One of my personal things to do was to ideally have some input into a film festival on a genre that I care about, so I applied to be on the 2015 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival Evaluation Committee. I had been to the 2012, 2013, and 2014 festivals, and was a little disappointed with the 2014 LGBT lineup that I needed to be a part of it. Which is also cool because my rabbi was on it for a while.
Sitting on the selection committee for the film festival actually is not that bad. Really the worst things are probably the movies that one needs to sit through in order to get to the good ones, then arguing over whether or not to include the movies.
Amount of Films to be screened for the 2015 festival : 478
Amount of Films to be shown at the festival : I think it is about 63 or so.
I did not see all the films, I did however see 100 which is pretty respectable. For each term, you had to watch 20. There were three terms.
The movies really ranged from very professional to amateurish.
I have a list of reviews on my librarything.com which has a section for Jewish Studies Films and I normally write a review for every Jewish movie I see, however since many submissions seemed to not be “Jewish” films, I stopped writing for all of them. Basically if I could not complete a film, I wrote the eval at AJFF only. If I finished the movie, I wrote a private review and if the movie was rejected and I felt it was still Jewishly relevant I made it public. If I felt it was not a Jewish film, I just moved my review to IMDB if the movie was listed and deleted it from LT. If it was accepted and screened at the festival the review tag was just AJFF like those of years past. I just at a certain point didn’t want to dilute other movies that I did see since I have to use my librarything list for recommendations for people converting.
I really recommend the following if you go to the festival…
Dancing Arabs – Narrative
Horses of God – Narrative but based on a true story
Sacred Sperm – Documentary on… of all things… masturbation and such in the Hassidic community.
Here are movies I want to catch, but I didn’t screen:
Above and Beyond : Birth of the Israeli Air Force – I wanted to see this when we screened it, but I can’t remember why I couldn’t make it. I know it was a Sunday screening. I think I just ran out of time to get there. No one had a bad word to say about the movie. None. It’s opening night so I hope I can catch it.
Facing Fear – I completely didn’t even know this was coming. It’s a short so I am not sure if I am willing to watch the other shorts in order to catch it, but it had an LGBT theme.
Serial Bad Weddings – The writeup didn’t sound interesting but when people were discussing the movie, I thought it sounded interesting.
There were some good movies that I screened that did make it in. Not that many as my love of a movie pretty much meant no one was going to like it.
Here are movies that did not make it into the festival but I doubt we have heard the last of.
Triangles: Survivors of the Holocaust – LGBT survivors of the Holocaust. I really fought for the film as it is a story that needs to be told. If you can catch it, do so.
The Shepsalach – I thought this was so funny, but it is so controversial based on some of the lyrics. As an observant Jew, I thought it was hilarious, but some of the liberal Jews thought it was highly offensive. I am a firm believer that you should be able to laugh at your own religion. If you search for “The Shepsalach” on youtube, you will find pieces of the movie.
I think if nothing else this entire process of serving on a selection committee has taught me how to
Have you ever served on a selection committee? For what?