The first month of 2020 is almost done and that means we have a recap of cultural activities. Miami Jewish Film Festival presented over one-hundred films this past month. It was impossible to see all of the films since there were so many and in different locations all over town, but if you planned it right you got to see everything you wanted to see. There were so many good films, sold-out screenings and 31,000 film lovers attended the festival. To sum it up, seeing films at MJFF is always worth it.

Some highlights from MJFF’s 23rd edition to be grateful for:

Documentaries

Seders and Cigars interviews of descendants from the founding Jewish families of Tampa, Florida. Golda, a historical document of Israel’s Prime Minister, Golda Meir. The Booksellers, produced by Parker Posey and interviews celebrating book culture with Fran Lebowitz, Susan Orlean, Kevin Young, Gay Talese. Ruth: Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words by Director Freida Lee Mock. Elliot Erwitt, Silence Sounds Good; Dave Grusin: Not Enough Time; How I Became a Spy; Of Animals and Men; the story of Mrs. Lea Gottlieb, Mrs. G just to name a few of the courageous documentaries to make it to South Florida screens!

Big Stars

Some feature film highlights include seeing esteemed actors on screen in the presentations at MJFF. Anjelica Huston and Jean Reno in Waiting For Anya; Billy Crystal in Standing Up, Falling Down; Harvey Keitel and Lior Ashkenazi in Esau; Helen Mirren in Anne Frank: Parallel Stories and On Broadway; Seu Jorge in Abe; Guy Pearce in Lyrebird, which will be distributed with the title The Last Vermeer.

Live Music

Casablanca was shown at Miami Beach favorite Soundscape with a live performance by members of the New World Symphony, The Conductor with a live performance by the South Florida Jewish Chorale, Crescendo was accompanied by the Greater Miami Youth Symphony and so many more unique presentations.

Celebration of Film

Cultural hub, Coral Gables Art Cinema gave us extraordinary gifts: the 40th anniversary presentation of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining in a special 4K restoration and the centennial anniversary presentation of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari with a newly commissioned live score. Also commemorated was the 80th anniversary of Her Second Mother, Overture to Glory, and Tevya. The Yiddish films were shown at The Betsey Hotel.

A Sense of Community

The 107 films were divided into categories for jury selection. Some awards that were given included Audience Award for Best Narrative Film, My Name Is Sara. The North American Premiere was shown with Director Steven Oritt and the film’s stars and producers in attendance. Grand Jury Prize went to Saul and Ruby, To Life! MJFF’s opening film also gave us performances by Saul and Ruby.

Films to look forward to!

If you missed seeing some of the screenings, you can check out other Jewish festivals around the world in 2020. As for Miami cinephiles, you can join Miami Jewish Film society’s membership and see films throughout the year before they hit theaters. Next Wave Member benefits ages 21-35. Mark your planners for next year, MJFF’s 24th edition will be held on January 14-28, 2021.

Mazel tov to MJFF on their 23rd edition! Films were applauded and enjoyed. Keep celebrating cinema by going to the movies.

 

All photos by Miami Jewish Film Festival.