ZIG ZAG KID to Kick Off 2013 Boston Jewish Film Festival, 11/6; Lineup Announced!

ZIG ZAG KID to Kick Off 2013 Boston Jewish Film Festival, 11/6; Lineup Announced!

The Boston Jewish Film Festival, Nov. 6-18, turns 25 this milestone year. "The Festival has been making people think, laugh, feel, love, and dream for a quarter of a century," says Artistic Director Amy Geller. "I am so proud and honored to be part of this rich cultural legacy." This year, there are 46 films from 13 countries including Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and the Netherlands, and, of course, many from Israel and the U.S.; 40 films are Boston area premieres.

Geller is particularly proud of the many films with local connections. "The New England area with its vital history of documentary filmmaking is also incredibly fruitful for Jewish cinema." Unorthodox, made by Nadja Oertelt and Anna Wexler, who met as MIT undergrads and live in Boston, has its world premiere Nov. 10 at the ICA. The tongue-in- cheek mockumentary Your Good Friend, also a world premiere Nov. 10 at the Coolidge, stars Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, formerly of Congregation Beth El of the Sudbury River Valley. Finally, The Dewey Stone Connection: From Exodus to Independence, the Closing Night film Nov. 17 at the MFA, celebrates the late Dewey Stone, a Zionist philanthropist in 1940s Brockton, MA, and "an unsung hero for Israel."

Opening and Closing Nights and Mid-Fest Films:

The Zig Zag Kid, a movie adaptation of famed Israeli author David Grossman's book, kicks off the 25th Festival on Nov. 6 at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. The hero is the smart, sassy, 13-year-old son of a police inspector. After receiving a mysterious letter, the youth finds himself on an exciting, Hitchcockian mission to prove that he can be the best police inspector in the world, like his father. Directed by Flemish filmmaker Vincent Bal and starring Isabella Rossellini.

The Mid-Fest Event on Nov. 13 is the documentary Sukkah City, also screening at Coolidge Corner Theatre. Bringing the Sukkot tradition of Sukkah-making into the 21st century, author Joshua Foer challenges 12 architects and designers to construct artistic sukkahs to be placed in Manhattan's Union Square to be judged and visited by the public. Infinite possibilities make for an incredible competition. In person: filmmaker Jason Hutt.

Closing Night features The Dewey Stone Connection: From Exodus to Independence on Nov. 17 at the Museum of Fine Arts. The documentary tells the incredible saga of Brockton, Mass. native Dewey Stone, an unsung hero for Israel. Discussion with director Michael Traub and members of Dewey's family following the screening.

The 25th year promises to be an expanded program for all Festival goers. "There'll be more fun elements to heighten the Festival experience and reach out to a wider audience - more family programming, young adult programming, local celebrities, food, music and social opportunities."

Programs include:

The Family Film Series is back by popular demand with screenings for families with children 11 and up, including The Zigzag Kid and JERUSALEM, a 3D Imax film at the Museum of Science.

BJFF FreshFlix - Not Your Bubbie's Festival, a festival within a festival for the 20-40s crowd, kicks off with the 3rd Annual Short Film Competition. The audience will pick the winning shorts via text voting. FreshFlix also features the first BJFF midnight movie ever: Israel's hit thriller, Big Bad Wolves. In addition, there are opportunities for young adults to engage, discuss, meet the director and schmooze before and after screenings.

LGBTQ Shorts Program: OUT Loud is a dramatic and emotional series of LGBTQ short films from Israel, Canada and the U.S. They will be screened at the ICA with Keshet moderating a panel discussion.

Diaspora Jews: Spotlight North Africa features three documentaries that shed new light on the fascinating but little-known history of Jews in Egypt, Morocco and Algeria.

Today, there are very few Jews living in these North African countries, but there was a time when Jews thrived alongside their Muslim neighbors. The films explore what life was like for these Jewish communities, as well as the circumstances under which they emigrated.

Favorite Films from the Famous asks: which classic Jewish films have influenced local celebrities? Esteemed Poet Laureate, essayist and literary critic Robert Pinsky presents Ten From Your Show of Shows, a hilarious compilation of sketches from the legendary and live 1950s television program, starring a riotous ensemble lead by comic genius Sid Caesar.

But it's not just about throwing more options at viewers, Geller explains, "I also want to create more opportunities for artistic engagement and expand and strengthen community participation." As a result, the Festival is launching the first BJFF Community Leadership Award, honoring a distinguished leader from greater Boston who has demonstrated a commitment to social justice and to improving our community. The inaugural award recipient is Lisa Simmons, founder of the Color of Film Collaborative and co-producer of the Roxbury International Film Festival. The award will be presented on Nov. 10 at the screening of the civil rights documentary The Last White Knight.

The Festival kicks off this very special year with a Silver Celebration on Sunday, Nov. 3 from 6-9:30 p.m. at the Ritz-Carlton Boston. Founding board member Shoshana Pakciarz and longtime trustee Barbara Resnek will be honored. The celebration will include a cocktail reception and dinner, an exclusive preview of Festival films and a presentation by acclaimed Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr from his most recent book Gods Like Us: On Movie Stardom and Modern Fame.

Festival Locations, Tickets, Sponsors: Venues are AMC Framingham, Arlington Capitol Theatre, Brattle Theatre, Cinema Salem, Coolidge Corner Theatre, Hollywood Hits Theatre, Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Museum of Science Imax , Showcase Cinema de Lux Patriot Place, Somerville Theatre and West Newton Cinema.

Film descriptions, schedule and ticket information is available now at bjff.org. Tickets will go on sale via the web site on Sept. 16. All films, with the exception of Special Events, are $14 general admission; $12 for seniors, students and members of the BJFF, Coolidge Corner Theatre, Institute of Contemporary Art, Museum of Fine Arts and WGBH. Special Events: Opening Night (Nov. 6), Mid-Fest Film (Nov. 13) and Boston Closing Night (Nov. 17): $26 General Admission/$24 Discount.

The Boston Jewish Film Festival, a not-for-profit arts organization, celebrates the richness of the Jewish experience through film and media. Throughout the year, the Festival engages and inspires the community to explore the full spectrum of Jewish life and culture.