33rd Boston Jewish Film Festival goes virtual and has global reach

As the country has been changed by the pandemic, so has the 33rd Boston Jewish Film Festival, which begins today.

A virtual event with one exception live and in person, this year’s edition, director Susan Adler said, is “better than ever. We find things where people can broaden the conversation across Jewish culture and are excited to bring our community together for a virtual (experience).

“We have perfected our ticketing; we were fortunate enough to have a lot of action before people even knew what movies are.

This year, she noted, there are “about 35 titles and three short programs, which is new to us. There are documentaries from all over the world and we have a live event at the Museum of Science in Boston: “Space Torah” about NASA astronaut Jeff Hoffman, who took a Torah into space. It’s comprehensive, limited to COVID capacity, with a question-and-answer session with Hoffman and director Rob Cooper. “

NASA astronaut Jeff Hoffman with a Torah in a scene from “Space Torah,” showing at the Boston Jewish Film Festival. (Photo courtesy of BJFF)

The BJFF runs until November 21. “The number is slightly lower than in the past,” she said, as distributors do not know whether they “want their film to be screened virtually or whether they are waiting for a theatrical reservation.

“We prioritize quality and not quantity. We want a rich, diverse show that has something for everyone for the two weeks – and it’s nice to be able to watch at your own pace.

“Now we are able to bring in people from all over the world as guests. It’s exciting to have someone tell you about their country even though it’s 3 a.m. We used to bring them in by plane, but with virtual, we can expand our audience – from California, Florida, Canada! It’s exciting, just to grow your audience.

Among the highlights: “Lessons from Persia”, a topic on the Holocaust “but from a different country with a different history. It’s very convincing and unexpected and I think it’s going to be a big hit for us. This is part of our “Social Justice” film series.

The documentary “Irmi” is about a woman born in Germany. “She left before the Holocaust and had to reinvent her life a few times,” Adler said. “The film is made by his daughter and there is a great musical score. We pay tribute to one of our board members, who presents this film and the director.

“We are also excited about our three short film programs, 20 documentaries and narrative films. We still have “FreshFlix”, a new section of filmmakers with an audience award. This year, we also have “Shorts Made in Quarantine,” showing other things that happened during the lockdown. “

The third is “In 32 minutes or less!” », Which speaks for itself. “These are the best shorts that were there. It’s great to have lighter things.

For more information and tickets, visit bostonjfilm.org.