Moscow Jewish Film Festival Celebrates Third Year

Photo courtesy Moscow Jewish Film Festival

The third year of the Moscow Jewish Film Festival is a wrap.

During the festival, which was held June 12-20, almost 5,500 people came to see 53 films selected from more than 800 submissions from Russia, the United States, France, Israel, Poland, Spain, Canada, the United Kingdom and other countries.

As described by its website, the festival’s mission is to give Moscow’s audience the opportunity to meet and explore the world of Jewish professional cinematography. Organized with the support of Genesis Philanthropy Group; the Russian Jewish Congress; the Jewish Agency for Israel; the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia; and UJA Federation of New York, the festival aims to curate the best Russian and foreign movies dedicated to Jewish culture. In other words, the festival is designed to “give the Moscow public an opportunity to join the world Jewish discourse by demonstrating rich and thoughtful material.”

The films selected for the festival cover the themes of Jewish values, history, culture, religion, identity, and art, as well as the life of the Jewish people in Israel and the diaspora.

The festival featured extensive educational programs accompanying the screenings including lectures, workshops and discussions hosted in several culturally significant locations in Moscow.

At a closing ceremony on June 20, the festival presented juried awards to winners at the Moscow Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center. Eminent Russian film director, screenwriter and producer Pavel Lungin served as chairman of the festival’s jury committee. The committee selected winners in four categories and awarded a special prize:

  • Best full-length narrative feature – The Bloom of Yesterday (Germany-Austria-France, 2016), directed by Chris Kraus
  • Best full-length documentary feature – Who’s Gonna Love Me Now? (Israel-United Kingdom, 2016), directed by Tomer Heymann and Barak Heymann
  • Best narrative short – In Other Words (Israel, 2015), directed by Tal Kantor
  • Best documentary short – Joe’s Violin (United States, 2016), directed by Kahane Cooperman
  • Special prize of the Jury – Song of Songs (Ukraine, 2015), directed by Eva Neymann

Director Andrey Konchalovsky was awarded an honorary prize “for his outstanding contribution to the development of Jewish cinema in Russia,” after the screening of his latest film, Paradise (Russia-Germany), for which he was awarded the Venice Film Festival’s Silver Lion for Best Director in 2016.