If you have had a chance to attend any of this year’s Dayton Jewish Film Festival movies, I’m sure you could attest to what a fabulous season we are having. The festival, which kicked off with Bye Bye Germany on April 17th, has had several sellouts, wonderful reviews and a spirit of community that resonates throughout the theatre during each screening.

I am a huge fan of Jewish film festivals. In fact, I ran the film festival in Tampa for five years. I thoroughly enjoyed screening films and helping to bring world class cinema to my local community. During my tenure, I was able to expand our festival to neighboring St. Petersburg. It felt wonderful to increase our exposure and share the films with an even larger community.

One of the most special screenings I attended occurred in St. Petersburg when Elie Wiesel (of blessed memory) walked into the theatre. Elie, who was a Holocaust survivor and a Noble Prize winning writer, professor and political activist, was in town as a visiting professor and came to one of our films. It’s a moment I will never forget.

The film festival is such an important part of what we do. It is more than just going to the movies. Attendees are able to connect with others in the community. They have the opportunity to watch thought-provoking films and participate in special discussions after select films. The film festival is another reminder that our Jewish community is vibrant and strong.

This year’s May 10th closing film, Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me, is already sold out. So we have added a special encore presentation on Thursday, May 24th at 7:30pm at the Neon. The evening will include a discussion after the film with Marshall Weiss, editor and publisher of The Dayton Jewish Observer, who will discuss Sammy Davis Jr.’s 1972 Fundraiser for Dayton’s very own Hillel Academy.

I hope to see you at the movies!




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