San Diego Jewish Film Festival Set for 26th Straight Opening

​Jewish Film Festival promises ten straight days of amazing films.

A film from the San Diego Jewish Film Festival

Sabena Hikacking - My Version

For the 26th year, the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture is putting on their annual Jewish Film Festival. From February 4th through 14th, dozens of filmmakers will show over 60 films in five theaters around San Diego. The films being presented encompass a wide array of the human condition, covering topics from human rights and freedom of expression, to the simple celebration of life itself. The Center states that, with this festival, it hopes to raise a awareness about the diversity within the Jewish community, as well as appreciation and pride for what that community has accomplished. The center promises that the festival will offer world class entertainment that captures what it means to be Jewish in the modern world through both a modern and historical lens. 

It would not be a film festival without a competition and prizes, so both the Short Film and Feature–Length categories will be judged by an international panel. These will be awarded once all of the films in both categories have been viewed and the judges have had time to deliberate. The short films will be shown from 11 am to 8pm on February 8th at the Arclight Theaters in La Jolla.


Jewish Film Festival Stand–Out Films

With such a great amount of talent, all the films being presented are sure to be excellent. However, there are some which deserve special recognition.

The first of these is Dealing with the Devil, directed by Stephane Bentura. This film is being shown at a special event before the official opening night of the Festival. This event includes red carpet arrivals, guest speakers and a reception for the Festival’s underwriters. Dealing with the Devil is the fascinating tale of Cornelius Gurlitt. In 2011, it was found that Gurlitt, an elderly German man, was living in his apartment in Munich with more than one thousand masterpieces that had been looted from museums during the Nazi occupation of World War II. This fifty–two minute black and white film captures Gurlitt as he explains the history of his family and how he came to possess one of the greatest collections of art in the world. For those not lucky enough to score an invitation to the screening, it will be shown on February 7th at the Clairemont Reading 14.

The ten–day Jewish Film Festival spectacle will kick off in San Diego on February 4th with The Price of Sugar by Jean van de Veide. Set in seventeenth century Suriname, The Price of Sugar tells the story of a white colonial slave owner, Lynda, and her black half–sister, Mini–Mini, who happens to be her slave. Conflict arises as Lynda becomes more and more dissatisfied with life in the colony, while Mini–Mini pushes the boundaries of the era and sees a chance for her own happiness and freedom, even if it must come at the expense of her half–sister. In addition to the opening night screening at the Clairemont Reading 14, it will also be shown on February 10th at Edwards San Marcos and February 11th at the Clairemont Reading.

Another highlight of the festival is the showing of Encirclements, by Lee Gilat on February 10th and 14th. The Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah marks the end of one cycle of public readings from the Torah and the start of another. During this time, the Torah is removed from Temple and carried around the neighborhood by one of the children. It is considered an enormous honor. Encirclements tells the tale of 13–year–old Aharon, who is selected to carry the Torah during the celebrations. At first, he is proud and excited about the responsibility, but things turn ugly as his selection causes conflicts between his parents. Both showings are at the Clairemont Reading 14.

San Diego Jewish Film Festival

After ten exciting days full of great films, the San Diego festival closes with a showing of Sabena Hikacking—My Version, directed by Rani Saar at the Clairemont Reading 14. The film is a harrowing docu–drama that follows Captain Reginald Levy, the pilot in charge of Sabena Flight 571 when it was hijacked by armed members of the Palestinian Liberalization Organization on May 8th, 1972. The film mixes together interviews with important people connected with the hijacking (ranging from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the only surviving member of the four–person hijacking team who tells her side of the story) with dramatic reenactments of the tense moments aboard a plane held hostage by armed terrorists willing to die for their cause. The film is a fast–paced, suspenseful 100 minutes that will keep audiences glued to their seats until the credits roll.

The Jewish Film Festival is shaping up, once again, to be something you don’t want to miss. Ten days of films that will make audiences think, mourn, laugh and reflect on one of the most persevering groups of people on the planet. If you’re interested in excellent films, this is definitely something to experience.

More information about the Jewish Film Festival can be found on their website. Tickets can be bought either at the Jewish Film Festival ticket page or by calling 858-362-1348.