Look out, Cannes! It was only last week that the Gotham Awards brought film superstars like Uma Thurman and Kyra Sedgwick to Brooklyn, yet the borough is already gearing up for another exciting cinematic celebration: the Brooklyn Heights Jewish Film Festival.
Now in its fourth year, the festival was created by Rabbi Simcha Weinstein of Congregation B’nai Avraham as a way to start a dialogue with people who might not be comfortable coming to a religious service or class.
“We want to celebrate art as a way to explore Jewish identity,” he said. “We always draw in a nice crowd this time of year, right around Hanukkah when people are feeling Jewish.”
The 2007 lineup kicks off on Dec. 8 with “Match and Marry,” a look at a modern-day matchmaker in New York, and continues with “Yippie: A Journey to Jewish Joy,” filmmaker Paul Mazursky’s documentary (pictured) about the annual pilgrimage of Hasidic Jews to Uman in the Ukraine (screening on Saturday, Dec. 15); and “Creating Harmony: The Displaced Persons Orchestra From St. Ottilien,” which follows an orchestra whose players are also Holocaust survivors (screening on Saturday, Dec. 22).
“Some of the films we’re showing have never been shown before in Brooklyn,” said Weinstein, who chose the movies, in part, because of their positive messages for all filmgoers.
“There are different flames of Judaism,” he said, “but we’re all part of the same Menorah.”
The Brooklyn Heights Jewish Film Festival begins with “Match and Marry” at 8 pm on Saturday, Dec. 8 at Congregation B’nai Avraham (117 Remsen St. at Clinton Street in Brooklyn Heights). Tickets to each event are $5 and reservations are recommended. For more information and a complete schedule, call (718) 596-4840.