The Mizel Arts and Culture Center will launch the sixteenth annual Jewish Film Festival today. "This is our most far-reaching event," says Lisa Korsen, marketing director for MACC. "It's where we get our most diverse audience, patrons who may not be Jewish but are interested in the culture. We have 22 films that range from documentaries, shorts, slasher flicks, historical figures; some in Hebrew, some in English, some in German. A mixture of Jewish themes and Jewish filmmakers."
Tonight's opening-night ceremonies begin with a MACC Cultural Achievement Award presented to Sharon Habor, a former MACC art director and the current festival chairwoman. "For the opening gala we always honor someone who has contributed to the arts -- Sharon has really made the festival what it is," says Korsen. The gala begins at 5:15 p.m. at the Phillips Social Hall at the Jewish Community Center; after the awards ceremony (which includes buffet, bar and jazz by the Keith Oxman Trio) attendees are encouraged to commute to the Denver Film Center for the festival's opening night film, Restoration, playing in both theaters at 7:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. (and again at 10:30 a. m. March 4).
While there are plenty of tickets left for the opening night ceremonies, Korsen encourages buyers not to wait until the last minute. "Six of the films we're showing have already sold out," she says, "and last year eighteen films sold out. I'm anticipating every film to eventually sell out." Right now, the sold-out shows are My Best Enemy; Winston Churchill: Walking with Destiny; Remembrance; Gei Oni; Between Two Worlds; and Mahler on the Couch.
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The festival's 22-film run continues at the Denver Film Center at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, February 25 with Remembrance, a German language film about the struggle of two lovers in a concentration camp, and, at 11 p.m., both A Reuben by Any Other Name and Rabies -- touted as "Israel's first bona fide horror film!"
Due to unexpected delays in the construction of MACC's own theater at the JCC (planned as the original home of the series), a last-minute arrangement was made with the Denver Film Center to host the festival. "We've done partnerships with them for years," Korsen says. "We always sponsor one of their films during their international festival, and they've helped us out. It's been a good partnership."
But when it's finished, Korsen says, be sure to check out the theater's "mezzanine level" and "state of the art" technology. A gala fundraiser and grand opening for the facility will be held at the Jewish Community Center on March 24, with a performance by Manhattan Transfer. In the meantime, most of festival will be at the Denver FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue; the Jewish Community Center is located at 350 South Dahlia Street. For more information, go to http://www.maccjcc.org