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2017-03-24 digital edition

TODAY in the Jewish World:

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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.


March 24, 2017  RSS feed
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Film festival April 19-27

A childless Israeli musical couple seeks to form a family in ‘Harmonia,‘ the opening night film of the Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival. A childless Israeli musical couple seeks to form a family in ‘Harmonia,‘ the opening night film of the Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival. Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival is not only all gown up now, but has a new venue for showcasing some of the 13 feature length films and six shorts that are in the lineup for the festival run, from April 19-27.

Taking note that the festival turns 21 this year, event co-chair Sara Scher quipped, “We’re finally legal,” and it was at her suggestion that the theme for this year is “Toasting 21 Years.”

The festival is a joint effort by the Tampa Jewish Community Centers & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties with films scheduled for both sides of the Bay with venues in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Largo, Palm Harbor and at USF in Tampa.

Notable this year is that the new Bryan Glazer Family JCC, which opened in December after a multi-million dollar transformation of the historic Fort Homer Hesterly Armory building, will serve as the main Hillsborough County venue. The new JCC will feature two separate theatres for showing the films.

STARR Award recipients (L-R) Ed Rudd and Stuart Novick STARR Award recipients (L-R) Ed Rudd and Stuart Novick “When the Bryan Glazer Family JCC was in its design phases, our vision included the ability to host the Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival for the entire community. The central location of this venue, combined with the theater seating and food and beverage offerings, is anticipated to draw a large crowd for our 21st year,” said Heidi Shimberg, chief operating officer of the new JCC. This year’s lineup is “the most eclectic that we have seen in years,” said Stewart Donnell, festival co-chair. The films were chosen by a committee of 20 film aficionados.

The film themes vary, with stories of complex and discreet family situations, love stories, heroic Holocaust survival, Jewish values and traditions and, of course, Jew- ish humor.

Scene from “Mr. Bernstein” Scene from “Mr. Bernstein” “The weeklong festival is packed with films that truly merit celebration,” added Loni Shelef, also a co-chair

The festival opens on Thursday, April 19 at the Glazer JCC with two award-winning movies, both with an orchestral backdrop: the Israelifilm Harmonia and the short, Mr. Bernstein.

Before the films begin, opening night ceremonies include the STARR Award presentation to this year’s recipients: Edward Rudd and Dr. Stuart Novick. Both men have been long-time supporters of the festival and have served for more than 10 years on the film festival committee. Both men were co-chairs of the festival for several years.

Scene from “Women’s Balcony” Scene from “Women’s Balcony” Also to he honored is the graduating Jewish Leadership Training Institute (JLTI) class of 2017.

Opening night attendees will begin the evening at 6 p.m. with a lavish hors d’oeuvres and cocktail reception and then proceed into the main theater.

The celebratory evening culminates with a gourmet coffee and dessert reception in the JCC’s event tent. The cost is $36 per person and seating is limited to 300. Tickets are expected to sell-out for the event.

About the films

In Harmonia, a contemporary adaptation of the biblical tale of Abraham and Sarah set inside the inner sanctum of a symphony hall, a childless Israeli musical couple seeks to form a family.

The beautiful harpist Sarah is married to Abraham, the charismatic conductor of the Jerusalem Philharmonic Orchestra. With no children, their melancholy life revolves around their music. Enter Hagar, a young horn player of French-Arab descent from East Jerusalem, who joins the orchestra and forms a close personal relationship with Sarah. Their bond gives way to something more fraught, when Hagar offers to carry the couple’s baby. Two rival prodigies are born – one Jewish, one Arab – leading to a metaphoric and multi-generational clash of cultures that can ultimately be reconciled only through music.

Scene from “Wig Shop” Scene from “Wig Shop” Harmonia was winner of the Van Leer Award for best cinematography and best actor at the Jerusalem Film Festival.

This feature film will be followed by the short, Mr. Bernstein, in which a daughter meets the famous music director Leonard Bernstein, who lifted her father’s spirits in a post-war refugee camp.

Scene from “90 Minute War” Scene from “90 Minute War” Day 2 of festival:

On the second day of the festival, Thursday, April 20, three feature length films and two shorts will all be shown at the Glazer JCC, which will operate two theatres.

The evening begins with a showing of The Women’s Balcony at 6 p.m. in Theater A, which seats 120. What begins as a joyous celebration turns into disaster when a women’s balcony at an Orthodox synagogue collapses during a Bar Mitzvah party, injuring a number of people and leaving the senior rabbi in a state of shock. Stepping in to assume authority in the face of crisis, the young and charismatic Rabbi David first appears as a savior. His fundamentalist ways soon divide the close-knit Sephardic congregation along gender lines, as the self-righteous interloper insists that the accident is a divine warning against female nonconformity. A battle of the sexes ensues, threatening to tear apart families and friends, including husband-and-wife congregational stalwarts. Infused with genuine characters and big-hearted humor, first-time filmmaker Emil Ben- Shimon and screenwriter Shlomit Nechama fashion a compassionate portrait of modern Orthodoxy, where unity and love are rekindled by a rebellious and progressive spirit. It was nominated for five Israeli Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor and Actress.

Scene from “Irving” Scene from “Irving” Also shown with the feature-length film will be Wig Shop, a 16-minute film about an Orthodox woman in Los Angeles who uncovers a life-changing secret from a hairdresser. Tickets for Balcony and Wig Shop are $10.

“Mr. Predictable” “Mr. Predictable” At 6:30 p.m. in the JCC’s Theater B, which seats 200, there will be a showing of the politically incorrect mockumentary, The 90 Minute War. With the threat of renewed hostilities looming, the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority finally agree to end the intractable crisis. The solution: a winner-take-all soccer match. One game will decide who will remain in the Holy Land, and who must go. The stakes could not be higher for the chairperson of the Israeli Football Association and his Palestinian counterpart. Every detail of the game becomes a potentially deal-breaking negotiation, from the choice of venue to the selection of an impartial referee. As the fateful match draws closer, both men struggle with ambivalence about their place on the world stage while pursuing every advantage to ensure victory. In its satirical style, The 90 Minute War reveals the sometimes petty and ridiculous nature of the differences dividing the Middle East.

A short, Irving, will also be shown. A Brooklyn curmudgeon gets a surprise visit from a British gent claiming to be his son in this charming and gently humorous anatomy of family relations. Tickets are $10 for the double feature.

At 8 p.m., there will be a showing in Theater A of Mr. Predictable. When Adi was 5 years old, his father died in the war in Lebanon. Before leaving home Adi’s father made his son swear he would be a good boy, help his mother and be responsible. Adi kept his promise: he helped more at home, at school, in the military, in his marriage – he became the most thoughtful man you can imagine. Or to put it in other words – Adi became a “sucker” who was exploited by his mother, his wife, his son, his boss and nearly everyone he ever met. Things change radically on the day Adi meets Natalia – a sweet, young, wild girl who entices Adi into a life full of emotions, passion and romance. Now Adi has to choose between love and reason, between dreams and reality, between Natalia and his family. Will he go on being a good boy? Or will he, for the first time in his life, be brave enough to be what he really wants to be? Tickets for this film are $10.

Many of the films are expected to sell-out this year and folks are encouraged to pre-purchase festival tickets at as soon as possible. A full listing of all films, descriptions, locations and ticket prices can be viewed on Pages 12- 13 of the Jewish Press or at The Jewish Press will spotlight the remaining films in the festival in the April 7 issue.

To become a corporate sponsor, patron or movie day sponsor of the Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival, contact Brandy Gold at (813) 769- 4725 or donate on-line at TBJFF. org.

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