Carmel, CA, November 07, 2019 - The 10th Annual Carmel Jewish Film Festival (CJFF), featuring 10 films from six countries, noted speakers, and panel discussions, will be held March 7-22, 2020. Starting in December, film and venue information, dates, and times can be found on the CJFF website (www.carmeljff.org). Tickets will be available either through the website or by calling (800) 838-3006 starting at the beginning of January.
Festival highlights include:
OPENING NIGHT (MARCH 7)
“Fiddler: Miracle of Miracles”
When "Fiddler on the Roof" opened on Broadway in 1964, it explored themes of tradition, religion, and anti-Semitism against a modern backdrop of radical social change that addressed gender roles, sexuality, and race. Rare archival footage and interviews with musical luminaries explore the legacy of this long-running, award-winning musical. London and Broadway theater star Alexandra Silber will entertain following the film and talk about her book, After Anatevka. A reception will precede the film.
“VIOLINS OF HOPE” (MARCH 8)
Marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the Violins of Hope will visit Northern California and make an appearance at the Carmel Jewish Film Festival. Some of these violins were played in concentration camps to entertain Nazis and lift the spirits of fellow prisoners; others were played in ghettos and labor camps to earn money for food. These instruments were restored in Israel and are a testament to the remarkable resilience of the human spirit. The CJFF is partnering with the Monterey County Symphony and Chamber Music Monterey for this event.
Following a film about the Violins of Hope, renowned violinist Cookie Segelstein of Berkeley, CA, will play some the actual instruments, tell their stories, and talk about the cultural significance of music in Jewish communities in Eastern Europe. This program is part of Violins of Hope San Francisco Bay Area, presented in association with Music at Kohl Mansion, Burlingame, CA. A reception will precede the film, and a private reception with Cookie Segelstein at a private home will follow the event.
“BUDAPEST NOIR” (March 14)
The CJFF will host a Q&A with award-winning filmmaker Éva Gardos following this thriller set in Budapest in the politically fraught autumn of 1936. The film follows a scrappy reporter as he probes the murder of a femme fatale, leading him into the dark crime underworld. Francis Ford Coppola gave Gardos, born in Hungary, her first job in film, working as a production assistant on Coppola’s epic “Apocalypse Now”. She went on to establish a career as a film editor (“Valley Girl”, “Mask”, “Bastard Out of Carolina”), working with distinguished directors such as Barbet Schroeder, Peter Bogdanovich, and Anjelica Huston.
Éva’s screenwriting and feature film directorial debut, “An American Rhapsody”, starred a young Scarlett Johansson. The film is based on the true life events of Éva’s family escaping from Hungary in the 1950s and being forced to leave their infant child (Éva) behind. Éva spent six years in Hungary with foster parents before rejoining her biological parents in America. The film won many prizes on the Festival Circuit and was released by Paramount Classics.
“THE ACCOUNTANT OF AUSCHWITZ” (March 15)
Partnering with the Catholic Diocese, the CJFF will screen a Canadian film “The Accountant of Auschwitz”. In 2015, 94-year-old former German SS officer Oskar Groning admitted his guilt and went on trial. But bringing war criminals to justice asks fundamental moral questions with few simple answers. From Nuremberg to the new alt-right, this documentary is a stark reminder to “never forget”.
CLOSING NIGHT (MARCH 22)
The CJFF also will partner with the local Muslim community for the Closing Night selection Abe, a Brazilian film centered on a teen curious about his family’s Middle Eastern culinary heritage. A reception with Israeli and Arab dishes will precede the film.
As the only Jewish film festival in Monterey County, we serve all residents with our efforts to promote understanding, respect, and cooperation through education using the medium of film. While informed by a uniquely Jewish sensibility, our films communicate themes and messages with universal appeal to a wide audience drawn from the Monterey Peninsula and beyond. Our festival’s accompanying programs further engage mind and heart through discussion and social interaction. We hope that our festival will help bridge cultural and religious differences and contribute to community solidarity and peace.
Additional information about all films and events, including ticket prices, can be found on the Carmel Jewish Film Festival website (www.carmeljff.org).
Marci Bracco Cain
Salinas, CA 93901