FreshFlix and More at the Boston Jewish Film Festival

A scene from “Rock in the Red Zone,” featured at the Boston Jewish Film Festival
A scene from “Rock in the Red Zone,” featured at the Boston Jewish Film Festival

By Laura Conrad Mandel

Published November 04, 2015, issue of November 05, 2015.

For almost 30 years, the Boston Jewish Film Festival, screening through November 16, has brought the best of new Jewish and Israeli films to Boston for two weeks in November. More recently, FreshFlix began as a festival within the festival, highlighting the must see films with a contemporary vibe.  

The winners from the November 5 Short Film Competition, a flagship program of FreshFlix, will be shown at the ICA on Sunday, November 8. The shorts were selected by the younger generation of filmmakers and chosen by a jury of young adults. Audience members voted for their favorite, with cash prizes going to the top three filmmakers.

“The films are a testament to the art of short film-making. None of the films are longer than 20 minutes, but they provide humor, insight, and great storytelling,” said Festival Artistic Director Ariana Cohen-Halberstam. “This is a great way to let BJFF fans who aren’t familiar with FreshFlix get a taste of what FreshFlix is about. And a good film is a good film – for people of any age!”

Aside from the Short Film Competition, “Rock in the Red Zone” has been a much buzzed about documentary that explores the literal underground music scene that has emerged in Sderot, a small town in Israel, throughout incessant bombing from Gaza since 2007. LA filmmaker Laura Bialis falls in love with an Israeli and makes aliyah through the course of the film. Bialis and her musician husband Ari Vankin will be at the screening on November 8, along with a pre-screening get-together hosted by New Center NOW at JP Licks.

In the realm of innovative and current, “Jeruzalem,” which will be screened in partnership with the Coolidge’s After Midnite series, is shot through the perspective of the main character’s Google glasses. Rooted in a very Jewish premise, the film plays on the Talmudic verse that claims there are three gates to hell – in the desert, in the ocean and in Jerusalem.

Just as “Jeruzalem” is innovative in its perspective, “The Man in the Wall” is an impressive psychological thriller that was shot in just six days in one apartment. The film is claustrophobic yet gripping, drawing you into the mind and panic of Shir, who has woken to find that her husband has disappeared. Shir decides she must stay home and wait for her husband, and the film explores the complexities of their marriage through the visitors and interactions that take place within the apartment.

See you at the movies!

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