2017 Jewish Film Festival


With more movies, guest speakers, venues, and entertainment than ever before, the Columbus Jewish Film Festival (CJFF) kicks off its 13th season of 13 current, cinematic films on Sunday, November 5 with an opening night extravaganza.

Hosted at the Lincoln Theater at 6:30 p.m., the event will screen The Women’s Balcony, a narrative depicting the aftermath of an incident at an Orthodox Synagogue, exploring gender roles and a societal norms through a rousing, comical feminist voice. The evening is heightened by visiting screenwriter of the film, Shlomit Nehama sharing her own stories and those that inspired the movie.

This year’s Film Festival explores diverse plot lines with inclusive themes, covering stories from around the world highlighting significant social topics.

“One of the goals I’ve had is to widen our outreach into the community, embracing diversity and reaching lots of different people,” said Carol Glassman, the Film Festival’s co-chair alongside Sandy Meizlish, “The films that we are presenting address so many different, relevant issues that they bring various groups of people together and that’s very exciting.”

Documentaries include Monsieur Mayonnaise, Phillip Mora’s stories of his parent’s Holocaust survival and their resistance efforts saving thousands of Jewish lives. Mora will be in attendance and will lead a discussion following the screening. Documentarian Barak Heymann will present two of his works, Mr. Gaga and Whose Going to Love Me Now?, in partnership with BalletMet, Ohio State University’s Melton Center for Jewish Studies, Department of Dance, and Wexner Center for the Arts November 15 and 16.

Mr. Gaga tells the story of Ohad Naharin and his pivotal role in the evolution of dance. This exuberant film illuminates the creative process of an audacious Israeli choreographer widely hailed as an icon of modern dance.  Naharin’s career has spanned several prestigious dance ensembles, culminating in his tenure as artistic director of the Batsheva Dance Company Mr. Heymann will lead a discussion with BalletMet Artistic Director, Edwaard Liang following the screening.

Whose Going to Love Me Now? is a tale of an inspirational and intensely personal journey of an Israeli man, rejected by his religious family and community, returning home and beginning to repair his relationships.  The London Gay Men’s Chorus provide a glorious soundtrack for this documentary about the power of forgiveness and the power that home has, no matter how far we go. Mr. Heymann, both director and producer of the film, will participate in a post screening discussion with David Brown, The Harmony Project Founder & Creative Director.

Films explore topics of love, loss, acceptance, hope, and bravery. Fanny’s Journey (2016), based on a true story, is an incredible tale of strength and survival as she fearlessly treks through the countryside leading her younger sisters, trying to outrun Nazi power and reach the Swiss border.  Love is Thicker Than Water is a modern-day retelling Romeo and Juliet with its central characters being cast as young cellist and the indulged daughter of a wealthy Jewish family in London who falls in love with a bike messenger and a gifted photographer from a working-class Welsh mining town.


The final film of the festival, Keep the Change, is the winner of Best Narrative Feature and Best New Narrative Director of the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. Under the guise of a New York romantic comedy, Keep the Change does something quite radical: It paints a refreshingly honest portrayal of a community of adults living on the autism spectrum. While thoroughly charming and quite funny, the story also portrays a community that is seldom represented and rarely understood.


“People look forward to the Film Festival not only to represent Jewish life in Columbus but really as a cultural asset to life in Columbus,” Glassman sad, “We bring stories to the community that no one would really know without them. We let them see situations that they may never have experienced and shed light on issues that people may not realize even exist.”


For a full list of all thirteen of this year’s films, visit columbusjcc.org/cultural-arts/film-festival/. Individual tickets are available for purchase as well as Reel Passes, which give full access to the Film Festival plus one extra free ticket to any film with the exception of opening night. To purchase tickets, visit the JCC front desk or contact Emily Schuss at eschuss@columbusjcc.org or 614-559-6205.


The 2017 Columbus Jewish Film Festival is presented by Rozanne and Jerry Stern in memory of Andrew Ethan Stern and is underwritten by the Lenore Schottenstein and Community Jewish Arts Fund of the Columbus Jewish Foundation.