Festival director 2018

We are celebrating 70 years of Israel, and we are celebrating women!

For the 24th time, the Jewish Film Festival Berlin & Brandenburg is presenting the entire spectrum of Jewish and Israeli film – from independent and art house films to documentaries to essayistic and experimental works – including numerous European, German, and Berlin premieres. The JFBB is the largest forum for Jewish and Israeli cinema in Germany, the oldest and most important cultural event of its kind, and a vital part of the diverse Jewish life of Berlin and Brandenburg.

On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel, we are showing 16 Israelian productions. 7 feature films among them will compete for one of the Gershon Klein Film Prizes. Our international film critics jury  Hannah Brown (Israel), Alissa Simon (USA) and Katja Nicodemus (Germany ) will choose the best Israelian feature film. The festival is committed to presenting Israel in all its diversity and with all its contradictions, taking a nuanced look at the country beyond everyday media images and stereotypes.

Women filmmakers have a particularly strong presence at the JFBB this year, directing no less than 13 of the festival's 42 films! Although we haven't reached equal representation yet, we are well on the way, and in any case, we are featuring more films by women directors than most film festivals do. The fact that women's intellectual capabilities often were and are underestimated is examined in the documentary BOMBSHELL: THE HEDY LAMARR STORY. Nobody realized that this Hollywood star worked as a scientist alongside her acting career. But everybody is using technologies such as WiFi and Bluetooth that are based on inventions made by Hedy Lamarr and her friend, composer George Antheil, to help fight the Nazis. Nonetheless, we are honoring her with a small, carefully curated homage at the Filmmuseum Potsdam for her achievements in acting, featuring her in the most varied roles.

This year, we especially look forward to welcoming Alice Shalvi, who was already a guest of the festival in 2000. A women's rights activist and professor of literature, she has received numerous international awards for her achievements for women, among others the Israel Prize for her life's work in 2007. We are delighted and honored that Alice Shalvi, who was born in Essen, Germany, will travel to Berlin at age 91.

In Spotlight “Young Jewish Talents” we present young talented filmmakers who will be heard of in the future.

We thank Sophie Albers Ben Chamo (Press and Communications Officer, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom) and Thomas Abeltshauser (film critic) for their perspectives, supporting us in selecting this year's films. As in many previous years, Prof. Frank Stern will enrich his introductions and film discussions with his expertise.

We look forward to seeing you!

NICOLA GALLINER | Festival director

Nicola Galliner, Festival director