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Arts & Entertainment Presented by Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts


Lineup Announced for Ventura County Jewish Film Festival

By Jerry Feingold for the Ventura County Jewish Film Festival |

The Ventura County Jewish Film Festival this week announced an exciting lineup of movies that will be featured in the festival, which runs over four weeks starting March 2 and ending March 30.

“We have a wide selection of films that will satisfy every movie palate,” said Jerry Feingold, president of the Ventura County Jewish Film Festival.

Follow Me is the festival’s opening night movie, which will be screened at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 2. It is the gripping, true story of the life and death of Yonatan Netanyahu, commander of elite Israeli commando force who was the tragically killed during the daring Operation Entebbe launched by Israel to free hostages held at the Entebbe Airport in Uganda in l976. Netanyahu was the older brother of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayu.

There is no charge for Follow Me, being screened at Temple Beth Torah, 7620 Foothill Road in Ventura.

In all, seven new movies will be shown at the 11th annual festival.

Two films will stress comedy, including the acclaimed documentary When Comedy Went to School, a hilarious look at the some of the funniest Borscht Belt Jewish comics from Jerry Lewis to Sid Caesar and Jackie Mason. The film screens March 29 at the Regency Buenaventura in Ventura.

The festival winds up March 30 with the Oscar-winning favorite Annie Hall from director Woody Allen.

Other new movies being premiered in Ventura County include:

» March 22 — The Zig Zag Kid is a wonderful, witty Dutch-made film that tells the story of a 13-year-old whose train ride turns into a wild and funny adventure involving the cops and a crazy international thief.

» March 23 — Wunderkinder, a German-made feature, has a strong musical theme. Set in Ukraine in 1941, it tells the dramatic story of two Jewish prodigies and the daughter of a wealthy German industrialist who become friends and performers at the time of Germany’s invasion of Russia.

» March 25 — Joe Papp in Five Acts takes an intimate look into the life of New York legendary director Joe Papp, who was the driving force behind the free Shakespeare in Central Park festival as well as a key figure behind such Broadway hits as Hair and A Chorus Line.

» March 27 — Dancing in Jaffa is the true story of how world-famous ballroom dancer Pierre Dulaine uses dance to overcome political and cultural differences to bring together 11-year-olds from Israel and Palestine.

» March 30 — The festival closes with a tribute to Allen, with the screening of the directors’s classic 1977 Oscar-winning film Annie Hall, which will be shown at Temple Beth Torah. Before the movie is shown,  festivalgoers will be able to view a special short movie tribute to Allen made by Oscar-winning filmmaker Chuck Workman.

“The film has never before been seen in any movie house anywhere in the world,” Feingold said. “It was specially commissioned for a one-time viewing only by the Screen Directors Guild."

Following the screening will be a lively Q&A session with Ventura County’s Jane Peterson, a former actress who worked up close and personal with Allen on several of his biggest movies.

“Jane was a member of Allen’s casting team and.knows Woody’s unique way of working,” Feingold said. “And she will shed fascinating new light on the life and times of the 78-year-old Jewish filmmaker who was born Allen Stewart Kongisberg and whose remarkable career has spanned six decades.”

For a full selection of films, times, venues and tickets, click here or call the Temple Beth Torah at 805.647.4181.

— Jerry Feingold is president of the Ventura County Jewish Film Festival.

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