Thursday, August 16 , 2018, 7:22 pm | Fair 73º


Jewish Film Festival Finalizes Lineup

Organizers took "some chances," creating what the founder calls their "strongest lineup to date."

The fourth annual Santa Barbara Jewish Film Festival, to be held May 29 through June 1, has finalized its lineup.

“This is our strongest lineup to date," founder Barbara Greenleaf says. "We’ve taken some chances with the programming, but I feel our audience will be receptive to the choices the screening committee made in both films and speakers.”

All features and documentaries will be shown at the Plaza de Oro Theatres on Hitchcock Way. Some all-festival passes are available, and single tickets can be obtained at the door.

• May 29: 5:30 p.m. Opening Night Gala, Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort, for all-festival pass holders only. Red carpet, klezmer music, great food — and no speeches.

• May 29: 7:45 p.m. A Touch Away, episodes one to three (two hours, Hebrew and Russian, subtitled, TV series). It swept the Israeli Emmys and is being remade in English by HBO. When a handsome and secular Russian immigrant moves next door to a beautiful and strictly religious native-born Israeli, sparks fly. Series concludes Saturday afternoon.

• May 30: 1:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. As Seen Through These Eyes (70 minutes, USA).Q&A with filmmaker Hilary Helstein. Narrated by poet Maya Angelou, this uplifting piece showcases the outstanding art created by Jews and Gypsies in Nazi concentration camps. Exodus 1947 (56 minutes, USA). The remarkable true story of the renegade ship that defied Great Britain’s blockade of Palestine and helped ensure Israel’s independence. 

• May 31: 1:30 p.m. Episodes four to eight of A Touch Away (four hours with break). See May 29 description. Q&A with producer Zafrir Kochanovsky. A synopsis of episodes one to three will be provided for those who did not attend opening night. 

• May 31: 7:30 p.m. The First Basket (1½ hours, USA). The rise of professional basketball and the largely Jewish players and coaches who gave it its start. West Bank Story (21 minutes, USA). The clever Academy Award-winning short musical that pokes fun at Arabs and Israelis.

• June 1: 8 p.m. Sunday Morning Live! (two hours) at Congregation B’nai B’rith. Full breakfast, then a talk by Zafrir Kochanovsky on Israel’s booming TV and film industry.

• June 1: 10:30 a.m. Making Trouble (1.5 hours, USA). Not “nice Jewish girls,” comediennes such as Fanny Brice and Joan Rivers got America laughing through their larger-than-life personas. Last Greeks on Broome Street (28 minutes, USA). Enter the world of the Romanites, who practice an ancient form of Judaism on New York’s Lower East Side.

• June 1: 2 p.m. Three Mothers (two hours, Hebrew, subtitled, feature film). When Jewish triplets are born in Egypt, King Farouk himself comes to bless them. But the bright promise of their childhood turns dark as the sisters hatch schemes that have unimagined and dire consequences. 

For full details, click here or call 805.964.5577.

Dennis Baker is president of the D.M. Baker public relations firm.

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