Five Questions on the Louisville Jewish Film Festival

Five Questions on the Louisville Jewish Film Festival

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - This is the 21st year for the Louisville Jewish Film Festival.

Out of 45 contenders, organizers chose a collection of 10 Jewish films including documentaries, docudramas and feature films.

Marsha Bornstein is the director of the Louisville Jewish Film Festival.
Marsha Bornstein is the director of the Louisville Jewish Film Festival. (Provided photo)

The festival runs from Feb. 7 to 27. Most screenings are held at Village 8 Theatres and special events are held at Bellarmine University, Speed Cinema at the Speed Art Museum, University of Louisville Planetarium, Adath Jeshurun and The Temple synagogues.

Most tickets cost $10 in advance or $12.50 at the door, with $5 student tickets. Tickets can be bought online, at the Jewish Community Center, or by calling 502-459-0660. At each venue, the box office will open one hour before each film.

Here are my five questions with Marsha Bornstein, the Louisville Jewish Film Festival Director.

1.) I understand this is the 21st year for the Film Festival. How are movies chosen?

Throughout the year I research new international films with Jewish content. About 50 films a year are viewed with the help of two committee members. The best 25 films are sent to the committee to screen and evaluate. Following much discussion the committee ranks 10 films and the vote is tallied.

2.) When the film fest began, what was its mission and has that changed over the years?

The mission statement reads: the Louisville Jewish Film Festival is an annual film festival whose mission is to showcase outstanding national and international films illuminating some aspect of the Jewish experience in the world and promote cross-cultural understanding within the Louisville community.

Our mission has not changed, and we see the need to increase our efforts for better outreach into the community. Our surveys have revealed the power of film to change perspectives, provide insight and build bridges in our multi-cultural society.

3.) Can you tell me about the film Who Will Write Our History?

In 1940, a secret group of scholars, leaders and other residents of the Warsaw Ghetto resisted the Nazis with 30,000 pages of writings, photos and posters that they hid in metal containers in tunnels. These archival materials documenting Jewish life are the most important cache of eyewitness accounts from the Holocaust. We are thrilled to have as our featured speaker Sam Kassow, author of Who Will Write Our History (on which the film is based). Kassow is an historian of the history of East European Jewry, a professor at Trinity College, and consultant to the Museum of History of the Polish Jews in Warsaw. He will speak following the film.

4.) There are two movies this year suitable for children. What are they about?

Bag of Marbles, a heartwarming tale of two young brothers living in Nazi occupied Paris, who are sent away by their parents to find their siblings in Nice. Relying on their own courage and cunning they make the long and difficult journey by train, ferry and foot. This film has subtitles and is a matinee.

The Samuel Project, a matinee and evening film, is a heartwarming English language film about Eli, a budding artist, who gets to know his grandfather Samuel when he makes him the subject of an animated art project for school. As they reconnect, the teenager hears the story of how his grandfather, as a boy, was saved from Nazi capture by a young woman.

5.) Besides seeing the films, what are the other opportunities for guests?

Besides seeing the films (The Tenth Man and Ma’aleh Shorts are free), we will have another speaker, David William Foster, talk following the film, The Tenth Man. Foster is a professor at Arizona State University and is a renowned critic of Latin American Cultural Studies. There are four receptions offered following The Tenth Man, Who Will Write Our History, Ma’aleh Shorts, and The Samuel Project. Also, students with valid ID can attend any film for $5!

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