Music Festivals

Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival Aims Beyond Traditional Themes in 2015

Lovers of indie and world cinema take note, the Donald M. Ephraim Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival returns this month screening 31 film premieres -- from shorts to features to documentaries. The fest is showing at five different venues countywide, with 71 screenings scheduled in total, it's trying to maximize viewing opportunities in its 25th year.

The festival is well known to include advance screenings and even some films that may never return to theaters. "Hopefully some of them open commercially," festival director and executive producer Ellen Wedner explains, "and some of them, some people will walk out saying, 'Can I get the Netflix? How do I buy the DVD? And we have to say, 'It's never coming to America. This is it.'"

It might seem easy to dismiss an event with a culturally narrow focus. But many gentiles will naturally love the flicks being screened, as well. Webner says, "If you are old enough to remember the Levy's rye bread advertising campaign, 'You don't have to be Jewish to love Levy's' and I think that's true [for film]."

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Hans Morgenstern has contributed to Miami New Times for too many decades, but he's grown to love Miami's arts and culture scene because of it. He is the chair of the Florida Film Critics Circle, and most of his film criticism can be found on Independent Ethos ( if not in New Times.