San Diego Jewish Film Festival Turns 25; Screens More Films Than Ever Before

san diego jewish film festival

The 25th Annual San Diego Jewish Film Festival is from February 5 – 15 this year, and will showcase a total of 48 full-length feature films and documentaries from around the world in addition to 50 short films. The SDJFF is now considered one of the most important mediums for movies about the Jewish experience, and the extent of its range only increases with each passing year. This year’s opening film is Serial Bad Weddings (trailer below)a French comedy about interracial marriage; the festival highlight is film titled Above and Beyond, a documentary about the disheveled assembly of pilots who helped secure Israel’s victory in the War of Independence; and there are four fan favorites from previous years, including German drama Nowhere in Africa, which received an Oscar in 2003.

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There are several special features happening throughout the film festival; one of the fastest growing and increasingly popular elements is The Joyce Forum, a short-film festival of its own named after founder and film enthusiast Joyce Axelrod. It recognizes outstanding Jewish-themed short-subject films and offers a variety of short film showings in a collection of three programs, though due to last year’s roaring success, the program has been increased to a total of 10 programs with an additional showcase of the winning films later in the week. If you like short films, check out everything that’s being shown on the festival’s website!
A unique highlight of the festival this year is the first ever India-Jewish showcase, which will feature Shree 420 – a classic Indian film from 1955 that’s often been referred to as “the Indian version of Charlie Chaplin.” Afterwards, there will be a live Skype discussion with Randhir Kapoor, whose family is responsible for first bringing Jewish actresses to Bollywood and is now a major player in the Jewish film industry; a local Indian dance group will perform live after the Skype session. 
The San Diego Jewish Film Festival will be held across five venues throughout San Diego, including ArcLight Cinemas in La Jolla, Carlsbad Village Theatre, David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre, Edwards San Marcos, and Reading Cinemas Town Square. Visit the Center for Jewish Culture’s website for festival passes, screener tickets, and more information.
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