Jewish Film Fest: a peek at 2017 schedule

The Biblical story of Abraham and Sarah is set in modern-day Israel, with the principal characters all serving as part of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, in the film “Harmonia.” Photo: courtesy Atlanta Jewish Film Festival

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The Biblical story of Abraham and Sarah is set in modern-day Israel, with the principal characters all serving as part of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, in the film “Harmonia.” Photo: courtesy Atlanta Jewish Film Festival

The world’s largest Jewish film festival begins Jan. 24 in Atlanta, with comedy, drama, foreign and independent films showing at venues around the city.

Curators will screen 76 films during the 23 days of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. The full lineup will be announced on Friday, Jan. 6 and tickets will go on sale at beginning Wednesday, Jan. 18.

Here's a sampling of what to expect:AJFF.org,

“Bang! The Bert Berns Story”

This rock documentary chronicles the life and music of a 1960s crossover artist who wrote or co-wrote such soul and rock classics as "Twist and Shout," "Piece of My Heart," "Hang on Sloopy" and "Under the Boardwalk."

Born in the Bronx to Russian Jewish immigrants, Bert Berns created timeless music and launched the careers of other artists (including Neil Diamond and Van Morrison), before dying at age 38 of a heart condition brought on by rheumatic fever.

“Across the Waters”

A Jewish musician and his family make a frantic escape from Nazi-occupied Denmark in a story of survival and rescue.

Based on true events, the film is directed and co-written by Nicolo Donato, whose grandfather was among the Danish fisherman that ferried war refugees to safety.

This screening will be the North American debut of the Danish production.

“Freedom to Marry”

This documentary of the marriage equality movement presents portraits of such central figures as gay rights advocate Evan Wolfson and civil rights attorney Mary Bonauto.

“The Last Laugh”

Is there humor in the Holocaust? Or are there some topics that are simply out of bounds? This documentary offers humor and insight from comedians including Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Gilbert Gottfried, Sarah Silverman, Chris Rock and Harry Shearer, as well as Holocaust survivors and Jewish leaders.

“On the Map”

An upset victory by Israel's Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team against four-time defending Soviet champions in the 1977 European Championship Tournament provides the central drama in this documentary.

“Paradise”

Russian filmmaker Andrei Konchalovsky won Best Director honors at the Venice Film Festival for this stark black-and-white drama, which has also been entered in the foreign film category for the 89th Academy Awards. "Paradise" is described as a "chamber drama recalling the shattered dreams of both Holocaust victims and perpetrators."

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“Paradise” is the Russian candidate for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars, and will be screened as part of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, which begins Jan. 24. Photo: courtesy Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.

“Paradise” is the Russian candidate for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars, and will be screened as part of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, which begins Jan. 24. Photo: courtesy Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.

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“Paradise” is the Russian candidate for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars, and will be screened as part of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, which begins Jan. 24. Photo: courtesy Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.

“Harmonia”

This retelling of a Biblical story casts Abraham as the director of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and Sarah, a harpist, as his childless wife. Hagar, a horn player of French-Arab descent, befriends Sarah, and offers to carry a child for the couple.

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Peter O’Toole won an Oscar nomination for his flamboyant performance as a gone-to-seed movie star in the 1982 classic “My Favorite Year.” The movie will be screened as part of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. CONTRIBUTED BY ATLANTA JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL

Peter O’Toole won an Oscar nomination for his flamboyant performance as a gone-to-seed movie star in the 1982 classic “My Favorite Year.” The movie will be screened as part of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. CONTRIBUTED BY ATLANTA JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL

Combined ShapeCaption
Peter O’Toole won an Oscar nomination for his flamboyant performance as a gone-to-seed movie star in the 1982 classic “My Favorite Year.” The movie will be screened as part of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. CONTRIBUTED BY ATLANTA JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL

The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival was founded in 2000 by the Atlanta Regional Office of the American Jewish Committee, a global advocacy organization. It continues as an independent non-profit arts organization. For information: AJFF.org