The Boston Jewish Film Festival presents the best contemporary films from around the world on Jewish themes at its annual Festival and throughout the year. Through features, shorts, documentaries, and conversations with visiting artists, the Festival explores Jewish identity, the current Jewish experience and the richness of Jewish culture in relation to a diverse modern world.
Founded by filmmaker Michal Goldman in 1989, The Boston Jewish Film Festival has grown from 10 screenings to more than 50 at our Boston and Brookline venues – the Museum of Fine Arts and the Coolidge Corner Theatre – and additional screenings throughout the Greater Boston area. In the past 25 years the Festival has presented over 1,000 films – many of them US or Massachusetts premieres – and welcomed more than 250,000 audience members. Many of the films we have shown have gone on to be nominated for or win Academy Awards, including The Pianist (winner, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, 2002), Nowhere in Africa (winner, Best Foreign Film, 2002), and The Personals (winner, Best Short-Subject Documentary, 1998). We bring visiting artists from around the world to introduce their films, answer audience questions, and participate in panel discussions. We also offer many live events, from pre-screening music, to new scores to accompany silent films, to full-fledged post-screening concerts and dance performances.
In 2007, departing Artistic Director Kaj Wilson was honored for her work by a commendation from the Boston Society of Film Critics.
In 2009, the Festival received the “Cat’s Meow” award from the Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film. The award noted that The Boston Jewish Film Festival is “not just a great Boston film event, it’s a great champion and friend to all Boston things film related, and we think it’s the cat’s meow.”
Selection criteria for the annual fall Festival
The annual Festival is a non-competitive event, although since 2002 we have offered audience members the opportunity to cast ballots for favorite Documentary and Feature film and, to vote for their favorite short film in our Short Film Competition. We screen international and American independent films and videos that highlight the Jewish experience; deal with themes of Jewish culture/heritage/history; or are of particular interest to the Jewish community. The Festival presents narrative, documentary, animated and experimental works. They can be of any length. We ask that films have not previously screened in the Boston area; in this way, we bring important work to Boston that might not ordinarily be seen here.
The Boston Jewish Film Festival, Inc. has also grown from presenting films once a year at the annual festival to being a flourishing year-round arts organization, with programs and screenings taking place nearly every month. Since 1998, we have presented more than 250 films and welcomed another 71,000+ audience members outside the November Festival.