The Wilmington Jewish Film Festival entered the Port City’s cultural scene in October, 2013 with a cheerful film celebrating Jewish songwriters’ contributions to Broadway musicals. That film was followed by a speaker (the director) and then a catered reception conducive to happy socializing.
These things became signature features of the four annual film festivals that followed every spring, beginning in 2014. Each spring, the film screenings have expanded, and the April/May 2017 Festival included 9 internationally acclaimed films, shown over a span of three weeks and attracting an audience of over 2,000. Every year the festival has offered 2 catered receptions after the Sunday showings and dessert-and-coffee receptions on the week nights.
The Festival’s hosting venue is historic Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts, in downtown Wilmington, convenient to patrons of New Hanover and Brunswick Counties. The cavalcade of films in the Festivals depicts Jewish themes and issues, both historical and contemporary, and represents the best of Jewish filmic creativity, both in the U.S., and in Israel, France, and other nations worldwide.
In recent years, a summer film series has been added, with a different film showing on 3 successive Thursday evenings. Last year we also expanded our cultural reach to include a daytime screening of an age-and theme-appropriate French film for local public high school students; screenings for additional public high schools are being planned for 2018.
As the successes of the past four years of Festivals can attest, The Wilmington Jewish Film Festival is clearly fulfilling its primary mission, which is “ the presentation of films with Jewish content to advance and share common interests within the Jewish community and at the same time to share our heritage with the general public. The festival seeks to offer quality entertainment that will create an ongoing vehicle for the Wilmington Jewish Community to strengthen its cultural foundation, promote diversity through higher visibility in the area and grow Wilmington’s reputation as a culturally vibrant Jewish community.”