31.2 F
Saturday, March 2, 2024
HomeCOVID-19Spokane Jewish Film Fest Returns This Month

Spokane Jewish Film Fest Returns This Month


Related stories

FāVS Religion News Roundup: March 1

This week's Roundup carries several news stories worth reading. We write a regional update on homelessness, the rising hostility on progressive churches, an upcoming event in support of Palestinians, a 65-voice choir coming to Spokane, a unique piece of history about the LDS church and more.

New Survey Finds Pockets of Support for Christian Nationalism Across the Country

A Public Religion Research Institute Study found roughly 3 in 10 Americans express some sympathy for Christian nationalism, with its greatest popularity concentrated in the Southeast and Upper Midwest.

The Alabama ruling on embryos claimed to be Christian. Christians aren’t so sure.

Since the Alabama Supreme Court ruling that frozen embryos are children, theological opinions on IVF, let alone political ones, are difficult to ascertain and are far from universal across denominations.

Former Incarcerated Drug Addict Ministers to Spokane Homeless with Food, Clothing and Jesus

Daniel Aga launched Mighty to Save Ministries after spending several years in jail himself and becoming a Christian while there. He said he had a fire in his "heart to give" what he had received to the those living on the streets of Spokane.

Gonzaga Professors Win Grant to Enhance Children of the Sun Trail in NE Spokane

Professors Katy Roden and Greg Gordon of Gonzaga University recently received a $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in order to create a public platform exploring the history, culture and ecology of Northeast Spokane.

Spokane Jewish Film Fest Returns This Month

This news story was made possible by contributions to FāVS from readers and members like you. Thank you.

By Matthew Kincanon

Spokane Area Jewish Family Services (JFS) will be holding its 18th annual Spokane Jewish Cultural Film Festival this month where films from around the world exploring religious and cultural Jewish themes will be presented.

Since 2005, the JFS has brought international films to Spokane to “share Jewish life and culture with the community,” according to its website.

Because the Jewish community is small in Spokane and there aren’t a lot of cultural events that are open to the larger community, JFS director Neal Schindler said the festival was likely born out of a desire to have a Jewish cultural event for the whole community.

Eleven films will be shown at the film festival; six feature films and five shorts. They will explore themes surrounding the Holocaust, what it means to be Jewish and how tradition bumps up against modern times, interfaith relationships, Jewishness that is more cultural than religious, antisemitism, and other relevant subjects.

One film Schindler described, “A Starry Sky Above the Roman Ghetto,” is technically about the Holocaust but takes place in the present about young people in Italy uncovering a mystery. 

Another film, “Pops” revolves around two siblings who find themselves fighting over their dead father’s last wish of having his ashes sent into space. Schindler said the film will explore the issue of cremation being prohibited in traditional Judaism.

“[The film] encapsulates one area where tradition bumps up against modern and even secular practices of the time,” Schindler said.

Another film, “A Jew Walks Into a Bar,” is about an Orthodox Jew who wants to be a stand-up comedian. Schindler said it includes Jewish humor but also aspects of the main character’s Orthodox beliefs and practices that pose some real obstacles.

Schindler said six of the 11 films include interfaith relationships in some way, adding that it is a sign of the times regarding how interfaith marriages between Jews and non-Jews has been on the rise.

“I like that so many of these films…address [interfaith relationships] in some way even if it’s not what the film is mainly about,” Schindler said, who is married to a Lutheran.

Due to COVID, the festival will follow a hybrid format where there will be an opening night screening and post-film discussion at the Garland Theater in-person, as well as virtual access to all of the films and programs.

Schindler said the festival will include live ZOOM Q&A’s with filmmakers and post-film discussions, which will be recorded and posted online for people to watch afterwards.

“That’s the stuff that really makes film festivals different from just going on Netflix and watching a bunch of movies,” Schindler said. “It’s getting to interact with filmmakers, ask questions, give them feedback, make comments and just understand how the film came to be, what the filmmaker wanted to achieve and so forth.”

Long-term, Schindler wants to include more regional filmmakers who explore Jewish themes in the film festival.

Tickets are $8 for general admission and $5 for students and seniors. Also, festival passes are available for $42 for general admission and $27 for students and seniors.

The film festival will take place from Feb. 17-27. Proceeds go directly to supporting human service work at JFS. JFS is a non-profit organization that provides programs and support services to help strengthen individuals and families in our community, while incorporating Jewish principles, culture, and values.

A schedule of films can be found here.

The Spokane Jewish Cultural Film Festival is a SpokaneFāVS Sponsor.

Matthew Kincanon
Matthew Kincanon
Matthew Kincanon is a former Digital Content Producer with a journalism and political science degree from Gonzaga University. His journalism experience includes the Gonzaga Bulletin, The Spokesman-Review, Art Chowder magazine and SpokaneFāVS. He said he is excited to be a freelancer at SpokaneFāVS because, as a Spokane native, he wants to learn more about the various religious communities and cultures in his hometown.


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x