The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival has continued to grow each year since its inception in 2000.
It is the largest film festival in the city and second only to San Francisco when it comes to Jewish film festivals.
In 2012, the event drew more than 30,000 viewers and this year the festival has already sold more tickets than it did last year at this time, according to co-chair Shelton Stanfill.
This year’s film festival opens today at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre near Vinings with the film “Hava Nagila (The Movie).” Guests attending the opening night festivities can also buy a red carpet VIP ticket, which includes a gala, silent auction and the film. The Gen-Y red carpet VIP is for guests 40 and under.
“I know ‘Hava Nagila’ will be really well-received,” said Stanfill.
A total of 71 films will be shown over the 22-day festival at six different venues around Atlanta, including the United Artists Tara Cinema 4 in Buckhead, Lefont Sandy Springs Regal Cinemas North Point Market 8 in Alpharetta and Regal Cinemas Atlantic Station Stadium 16. New this year are the Cobb centre and the Georgia Theatre Co. Merchants Walk theatre in east Cobb.
According to Stanfill, who has served on the steering and program committee in the past, the selection of films this year is more varied.
“I think there’s a much larger mix of films this year,” he said. “There’s more comedies and less of the more serious and depressing, but wonderful, films this year.”
Stanfill said there are African-American, Latin-American, Gen-Y and Muslim films in the expansive list of Jewish films being shown, which makes the festival appealing to all types of viewers.
“I’m not Jewish myself,” he said. “Just under a third of the audience members are not Jewish. It’s not exclusively for the Jewish community. It’s about reaching out. There are so many wonderful films, many of which you would not be able to see otherwise.”
Many screenings are already sold out.
“This really is, even though it’s very young, developing into one of the most important film festivals in the country, especially for limited festivals,” said Stanfill.
If you go:
What: 14th annual Atlanta Jewish Film Festival
When: Today through Feb. 20
Where: Six metro Atlanta venues