Featured Ads

Why the Kansas City Jewish Film Festival matters

Shawn Edwards

There are more than 100 Jewish film festivals in the United States. Seen as a way to provide an authentic connection to Jewish heritage, the popularity of Jewish film festivals has grown in recent years. Now in its 17th year, The Kansas City Jewish Film Festival (KCJFF), put on by the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, has also grown.

The reason for the festival’s growth? Programming, programming, programming. Content, content, content. The KCJFF has quickly moved to the forefront of Jewish film festivals nationally thanks to its cutting-edge line-up of films it has presented the past several years. The KCJFF has made a concerted effort to discover up-and-coming Jewish filmmakers and program award-winning Jewish themed films from both major studios (“Remember”) and the independent film world (“Dough”) for the festival.

The KCJFF has kept with the philosophy created more than 40 years ago when the first Jewish film festivals came to life. Jewish film festivals were initially created to connect Diaspora Jews to their culture.

Producing a Jewish film festival is one of the best ways to reinforce a sense of pride among Jews and share Jewish history, culture and heritage with non-Jews. Cinema is arguably the most influential and impactful form of media. So what better way to preserve Jewish heritage and culture than through movies?

Jewish films have always provided a meaningful connection to their roots while often showcasing the onslaught of filmmaking talent coming out of the Jewish community. Today there is a bevy of Jewish filmmaking talent, particularly in Israel. A plethora of Jewish films are now being produced — including this year’s front runner to win Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards “Son of Saul” — and are receiving widespread attention. 

The KCJFF was rescheduled from October 2015 to this month due to the Kansas City Royals successful pursuit of a world championship, but we think we have hit a home run with the line up. And we have added a new Short Film Showcase to the mix. This year’s selections are diverse and steeped in Jewish culture. There is something for everyone.

Genre films have never been more important. As the world increasingly becomes more mainstream and one-dimensional, the importance of Jewish film festivals has increased and will continue to do so. The KCJFF is committed to supporting the best in Jewish film and hopes to continue this tradition for years to come. Check us out and spend an afternoon or evening at the movies expanding your Jewish horizon!

Shawn Edwards is the producer of the KC Jewish Film Festival.