WESTERN MASS. – A road trip in a tank through Romania, a pilgrimage on foot from Germany to England, and the journey from Polish Catholic priesthood to life on a kibbutz in Israel—this year’s Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival (PVJFF) will take audiences on the most unexpected adventures.
Now in its 7th season, PVJFF features remarkable characters who form the unlikeliest alliances. A devout Muslim boy befriends a group of Jewish boys; a deaf Israeli teen performs slam poetry with a hearing Palestinian; a piano prodigy apprentices with a furniture restorer; and a seaside matchmaker hires a teenage sleuth.
Collectively, the films showcase the rich diversity in the global Jewish community, and offer the audience an opportunity to reflect on universal themes as viewed through the lens of Jewish story-telling. There is something for everyone in this year’s festival: thoughtful documentaries about faith, art, and history; family friendly comedies; nail-biting action; moving drama; and heartwarming coming-of-age stories.
PVJFF presents films from France, England, Poland, Australia, and Israel, as well as the best of American independent film.
This year’s festival brings to the Valley 20 award-winning independent and international films that would otherwise never be screened locally. For two weeks, in eight towns, Valley audiences can expect to be entertained, educated, and inspired by the best in contemporary Jewish cinema.
The festival offers more than just movies. Several films will be accompanied by introductions and conversations with local scholars, such as the March 14 screening of “Restoration” at the Yiddish Book Center, the March 15
screenings of “Saviors in the Night” at Amherst College, and the March 27 screening of “Torn” at Elms College. Ben Loetrman, the director of “The People v. Leo Frank” will speak with the audience on March 15, as will Ralph Avi Goldwasser, the
executive producer of “The Forgotten Refugees” on March 25. Slam poet stars of the
documentary “Deaf Jam” Aneta Brodski and Tahani Salah will perform at Amherst College on March 27.
Receptions accompany films such as “The Human Resources Manager” in Greenfield on March 20, and the Midfest Celebration screening of “Reuniting the Rubins” at Rave Cinemas on March 22.
Springfield College will host a reception on March 29 in honor of the art exhibit “Codes on Canvas” by Dr. Simone Alter Muri. The exhibit explores the connection between modern bar codes and the phenomenon of “being counted” during the Holocaust; it will be displayed on campus throughout the month of March.
The Wholesale Klezmer Band will perform before the March 24 Sing-along! screening of “Fiddler on the Roof” in Shelburne Falls. There are additional programs for teens and children, as well.
Other films to be screened at the festival include: Bar Mitzvah, Carrying the Light, David, Foreign Letters, Grace Paley: Collected Shorts, Making Trouble: Three Generations of Funny Women, The Matchmaker, The Round Up, Sarah’s Key, and Something from Nothing.
Some events are free. Tickets to all events can be purchased at the door, as available. Tickets to some events may be purchased in advance in person or by phone at the Springfield JCC, 1160 Dickinson St. Springfield, (413) 739-4715). Tickets for some events are only available through theater box offices. Most films are $9; student/senior price is $7. Four-packs and patron passes are available.
PVJFF is co-presented by the Springfield Jewish Community Center and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, with the support of the following major sponsors: The Anna P. Housen Israel Desk of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts; BNY Wealth Management; Consulate General of Israel to New England; Create a Jewish Legacy; Davis Financial Group; Massachusetts Cultural Council and Local Cultural Councils of Amherst, Greenfield, Longmeadow, Northampton, and Shelburne; Sapirstein & Sapirstein; Totsy Foundation. Media sponsors include: The Daily Hampshire Gazette, The Jewish Ledger, Reminder Publications, The Republican, The Valley Advocate, and NEPR/WNNZ and WRSI/WHMP.
PVJFF at a Glance
What: A two week celebration of the best in Jewish cinema from around the world. 20 award-winning international and independent films in 8 Pioneer Valley towns.
When: Wednesday, March 14 – Thursday, March 29
Special Events: Presentations by directors, producers and film subjects; panel discussions with scholars; receptions; dinner & a movie night; a musical performance; and an art exhibit.
Who: Co-presented by the Springfield Jewish Community Center and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, in collaboration with dozens of community partners and sponsors.
Where: Amherst (Amherst Cinema, Amherst College Stirn Auditorium, Yiddish Book Center); Chicopee (Elms College Library Theater); Greenfield (Garden Cinemas); Longmeadow (Bay Path
College Mills Theater); Northampton (Pleasant Street Theater, Smith College Weinstein Auditorium); Shelburne Falls (Memorial Hall/Pothole Pictures); Springfield (Springfield JCC, Springfield Museums Davis Auditorium); West Springfield (Rave Cinemas)
Tickets: Some events are free. Tickets to all events can be purchased at the door, as available, and some tickets may be purchased in advance in person or by phone at the Springfield JCC, 1160 Dickinson St., (413) 739-4715. Tickets for some events are only available through theater box offices. Most films are $9; student/senior price is $7. Four -packs and patron passes
available. Check the website for details: www.pvjff.org