The 14th Annual New Jersey Jewish Film Festival, sponsored by JCC MetroWest, will host a selection of new and award-winning feature films and documentaries from March 29 to April 6, many making their New Jersey premiere. In addition, this year’s event includes a live performance, a photo exhibit and opportunities to meet some of the filmmakers.
The festival kicks off with Hunting Elephants on Saturday, March 29, at 8:30 p.m. and concludes with a screening of Besa: The Promise on Sunday, April 6, at 7:30 p.m., featuring guest speakers photojournalist Norman Gershman and Majlinda Myrto, leader of the Albanian-American community in the United States. Both programs will be held at the JCC MetroWest, West Orange. Cost for each screening is $20 in advance, $25 at the door, and includes a reception.
Among the festival highlights (all films will be screened at the JCC unless otherwise indicated; * indicates New Jersey premiere):
Do you Believe in Love?
Sunday, March 30, 1:45 p.m., and Thursday, April 3, 5:30 p.m., West Orange JCC.
Tova, a successful matchmaker, is almost completely immobile due to muscular dystrophy. Every day, she attends to men and women, some young, some older, some with disabilities, some unusual, and some who simply haven’t yet found a partner. Tova challenges her clients to set realistic expectations and learn to compromise.
The film is preceded by Autism in Love, a documentary about a man with autism spectrum disorder. By accepting his quirks and odd behaviors, and through the unconditional love he receives from his wife, Marlene, he embraces love and life.
The program includes a post-screening discussion with Leslie Long, director of adult services, Autism Speaks, and Lauren Scrivo, communications specialist, Kessler Foundation & Disability Advocate. Copresented with ReelAbilities NJ. Tickets cost $13, $11 for students and seniors. A “Lox & Love Brunch” will be offered on March 30 for $30 and include a admission to an 11 a.m. screening of The Sturgeon Queens.
The German Doctor
Sunday, March 30, 7:30 p.m., Kushner Academy, Livingston.
A German doctor meets an Argentinean family and follows them to a small town where they will be starting a new life. Eva, Enzo, and their three children welcome the doctor into their home and entrust their young daughter, Lilith, to his care, not knowing they are harboring one of the most dangerous criminals in the world. At the same time, Israeli agents are desperately looking to bring him to justice.
Post-screening discussion with Andy Rona, historian, linguist, and lecturer on Holocaust studies.
Cost is $13, $11 for students and seniors. Copresented by the Montclair Film Festival.
Under the Same Sun
Saturday, April 5, 8:30 p.m.
In this reality-style drama set in the near future, two businessmen, an Israeli and a Palestinian, put their differences aside and risk everything to work together and establish a solar energy company, ultimately using social media to change the political map in the Middle East.
Post-screening discussion with director Sameh Zoabi; John Marks, producer and founder/president, Search for Common Ground; Amy Levin, J Street representative; and Mark Dunec, New Jersey candidate for U.S. Congress.
Tickets cost $13, $11 for students and seniors.