Last Monday we said ‘adieu’ to our 2018 Denver Jewish Film Festival.
It was a delightful event filled with excitement and wonder as thousands of attendees watched 30 films between February 7–19. Amy Weiner, our Director of Festivals at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, was kind enough to express her thoughts and thanks to those who made this festival possible. What do you believe made this festival so successful?
Amy Weiner: To me, it is our incredible patron base that makes the festival as fabulous as it is. We do all that we can to create the highest quality program possible, with something for everyone, but the true success is when our audiences are buzzing to each other in the lobby, when we open the doors after screenings to hear thunderous applause at the credits, and see both new and familiar faces come back to see five, 10, 15, 20 or more movies throughout the festival!
Which screening did you receive the most positive feedback
AW: The truth is that we received overwhelmingly positive feedback for practically every screening (and I would know because I hand-counted over 4,000 Audience Award ballots). People absolutely ADORED the Sammy Davis, Jr. documentary so it was no surprise that it won the Best Documentary Audience Award. But we also got a lot of positive feedback after we successfully Skyped in the Tokyo-based filmmaker of Monkey Business, Ema Ryan Yamazaki, for a Q&A following our screening–this was the first time we have ever done something like this, so we were really nervous, but it was extremely successful and added such value to the screening.
Did any film receive a reaction that you found surprising?
AW: I was honestly surprised that The Body Collector ended up winning the Best Narrative Audience Award–not due to quality, because it is a superbly made miniseries with gripping content–but because for the majority of the festival, it looked like Remember (the thriller starring Christopher Plummer) would win. You never know until the votes are cast!
What are your plans for next year’s festival?
AW: We will begin our pre-screening process again starting in late March–so if you are reading this and interested in contributing to our festival by offering volunteer content review, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the rules and guidelines and get started! Also, be sure to “like” our Denver Jewish Film Festival & JAAMM Facebook page to stay up-to-date on all of our festivals.
**Amy would also like to note that there was a mishap with Consequences (the short film screening) in the order of how the shorts screened in the package–Hounds was supposed to be third and An Average Story the final short, but they were accidentally swapped.**