Oct 13, 2023

In Solidarity with Israel

Over the past several days, we have watched with grief and horror the acts of terror inflicted by Hamas targeting innocent people in Israel. We condemn these atrocities, for which there is no justification. Our hearts are with families and friends who are suffering right now, some of whom are Israeli filmmakers who have ties to our Miami Jewish Film Festival.

It is with a heavy heart and immense sorrow that we share the devastating news that beloved Israeli filmmaker and Miami Jewish Film Festival friend, Yahav Winner, was found dead in Kfar Aza on Wednesday night. Yahav was murdered by Hamas terrorists after bravely confronting them when they tried to invade his home during this Saturday's attack. Winner courageously stalled the attackers, allowing his wife and their one-month-old daughter to escape to safety. After hiding for 26 hours with no access to water or food, his wife and daughter were eventually evacuated by the Israeli Defense Forces and are now safe in a hospital.

The loss of Yahav has left an indelible void in our hearts, and we extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and all who were touched by his artistic brilliance and spirit.

In the wake of this tragedy, we find solace in the thought of celebrating Yahav's life and work. His latest short film, The Boy, which he completed just a few months ago, reveals a story that sheds light on life in Kfar Aza, the kibbutz of his upbringing, and numerous other Israeli villages along the border with Gaza. These communities have borne the heavy weight of losses during the ongoing attacks.

To honor his memory and bravery, we are hosting a special premiere of THE BOY on Saturday, October 21 at 8pm at the Michael-Ann Russell JCC. The event is free and open to the public, and registration is available at this link: https://bit.ly/yahav-winner-tribute

Our hope is that this special presentation will serve as a tribute to Yahav's legacy, ensuring that his artistic contributions and the story of his bravery resonate with audiences worldwide.

As a film festival dedicated to illuminating the complexity and vibrancy of Jewish culture, our Miami Jewish Film Festival has always endeavored to provide a space for respite, reflection, and community. Each year, the Festival brings forward the unique stories of resilience that have shaped Jewish experience across time and space. Connecting with these powerful, enduring narratives has never been more urgent.

We remain steadfast in our commitment to fostering empathy and understanding through cinema, highlighting Israel's pivotal role in the Jewish narrative. We hope you will find some solace and perhaps even beauty through the storytelling you can experience at our Miami Jewish Film Festival.

May the bereaved find comfort, the wounded know healing, and the kidnapped be returned home soon in the days ahead.

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