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2019-02-08 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. 


February 8, 2019  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

Coming Attraction: Film Fest

A scene from the opening night film, “Tel Aviv on Fire” by Trigon Film A scene from the opening night film, “Tel Aviv on Fire” by Trigon Film Entering its 23rd year, the Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival will showcase a collection of captivating dramas, thought-provoking documentaries, diverse shorts and offbeat comedies between March 17 and 24.

The film festival is co-sponsored by the Tampa JCCs & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties and for the second year is featured by the Suncoast Federal Credit Union Gasparilla International Film Festival. This partnership promises to bring the broader community together to screen the feature films and documentaries from around the world on themes of Jewish culture and identity.

“The evolved festival is now showcasing over 20 films across the Bay. The five-day long festival is packed with films that truly merit celebration,” said co-chair Sara Scher. Loni Shelef, who also is co-chairing the program added that this year’s line-up is “the most eclectic that we have seen in years.”

The films will delight moviegoers with topics varying from stories of complex and discreet family situations, love stories, heroic Holocaust survival, Jewish traditions and, of course, Jewish humor. Each film not only depicts Jewish life around the world and throughout history, they are centered around Jewish values/ themes with a mainstream plot, appealing to everyone from the most discerning film critics to family audiences.

The Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival will open on Sunday, March 17, at the Bryan Glazer Family JCC in Tampa with a “Fire & Ice” themed opening event featuring the award-winning Israeli film “Tel Aviv On Fire.”

Attendees will begin the evening at 5 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres and a cocktail hour and then proceed into the main theater for the opening night ceremonies. These include the STARR Award presentation to this year’s recipients Stewart Donnell and Ellyn Kessler, and honoring of the Jewish Leadership Training Institute (JLTI) 2019 graduating class. Admission to the opening night celebration is $36.

“Tel Aviv On Fire” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and is quickly becoming the “hot film” (no pun intended) on the festival circuit across the US. One of the most irreverent cinematic spins on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the latest from writer-director Sameh Zoabi follows a fledgling soap-opera scenarist charged with concocting plot twists to suit viewers on both sides.

The screening committee, comprised of 25 film aficionados, decided to include additional venues this year to serve more areas of the Tampa and Pinellas communities. This year’s venues in Tampa are: AMC Classic Centro Ybor 10, Glazer JCC and Villagio Cinemas in Carrollwood. Pinellas County venues are: AMC Classic Palm Harbor 10, Palm Harbor; AMC Sundial 20, St. Petersburg; and Cinema Studio Grille, Seminole.

This year’s festival also includes community events paired with several of the films to create an enhanced experience.

On Saturday evening, March 23, author Rachel Harris will speak following the movie “Working Women,” a 2018 Israeli film that echoes loudly in the era of the #MeToo movement. Harris, a professor and resident of Safety Harbor, is author of the book, “Warriors, Witches, Whores – Women in Israeli Cinema” The movie begins at 8:45 p.m. at the Sundial AMC in downtown St. Petersburg.

Evelyn Markus, the director and one of the subjects of the documentary, “Never Again is Now” will speak about her film on Sunday, March 24 at the closing program at the Glazer JCC beginning at 5 p.m.

Markus is the daughter of Jewish Dutch Holocaust survivors. Like many Jews in Europe, because of the hatred she felt in her Netherlands homeland she immigrated to the U.S. in 2006. She has made it her life’s mission to prevent one of the darkest chapters in history from repeating.

For additional information on the film festival lineup and ticket information, go to or see ad on Pages 8-9.

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