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A Silver Celebration: Boston Jewish Film Festival

The 25th annual Boston Jewish Film is in full swing from November 6th until November 18th.  Just a few days into the festival, the audience has been enthralled and impressed with all of the programing. But don’t worry, you still have time to get tickets for the rest of the festival. Check out our gallery below for a peek at some of the films showing and for more information go to www.bjff.org. After 25 years of success, it must seem like the Boston Jewish Film Festival has programing and planning down to a science, but it is BJFF’s connection to their audience and their passion for showcasing exceptional films that has led this remarkable organization to be celebrating their 25th year.

Celebrating 25 years is a huge accomplishment and one that rightfully deserves to stand out.  So how is this year’s festival different from the past?  This year is a celebration; a celebration of not only the Boston Jewish Film Festival and Jewish culture but also a celebration of all the supporters of the festival as well as the viewers.  Artistic Director of BJFF, Amy Geller, “crafted this year’s Festival with the word ‘celebration’ in mind. There’ll be more fun elements to heighten the Festival experience and reach out to a wider audience.” With films, events, speakers, and social gatherings all planned with the theme of celebration, it is not a surprise that this year’s festival is already such a success.  But with a more in depth look at the festival, its goals and future hopes, we too see why this event and organization should be celebrated.

What draws patrons and volunteers to BJFF has a great deal to do with the environment the festival creates.  Geller explained this environment in relation to a directing class she took at Suffolk University with Professor Wesley Savick.  Geller explains that, “Even though I was nearly 16 years older than the others, I learned so much from my fellow students.  What particularly impressed me was their fearless creativity and desire to learn new things.”  Geller was determined to utilize these characteristics when she took the role of Artistic Director.  To set BJFF apart from other festivals and even other organizations Geller, along with the staff of BJFF, created “a similar environment – where our team can push the boundaries of creativity and where everyone can learn about issues that effect people at home and abroad.”  By doing this BJFF is truly showcasing the whole idea of film as an art form, showing us that we cannot only be entertained but we can also be moved.

Too often we are left unaware of films that are created yet don’t make it to a movie theater near us due to a variety of reasons; whether it be limited release or a belief that it just simply won’t perform well.  But with festivals like BJFF, movie lovers are allowed to see a variety of films specifically picked with them in mind.  Where else can you find that? Where else will you be able to see films picked not only to entertain and distract us from our own lives for just a little while but to make us see a bigger picture, a different life, an issue that affects all of us, or maybe just to see ourselves in a different light?  This has been the goal of BJFF, for the past 25 years, to “make people think, laugh, feel, love, and dream.”

After 25 years, the Boston Jewish Film Festival isn’t planning on slowing down anytime soon.  Even in the midst of their current festival, the staff still continues planning on how to grow, improve, and excel.  From exploring new forms of story telling through different mediums like web series or just picking up work right after this year’s festival wraps up, we can expect big things from BJFF. Artistic Director Amy Geller hopes “to attract more diverse audiences to the Festival.  I know it’s cliche, but I believe there really is something for everyone at BJFF.”

I can’t help but agree.  Boston has become such a center for arts and culture because of festivals like this.  It brings a welcomed different perspective into our lives.  Whether you are a huge film lover or just like occasionally going to the movies, whether you are Jewish or not, college-aged or working professional, do not let this years Boston Jewish Film Festival pass you by.  As Geller says, “the word Jewish might turn a lot of people off.  Some might say, that’s not for me. But if you like incredible movies, like to cry, to laugh, and to learn a few things along the way, then the BJFF is for you.  Period.”

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