Celebrating its 21st year screening movies that depict the global Jewish experience as a way to promote understanding and celebrate diversity, the Maine Jewish Film Festival kicks off Saturday March 10th with the German “dramedy” Bye Bye Germany at the Nickelodeon Cinemas in Portland. The Holocaust-survivor film examines life for the 4,000 Jews who survived the concentration camps and elected to stay in broken, battle-scarred Germany.
Programming for the 8-day festival includes over 30 films curated to impact a broad range of human emotions. Film subjects focus upon immigration, music and dance, visual arts, women and gay rights, intergenerational relationships, comedy, fashion, food and foreign language. Locations include Portland, Brunswick, Lewiston, Waterville; new locations include Rockland and Bangor.
As the only statewide film festival film in Maine, we’re excited to continue our growth while entertaining and educating movie lovers of all backgrounds. In 2017, over half of our Festival audience identified as being non-Jewish, which encourages us to screen topical films ranging from universal themes to art films.
MJFF Executive Director Barbara Merson
Notable highlights for 2018 include a screening of West Side Story on the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth, a star-studded tribute to Sammy Davis Jr., the surprising history of Hollywood bombshell Hedy Lamarr, a profile of social activist Heather Booth, an intimate look at the larger-than-life persona of comedian Gilbert Gottfried, and a behind the scenes look at the creation of the children’s classic Curious George.
With recent waves of immigration reshaping Maine and incidents of antisemitism on the rise, the film festival views these shifting demographics and social conditions as an opportunity to create programming and events that celebrate and build community. Through outreach and post-film panels, Mainers have the chance to be part of the dialogue and experience a film festival that continues to expand its cultural footprint and remain at the vanguard of Maine’s artistic community.
Screenings for the festival will be held in 10 locations statewide: in Portland at the Nickelodeon Cinemas, Maine College of Art, Portland Museum of Art, USM Talbot Lecture Hall and Jewish Community Alliance, in Brunswick at the Eveningstar Cinema, in Lewiston at the Bates College Olin Arts Center, in Rockland at the Strand Theatre, in Waterville at the Railroad Square Cinema, and in Bangor at the Bangor Mall Cinema.
Since 1998, the Maine Jewish Film Festival has screened over 400 films and brought more than 150 guest artists from across the U.S. and around the world to Maine. Tickets are on sale beginning February 9th at or by phone at 800-838-3006. A complete festival schedule including featured guest speakers, panelists, and special forums can be found online at: www.mjff.org.