Mar 24, 2021
Announcing the 2021 Miami Jewish Film Festival!
The Miami Jewish Film Festival (MJFF), is proud to announce the program and plans for the upcoming 24th edition, which will be a hybrid of virtual and live programming events with a record-breaking 145 films in selection, and all screenings accessible for free. Running from April 14-29, three months later than their annual dates in January, the festival will screen 100 feature films, including eight world premiered and over 20 North American Premieres, and 45 short films, representing 25 countries, 39 first-time feature filmmakers, and an unprecedented 47 films directed by women (32% of the total program).
The Miami Jewish Film Festival, the largest Jewish film festival in the world, has endeavored to make its film slate as widely available as possible by providing its entire virtual program and live event experiences, featuring drive-in and outdoor screenings, all available for free. Drive-in locations will all take place in the heart of the Wynwood Arts District, the arts hub of South Florida, while virtual screenings will be geo-locked to either the state of Florida or the US.
All 145 films presented in the Festival’s virtual program will also for the first time ever have state-wide access, with certain films opting for national availability, giving storytellers and audiences alike the opportunity to come together, experience artists new work, connect with one another, and participate in more than 70 conversations with filmmakers, stars, and scholars from around the world.
The opening night film of MJFF 2021 will be Honeymood, a slapstick romantic comedy from Israeli writer/director Talya Lavie, who returns to the festival following her previous acclaimed blockbuster, Zero Motivation, which broke two decades of Israeli box-office records and won six Israeli Academy Awards. MJFF’s closing night film will be Howie Mandel: But, Enough About Me, a moving, funny, and uncensored profile of the versatile showman Howie Mandel that was produced during the pandemic. Both opening and closing night film presentations will take place at The North Beach Bandshell’s open-air amphitheater in Miami Beach.
Deepening its mission to be the launchpad for the best Jewish and Israeli cinema in the world, MJFF is introducing a number of unique new programs and initiatives this year, including its inaugural Building Bridges/Breaking Barriers program that is dedicated to presenting stories that align the power that exists in the connection between the Black and Jewish communities in a time of rising racism and antisemitism. Films presented in this new program include Nancy Buirski’s A Crime on the Bayou; the concert documentary Dreams of Hope; the coming-of-age drama Tahara, starring Rachel Sennott; They Ain’t Ready for Me, about a black rabbinical student who leads a fight against gun violence; and Shared Legacies: The African-American Jewish Civil Rights Alliance, about the African American-Jewish civil rights alliance that features Harry Belafonte, Jesse Jackson, and the late John Lewis.
MJFF is also introducing its new Headliners program that will spotlight acclaimed standouts and selected premieres from festivals around the world, including this year’s Academy Award entries from Israel — Asia, starring Emmy nominee Shira Haas (Netflix’s Unorthodox) — and Latvia — The Auschwitz Report. ln addition, the program will also feature the Cannes Competition entry Here We Are; Eytan Fox’s Tribeca Competition entry Sublet; the black-and-white sweeping epic Shadow Country, winner of the Czech Film Critics’ Awards for Best Film; the documentary thriller Portrayal, about a family’s secret behind hundreds of missing artworks; the animated feature film Josep, by acclaimed French cartoonist Aurel; and a special under-the-stars presentation of the documentary Ronnie’s, about the world-famous Jazz club, that will take place by the Intracoastal Waterway in Miami Beach.
Playing in the festival’s Next Wave Competition, which is juried by 21-35-year-old college students and young professionals, are the International Premiere of The Little Things, the interfaith marriage documentary American Birthright, the stranger-than-fiction tale The Man of the Monkey, and the North American Premiere of The Young Kadyas.
Feature films receiving their World Premieres at MJFF include the Ed Asner drama Tiger Within; the Portuguese period drama 1618; Impossible Possible: The Amazon 5000 Story, the documentary chronicling a cancer survivors trek across the Amazon; the French biopic The Legacy of Aristides, about Portugal’s Schindler; the Roberta Grossman (MJFF 2019 Audience Award Winner Who Will Write Our History) produced Petit Rat; and Who Will Remain?, a documentary portrait of acclaimed Yiddish poet Avrom Sutzkever — described by the New York Times as the “greatest poet of the Holocaust.”
More than 20 films will receive their North American Premieres at the Festival, including Yaron Shani’s Reborn, the final chapter in his acclaimed Love Trilogy (MJFF 2020 film Chained); Displaced, that centers on a Third Generation Holocaust Survivor living in Berlin; and Jez: A Letter for Life, about a father’s efforts to document his life for his newborn twins as he battles with a rare form of cancer. Among the eight Ibero-American films set to premiere, four will receive North American Premieres: The Most Dangerous Man in Europe (Spain), Paternal (Argentina), Perón and the Jews (Argentina), and The Seven Boxes (Spain).
New this year, MJFF is launching a section dedicated to LGBTQ+ cinema that will feature the premieres of Francois Ozon’s Cannes Competition entry Summer of ’85, the Israeli slapstick comedy Kiss Me Kosher, the documentary Marry Me However, and the film Surviving the Silence, which delves into the unknown story behind the historic discharge of Col. Grethe Cammemeyer for admitting she was a lesbian during the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” era.
Diving into the 2021 Film Festival program by the numbers, MJFF audiences will be able to experience a lineup boasting 142 film premieres, including 8 World Premieres, 22 North American Premieres, 3 U.S. Premieres, 14 Southeast US Premieres, and 40 Florida Premieres, among others, as well as over 50 conversations with filmmakers, stars, and scholars from around the world, including Howie Mandel, Ed Asner, Eytan Fox, and Anders Refn, among many others.
Full details on the Festival program can be found at miamijewishfilmfestival.org/films/2021
All Festival films will be available to stream for free starting Thursday, April 15 until Thursday, April 29. More information is available at miamijewishfilmfestival.org or 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.