Bucharest Jewish film festival expands to four Romanian cities


(JTA) — Three years after its inauguration, the Bucharest Jewish Film Festival expanded to several cities in Romania.

Festival organizers in Bucharest held smaller screenings this month in Timisoara, Brasov and Piatra-Neamt. Titled the Bucharest Jewish Film Festival Caravan, the departure from Bucharest ended last week in Iasi.

In each city, a popular local cinema hosted a two-day program with approximately 20 films, including the 2009 Israeli Oscar nominee “Ajami,” the British comedy “The Infidel” and documentaries like “Gainsbuorg – A Heroic Life” and “Amos Oz: the Nature of Dreams.”

Approximately 8,000 Romanians attended the mini-festivals in the cities outside Bucharest, according to Paul Ghitiu, the festival’s director.

“Our goal is to use Jewish films to familiarize as many Romanians as possible with Jewish culture and values, so we decided we should not limit ourselves to the capital,” said Ghitiu. “We intend to make the caravan outside Bucharest an annual event.”

The festival in Bucharest is scheduled to open in November for the fourth consecutive year in three cinema theaters.

Of the caravan screenings, the largest turnout was in Iasi, which had murderous pogroms against Jews in 1941 but also was the birthplace, in 1876, of Europe’s first professional Yiddish theater troupe under the management of playwright Abraham Goldfaden.

“In the Jewish world, Iasi is a symbol,” Ghitiu said, “and bringing a Jewish film theater there is therefore a powerful experience.”

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