Home Entertainment Features Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival Has Become a Cultural Phenomenon

Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival Has Become a Cultural Phenomenon

hilary helstein and ed asner.
Hilary Helstein and Ed Asner.

It all started twelve years ago and evolved into a voice in the Jewish-Israeli film going community and beyond, a voice that is growing.

Each year, for one week, the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival (LAJFF) brings to greater Los Angeles the Jewish experience through the film.

Jewish means. belonging to the Jewish nation. It is also a religion and it is also a diverse culture which Jews from all corners of the world created. They created it while, for centuries, living in exile and away from their homeland Israel. Israeli films have now been brought into the mix of Jewish culture, as the 69 year old reestablished Jewish commonwealth has been creating its own unique Jewish-Israeli culture and film content.

The LAJFF that has blossomed into an institute is sponsored by the Jewish Journal and TRIBE Media Corp. Mr. John Fishel is this year’s honorary Chair and Hilary Helstein is Festival Director. LAJFF is a tapestry of carefully curated films. This year the festival honored actor Ed Asner and at the opening night the screening of his film “My Friend Ed,” Directed by Sharon Baker.

Hilary Helstein, LAJFF Director with Honoree Ed Asner

With a team of dedicated volunteers, supported by public enthusiasm, the festival has become a much-anticipated annual event. Among the array of films in the line-up are world premieres, thought-provoking documentaries, comedies, award-winning dramatic features, and short films. They are USA-made and from multiple countries, many chosen for screening from the world’s most prestigious film festivals.

One can say that the films shown in the LAJFF have become one other indicator showing the common threads that unite the Jewish people.

Every film tells a story and the LAJFF brings to light Jewish stories, it gives a Jewish growing voice and brings to light Jewish talent in the art of the film.

The line-up is rich. I personally saw, on the festival’s second night, in the Los Angeles premiere, the film “The Wedding Plan,” from Israeli director, Rama Burshtein. “The Wedding Plan,” is about a religious woman on her “nothing will get in the way” quest to find a husband and get married. The outstanding film brings to light the complex relationship of the religious Jews, their deep belief and hope, a trait that represents the Jewish people as a whole.

Director Rama Burshtein

If you did not know about the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival before reading this article, now you know. Next year become an LAJFF movie-goer and you will have an outstanding film art experience and a window to learn about diverse Jewish culture.

During the 2006 second Lebanon War, Nurit Greenger, referenced then as the “Accidental Reporter” felt compelled to become an activist. Being an ‘out-of-the-box thinker, Nurit is a passionately committed advocate for Jews, Israel, the United States, and the Free World in general. From Southern California, Nurit serves as a “one-woman Hasbarah army” for Israel who believes that if you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.

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