Dec 12, 2018

It's Here! The 2019 Miami Jewish Film Festival Program

The best of international and independent cinema will be celebrated at the Miami Jewish Film Festival’s (MJFF) 22nd annual edition from January 10-24, 2019, bringing 80 films from 25 countries, and hosting 50 filmmakers and special guests. MJFF, the largest Jewish cultural event in Florida and one of the three largest Jewish film festivals in the world, has unveiled its biggest lineup ever featuring 12 World Premieres, 10 unique events and signature programs, and an unprecedented 25 films directed by women (31 percent of films announced), all taking place at 15 different venues across Greater Miami.

The 22nd annual Miami Jewish Film Festival will open with the premiere of the exhilarating, laugh-out-loud film The Unorthodox, one of Israel’s biggest box office hits of the year. Preceding the premiere will be a live performance of Mizrahi music from the film. Closing night will feature the premiere The Other Story, directed by one of Israel’s most renowned filmmakers, Avi Nesher. This juicy thriller about two rebellious young women fleeing their pasts recently won audience awards at film festivals and received great critical acclaim.

The Festival will host 12 world premieres this year, including The Barn, which was co-produced by Nancy Spielberg; Sustainable Nation, about the water crisis affecting the world; Avenging Evil, a true story of a revenge planned by survivors of the Holocaust; The Lost Crown, the stranger-than-fiction story about the theft of the oldest bible in the world; Hasidistock, a vivid chronicle of contemporary Jewish music; The Starfish, about a WWII refugee turned American dreamer; Outback Rabbis, about Rabbis in the Aussie bush looking for “lost Jews;” the historical drama Sefarad; and My Survivor, a film made in Miami about how the devastating realities of the Holocaust are being understood anew by the next generation.

A Fortunate Man, North American Film Premiere

For the first time in its 22-year history, MJFF will feature a Spotlight on Women Filmmakers and present a record-breaking 25 films directed by women. Notable films in this sidebar include the Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic On the Basis of Sex starring Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer; the Toronto Film Festival award-winner Fig Tree; the dramedy Holy Lands starring James Caan, Rosanna Arquette, and Jonathan Rhys Myers; the tale of forbidden first love Red Cow; the audience award-winning film Who Will Write Our History produced by Nancy Spielberg and directed by Roberta Grossman; the #MeToo inspired film Working Woman; and the international premiere of Cellfish, a heartfelt documentary about one of Israel's most renowned creative artists.

Five official entries to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film will premiere at the Festival, including two from former Academy Award-winners, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s Never Look Away and László Nemes’ Sunset. Other entries include Slovakia’s The Interpreter, Austria’s The Waldheim Waltz, and Russia’s Sobibor. In addition to the Best Foreign Language Film entries, the Festival will premiere Howard, an entry for Best Documentary at the Academy Awards, which is a poignant film about legendary Disney songwriter Howard Ashman.

Hasidistock, World Premiere

Music features prominently at this year’s program, with seven different events featuring live performance components, including an appearance by popular Israeli singer Ehud Gad at the world premiere of Hasidistock; a live synth score performance for the recently discovered and restored silent film The City Without Jews; and a live musical accompaniment of a newly-commissioned score by award-winning pianist Donald Sosin and the world’s leading klezmer violinist Alicia Svigals for The Ancient Law.

The Festival will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a series of special events, including a free community screening of Satan & Adam, a documentary about the transformative power of music and friendship. The event is hosted in partnership with the Overtown Performing Arts Center and will feature a live blues performance leading up to the film premiere. Two films about Blue Note Records, the iconic record label founded by Jewish emigres that recorded African American jazz greats, will also premiere at MJFF. The Wim Wenders produced It Must Schwing! The Blue Note Story and the Tribeca Film Festival documentary Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes, both of which will also be accompanied by a special live jazz performance.

Never Look Away, Florida Premiere

New this year, MJFF will host several free movies under the stars, including two films at Miami Beach’s SoundScape: Stanley Kubrick’s epic sci-fi masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey and Howard Ashman’s beloved musical adaptation Little Shop of Horrors, which will be presented in his tribute. As part of this outdoor program, MJFF is partnering with Faena to premiere Nina Paley’s animated musical comedy Seder-Masochism at its new Faena Bazaar in Miami Beach.

Other noteworthy films at this year’s Festival include the North American Premieres of Academy Award-winner Bille August’s sweeping epic A Fortunate Man and Vittorio Storaro’s gorgeously shot A Rose in Winter; the US Premiere of the foodie delight Chewdaism: A Taste of Jewish Montreal starring the creative duo of YidLife Crisis; the International Premieres of the movingly intimate Mexican film Leona and the mesmerizing documentary King Bibi about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Festival will also host the Southeast US Premieres of the wild, whirling, and immersive ode to Russia’s rock scene Leto; the Tribeca Film Festival winning To Dust starring Matthew Broderick and directed by South Florida local Shawn Snyder, the rapturous period film Paris Song starring Abbie Cornish; the César Awards nominated Promise at Dawn starring Charlotte Gainsbourg; the spiritually rousing audience award-winner Redemption; the Locarno Film Festival Jury Award-winner The Dive; the tender coming-of-age drama The Tobacconist; and the Israeli Ophir Award-nominated film Shoelaces, which will launch this year’s Jewish Disabilities Awareness and Inclusion Month.

The Other Story, Closing Night Premiere

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s daring last film, the Festival will host a 35mm presentation of Eyes Wide Shut as an After Hours special in partnership with the Coral Gables Art Cinema. The event will include a preshow of specially curated short films from around the world and other surprises.

Tickets for the Festival go on sale to the public on Monday, December 12 and continue throughout the Festival. Patrons are encouraged to purchase tickets online. In addition to $14 single tickets, MJFF offers Festival badges for $295. More information is available at and by calling 305-573-7304.

Follow the Miami Jewish Film Festival on Facebook (/miamijewishfilmfestival) or Twitter (@MiamiJFF) for updates with the latest information about the Festival and attending filmmakers. Join the conversation using the hashtag #mjff22 on social media.

The Miami Jewish Film Festival is a program of the Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education (CAJE), a subsidiary of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation.

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