“It is the power of memory that gives rise to the power of imagination.” — Akira Kurosawa, filmmaker
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FILMGOERS SEEKING powerful stories of memory and imagination will find plenty to choose from in the 2023 JFilm Festival running April 20-30 at AMC Waterfront, The Oaks Theater, CMU’s McConomy Auditorium and online.
Presented by Film Pittsburgh, the 30th annual JFilm Festival celebrates the global diversity of the Jewish cultural experience with 23 films representing filmmakers from Austria, Belgium, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Israel, Poland, Spain, United Kingdom and the U.S.
“This year’s lineup covers a diversity of genres,” says Film Pittsburgh’s executive director, Kathryn Spitz Cohan. “Thriller, romantic comedy, musical, drama, dance and, of course, documentary. Some are light and fun; all are thought-provoking. And we present the world premiere of The Cure for Hate, a riveting and deeply important film showing the personal journey of atonement taken by a former Skinhead and Holocaust denier who renounces a lifetime of intolerance and extremism.”
The Apr. 25 showing of The Cure for Hate features a post-film Q&A with film subject Tony McAleer, writer/director Peter Hutchison and Charles H. Moellenberg, Jr., president of the Eradicate Hate Global Summit.
Several films with original storylines are set during the Holocaust and post-WW II diaspora (Love Gets a Room; Farewell, Mr. Haffmann; The Forger; The Story of Annette Zelman; Shächten; My Neighbor Adolf).
Three entries use the artistic process itself to explore memory across time: Finding Light (ballet), Karaoke (music) and Cinema Sabaya (filmmaking).
Documentaries include a stunning photo journey across 1930s’ Jewish East Europe (Vishniac), post-Holocaust reparation political intrigue (Reckonings) and the pursuit of restorative justice (The Devil’s Confession: The Lost Eichmann Tapes). The Apr. 27 showing of Jack L. Warner: The Last Mogul is followed by a Q&A with the film’s writer/producer/director Gregory Orr (Jack Warner’s grandson) and co-producer Don Priess discussing the remarkable life of the Hollywood film studio pioneer.
The Festival brings back a film that made a strong impact at the 2022 ReelAbilities Pittsburgh Film Festival. The Specials stars Vincent Cassel as the operator of a Paris shelter for young people with autism abandoned by the state healthcare system.