EXCLUSIVE: Atlanta Jewish Film Festival announces opening, closing selections

The films include one in which Congressman John Lewis appears alongside AJFF Board Member Sherry Frank.

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival Opening, Closing Selections The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival announced Opening Night, Young Professionals Night and Closing Night selections for the 20th annual event. "Shared Legacies: The African-American Jewish Civil Rights Alliance" Sherry Frank (left) and Congressman John Lewis appear in the documentary. The present alliance between African-Americans and Jewish Americans dates to the 1909 NAACP founding. Since then, both groups have faced segregation and bigotry. A commo

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival has announced its selections for Opening Night, Young Professionals Night and Closing Night.

Known as the largest film festival in the city, the event attracts nearly 40,000 moviegoers to view what organizers call “a diverse collection of international and independent films.” The festival kicks off Feb. 10, starting with a documentary featuring civil rights icon and Georgia congressman John Lewis, followed by several films during the next two weeks that “explore everything from intimate and introspective profiles, personal narratives, stories that intersect with other communities and unconventional perspectives.”

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“It is a particularly exciting time for AJFF as we approach our 20th anniversary. While we reflect on the tremendous growth of two decades, we look forward to celebrating the occasion with another stellar lineup of cinematic stories otherwise unavailable to Atlanta audiences. Equally important, this is a special opportunity for AJFF to say ‘thank you’ to the many supporters, volunteers, and audiences who have been with us on this journey and share in the festival’s success,” said Kenny Blank, executive director of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, in a statement.

Congressman John Lewis will be featured in the festival’s premiere film, “Shared Legacies: The African-American Jewish Civil Rights Alliance.”

Screening Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, the documentary will focus on the legacy of black-Jewish cooperation in the civil rights era. It features archival footage and interviews from Holocaust survivors and Atlantans including Lewis, Ambassador Andrew Young, Rabbi Alvin Sugarman, Rabbi Peter S. Berg and Martin Luther King III.

On Feb. 15, the buddy comedy “Standing Up, Falling Down” screens at 8 p.m. at the Woodruff Arts Center. It’s part of Young Professionals Night, presented by ACCESS, the young leadership division of the American Jewish Committee. Emmy-winner and “Parks and Rec” actor Ben Schwartz and comic icon Billy Crystal star in the film about an aspiring stand-up comedian forced to move back to his hometown. An unexpected multi-generational friendship blossoms, leading them to confront their regrets and failures. A 6:30 p.m., party leads into the screening.

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The festival will conclude Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. with a screening of “Saul & Ruby, To Life” at the Byers Theater of the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center.

In it, Holocaust survivors Saul Dreier and Ruby Sosnowicz find a new purpose in life.

Using music, they share their stories and promote peace. A performance by Saul, Ruby and The Holocaust Survivor Band will follow the screening along with a question-and-answer session and dessert reception.

Tickets to each of the film screenings and their accompanying events are $36.

These films join a list of previously announced movies, including documentaries “Golda” and “No Pork on the Fork.”

The full lineup and official schedule will be announced on Jan. 10.

AJFF tickets go on sale Jan. 27 on AJFF.org and are $16 for general admission and $14 for students, children and seniors.

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AJFF Opening Night, Young Professionals Night and Closing Night Selections: 

“Shared Legacies: The African-American Jewish Civil Rights Alliance” — Opening Night 


7:30 p.m.

February 10

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

“Standing Up, Falling Down” — Young Professionals Night 


6:30 p.m. pre-screening party, 8 p.m. film

February 15

Woodruff Arts Center

“Saul & Ruby, To Life!” — Closing Night 


7 p.m.

February 27

Byers Theater of the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center