Roberta Bloom's top picks for the Denver Jewish Film Festival

Considering the criteria for what qualifies as a Jewish film -- "a film made by a Jewish filmmaker, a film that has a Jewish-related theme, a film of interest to the Jewish community" could all make the cut, says Denver Jewish Film Festival Director Roberta Bloom -- it's not like there's any shortage of pickings.

"We're really pleased with the quality of films we had to choose from," says Bloom, whose job it was to narrow the selections down to a manageable number -- and today, for your convenience, she narrowed it down even further. Though she notes that many of the films on the bill are already sold out, here's a few of the films (the ones that are still available) that Bloom is most excited about.

The Denver Jewish Film Festival starts this evening with a screening of the comedy Nora's Will at 7 p.m. and continues through February 20 at the Cherry Creek 8 theater on the east end of Cherry Creek Mall. Tickets run $9 to $10 per screening.

War against the Weak Screens: Sunday, February 13, 6:45 p.m.

"A very interesting and powerful documentary. It's about the American eugenics movement during WWII. This film has been winning awards from coast to coast. We're bringing in the producer, Peter Demas, to lead the post-film discussion -- we think people will have many questions after they see this film."

Anita Screens: Wednesday, February 16, 5:30 p.m.

"A fabulous Argentine film about a young woman with Down Syndrome. It's a narrative film, but part of the lead role is actually played by a young woman who has Down Syndrome, Alejandra Manzo."

Precious Life Screens: Thursday, February 17, 5:30 p.m.

"This film was shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Documentary. It's the story of a Palestinian child who was born without an immune system and the story of his mother as she tries to find the medical help for him to live. Throughout the process, people's lives are transformed."

Maya Screens: Saturday, February 19, 6:30 p.m.

"An Israeli film that opened the Boston Jewish Film festival in November, which is one of the largest Jewish film festivals in the country. The film takes us on the emotional journey of a young artist as she prepares for the role of a lifetime. Some people have compared it to Black Swan."

Ahead of Time Screens: Sunday, February 20, 12:30 p.m.

"This is about journalist, author and photographer Ruth Gruber. This woman was a feminist way before the concept of feminism was even discussed, and the impact she had is so remarkable. And she herself is so delightful. I think she's 97 or 98 now, and she's still sharp."

The Socalled Movie Screens: Sunday, February 20, 2:30 p.m.

"This documentary is about a Canadian-Jewish musician, a hip-hop artist and visual artist named Socalled, aka Josh Dolgin. He's been described as a brilliant creative jew-funk performer. His music video "You are Never Alone" has had more than 2 million hits on YouTube. He's a really interesting personality."

Sayed Kashua: Forever Scared Screens: Sunday, February 20, 5 p.m.

"A couple of years ago, we brought to the festival three episodes of what was then a new Israeli TV series called Arab Labor, which is a very funny comedy. This year, we have three new episodes, along with a documentary about the Arab-Israeli writer of the series, Sayed Kashua."

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Jef Otte
Contact: Jef Otte