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5 Can’t-Miss Movies at the 25th Washington Jewish Film Festival

You-Must-Be-Joking-Movie-Header-ImageRumor has it that the new Star Wars movie will not be released until December, but luckily, the Washington DC Jewish Community Center anticipated this cinematic lull. Thanks to the Washington Jewish Film Festival (WJFF), February 19 – March 1, 2015, date nights are no longer restricted to the perfunctory dinner out – WJFF will celebrate its 25th anniversary with you in mind.

The festival features 11 days of dynamic film programming, showcasing the best of international cinema through a distinctly Jewish lens. Throughout the festival, audiences will be treated to more than 100 screenings and related events across the Washington area, including cultural and educational events to complement viewings.

Hosted by the Washington DCJCC, this year’s milestone festival features: world, East Coast, and mid-Atlantic premieres; an exciting roster of filmmaker and cast appearances; and an exquisitely curated line-up of screenings, festivities, and more.

This year’s WJFF will feature over 100 events and draw more than 12,000 attendees, maintaining WJFF’s reputation as one of the largest and most respected Jewish film festivals in North America.

But, with so much to do and so little time, we are here to help ensure you don’t miss the festival’s highlights. Get out your calendars; here are the 5 movies you don’t want to miss this year:

1) You Must Be Joking, an American film also premiering at WJFF, follows an aimless 27-year-old paralegal trying to break into the New York comedy scene. “Broad City” standout Hannibal Buress completes this quirky feel-good comedy that asks the question: What makes you so happy you giggle? You can check this movie out on Thursday, February 26 at 6:30pm at the DCJCC, or on Saturday, February 28 at 6:30pm at the Goethe Institut.

Gather the Jews is going to see the February 26th showing of You Must Be Joking! We have 20 discounted tickets for $10, sign up here!

2) 24 Days, which will host its mid-Atlantic premiere at the festival, narrates the kidnapping of Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old Parisian Jew of Moroccan descent, based on a book co-written by the victim’s mother. The film captures the reality of anti-Semitic crime through the experience of Ilan’s family. In light of the recent tragedy in France, 24 Days underscores

3) Casting Out features a series of films that examine outcasts of every variety, whether by birth, circumstance, or choice. Breaking both societies’ expectations and yours, this film has earned its praise. This series of short films will be screening at the Goethe Institut near Gallery Place on Saturday, February 21 at 8:30pm.

One of the short films 7 – Day Gig:

4) Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem shares the story of an Israeli woman trapped in a loveless marriage appealing to the rabbinical court for a divorce in spite of her husband’s refusals.  This film brilliantly uncovers the peculiar nature of marriage in Israel, where neither civil marriage nor civil divorce exists. Nominated by Israel for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Aware, Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem will leave you baffled and intrigued. You can see Gett at the Avalon Theatre on Wednesday, February 25 at 8:45pm.

5) Next To Her, another Israeli film hitting this year’s festival, features the story of a woman raising her mentally disabled sister by herself until a romantic interest enters the picture and challenges the sisters’ once-symbiotic relationship. With mesmerizing performances from two female leads, Next To Her will also be hosting its Mid-Atlantic Premiere at this year’s festival, screening at the AFI Silver Theater on Monday, February 23 at 7:15pm, at the Abramsom Family Recital Hall at American University on Thursday, February 26 at 8:10pm and at the JCC of Greater Washington (Rockville) on Saturday, February 28 at 6:45pm.

These 5 movies are must-sees for this festival season, but they are certainly not all that WJFF has to offer. Whether you want to bring a date or come with friends – there is a movie for every occasion. There’s no need to wait for the next big blockbuster when WJFF brings the best in international film right to your backyard! Tickets are on sale now at www.wjff.org.

Lots of Jewish and Israeli Films This Week

Film buffs have several opportunities to enjoy Israeli and Jewish film screenings in the DC area this week and next.

First, come enjoy the latest installment of ReelIsraelDC, which offers the best contemporary Israeli cinema the last Wednesday of every month. This month’s feature is Naomi.This award winning thriller depicts the story of Ilan Ben Natan, a 58-year-old Astrophysics professor in Haifa, who discovers his young wife, Naomi, has taken a lover.

WHEN: November 30, 8:00 p.m.

WHERE: Avalon Theatre, 5612 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Click here for more information.

A day later, the 22nd Annual Washington Jewish Film Festival will kick off.

WHEN: December 1 – December 11

WHERE: DC JCC, 1529 16th St. NW

This event, co-sponsored by the Israeli Embassy and the Washington Jewish Week, features 47 new and award-winning Jewish films from around the world.  It will showcase special guests from around the world. including filmmakers, composers, writers, journalists and producers.

For the full schedule and to buy tickets, click here.

 

Film Screening: Seven Minutes in Heaven

Come enjoy the latest installment of ReelIsraelDC, which offers the best contemporary Israeli cinema one evening at the end of every month. This month’s feature will take place on a Tuesday instead of the regular Wednesday.  This month’s feature is Seven Minutes in Heaven.

The film tells the story of  a couple, Galia and Oren.  When the bus they are on explodes in a terror attack, Oren is left in a coma and Galia is left with severe burns and memory lost of the attack and the days leading up to it. The film begins one year after the attack, upon Oren’s death. As Galia undergoes physical and mental therapy, she attempts to stitch together the shattered fragments of her life. A necklace sent to her from an unidentified source sets her off on a journey to find the missing pieces of the puzzle from that horrific day.

WHEN: September 27, 8:00 p.m.

WHERE: Avalon Theatre, 5612 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Upcoming Israeli Film Features

Young professionals interested in Israeli cinema have TWO great opportunities to enjoy themselves this month, thanks to the Israeli Embassy‘s Cultural Affairs Department:

An Evening of Israeli Short Films

When: July 19, 7:00 p.m.

Where: The Lounge of the Dupont Renaissance Hotel, 1143 New Hampshire Ave NW

Description: A compilation of short works by Israeli and Palestinian filmmakers, inspired by the common theme of coffee and highlighting the common elements in their lives.  Food and drink specials will be available.

Free, but reservations (here) strongly encouraged.

Screening of “The Little Traitor”

When: July 27, 8:00 p.m.

Where: Avalon Theatre, 5612 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Description: This is the latest installment of ReelIsraelDC, which offers the best contemporary Israeli cinema on the 4th Wednesday of every month at 8:00 p.m. “The Little Traitor” is based on the novel “Panther in the Basement” by world-renowned Israeli author, Amos Oz. It tells the story of the strange friendship between 11-year-old Proffy Liebowitz, a newcomer to the Palestine Mandate in 1947, and Sergeant Dunlop, a British officer who seizes him for breaking curfew.