NJFF returns for 8th consecutive year

The Nashville Jewish Film Festival (NJFF) returns for its 8th season this October. 

This year, the 2008 Nashville Jewish Film Festival (NJFF) will celebrate Israel’s 60th anniversary by presenting films solely from Israeli filmmakers.  Each film illustrates a piece of Israel’s soul; together, the works reflect the cultural diversity that is Israel. Whether documentary or narrative, highlighting current political issues or compelling stories far from the headlines, the films this year focus on the puzzle of Israel – its past and current identities and its promise of tomorrow.

The Nashville Jewish Film Festival will begin on Saturday, Oct. 25, with Guy Nattiv and Eraz Tadmor’s Strangers (Israel), a romantic and volatile love story between two impossibly matched people that includes soccer, sex, and politics, when handsome Israeli man Eyal and Palestinian beauty Rana meet by chance on a subway in Berlin. The Opening Night Cocktail Supper this year will be at Cabana, just down the street from the Belcourt Theatre in Hillsboro Village.

The Festival concludes on Thursday, Oct. 30, with Shemi Zarhin’s Aviva, My Love, winner of six awards of the Israeli Film Academy and tells of Aviva, a hard-working hotel cook who writes magical stories she hopes to publish, and who must also keep her family afloat even if it means sacrificing her own ambitions.

The Closing Night Dessert Party will again feature great music at Sunset Grill.  Michael Fair and friends are providing the jazz entertainment at Sunset Grill for closing night.

The Festival will continue its tradition of offering thought provoking and highly entertaining films each evening plus two matinees – one on Monday, Oct. 27, and a second one on Thursday, Oct. 30.

Other highlights include Cedar’s Beaufort (Israel), the highly acclaimed, brutally authentic war drama that won four Israeli Oscars and was the American 2008 Oscar-nominee for Best Foreign Language Film; Evelyn Roth’s The Little Traitor (USA/Israel), a heart-warming story set in Palestine in 1947, just a few months before Israel becomes a state, where a young Israeli boy befriends a British soldier; Ran Tal’s Children of the Sun (Israel), an honest and insightful portrait of the rise and fall of the social experiment known as the kibbutz,  where more than a dozen “alumni” reminisce about their unique upbringing and how it has impacted their lives as adults; and Yael Katzir’s Praying in Her Own Voice (Israel), a riveting documentary about the contentious struggle of Women of the Wall for the right to wear prayer shawls and read Torah scrolls aloud at the Western Wall. Special panels and guest speakers connected with the screenings will be announced in the weeks to come.

On Tuesday, Oct. 28, at 4:30 p.m. on the Vanderbilt campus, the Festival will screen the finalists of its Student Film Competition, comprised of the best student-made shorts that deal with Jewish subject matter. This year has seen a significant increase in the number of films submitted with the majority of them sent from Israel.

The winning film, determined by a panel of local judges, will receive the Kathryn H. Gutow Award – a cash prize of $1000 – plus other recognition and benefits. An additional $250 goes to the winner of the Student Choice Award, the short film deemed best by the viewing audience. The Student Film Competition is sponsored by CAA.

All films will be shown at the Belcourt Theatre in Hillsboro Village, except for the Student Film Competition, which will screen on the Vanderbilt Campus (exact location to be announced later in September). As in the past, Nashville Jewish Film Festival is proudly sponsored by Congregation Ohabai Sholom.

More detailed information, including a film schedule and reviews as well as ticket information, will be available in early October.

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