On October 13, 2013 the WJFF had a little “nosh” to whet the appetite of film goers with its very successful first film on the Thalian Hall Main Stage. The film Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy was screened and its producer/writer/director Michael Kantor was present to lead a Q & A following the film. A reception was held afterwards.
The 1st annual festival, April 3rd, 4th and 6th, 2014 offered the “main course”, a full-series festival of 4 films screened on Thursday evening, Saturday evening, and 2 films on Sunday, an afternoon matinee and early evening also on the Thalian Hall Main Stage. Once again, our 2014 Festival was hugely successful.
The 2nd Annual WILMINGTON JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL was bigger and even better. Held over 10 days, it included two Sunday afternoons, two Monday evenings and two Wednesday evenings, from April 19th through 29th, 2015. We expanded the Festival to screen six features and three shorts. The features included three dramas, two of which were based on historical figures’ true life-stories, a suspense drama, and a documentary. The movies were filmed in the U.S., Israel/UK, France, Germany, and Argentina/Uruguay/Venezuela. The six events were held at Thalian Hall Main Stage and included a sold-out screening of Nancy Spielberg’s documentary, Above and Beyond. Ms. Spielberg introduced the film and afterwards led a Q & A session. Local experts spoke on the other five films and led a Q & A after each film. Author Paul Wilkes spoke after The Jewish Cardinal, Alfred Schnog after Run Boy Run, Dr. Herbert Berg after Arranged, a panel of Dr. Amy Kirschke, Dr. Vibeke Olson, and Anne Brennan led discussion after The Art Dealer, and Dr. Remonda Kleinberg after God’s Slave.
A fully catered reception followed the two Sunday screenings and four dessert receptions were also our gift to the community, giving all an opportunity to mingle and converse after all of the screenings.
In advance of Festival 2015, strong community support was shown through the purchase of a significant number of sponsorships, Festival memberships, and ticket packages. Thank you, Wilmington filmgoers, Wilmington businesses, and The United Jewish Appeal of Wilmington.
The 3rd Annual WILMINGTON JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL, in 2016 was written up in Encore Magazine:
“It’s fitting that this year’s Wilmington Jewish Film Festival falls right during three major observances.
For one, the budding annual series of screenings is itself turning three. And two of those observances – Holocaust Remembrance Day and Israeli Independence Day – tie directly into the festival’s goal to provide tribute and teaching alongside theatrical releases. And, third, what mom wouldn’t want to be treated to a movie and a bite to eat on Mother’s Day?
… the communal and conversational touches set the Wilmington Jewish Film Festival apart, and they’re signs of the core principles…
The third annual festival had eight feature films – including serious dramas,
While each year the fest aims to bring little-known Jewish films to the big screen with purpose, this time around, the growing committee of more than 40 behind the effort was able to go a step further, picking poignant selections to align with those three solemn and celebratory occasions.”
In 2016, there was also a Wilmington Jewish Film Festival Summer Series of 4 films. And in September, 2016, the Wilmington Jewish Film Festival partnered with the North Carolina Black Film Festival to co-sponsor their opening night film and additionally helped to sponsor 4 Jewish themed films for the 22nd Annual Cucalorus Film Festival in Wilmington.