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2012-01-27 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 © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


January 27, 2012  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

Dual county film festival to encompass eight venues

Naomi (Melanie Peres) in Eitan Tzur’s film of the same name, in the kitchen with her considerably older husband, Ilan (Yossi Pollak). Naomi (Melanie Peres) in Eitan Tzur’s film of the same name, in the kitchen with her considerably older husband, Ilan (Yossi Pollak). It’s a Sweet 16 celebration for this year’s Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival as it kicks off its 16th year on Thursday, Feb. 9.

Award-winning, Jewishinterest films from around the world, including Germany, France and Israel, will be shown at venues in Hillsborough County, St. Petersburg and, for the first time, in Clearwater. The Film Festival is co-hosted by the Tampa JCC and JCC Suncoast (Pinellas County).

The films offer a potpourri of themes: stories of heroic Holocaust survival, complex and overly discreet family situations, love stories and tantalizing love triangles, as well as Jewish values and, of course, Jewish humor. Films such as Names of Love and Je T’aime, I Love You Terminal, and have won praise for their artistic vision.

Opening night gala

The opening night gala will take place in Ferguson Hall at the Straz Performing Arts Center in downtown Tampa at 7 p.m. Jennifer

Holloway, spokesperson for the festival’s presenting sponsor Bright House Networks, will emcee the opening gala.

A special tribute will be presented to Jesse Starr, film festival chair emeritus, for his many years of dedication to the Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival. Starr is one of three co-founders of the festival.

“It’s amazing that more than 16 years ago Jesse Starr was part of a core group of individuals who had such a magnificent vision to bring Jewish film to Tampa Bay. Now in our ‘Sweet 16’ celebratory year, we have the opportunity to honor Jesse for his years of dedication and wisdom that he has generously given to our festival,” said Dr. Stuart Novick, co-chair of this year’s festival.

The evening will continue with the opening short film, Maiden and the Princess, and a question and answer session with its director, Tampa’s own emerging filmmaker, Ali Scher (For more on Scher, see story above). The film is a lesson in tolerance. Set in London, a little girl searches for self-acceptance amidst a musical fairytale.

Then, the opening night feature, Naomi, winner of numerous audience choice awards, will be shown. This Israeli-French film is a psychological thriller that centers on a May-December marriage and the younger woman’s affair with a man closer to her own age. The movie has English subtitles and includes nudity and adult content.

A dessert reception for all festival attendees will follow in the lobby of the Straz, Ferguson Hall.

More festival features

The festival continues over the next two weeks with other films, including a special classic series feature of Fiddler on The Roof on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 12, at the historic, downtown Tampa Theater.

There will also be a specialYoung Adult Division of Tampa and Pinellas (YAD) presentation of Israel’s first thriller, Rabies, at Channelside theaters on Saturday, Feb.18. This movie event will include a ‘Monster Mash’ after-party. More than 100 young adults are anticipated to attend the Rabies showing, as well as the after-party.

Film selection process

The Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival committee spent nearly a year choosing the films for this year’s festival. The criteria: The films be modern, of good quality, with compelling content and of interest to Jews – either because of the film’s theme or because it is directed by a Jewish filmmaker.

Led by co-chairs Novick and Dr. Loni Shelef, the committee includes Tampa JCC Program Consultant Brandy Gold, who handles publicity for the festival, and Rina Donchin, a professor of Hebrew at the University of South Florida.

Soon after last year’s festival ended, the committee began researching what Jewish-interest films are coming out soon and what films are scheduled for big film festivals, including international events. By late May or early June the committee also posts notices at film industry websites soliciting submissions. With about a 50-50 split of submissions and committee picks, the films are screened and rated by about 40 community members. The screeners and committee meet in December to select their top choices.

Once film producers accept the Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival as host for their films, a lineup is set so that it can be announced in the first January issue of the Jewish Press.

Tickets and festival information can be found at For a complete schedule of the festival, see advertisement on pages 6B,7B.

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