Since 2002, audiences throughout Central Mississippi have looked forward to Jewish Cinema South’s Jackson Jewish Film Festival, a partnership between Beth Israel Congregation, the Student Culture Organization at Millsaps College and the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute for Southern Jewish Life (ISJL). Jewish Cinema South was created by the ISJL to form a regional network of film festivals that highlight the Jewish experience. The Jackson festival shared with its sister cities the ISJL goals of educating the public, enhancing Jewish life, strengthening ethnic pride, promoting multi-cultural and multi-ethnic dialogue, celebrating diversity and encouraging and promoting tolerance and understanding.
Over the years, the Jackson Jewish Film Festival has showcased Israeli and Jewish-themed independent films, films that are shown in major Jewish film festivals around the world. Film choices have ranged from contemporary dramatic features, provocative documentaries, entertaining short subject films, comedies and archival selections. Many of the screenings included appearances by filmmakers, actors and individuals with special expertise on a particular topic. Over the years, the Film Festival has also brought thought-provoking films to local private and public high schools.
It has always been the goal of Jewish Cinema South to transition each participating film festival community from a jointly sponsored activity to an independent, stand-alone organization. Towards that end, Beth Israel Congregation and the Student Culture Organization at Millsaps have joined forces to sponsor a new film festival, JewishCinemaMississippi. This will continue the tradition of bringing important Jewish-themed films to the residents of Mississippi and honor the important contributions that the ISJL has made in helping communities start film festivals.
Jewish Cinema Mississippi would not be possible without the assistance of the following individuals.
- James Bowley, Co-Director
- Lynda Balfour, Co-Director
- Ellen Alexander, Marketing Chair
- Sarah Buxbaum, Financial liaison
- Jonathan Larkin, Film selection Co-Chair
- Elaine Barenblat, Film selection Co-Chair
- Gavin Brannan, Film selection committee member
- Gail Dellar, Film selection committee member
- Dan Ring , Film selection committee member
- Lex Rofes, Film selection committee member
- Rosemary Foncree, Film selection committee member
- Sheila Hailey, Film selection committee member
- Alec Kassoff, Film selection committee member
- Peter Zapletal, Film selection committee member
- David Kweller , Film selection committee member
- Carol Thompson-Finn, Fundraising Committee
- Ellen Hart, Fundraising Committee
- Emily Kamber, Theater Operations/Sales
- George Glass,Theater Operations/Sales
- Lisa Pence, Sponsor’s Reception
- Rob Rubinoff, Web Developer
This year’s art photography design was a collaboration between Lou Shornick and Suzi Altman. This year we are honoring Lou Shornick, a longstanding pillar of the Jackson Jewish community as well as a supporter of other community initiatives. Lou Shornick’s life long passion for photography has captured thousands of images from his travels abroad and stateside. In 2009, Lou collaborated with the greater Jackson Arts Council to host, “The World Through Lou’s Lens”.
Suzi Altman is a talented photographer devoted for social change. Her works has appeared in many world leading publications. In 2012, she was recognized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts as a honored artist from the Mississippi State Committee. Her photography is on permanent display at the National Museum of Women in Washington D.C.
This year’s Jewish Cinema art design depicts Beth Israel Congregation Ark doors in the background. In the center, the Israeli handmade tapestry illustrates the parting of the Red Sea, was donated by Lou Shornick and his late wife,Cecille Shornick to the congregation.