This year the Buffalo International Jewish Film Festival celebrates its 36th Season The Festival will stream films virtually Saturday, April 24 – Thursday, May 14. “After successfully transitioning to a virtual format last year we are thrilled to continue presenting the Film Festival in a safe and easily accessible way for the Buffalo community and beyond,” says Katie Wzontek, Cultural Arts Director, Jewish Community Center of Greater Buffalo. “Helping people stay engaged and providing virtual programming at a time when opportunities to socialize and engage with one another are limited have proven to be more important than ever,” says Wzontek.
The Festival will host a, kick-off event featuring The Samuel Project at the Transit Drive-In Thursday, April 22, 8:30 p.m. An ideal film for parents and grandparents to share with children, The Samuel Project stars Hal Linden as Samuel, a grandfather reconnecting with his grandson when he is made the subject of a high school project. Eli (Ryan Ochoa) discovers that his grandpa, a Jewish dry cleaner, was heroically saved from Nazi capture in Germany. After some hesitation, Samuel agrees to tell his story for the project—a story he hasn’t told in more than 75 years.
This year’s festival also features a special film screening and Talkback event in celebration of the Jewish Holiday Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel Independence Day). Ben-Gurion Epilogue, a fascinating documentary about Israel’s founding father, David Ben-Gurion will be available to stream Saturday, April 10 – Tuesday, April 13. The live zoom talkback event on Tuesday, April 13 at 4:00pm will feature Dr. Clinton Bailey, the film’s interviewer. Dr. Bailey, a native Buffalonian, and an expert on Bedouin culture and author of several books, will participate in the Talkback discussion from his home in Israel.
The Festival includes 13 exceptional films from Germany, Italy, Norway, the U.S., and Israel. Films will be available for streaming for 72-hour “window” periods. Virtual ticket holders will receive an email with unique links and passwords to access the films. An email address and reliable internet is required to participate in the virtual film festival. Links for each individual film will arrive about two hours before the time scheduled for the viewing window to open.
The Festival will host three virtual Talkback Tuesdays streamed on YouTube. Talkback Tuesday, April 27 features Ryan Porush, director of The Passengers, about Ethiopian Jews trying to emigrate to Israel. On May 4, the Talkback includes a panel discussion on Shared Legacies, the story of Black & Jewish collaboration during the Civil Rights movement. Moderated by Rabbi Adam Rosenbaum from Temple Beth Tzedek, panelists include Rabbi Everett Gendler, interviewed throughout the film, Rev Mark Blue, president of NAACP Buffalo Branch, and Rene Petties-Jones, president of the National Federation for Just Communities of WNY, Inc. The final Tuesday Talkback on May 11 features the French WWII film An Irrepressible Woman, and will be moderated by Dr. Eileen Angelini, an expert on Vichy France.