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Best of the Fest

"You don't have to be Jewish to enjoy our festival," says Ely Hemnes, coordinator of the eighteenth annual Denver Jewish Film Festival, which opens tonight in the Elaine Wolf Theatre at the Mizel Arts & Culture Center, 350 South Dahlia Street. Curated over the course of a year, this multi-day fest is a compendium of dramas, comedies and documentaries involving everything from interfaith relationships and stories about pigs to snapshots of eccentric artists and documentaries on the power of music.

"What's so great about this year is that films are coming from everywhere; we're receiving films from countries we've never received from before, like Macedonia," says Hemnes. Although she notes that there are movies from the "usual suspects" -- Poland, Germany, Israel and Palestine – this annual fest's range has never been so global. As a result, works like opener The Jewish Cardinal, about a Catholic cardinal who was born into the Jewish faith, will run alongside documentaries like Altina, which profiles the fascinating life of American heiress and philanthropist Altina Schinasi.

The fest kicks off at 5:30 p.m. with a reception honoring Udi Bar-on and his family (the folks behind Udi's Foods), who will be receiving the Mizel Arts & Culture Center Cultural Achievement Award; The Jewish Cardinal screens at 7 p.m. For more information, ticket prices and packages and a full line-up of films in the fest, which runs through February 16, visit
Mondays-Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays. Starts: Feb. 5. Continues through Feb. 16, 2014


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