The 16th year of the Mobile Jewish Film Festival features another quality lineup of films and cuisine. For the first time, live music will play an important role in this entertaining, enlightening and important cultural event.
The festival runs Jan. 8-22 and will feature four weekend films. The documentary “On the Map” opens the festival Sunday, Jan. 8, at 3 p.m. The film, which has been a hit at numerous Jewish film festivals this year, tells the against-all-odds story of the Tel Aviv basketball team that wins the European Championship and inspires a nation. Former University of South Alabama athletic director Joe Gottfried and his brother, ESPN analyst Mike Gottfried, will be on hand for discussion.
The Laidlaw Center for the Performing Arts at USA will be the site of the next three screenings.
Tuesday, Jan. 10, at 7 p.m., an aging German Holocaust survivor attempts to come to terms with his heritage in “The Last Mensch.” It was named “Best Feature Film” at the San Diego Jewish Film Festival.
“A Love to Hide” tells the story of a young Jewish girl who has lost her family to the Third Reich and is sheltered by her childhood friend Jean. He is also hiding a clandestine homosexual love affair and is forced into a Nazi labor camp. This remarkable film will screen Wednesday, Jan. 11, at 7 p.m.
The quirky, uplifting love story “Fever at Dawn” will be shown Thursday, Jan. 12, at 7 p.m. at USA and again on Tuesday, Jan. 17, at 7 p.m. at the USA Performance Center in Fairhope. You have two chances to see this story of a young Hungarian man who survives the concentration camps, only to be diagnosed with fatal lung disease while being treated in a hospital in Sweden. Refusing to give up on life, he sends letters to 117 fellow displaced Hungarians in Sweden, looking for a wife. Nineteen-year-old Lilli likes his letter and they strike up a correspondence.
A very special Saturday, Jan. 14, screening at 6 p.m. at Ahavas Chesed Synagogue will begin with a Shakshouka dinner from the Jerusalem Café before the appropriately delicious film “In Search of Israeli Cuisine.” The film profiles chefs, home cooks, vintners and cheesemakers drawn from the more than 100 cultures that make up Israel today.
On Sunday, Jan. 15, at 3 p.m., return to Ahavas Chesed Synagogue for “Rock in the Red Zone,” about unique music created in Sderot, a city of factory workers where art thrives in the bomb shelters. When documentary filmmaker Laura Bialis brings her camera to capture the unique Sderot sound, the course of her life is changed forever. A musician from the film, Avi Vaknin, will speak after the screening.
An incredible tale of bravery, strength and survival, “Fanny’s Journey” tells the story of 11 children who must fend for themselves and make their way from Italy to Switzerland when Nazis find the foster home for Jewish children where they were already living as refugees from France. Based on a true story, this beautifully shot film is showing Wednesday, Jan. 18, at 7 p.m. at Bernheim Hall in the Ben May Main Branch of the Mobile Public Library.
“The Dove Flyer,” screening Thursday, Jan. 21, at 7 p.m. at Ahavas Chesed Synagogue, has been shown at more than 50 festivals and pays tribute to the 130,000 Jews who were expelled from Iraq in the 1950s. Against this backdrop is the coming-of-age story of 16-year-old Kabi.
The final film of the festival will be “The Lady in Number Six” on Sunday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. at Springhill Avenue Temple. When Alice Herz-Sommer died at the age of 110, she was the world’s oldest survivor of the Holocaust. A former concert pianist, she and her 6-year-old son survived the terror of the concentration camps through music. After this powerful 40-minute documentary, Dr. Jasmin Arakawa will perform the music featured in the film.
To see trailers for these films and purchase tickets, visit www.mobilejewishfederation.org or call 251-343-7197.