Follow US!

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival courts gay audiences with multiple screenings of four first-rate films

By Elijah Sarkesian

When it comes to LGBT representation at film festivals in Atlanta, we’re used to seeing our lives represented. With gay and allied festivals like Out on Film and the Atlanta Film Festival, our blue city in its increasingly less-red state knows how to treat its gay moviegoers.

It’s nice to know that the city’s premiere festival, the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, stands tall among them. Founded in 2000 by the American Jewish Committee, it took only 17 years to become the city’s largest single film festival, and the largest Jewish film festival in the entire world.

AJFF uses the power of cinema to showcase stories that bring together a diverse array of Jewish stories to examine their interconnectedness with other parts of Atlanta’s cultural, ethnic and religious landscape.

That dedicated outreach includes our vibrant LGBT culture.

For 2017, AJFF’s loyal 38,000+ attendees will find three gay-specific entries, plus a fourth that focuses on an infamous Broadway production created by a legendary gay man. Each film is scheduled to screen multiple times at different venues across Atlanta, and some are included as part of special events. Here’s a sneak peek.

Family Commitments
After dating for two years, David and Khaled (Maximilian von Pufendorf and Omar El-Saeidi, photo this page) are ready to shatter a taboo in their German society: a same-sex Jewish/Muslim marriage. The couple faces obstacles in the form of David’s overbearing mother, Khaled’s homophobic father, and an old acquaintance who comes from out of nowhere claiming to be pregnant with David’s child. Heartfelt hilarity ensues.

Saturday, Jan. 28, 9:30 p.m.
GTC Merchants Walk

Sunday, Jan. 29, 2:30 p.m.
UA Tara

Friday, Feb. 3, 12:40 p.m.
Regal Perimeter Pointe

Saturday, Feb. 4, 2 p.m.
Lefont Sandy Springs

*Saturday, Feb. 11, 8:40 p.m.
Woodruff Arts Center

*This screening presented American Jewish Committee’s young leadership division is reserved for festival attendees 40-years-old and younger. A pre-party starts at 7 p.m.

The Freedom to Marry
We already knew that same-sex marriage in the United States finally became a reality nationwide with 2015’s historic Obergefell v. Hodges case. What’s new is the behind-the-scenes strategy and maneuvers among those responsible for championing the case for marriage equality. Among them is this story focusing on openly gay attorney Evan Wolfson, whose roots in Pittsburgh’s Jewish community helped develop his passion for social justice, including in the creation of the now-ubiquitous national organization Freedom to Marry.

Thursday, Feb. 2, 2:30 p.m.
Regal Perimeter Pointe

*Sunday, Feb. 5, 7 p.m.
Regal Atlantic Station

Monday, Feb. 13, 7:50 p.m.
Lefont Sandy Springs

*Tuesday, Feb. 14, 7:50 p.m.
Woodruff Arts Center

*Gay Atlanta’s own Out on Film leads panel discussions following these screenings.

Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened
Legendary Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim is one of the most prolific in the history of the Great White Way. After composing a number of hits during the 1970s – A Chorus Line, Company, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, and more – it was a shock when his Merrily We Roll Along shuttered after only 16 performances in 1981. The musical, about the disillusionment of adulthood, confused audiences and critics alike with its unusual structure – the story unfolds in reverse – and the decision to cast unknown teens as adults. In this documentary from original cast member Lonny Price, audiences can now go behind the scenes of one of the Great White Way’s most legendary flops.

Sunday, Jan. 29, 11:15 a.m.
GTC Merchants Walk

Saturday, Feb. 11, 1 p.m.
Lefont Sandy Springs

Saturday, Feb. 11, 8:30 p.m.
Regal Atlantic Station

In Between
Laila (Mouna Hawa), a chic criminal lawyer, and Salma (Sana Jammelieh), a lesbian DJ, spend their nights hanging out in Tel Aviv’s underground bars. Their attitudes towards life and sex differ from their roommate Nour (Shaden Kanboura), a university student whose life is more religiously devout and conservative. The three work to stay true to themselves while also forging a bond of sisterhood as Palestinian women in Jewish society.

Friday, Jan. 27, 2:20 p.m.
GTC Merchants Walk

Monday, Jan. 30, 9:10 p.m.
UA Tara

Saturday, Feb. 11, 1 p.m.
Regal Atlantic Station

Tuesday, Feb. 14, 7:50 p.m.
Lefont Sandy Springs

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival runs through Wednesday, February 15. For a complete lineup, or to purchase tickets, visit ajff.org.

Like Us On Facebook