The work of the Jewish Cinema Mississippi committee is collegial, interesting, and sometimes involves long hours experiencing many movies together during the year. The effort starts in February and involves monthly meetings together as well as individual time to watch movie selections from home. Reviewers then were able to provide feedback and a comprehensive rating of the movies. Members of the committee who participated during the year included, Ava Pomerantz, Dave Miller, Marla Harbor, Jeanne and Steve Rozman, Rose Mary Foncree, Sheila Rubin, Jarmila Zapletal, Danielle Wahba, and selection committee Co-chairs Shira Muroff and Peter Zapletal. Thank you to Bill Morris for help with audio visual set up and to Kim Graham for tech and administrative support as well.
Sadly to report, during the year, we have lost a very valuable member, Shirley Orlansky, who was active in submitting her reviews. She and her husband, the retired U.S. Magistrate Judge J. David Orlansky, were long time committee members and substantial supporters and contributors of the annual Jewish film festival in Jackson. She will be missed and the continued support of the Judge Orlansky is greatly appreciated.
Being limited to select only four or five films is not easy. The committee looks at the newest films available, so the quality of the festival really depends on what’s available during the year and what the committee sees as appropriate or interesting. This year, there were several controversial films that sparked debate. In the end, the administrators opted for selecting one fewer film and instead showing two older films to the congregation. We evaluate the movies based on content, quality, and strong Jewish content. This year we had a chance to preview some films that were really impressive, but the Jewish content was minimal. For example, Budapest Noir was very well done in the genre of film noir, but the Jewish content was minimal. Another very interesting movie on our list was Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas, featuring Jewish influence on Christmas music. Did you know that songs like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, “Do you Hear What I Hear?”, and “White Christmas” were written or composed by Jewish songwriters?
Jonathan Larkin is responsible for the advertising and marketing of the event, and Co-chairs Abram Orlansky and Danielle Wahba have been actively making all of the behind-the-scenes decisions and arrangements. Some changes this year include brief discussions after each film in the theater foyer, spreading out the film screenings to increase availability, and the landmark decision to offer free tickets to military personnel with ID for the GI Jews Sunday matinee on January 27 at 2 p.m. Theater seating is limited and it is on a first come-first serve basis so reserve your seats now. Theater goers will also continue to enjoy benefits from our in-kind sponsors at Mangia Bene Catering and m7 in Ridgeland. Keep your ticket stubs and enjoy special discounts for film fest goers at Bravos, Sal & Mookie’s, Broad Street, and m7. The discounts alone pay for the tickets. And don’t forget to stock up on popcorn and candy at the Malco Grandview, a beautiful theater who has been supportive, generous, and runs things smoothly.
If you have an opportunity, you may enjoy, as we did, the following films generally available for purchase or through apps such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. Deli Man is a wonderful documentary featuring Kenny and Ziggy’s Jewish Delicatessen in Houston, Texas. Make sure to have your popcorn and snacks ready as you view the interesting history of Jewish delis around the world. After reaching out to them, they generously provided three t-shirts that will be raffled off to sponsors during this year’s film festival. We appreciate their humor, as two of them cite a popular joke, “My Matza balls are bigger than yours!” The Institute of Southern Jewish Life was also generous and donated three copies of GI Jews: How World War II Changed a Generation, written by Deborah Dash Moore, who was a paid consultant on the shooting of the documentary. They will also be raffled off amongst this year’s sponsors. To find out how to become a sponsor, check out our website at www.jewishcinemams.com.
We hope you’ll enjoy the final four films that were selected for our 2019 festival. We welcome your support, participation, and constructive feedback as we look forward to watching with you in the next two weeks and, shortly after, to get back to the work of selecting films for January 2020.
See you at the movies.