Every Day is Jewsday
It’s festival season, and the Austin Jewish Film Festival is making sure Austinites are all caught up with the latest and greatest of Jewish stories. Like many Jewish organizations, this one exists to tell stories about Jews’ lived experience, but thrives with outreach to the gentile population. The point is to share great movies “for Jew and you too,” as the tagline proclaims.
The 2022 event is special, as the festival’s 20th year, taking place November 3-13 at the Dell Jewish Community Campus and November 14-20 online. There will be two stages, offering a good balance of lots to see, without lots to do to get there. In case viewers have to make hard choices, many films will be shown twice.
Some of the films to choose from include:
- Exodus 91: This U.S. premiere is also the opening night feature, with director Micah Smith in attendance, ready to answer questions. This film explores a real political conflict in 1991, Operation Solomon, through inquisitive lenses about racism, nationalism, and propaganda.
- Karaoke: Director and writer Moshe Rosenthal is attending the festival for this Texas premiere. Karaoke follows a vibrant new neighbor, Itsik, who brings a lust for life back to a suburban couple. It is a comedy, but reviewers note a complex, wistful tone.
- Farewell, Mr. Haffmann: This Austin premiere, set in Paris and written in French by director Fred Cavayé and Sarah Kaminsky, lays out a rickety deal for a Jewish jeweler, his assistant, and his assistant’s wife, all seeking protection under German occupation in 1941.
- Who Are the Marcuses: This true story told by Director and co-writer Matthew Mishory examines Iraeli water technology via two holocaust refugees, who eventually donated half a billion dollars to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Their daughter, Temple Beth Shalom member Ellen Marcus, joins to discuss.
- America: The closing night film by director and writer Ofir Raul Graizer, who will be in attendance for the U.S. premiere, sees an Israeli man return home after a decade in the United States. The emotional film centers on community, intimacy, and a sense of physical place.
The above films and many more have been nominated for, and won, countless international awards, reflecting not just the quality of the repertoire, but the diversity of Jewish experience depicted. Many of the titles deal with past historical happenings, but the festival is sure to include some lighthearted, everyday experiences for anyone to connect to, regardless of their relative hardships or triumphs.
A full schedule of showings with descriptions is available at austinjff.org. Tickets are available to individual films (ordering online saves $2), and some showings are free. An All Access Festival Pass ($120) provides entry to all screenings and parties, and a combo pass ($225) includes a yearly membership.