The Columbus Jewish Film Festival will be held Sunday, Nov. 5, through Nov. 20 with more movies, guest speakers and venues than in the festival's 13-year history, according to festival director Emily Schuss.
Though the festival is presented by the Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus, 1125 College Ave., "we try to take it out of the JCC and out of Bexley," Schuss said. "We're trying to get it out in the community."
The festival's opening night extravaganza will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Lincoln Theatre, 769 E. Long St., with a screening of "The Women's Balcony." The narrative film depicts a mishap at a Jerusalem synagogue that causes a major rift in a devout community, while exploring gender roles and societal norms with humor and a feminist voice. The screenwriter of the film, Shlomit Nehama, will be on hand to share stories that inspired the movie.
"We usually bring in people with films that are worth talking about," Schuss said. "Those theaters always sell out, and I know from our audiences that people love having visiting filmmakers."
Other filmmaker appearances include Phillip Mora, who will participate in a question-and-answer session following the screening of "Monsieur Mayonnaise" at 7 p.m. Nov. 9 at the Columbus Museum of Art, 480 E. Broad St. Mora will discuss his parents' Holocaust survival and their resistance efforts that saved thousands of Jewish lives.
Documentary filmmaker Barak Heymann will present two of his works, "Mr. Gaga" and "Who's Gonna Love Me Now?," in partnership with BalletMet, the Ohio State University's Melton Center for Jewish Studies, Department of Dance, and the Wexner Center for the Arts. "Mr. Gaga" will be shown at 7 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Wexner Center, 1871 N. High St. "Who's Gonna Love Me Now?" will be shown at 7 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Columbus College of Art and Design Canzani Center, 60 Cleveland Ave. Heymann will participate in a post-screening discussion with David Brown, founder and creative director of the Harmony Project.
Another noteworthy film is "Keep the Change," which will screen at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at the McCoy Center for the Arts. The movie, focused on adults on the autism spectrum, won Best Narrative Feature and Best New Narrative Director awards for filmmaker Rachel Israel at the TriBeCa Film Festival.
"The young adults in the movie are on the autism spectrum and they memorized the lines and acted in the film," Schuss said. "It's not actors portraying people on the autism spectrum."
The CJFF films span a range of topics, from the Nazi occupation in Europe during World War II to issues affecting the contemporary gay, lesbian and transgender community, said Carol Glassman, who co-leads the film festival with Sandy Meizlish.
"People look forward to the film festival, not only to represent Jewish life in Columbus but really as a cultural asset to life in Columbus," Glassman said in the festival's press statement. "We bring stories to the community that no one would really know without them. We let them see situations that they may never have experienced and shed light on issues that people may not realize even exist."
For a full list of all 13 festival films, visit columbusjcc.org/cultural-arts/film-festival. Individual tickets are available for purchase, as are Reel Passes, which give full access to the festival plus one extra free ticket to any film with the exception of opening night.
To purchase tickets, visit the JCC front desk or contact Emily Schuss at firstname.lastname@example.org or 614-559-6205.