Why A Jewish Film Festival
Arts and Ideas is a relatively new department for JCC Chicago, an organization that has been an integral part of Chicago’s Jewish community for well over 100 years. As we continue to make significant impact with thriving Early Childhood programs, Apachi Day Camp, Camp Chi and JSC, and more, we sought opportunities to create those same kinds of relevant, community enriching experiences for adults across the metropolitan area—experiences that would resonate for the diverse community that we are, and in a city where the arts are a valued and celebrated part of our culture.
Storytelling is integral to the Jewish people— teaching, inspiring Jewish identity and connecting us to tradition. The genre of film provides a wonderful opportunity to both tell and experience those stories. Sitting in a dark theater, the large screen the only source of light, the enhanced sound, and the salty, buttery aroma of movie theater popcorn excites our senses and opens us to an almost personal relationship with the people and the story playing out on the screen. There is validation in the collective gasp or guffaw at the appropriate moment in the story. A film festival offers the additional opportunity for discussion following the film with talk backs and special events that are part of the festival experience.
The JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival is well into its 7th year and we are about to present a three-week intensive festival, with 52 films from eleven countries around the world. Since its inception, the audience has grown from 800 to 17,000 participants throughout the year. Each year, the festival strives to provide a broad array of film genres, topics and themes, telling stories that reflect our diverse community here in Chicago and across the world. As in all that we do at JCC Chicago, it is our goal that after the lights come up and long after the sensuous taste of that popcorn is gone, you have been enriched and inspired.
See you at the movies!
Written By: Ilene Uhlmann, Director, Arts and Ideas, JCC Chicago