The 24th Annual San Diego Jewish Film Festival, presented by the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, Jacobs Family Campus, finished its ten days of screenings. The Festival showcased over 60 of the best contemporary Jewish themed films from around the world celebrating life, human rights, and freedom of expression. The mission of the Film Festival is to offer outstanding world cinema that promotes awareness, appreciation and pride in the diversity of the Jewish people to attendees of the community at large.
In addition to the carefully selected short-subject, documentary, and feature length films, the Film Festival featured an international roster of visiting guest artists, included were actors, filmmakers, and scholars, who introduced their work, participated in panel discussions, and met and greeted the festival patrons.
Records were broken in advance ticket sales and sales at the door. The total number of tickets sold is over 11,000. In addition to the high attendance, audience members had an opportunity to vote for their favorite film this year. Here are the winners:
- Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film was a tie: Generations Way (parts 1 & 2) , directed by Phillipp Kadelbach; and Bethlehem, directed by Yuval Adler.
- Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary Film is The Sturgeon Queens, directed by Julie Cohen.
On February 10, a day was devoted to short films (The Joyce Forum), which was a juried competitive program of short films. The Joyce Forum broke all attendance and box office records with over 1,200 people attending the three-program event. The Film Fest Coterie’ film group exclusively attended the occasion.
Awards were given in the following categories:
- The Joyce Award for Best Short Film – Andreas Henn for Great
- The Joyce Award for Best Emerging Filmmaker – Costa Fam, director of Shoes
- The Joyce Award for Best Local (San Diego) Screenwriter — Michael Carnick for Rolling Romance
- The Joyce Award for Best Director of a Short Film – Yoav Hornung for Deserted
- The Joyce Award for Special Jury Award – Nick Rowland for Dancing in the Ashes
Plans are now underway for the Silver Anniversary with outside film groups already blocking space. The Film Committee has already secured the venues for 2015:
Clairemont Reading 14 / JOY F. KNAPP PRESENTATIONS
4665 Clairemont Dr., San Diego
The Arclight Cinemas
4425 La Jolla Village Dr., San Diego (west side of Westfield UTC mall)
The Carlsbad Village Theatre
2822 State St., Carlsbad
Edwards San Marcos Stadium 18
1180 West San Marcos Blvd., San Marcos (next to Restaurant Row)
David and Dorothea Garfield Theater (LFJCC), Jacobs Family Campus
4126 Executive Drive, La Jolla
In addition to all the prestigious awards given to the many extraordinary films, four of the films from the festival will have a local distribution here in San Diego. They are the following:
- The Jewish Cardinal (March 7-12, March 24-27) at Digital Gym
- Aftermath (Feb. 21-27) at Digital Gym
- Generation War - It’s scheduled to open March 14th at the Ken.
- Bethlehem - Starts Friday, March 7 at the La Jolla Village Cinemas
The 25th Anniversary is already gearing up with Saundra Saperstein and Devorah Gurantz helming as Festival Chairs and leading the executive committee are Francine Ginsberg and Judith Freidel. Founding Chair and creator of the Joyce Forum, Joyce Axelrod will lead the short film festival. As the film festival wraps up for this year, Film Festival Director Craig Prater stated “What we accomplished this year with the quality of films from our film selection committee was incredible. It certainly was the driving force behind our great box office sales this year. We are pleased that everyone enjoyed the expanded Joyce Forum programming and our congratulations to all the winning filmmakers. Plans are already in motion for our Silver Anniversary.”