Shira Muroff and Peter Zapletal
Jewish Cinema Mississippi 2018 Film Selection Committee Co-Chairs
A few weeks after Jewish Cinema Mississippi concludes at the end of January, the film selection committee is formed for the next festival. The film selection co-chairs create the committee by reaching out to previous volunteers and new members in the community.
Before the committee meets, co-chairs look at the previous year’s Jewish film festivals in small and in large cities all around the U.S. The chair of the committee starts receiving previews of the latest films that are being distributed and also contacts the festivals and asks for help with contacting the distributors. For the last few years, the most cooperative film festival has been the Atlanta Jewish Festival. Not only are they very helpful in sharing the information, but their audience is demographically similar to Jackson.
The distributors are asked to share the links to the movies, and these links are shared with the committee. Usually, some committee members start looking at the movies as soon as the links are announced, and they pass along their evaluations to the rest of the committee.
The committee meets once a month in the Beth Israel Congregation library to watch the movies that have received the highest evaluations either by a committee member or through outside movie reviews. Between meetings, the individual members continue to look at the movies from the list compiled by the chair.
After watching about eight movies together and another half-dozen individually, the committee starts finalizing the selection for the festival in mid-September. Once movies have been narrowed down, the head of the festival starts contacting individual distributors for availability and pricing. Concurrently, the marketing head begins coordinating a preview night and starts selling the subscription ticket packages.
We hope you will enjoy the movies we selected for our audiences for 2018 and please reach out if you are interested in becoming a part of the committee in the coming year!