Monday, May 19, 2014

Fest coordinator acknowledges "dark" films

A recap on the Jewish film festival. Coordinator Stuart Selby tells me this 12th edition saw increased attendance and “from all appearances, this was the most successful WJFF yet”….. He acknowledges there were comments about the “dark” or serious nature of most of the films – many dealing with the Holocaust or Middle East terrorism - which tends to be typical – but he’s at a bit of a loss to know what to do about it. “That is the nature of all Jewish film festivals.” True, some of these same films were screened earlier at the Lenore Marwil festival in Detroit and later this month at the Montreal Israeli Film Festival. But each of those fests had larger programs, probably because of the cities’ sizes, which provided a little more diversity. “We look strenuously for lighter material, but there isn’t that much available,” Selby said. He said that while films like Bethlehem, The Attack (picture above) and Aftermath may have been dark indeed, “they are also films of such dramatic and historic quality that intelligent film goers come anyway, knowing that they will see films made for adults dealing with adult issues.” But as my seatmate said after one particular film, “there is always Mel Brooks!” Well, I wouldn’t go that far……Meanwhile Selby had high praise for Devonshire Cineplex. Instead of turning people away as in the past from the always highly popular opening night film (Ilan Duran Cohen’s The Jewish Cardinal) theatre staff provided a larger auditorium for the night. The theatre also changed auditoriums throughout the festival based on a film’s expected attendance.

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