30 includes: Lost Town, Hunting Elephants, The Attack, The Other Son, Aftermath, The Zig Zag Kid and Ida. These films will be highlighted in the March 14 issue of the Jewish Press.


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